Sunday, July 08, 2007

Freshman Democrats Webb, Tester, McCaskill are the U.S. Senate's ‘redneck caucus’

The Rural Blog has taken note of Virginia's Jim Webb since he started running for the U. S. Senate in 2006, mainly because a major part of his strategy was to bring rural voters back to the Democratic Party -- and he succeeded. He also started making waves very quickly, having a personal dust-up with President Bush at the White House. Now he and Bush are back on speaking terms, and he has "lowered his profile," but his criticism of Bush's Mideast policies, which helped elect Webb, "is unabated," reports The Virginian-Pilot.

Dale Eisman reports from Washington that Webb "and several other first-term Democrats, particularly Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, have formed an informal ' redneck caucus.' It's an allusion to their residence in 'red,' or Republican-leaning, states and their interest in lunch-pail issues, including raising the minimum wage and the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to overseas workers." McCaskill told Eisman, "We were the three that probably were least expected to win" and also "come from the reddest states."

Eisman writes, "Their arrival in the Senate has given comfort to North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan. For years, he's been a lonely crusader for populist causes like increased controls on international trade and the repeal of tax laws that he says encourage companies to export jobs. Dorgan told Eisman, "It's a breath of fresh air to have Sen. Webb and about five others. A lot of senators put on a blue suit . . . and think they're 10 feet tall, but Jim has a great sense of humor." (Read more)

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