Breaking: Blue Dog flips to GOP

posted at 11:17 am on December 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Usually one does not see Congressmen or Senators flipping parties to join the minority.  However, Politico’s Josh Kraushaar has a scoop that Blue Dog Democrat Parker Griffith of Alabama, a freshman in Congress, has seen enough of Nancy Pelosi’s leadership.  He will join Republicans in a move that has far more symbolic than substantive impact — for now:

POLITICO has learned that Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, will announce today that he’s switching parties to become a Republican.

According to a senior GOP aide familiar with the decision, the announcement will take place in this afternoon in his home district in northern Alabama.

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 switch represents a coup for House Republican leadership, which had been courting Griffith since he publicly criticized Democratic leadership in the wake of raucous town halls over the summer.

Griffith’s district has been conservative for years.  His predecessor, Democrat Bud Cramer, almost found that out the hard way in the 1994 Republican landslide, barely hanging onto his seat.  After that scare, Cramer became a solid Blue Dog, and Griffith campaigned as someone who would follow in Cramer’s footsteps.

He must have understood that the Tea Party protests would mean disaster if he supported Pelosi’s agenda.  The move actually means a tougher ride for Griffith in the next year; he may have to shuffle his committee assignments, although the GOP is likely to accommodate him if possible.  He will also have to explain to his constituents why he switched after only the first year of his single term in office rather than just run as a Republican in the first place.  The Democrats in his district will paint him as an opportunist in 2010 when he runs for re-election.

However, he probably secured his chances for returning to Congress in 2011 with the flip.  The big question will be how many more Blue Dogs will make the switch in the next few months.  Will Griffith lead an exodus of conservatives and moderates out of Pelosi’s caucus?


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Bishop on December 22, 2009 at 12:05 PM

ALGOP.org is the site for the Alabama GOP.

tdau1997 on December 22, 2009 at 12:37 PM

If the Tigers were wearing crimson-colored uniforms in 2004… they’d be building monuments to that team from Huntsville to Mobile.

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Uh oh!

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Bishop on December 22, 2009 at 12:11 PM
Mine too. We are having prime rib, ham, goose, and crab.
All slaugtered and cooked, of course. Although blood will be flowing from the cut of beef. :)

OmahaConservative on December 22, 2009 at 12:15 PM

We are having freshly harvested striped bass, duck, and venison. Yummy!

riverrat10k on December 22, 2009 at 1:22 PM

KickandSwimMom on December 22, 2009 at 12:10 PM

then let’s support Phillips!!!

cmsinaz on December 22, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Uh oh!

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 1:22 PM

For those dems saying ‘yeah, yeah it’s alabama,’ keep in mind that rahm and cvh won and built house maj in part due to red districts

Further, this was a dem seat. Northern AL has been Dem for YEARS. A bit of labor and remnants of FDR-type populists. Think TVA.

Griffith’s seat has not been held by a Republican since 1866

Uh-oh!!

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 1:25 PM

We didn’t seek him out to run… the GOP opposed him… so what? He decided to deny Pelosi two votes. I’ll take it.

We’ll worry about the primary next year.

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 1:28 PM

We didn’t seek him out to run… the GOP opposed him… so what? He decided to deny Pelosi two votes. I’ll take it.

We’ll worry about the primary next year.

I agree. I hope they cut his nuts next year. I am tired of these gutless Dems becoming Reps just so they can keep their phoney-baloney jobs. Get his vote now, but turn your back to him in in 2010.

gonnjos on December 22, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Get his vote now, but turn your back to him in in 2010.

gonnjos on December 22, 2009 at 1:32 PM

You have his vote whether he’s a D or an R. If he ran again as a D and won, you’d get his vote for most things. If he runs as an R and the Ds nominate someone who *does* believe radical Islam represents a threat to the United States and he loses, then you might lose what should be a gimme seat for you in a big election year.

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 1:34 PM

That’s exactly what he IS doing.

runawayyyy on December 22, 2009 at 11:47 AM
Not that way I read the article. Maybe I am reading it wrong, but it says he is switching parties today, not next year for the primaries.

Johnnyreb on December 22, 2009 at 11:55 AM

I didn’t mean to suggest he isn’t switching parties, I meant to suggest he’s still gonna be a democrat. Sure, he’ll have that “R” next to his name, but anyone who’s followed griffith’s local career, as I have, knows he’s the consumate opportunist.

That being said, his voting record since he got to DC has been one hell of alot more conservative than even I expected, and as has been mentioned, anything to get under pelosi’s skin is ok by me.

runawayyyy on December 22, 2009 at 1:39 PM

Yeah I’ve seen fake Democrats before. If he loses in the primary to an independant he’ll just endorse the liberal candidate. Screw this clown.

TrickyDick on December 22, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Good for him. A man of honor. Let’s hope it’s a trend.

jeanie on December 22, 2009 at 1:45 PM

just what the Republicans need another Arlen specter

RonK on December 22, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Odds are that Reid won’t even let him within shouting distance of Nelson’s office right now.

CommentGuy on December 22, 2009 at 1:53 PM

It’s a good thing.
Rejoice.
Break out a fatted calf.

justltl on December 22, 2009 at 1:54 PM

As long as he is a conservative he should be supported. Otherwise boot him out in the primaries.

scotash on December 22, 2009 at 2:03 PM

So does this make Griffith one of those oft-mentioned, but never before seen Blue Dogs or just the first of many Blue Opportunists?

Wait and see.

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Griffith on Fox

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:05 PM

“Bills pushed by current leadership aren’t good for Alabama”

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Good speech (on Fox right now) – criticizing the Dems spend, spend, spend agenda. He sounds very convincing.

LASue on December 22, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Lasue,

Griffith was very convincing. I wish Republicans spoke with as much clarity.

.

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:12 PM

More great news, Rand Paul is leading big time:

Paul leads big
If there was any doubt Rand Paul is a serious candidate for the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky it can be cast away. Our first poll of the race finds him leading Trey Grayson 44-25.

Paul is, as the conventional wisdom suggests, drawing his strongest support from Republicans who are unhappy with their party. He has a 54-22 lead over Grayson with voters who are unhappy with the GOP in Congress and a 54-18 advantage with folks who think the party’s grown too liberal.

His support is broader than that though- he has a 40-25 lead even with people who like the job Republicans in Congress are doing and a 38-28 advantage with ones who are comfortable with where their party is ideologically.

The Triumvirate, aka the Establishment represented by Rush/Hannity/Levin, need to take notice. People are getting tired of the triumvirates continued push for business as usual GOP politics. No more party loyalty, only principle.

Listening to Rush earlier it’s amazing that he still refuses to take responsibility for his part in the corruption of the GOP. His unwavering support of, and his ability to lead the sheep to support his corrupt statist GOP regardless of what they do, is a huge factor as to why we are in the trouble we are in. And then when people finally say enough and refuse to give away their vote to a corrupt establishment, Rush has the immoral gall to say “elections have consequences,” LOL!

Free yourselves from the bonds of the triumvirate!

True_King on December 22, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Is Rand anything like his father?

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:16 PM

As a Griffith constiuent, here are my mixed feelings and some background from the ’08 election.

Cuffy Meigs on December 22, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Yep, Rush is at fault for the statist corrupt GOP

Can I assume you will be voting d (again?)

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:19 PM

ALGOP Chairman Issues Statement Following Griffith Party Switch

via algop.org

Birmingham, AL – Following the announcement by Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith that he is leaving the Democrat Party to become a Republican, Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, has issued the following statement:

“It was a pleasant surprise when Congressman Griffith called me this morning to inform me that he is leaving the Democrats to become a Republican. However, it is not a surprise that Griffith realized the Democrat Party has now become more liberal than ever – making Obama, Reid and Nancy Pelosi the gifts that keep on giving for the Republican Party.

The Alabama Republican Party has a strong strategy it is implementing for 2010. We are right on the issues and our candidates will reflect our platform of lower taxes and smaller government. It is obvious that the people of Alabama are embracing our plan as the Party picked up two former Democrat seats in summer Special Elections – one of those being Griffith’s former state Senate seat. The winds of change are strong in Alabama as we have raised more money than ever for 2010 and we are coming with an aggressive plan that we believe will forever reshape the political landscape.

I challenge Democrats running in 2010 to make a choice. Do you want to stand with us and fight the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Administration, or do you want to stand with them and defend them? It’s a choice Parker Griffith made today.”

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 2:23 PM

His support is broader than that though- he has a 40-25 lead even with people who like the job Republicans in Congress are doing and a 38-28 advantage with ones who are comfortable with where their party is ideologically.

And then when people finally say enough and refuse to give away their vote to a corrupt establishment, Rush has the immoral gall to say “elections have consequences,” LOL!

Seems you are saying that Rand Paul is leading 40-25 with the very people you say Rush as corrupted.

Rand: “Rush made this bed, but I will sleep in it.”

ConservativeTony on December 22, 2009 at 2:27 PM

If you are a RINO join the Tea Party or the dimocrats. The options are clear.

volsense on December 22, 2009 at 2:47 PM

From The Corner at NRO:

The current agenda being promoted by the Democrats is one of the key reasons for Griffith’s switch, says Cantor. “He’s spoken to us repeatedly about his concerns. His voting record is very much right-of-center and where independents are in this country. He agrees that jobs are the number-one issue in the minds of most Americans.” Griffith, a doctor, also has major concerns about Obamacare, he says.

Cantor sees Griffith’s announcement as an open invitation for others frustrated Democrats to join the GOP. House Republicans are intent on building a “new governing coalition that is center-right,” he says. “We’re bent on solving the problems of everyday Americans. We want to be a place for leaders, for challengers.” The Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda, he adds, is “inconsistent with where the American people want to be moving, from cap-and-trade legislation to replacing the private health-care system with a government-run program.”

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 2:47 PM

Awesome!!! Another RINO in our party. Just what we needed.

watson007 on December 22, 2009 at 2:53 PM

I hope he is defeated in the GOP primary. He is just a RINO.

Clean house!

Labamigo on December 22, 2009 at 3:02 PM

He’ll be running against Les Phillip in the primary…Les is definitely a conservative imho.

DCJeff on December 22, 2009 at 3:10 PM

I’ve been predicting this for a long time. A lot of people have expressed exasperation that the GOP was coming a regional (i.e. “Southern”) party. But I’ve always wondered why in the hell they worried about that. The fact is – I think the South is on a track to all but exterminate the Democratic party below the Mason Dixon and I hardly see that as a negative development. We eliminate Socialism in America and, barring that – let’s at least put it to the sword in the South and exterminate the Democratic Party here. They have become the enemies of the American People, the Constitution, and the Revolution of 1776 – it’s time to see them pack their carpet bags and move the hell out of Dixie.

Nuff Said on that. I welcome my Conservative brothers and sisters in the North to do likewise by pushing their lot of Socialists offshore … but that’s your business.

HondaV65 on December 22, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Shades of 1994 – This could be a smart move by Griffith. If there is a large move to the GOP in 2010 and the GOP wins the majority, he will have seniority over all the new freshmen in 2011.

Dasher on December 22, 2009 at 3:32 PM

As a symbol, it’s great! The media cannot ignore this.

The (crimson) tide is turning!

PattyJ on December 22, 2009 at 3:40 PM

The Triumvirate, aka the Establishment represented by Rush/Hannity/Levin, need to take notice. People are getting tired of the triumvirates continued push for business as usual GOP politics. No more party loyalty, only principle.

In other words, you don’t actually listen to any of those three guys, because not one of them is pushing for what you claim.

xblade on December 22, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Welcome aboard Congressman. You seem to pass the test for me.

Dennis D on December 22, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Very cool! We’ll take him!

JellyToast on December 22, 2009 at 4:57 PM

My guess is Nancy told Griffith that if he did not like the way she ran things, he could just leave..and so he did.

Terrye on December 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM

I challenge Democrats running in 2010 to make a choice. Do you want to stand with us and fight the Obama/Pelosi/Reid Administration, or do you want to stand with them and defend them? It’s a choice Parker Griffith made today.”

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Mr. Hubbard certainly has taken a strong tac with this… Hubbard 2012…

phreshone on December 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Popcorn futures are way up!

TN Mom on December 22, 2009 at 5:20 PM

So what is this guy’s district: AL-1, AL-5, or AL-7? WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

5

alexwest

WRONG! He’s from Al-18.

And don’t go telling me there aren’t 18 districts in Alabama. He’s from one of those districts that was reported to have created 11,897 jobs with that TARP money – according to that official Obambi document on jobs saved and created! :)

honsy on December 22, 2009 at 5:35 PM

They couldn’t produce their own Nativity Scene, there isn’t 1 wise man among them.

Plus they’d steal the Gold,sell the frankincense & snort the myrrh.

portlandon on December 22, 2009 at 5:30 PM

They’d have aborted the baby too.

Sarjex on December 22, 2009 at 6:18 PM

This is the first of many i have heard thru the grapevine .The main difference in this and what happen 94/95 is they will be going from the majority to the minority party.I have had people who are in the know that will tell you off the record that the dems could loose 80+ seats in the house in 2010.

thmcbb on December 22, 2009 at 6:37 PM

We Libertarian Republicans say WELCOME PARKER GRIFFITH! We’re happy to have you.

Now, if you Conservatives could spend some time working on switching some Libertarian Party members to the GOP too, maybe we could have a truly winning coalition for 2010.

Eric @ Libertarian Republican

ericdondero on December 22, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Let’s see if we can score another 4 or 5. If they’re anti-Cap-n-Traitor I’ll take ‘em, the rest is negotiable.

JEM on December 22, 2009 at 7:08 PM

A non-evil dem. Will wonders never cease?

proconstitution on December 22, 2009 at 8:02 PM

the dems could loose 80+ seats in the house in 2010.

thmcbb on December 22, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Oh the joy to see the witch Pelosi melt.

justltl on December 22, 2009 at 8:13 PM

Oh no! Alabama is turning against the Kenyan Prince! This is BAD BAD news for the libruls!

simplesimon on December 22, 2009 at 8:34 PM

pelosi

justltl on December 22, 2009 at 8:53 PM

Oh no! Alabama is turning against the Kenyan Prince! This is BAD BAD news for the libruls!

simplesimon on December 22, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Oh no, dumba$$ lib doesn’t know Alabama at all! That seat hasn’t been Republican since 1866!

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Now, if you Conservatives could spend some time working on switching some Libertarian Party members to the GOP too, maybe we could have a truly winning coalition for 2010.

Eric @ Libertarian Republican

ericdondero on December 22, 2009 at 7:06 PM

How about you decide for yourself….libertarian.

Saltysam on December 22, 2009 at 9:44 PM

Welcome Congressman Griffith. We may have so many differences in opinions but “THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT = TRUE GOP” is BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG TENT.

I’m sure we will both agree on one thing:

FREEDOM AND POWER TO CHOOSE & DECIDE ON OUR OWN AS A PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DESTROY THE FASCISM OF THE FED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Start learning some basics of the Conservativism, Cong. Griffith. You have at least 8 months to PROVE YOUR WORTH.

Don’t worry about the hecklers. Even the “Old Reagan” did the same as you will be doing in the next few weeks.

TAKING A CUE FROM OUR LEADER SARAH PALIN … WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME!

TheAlamos on December 22, 2009 at 10:22 PM

dems could loose 80+ seats

I wish I could think you are correct – but I don’t really think they will get that many, most of the bluedogs will flip, but the rest, acorn has it covered.

RonK on December 22, 2009 at 11:56 PM

I know I am late to the party on this one but all of you who are slamming this guy need to remember this:

The Great Renaldus Magnus was once a democrat, as well!

gary4205 on December 23, 2009 at 2:08 AM

He might actually mean it. I remember right around when Texas flipped, a large number of democrats simply got fed up with the bs their party was pulling and went red. This was right before the ’94 landslide, but for the most part they did it because they simply could not stand to be associated with the dems any longer.

Remember, the forces seem to be lining up for major gains, or even a switch in 2010, but that it only a possibility, but if it isn’t (or even if it is), the Democrats are going to come down on him like the angry fist of God, if they can manage it.

Voyager on December 23, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Call Congressman Griffith and tell him you support his move and encourage him to be a strong voice of resistance.

DC Phone: (202) 225-4801
Alabama Phone: (256) 551-0190

I spoke with the office staff and she mentioned that the Griffith has been getting a lot of calls of support, mainly from out of state. This goes to show the level to which these issues are resonating among the electorate and that these elections are becoming nationalized.

Please call. These are simple and efficient ways to get your voice heard.

R Square on December 23, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3