Parker’s Progress. The Curious Evolution of a New Republican Congressman

From the diaries by Erick

It was a bright and happy December day. Not a cloud was in sight, the weather was a balmy 60 degrees and Congressman Parker Griffith wanted to give Speaker Nancy Pelosi a Christmas present. It wasn’t the infamous “Mental Health Ticket” that he once offered to have Santa put under her tree. He has switched his allegiance from Democrat to Republican. He had several things to say about this yesterday as he prepared to celebrate Christmas at home.

“I believe our nation is at a crossroads and I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt,” Griffith said as his wife Virginia stood by his side.

Griffith, a former Radiation Oncologist, also offered a damning description of the House Version of Obamacare.

“I want to make it perfectly clear that this bill is bad for our doctors,” he said. “It’s bad for our patients. It’s bad for the young men and women who are considering going into the health care field.”

Parker Griffith will not be a shoo-in for reelection. The Republicans in Madison and Huntsville would probably choose Barack Obama over Griffith in a Pepsi Challenge. The Good Doctor’s reputation in Republican circles is toxic like the streams flowing near Chernobyl.

The Republicans also didn’t have a vacancy sign out for candidates to represent Congressman Griffith’s district. Steady and conservative local politician Mo Brooks had already started his plans to unseat Griffith soon after The Stimulus passed. Brooks, like Parker Griffith, has done Northern Alabama politics for decades. He doesn’t need the Heritage Foundation to do his opposition research.

Mo Brooks’ most significant hurdle may not be Parker Griffith’s Incumbency. Local Attorney Les Phillips has also thrown down the gauntlet. I’ve heard Phillips speak and I’ve Brooks speak. If Phillips were helping someone sue me, I’d make the best deal possible, early on in the process, before Mr. Phillips applied the Handy-Vac to my bank account.

Neither Brooks nor Phillips have any intention of suspending their campaigns. They eagerly await polling data to determine whether Parker Griffith stands anywhere above Andrea Dora level in terms of political popularity. Unless something totally unlikely emerges, Parker Griffith will have to earn the GOP nomination.

Griffith’s problems with his new base are profound and of his own making. He does nasty the way Southerners skilled in the verbal arts do nasty. Take my word for it, it’s nasty.

One of his frequent victims is a local talk radio host named Dale Jackson. If you listen to Jackson’s show during your morning commute across the Tennessee River Valley, you can’t go three days without the irrepressible Jackson playing two of his favorite quotes. One is from Griffith himself and one is from one of Parker Griffith’s former Democratic surrogates.

In the typical Mouth of Sauron fashion of political hacks, a member of Griffith’s entourage declared Dale Jackson “The King of Huntsville HATE Radio!” Jackson loves this. He loops it some days with the reverb on high. The only thing missing is a suitable thrash-metal track blaring cacophony in the background.

Griffith has been no more civil to Jackson in his own right. Jackson attempted to ask him about his relationship with Speaker Pelosi. At that point, Congressman Griffith still played a Democrat in his public appearances. He grew exasperated with Jackson and made the following remark. “Now Son, your just an entertainer.

Griffith’s district doesn’t bode well for his future either. It went 61% for John McCain in a year with record-breaking African American turnout and voter loyalty to the Democratic Party. Madison County and Decatur like their Democrats on the half-shell. He will have one heck of a sales job convincing anyone he bleeds GOP red.

In defense of Parker Griffith, he has amassed a voting record to the right of anything ever put together by Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee or Olympia Snowe. He voted “No” on Cap and Tax, Obamacare, Stimulus, and tried his best to stop the missile defense withdrawal from Eastern Europe. This has about a 5% chance of being a party switch of conviction.

But, as Dale Jackson and others have chronicled time and again, Griffith has a long and illustrious history of talking right and then using a procedural dodge to skewer Conservative causes at the last minute. As a State Senator in Montgomery, he famously talked up a hard-core anti-immigration bill until it was time for his senate committee to mark it up. Then, Griffith and some other Democrats missed the session causing the absence of a quorum. The bill thus died a procedural death and Ted Mattle’s Ghost can tell you what happened next.

Griffith may be genuine in his disdain for Speaker Pelosi. It sometimes takes a professional relationship gone to heck to make us wise up and see the facts before us. Pelosi’s contempt for The Blue Dog Democrats was far more pronounced and icy than that of Harry Reid in The Senate. With some people personal interaction can inform or even supersede ratiocination. It was clear Congressman Griffith felt a certain culture shock in opposition to Speaker Pelosi.

Thus Parker Griffith has changed parties and decided to run as a Republican. He will spend the next few months trying to win over skeptics and ride the tiger. His primary fight may make him regret his new Conservative apotheosis. I’m very skeptical that this man is for real, but consider this particular piece of duplicity on his part a positive sign regarding the results of the 2010 midterm elections.