In recent weeks, a number of progressive groups and commentators have criticized Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) for his attempts to organize his fellow Conservative Democrats into a new Blue Dog-style caucus that will work to “restrain the influence of party liberals in the White House and on Capitol Hill.” Now, however, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is telling the Bayh critics to back off. This morning at a breakfast briefing with reporters, Reid called the critiques “very unwise and not helpful”:
Later, Reid said he had “no qualms” with Bayh’s new Blue Dog-style coalition and told reporters that “’any public statements’ Senate moderates have made have been helpful.” But as Rachel Maddow noted earlier this week, at the moment, the only result of Bayh forming his group has been to give Republicans “way more power” than they otherwise would have.
Reid’s comments appear to grow out of a fear that progressive criticisms of Bayh and his fellow Conservative Democrats might upset them so much that they would vote against Obama’s agenda out of anger. But some of Bayh’s allies are already indicating that they may be opposed.