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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Abandon Ship!! Abandon Ship!!!!

portlandon on December 22, 2009 at 11:19 AM

The guy already voted against the healthcare bill (as well as cap-and-trade and others), so this doesn’t mean a loss of a vote.

It does mean the NRCC has a talking point, which is nice for them, considering the money they’ve been spending.

Siobhan on December 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Here’s a nice map of Alabama’s districts…nice site overall.

SouthernGent on December 22, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Trend follower is more like it.

starfleet_dude on December 22, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Great. That’s what the GOP needs. Another liberal republican.

keep the change on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Abandon Ship!! Abandon Ship!!!!

portlandon on December 22, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Abandon Hope! Abandon Hope!!!

rollthedice on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

waiting for wall-to-wall MSN coverage in 3… 2… 1…

nevermind, it’s not like a GOP flipping to IND or anything earth-shattering like that

gatorboy on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Now he’s done it, the protester buses will be parked in front of Griffith’s house by the end of the day.

Racist pig.

Bishop on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

No honorable person can stand the putrid stench of the Party of the Democrats for any protracted period of time.

rplat on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Good for him…..screw Pelosi

PatriotRider on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

If the district is a strong Dem district and this guy can hold the seat, I will take the weak-kneed principle GOP guy anyday. That is another vote against Pelosi.

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

DRINO

Chomsky Dance Recital on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

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.

Based on latest polling data, he won’t owe anyone an explanation. The majority of Americans agree with him.

fogw on December 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

wow. quite the indictment of Pelosi and Reid’s leadership.

Most D’s in conservative areas know that neither Pelosi or Reid would get elected in their districts. Why would they carry water for someone who wouldn’t win in their district?

ThackerAgency on December 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Trends-gender…

moonbatkiller on December 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

I lived in Alabama from 2003-2007… and served as a county GOP rep… the Democrats there don’t like to be pegged to DC Democrats (and they still far outnumber “registered” Republicans)… the moment Parker felt like he was being attached to Pelosi (a foul word in most of AL), he knew he had to switch.

I remember the state Democratic Party running pro-Life and pro-Gun, full-page ads in 2004. Even in a secure Democratic district like Artur Davis’… he doesn’t mind tweaking the Dem leadership on occasion.

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Trend follower is more like it.

starfleet_dude on December 22, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Your tears are delicious

Sekhmet on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Called this a month ago. First of many, possibly 8-12 in all will switch.

Also, tomorrow’s powerball numbers: 3 7 13 24 28 33

strictnein on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

That’s my state rep. AL has a few things to be proud of. Lord, I hope this is just the beginning…

tdau1997 on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

However, he probably secured his chances for returning to Congress in 2011 with the flip.

There we are. I’m guessing you’re going to see opportunistic party switching become a very popular thing if him and Specter get re-elected.

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Great. That’s what the GOP needs. Another liberal republican.

keep the change on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Continue to strive of conservative purity, but in the meantime you fight the war with the weapons you have.

rplat on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Change you can believe in.

Robert_Paulson on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Griffith feels the way a LOT of we Dems do, this is not the Dem party he thought he belonged to no doubt. It was a great ‘awakening’ for a lot of people.

ginaswo on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Sweet glory!

t.ferg on December 22, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Only if he totally accepts that he is a Republican…it would be nice to let him hang for awhile.
But this is already decided…the ship is sinking…and the rat’s are scurrying.

right2bright on December 22, 2009 at 11:25 AM

This will get half the MSM coverage that a GOP switching to Dem would get.

Mark1971 on December 22, 2009 at 11:25 AM

John Lott explains the Congressman is a Medical Doctor too. Very significant.

http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2009/12/democratic-congressman-parker-griffith.html

marti124 on December 22, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Is this the first rat to abandon the sinking ship?

politicians

pffffft

franksalterego on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

I don’t like this. If he had any balls at all he would stay Dem like he got voted into office for and then run as a Repub for reelection.

Johnnyreb on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

In the darkest moments, even the faintest light seems a blazing beacon. I’ll take it!

Joan of Argghh on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

gatorboy on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

R to D in liberal RI? HUGE NEWS!!! Send 20 reporter to RI!! RI IS AMERICA in microcosm!

D to R in conservative AL? Racists are racists. Nobody cares about George Wallace’s Alabama anyway.

/SCM

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

What an opportunistic traitor. And obviously a racist too. Specter, on the other hand, was a true patriot for standing up for his core beliefs.

/MSM

BardMan on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Wait…I thought the Republican party was done for, no longer a political force…

right2bright on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

‘That man is a traitor’

- A. Specter

Chomsky Dance Recital on December 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Erick Erickson (Redstate) is already talking about primarying him.

Trent1289 on December 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Great. That’s what the GOP needs. Another liberal republican.

keep the change on December 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Just like DINOs enable Pelosi, RINOs can enable a conservative house leadership.

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Slick move. Now vote with the party. Prove it.

drjohn on December 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

This is great, even if the guy is a not what the R party needs.
I have often wondered lately how in the hell good people can continue to say they are Democrat. I’m not even saying this guy is good but how can you belong to a party that devolops a slush (flush) fund specifically to kill babies? And bribes select few states with taxpayer money?

ORconservative on December 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

So what would keep him from switching right back to the DNC after he runs and wins as a Republican?

Nothing.

Opportunist is the correct label. No support for him in 2010. He is a weather vane. Nothing more.

BobMbx on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

I’m getting to like AL a little bit better; Tide fans are still annoying.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

So it begins…..

one down, forty to go

Janos Hunyadi on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

So what is this guy’s district: AL-1, AL-5, or AL-7?

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

So he’s an opportunist. Expect him to switch back when the winds shift again.

Cicero43 on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

I’m getting to like AL a little bit better; Tide fans are still annoying.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Defeating them is the best way to shut them up. Try again next year. ;-)

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Free Medicare for everyone in his district and the pendulum swings right back.

Tried, tested and true.

fogw on December 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

This is good and all but where is GOP and why isn’t it fielding conservative candidates from such places as these?

promachus on December 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

I’m getting to like AL a little bit better; Tide fans are still annoying.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

You can say that again.

tdau1997 on December 22, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Like I said above – one is a start :)

gophergirl on December 22, 2009 at 11:31 AM

I’m getting to like AL a little bit better; Tide fans are still annoying.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Defeating them is the best way to shut them up. Try again next year. ;-)

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

We beat them six straight and never did it once….

tdau1997 on December 22, 2009 at 11:31 AM

OT but why is McConnel meeting with Reid to see if they can vote on this heath care bill sooner? STALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

deidre on December 22, 2009 at 11:31 AM

I don’t like this. If he had any balls at all he would stay Dem like he got voted into office for and then run as a Repub for reelection.

Johnnyreb on December 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Sounds like a plan if you don’t want any campaign contributions from either side. The GOP isn’t going to help him while he’s a democrat and the dems aren’t going to pay to have him run as a Republican.

Ronnie on December 22, 2009 at 11:31 AM

Now, how about one in the Senate? Oh wait. Socialists don’t flip. Never mind. Maybe if we all pool our resources we could buy one.:-)

tims472 on December 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Don’t know him and don’t trust him. Is this the dem plan for 2010? If everybody is going to vote R, then we’ll run as an R. This is a huge switch and bait coming up.

Kissmygrits on December 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Arlen Specter is just representing what trillions of Americans are thinking!! He’s a hero, I tells ya, a hero! The GOP is finished!!!!

-trolls (April 2009)

———————————————

What kind of a party would accept a turncoat like Griffith?

-trolls (Dec 2009)

———————————————

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Griffith feels the way a LOT of we Dems do, this is not the Dem party he thought he belonged to no doubt. It was a great ‘awakening’ for a lot of people.

ginaswo on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

LOL. This cracks me up. When you joined the Democratic party, what did you think they stood for? Small government? Principled leadership? Come on, it’s a political party. Familiarize yourself with the positions of the party members and join if those things sound like things you agree with. Don’t join some party and then, when they get unpopular, jump ship and say, “Oh this isn’t what I signed on for.” Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have been around for a loooong time. Obama didn’t exactly hide his plans, either.

OMG – Obama engaged in deficit spending in an attempt to stave off an economic crisis? That doesn’t sound like the Democratic party to me, if you only count Democrats from 80 years ago and before!

What? Obama is about to pass health care reform which looks pretty much exactly like the kind of health care reform he advocated during the primaries? Unbelievable!

Whoa, he’s withdrawing troops from Iraq and moving them to Afghanistan? He never said anything about that! What? He did!?!?!

Oh man, can you believe he’s moving the detainees out of Guantanamo Bay? What? He promised to do that too?!?!

Sheesh. What the heck were you expecting when you started voting for Democrats?

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Slick move. Now vote with the party. Prove it.

drjohn on December 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM

He basically has been voting R so far. The only vote he went with the majority of Ds on is for Pelosi as Speaker.

Flips never look good though, not in the long run.

Rocks on December 22, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Chiming in from Sweet Home Alabama here.

1.) Keep in mind he’s a DOCTOR who’s dumping the Dem party. Repubs should play that to the hilt.

2.) The dam break starts with a trickle…

Thunderstorm129 on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Behold, the only true Blue Dog. Hopefully more will reveal themselves. I guess some of these idiots have come to realize Pelosi will sacrifice them to ram through her asinine agenda.

echosyst on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

So he’s an opportunist. Expect him to switch back when the winds shift again.

Cicero43 on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

I don’t know of anyone in the House or Senate who changed parties and then changed back. For better or worse, he’s now and forever a Republican

Janos Hunyadi on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

I’m getting to like AL a little bit better; Tide fans are still annoying.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Yeah, unlike those Gator fans, who aren’t annoying at all.

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Continue to strive of conservative purity, but in the meantime you fight the war with the weapons you have.

rplat on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

The Johnny Seven is not a weapon you can rely on.

Fletch54 on December 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM

I don’t know of anyone in the House or Senate who changed parties and then changed back. For better or worse, he’s now and forever a Republican

Janos Hunyadi on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Specter. I think Jim Webb was a D before he became a R.

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM

You should always be welcoming to the prodigal son returned, until you have a specific reason not to.

RBMN on December 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

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 on December 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

I know I’m going out on a limb. But this guy’s voting record looks more like an R than a D. Reminds me of Zell Miller from Georgia. Looks like the Donks are turning too far to the left and some of the Donks are falling off the other side. Let’s hope this trend continues.

Dire Straits on December 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Next we’ll hear that BEN NELSON will make the big switch…Right after he votes for passage of the nightmare known as ObammiCare.

Hey! The handwriting is on the wall. Even today’s CNN polling shows “Bad News” for Reid, Pelosi, the fraud in the White House, and their ilk. They say 53% are opposed to ObammiCare…and that’s AFTER they toasted the numbers!! I know now that the Dems could care less about public opinion, but it’s becoming instantly important to the rest of the political world and Independents, in particular, will frown on the BS that’s on public display.

2010 is starting to look like a ROUT. Now, if we can only last that long!

GoldenEagle4444 on December 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Enjoy the Sugar Bowl. lol

EnochCain on December 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Say, if this keeps up, Obama might help unify the Congress…

hawksruleva on December 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

So what is this guy’s district: AL-1, AL-5, or AL-7?

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

AL-5

Refer to the map I linked to about the 5th comment from the top. :-)

SouthernGent on December 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Maybe he switched so his lone vote will show how all the crappy bills the dems are going to pass are ‘truly’ bipartisan.

hogfat on December 22, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Was he facing a tough dem primary battle? Because if he wasn’t, we gain nothing by this switch and could watch the seat go to a liberal Democrat.

Buddahpundit on December 22, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Continue to strive of conservative purity, but in the meantime you fight the war with the weapons you have.

rplat on December 22, 2009 at 11:24 AM

+++Excellent–we are picking our way through a minefield now–we need all the ammo we can get…

lovingmyUSA on December 22, 2009 at 11:38 AM

This is good and all but where is GOP and why isn’t it fielding conservative candidates from such places as these?

promachus on December 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Yes Griffith ran as a Dem but you would be hard pressed to find someone more Conservative then he is. The only reason he’s a Dem is because they are the strongest party in his district. The difference between parties there is not beliefs or voting records but history.

Rocks on December 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

You of all people wouldn’t understand. It’s been weeks now and Tide fans are still worked up about their win. But what can I say, it’s the biggest thing to happen up there in a long time. Most Floridans, even with a win, move on.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Refer to the map I linked to about the 5th comment from the top. :-)

SouthernGent on December 22, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Yeah…that why I was asking. Is he in the strong, leaning, or toss-up district.

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Was he facing a tough dem primary battle? Because if he wasn’t, we gain nothing by this switch and could watch the seat go to a liberal Democrat.

Buddahpundit on December 22, 2009 at 11:38 AM

Exactamundo. He’s a great guy to have as long as your team is winning. He’s the Terrell Owens of Congress.

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM

AL-7 is Artur Davis’… NO WAY it ever goes GOP… I know, I worked as a GOP county rep in the district.

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 11:40 AM

5 Democrats state they’re not going for re-election next year…

and now this?

Hmmm.

Rats.

Sinking Ship.

Etc.

Enoxo on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

But what can I say, it’s the biggest thing to happen up there in a long time. Most Floridans, even with a win, move on.

Well, besides beating Auburn again…Heisman Trophy winner…going to the National Championship…making Tebow cry.

EnochCain on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I welcome him. His constituents will vote their feelings regarding this switch in November and that is fine with me. I venture to say that there are a few “moderate” democrats who are dismayed with the actions of the far left leadership this past year, realize their constituency did not elect him/her to march in lockstep with the San Fran-type libs and realize they actually are closer to Republicans politically. If this is the case, then they should switch. They owe it to the voters to do so.

HawaiiLwyr on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I don’t know of anyone in the House or Senate who changed parties and then changed back.

Janos Hunyadi on December 22, 2009 at 11:34 AM

I think McCain does it a few times a year.

Ronnie on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Will Griffith lead an exodus of conservatives and moderates out of Pelosi’s caucus?

No. There just aren’t that many there to begin with. Many campaigned as moderate-to-conservative, but they’ve been able to have their votes shielded by a huge majority in both Houses, which allows them to pretend to be conservative by pointing towards their voting records. If that majority narrows or flips, they’d start voting with the leftists and count on the power of incumbency to protect them.

Physics Geek on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

So is AL-7 home of of the Tide?

I was about to type “than I will root for Texas,” but they are in Austin…tea sippers!

WashJeff on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Most Floridans, even with a win, move on.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM

They sure do, “TimTebowSavesAmerica”!

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

You should always be welcoming to the prodigal son returned, until you have a specific reason not to.

RBMN on December 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Is he the prodigal son, or is he Jacob wearing a hair shirt to deceive his blind father?

hawksruleva on December 22, 2009 at 11:41 AM

God Bless him.

OmahaConservative on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

THIS IS CALLED “SURVIVAL MODE”.

GarandFan on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

From a lefty blog comment in April:

You know what I find absolutely wonderful about this story [Specter], especially if one or two more Repubs switch? You can lay ALL of this at the feet of BUSH/CHENEY/ROVE.

Wow, what a legacy Dubya has left for his party

heh. I guess we can lay this at the feet of Obama… and less than a year in too. ;)

mankai on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I’m getting to like AL a little bit better; Tide fans are still annoying.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Annoying in what way? Like having a username after one of their star players, perhaps?

anuts on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Proud Rino on December 22, 2009 at 11:33 AM

You must have missed the purpose of why the demonrats enlisted the Blue Dogs in the first place.

Bishop on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

This is a good thing, folks. Sure he’s an opportunist, but the short-term goal here is to kill ObamaCare. Anything that sends the message that this just isn’t right, including legislators with a medical background switching parties over it, should be welcome.

changer1701 on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

In in epic thread!

Male humpbot because it’s just a Blue Dog.

Apologetic California on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Another out-of-the-closet racist. /sarcasm

shick on December 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM

So he’s an opportunist. Expect him to switch back when the winds shift again.

Cicero43 on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM

I don’t know. He’s an oncologist and has been pretty outspoken about Obamacare. I assume he has a pretty good sized ego. Since he is a medical provider, he probably doesn’t like being led around by the nose by the likes of Pelosi.

a capella on December 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM

An opportunist? Maybe so.

That said, at this particular time, I don’t think it is a bad thing to have a Blue Dog Dem who is a doctor jumping ship and reaming Obamacare.

I’ll take that indictment any day of the week.

BuckeyeSam on December 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM

This is good in another way. There’s been talk in conservative circles about reforming the Republican party. Maybe this is the beginning of the reforming of the Democrat party as well. In that sense I’m all for “hope and change”.

shick on December 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Griffith should be trusted as a surrendering Taliban saying “I wish to join with you infidels”.

bloviator on December 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Tide fans are still annoying.
TimTebowSavesAmerica on December 22, 2009 at 11:28 AM
Defeating them is the best way to shut them up. Try again next year. ;-)

Can’t wait to see them all January 7.

LASue on December 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM

This reminds me of the parable of the American communist spy who sold out to the Soviets. After siding with the Russians and giving them valuable information, he fled to Russia. But instead of being hailed as a warrior for communism, he met a different fate. He found himself at the end of the barrel of a gun.

I don’t understand. I sold out America. I helped the communist cause. Why are you doing this?
, he said.

Yes, and Stalin thanks you for your service, said the KGB agent. It was invaluable. However, if you could be so enticed to betray your own country and your own blood, what would it take for you to betray us? Stalin is, by nature, a suspicious man.

keep the change on December 22, 2009 at 11:46 AM

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