When Sen. Arlen Specter (D R D – Pa) switched political parties earlier this year – for the second time in his congressional tenure – to rejoin the Democratic Party, the overwhelming national response was a collective yawn.
Today’s defection in the House of Representatives, however, came like the proverbial bolt from the blue. Freshman Representative Parker Griffith returned to his home district today (Alabama’s 5th, which includes Huntsville) to explain to his constituents, face-to-face, why he has decided to extricate himself from the Democratic Party. Too bad his move is more a political statement than a political power-shift.
Politico, first to report the breaking news, says the Democratic health care bill was the impetus for Griffith’s final step to the right. From Politico:
Griffith’s party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.
The first-term congressman, who was until now dubbed a Blue Dog Democrat, has been at odds with the Democratic agenda in Washington from Day 1, criticizing the Obama Administration’s positions on health care reform, the federal stimulus plan, environmental legislation, and other top legislative priorities.
So it’s hard to fathom how this news caught Democrats in Washington completely off their guard. Yet, a headline on The Hill’s website reads “Dem leadership caught by surprise.” The Capitol Hill newspaper went on to report:
Rep. Parker Griffith’s party switch announcement caught Democratic House leadership by surprise — so much so that they were still preparing official statements when contacted on Tuesday morning.
“He didn’t tell anyone in leadership,” a leadership aide said. “He didn’t even tell his staff. In fact I understand he’s telling most of his staff right now.”
As of 12 p.m. on Tuesday, neither Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) nor Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) had commented on Griffith’s announcement.
Yehhhh, uh, right. Didn’t see this coming.
Also of no surprise is the reaction of some bloodthirsty Democrats in Washington, who will not tolerate a mutiny. The immediate attack on Griffith and House Republicans by House Democrats – who, like spoiled children, refuse to acknowledge culpability in anything (unless it gets them re-elected) – attempts to divert our attention from the reasons why Griffith is moving to the right.
Rather than discuss Griffith’s concerns with and objections to Democrat health care reform bills, Washington’s Democratic leadership (with the ever-helpful voice of liberal-leaning media) is accusing the Republican Party of “orchestrating” the entire thing.
So what, exactly, would “orchestrating” Griffith’s party-switch entail? Convincing him that Congressional Democrats are ruining our nation one bill at a time? Persuading him to act in defense of our Constitution?
Okay – maybe it was more sinister than that. Maybe Republicans promised to help him in his re-election bid. Like the Democrats claim to have helped Griffith secure his first election, maybe?
“Democrats of every stripe and philosophy sweated and bled for this man,” said Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham in a statement today. “He narrowly became a Congressman through the hard work, votes and financial contributions of thousands of Democrats. Today, they feel betrayed.”
I feel your pain guys. It’s kinda like when Brenda (90210, the original) found out that Dillon had a summer fling with Kelly, right?
My advice to Democrats – embrace these feelings of betrayal. Learn from them. For only through such understanding will you come to know how millions of tax-paying Americans feel everyday about the Democratic-led Congress.