And so the decade comes full circle, with Maverick talking to Democrats about switching parties. Except this time, he’s the hunter, not the hunted.

Second look at McCain?

Democratic Rep. Chris Carney received a phone call Wednesday from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asking him to consider becoming a Republican, a top GOP official told POLITICO.

A spokesman for Carney declined to say if the congressman was considering such a switch…

A top House Republican aide, wanting to avoid revealing a poaching patrol, downplayed the effort.

“You’ve got to have a willing partner; you don’t just hunt these guys down,” said the Republican. “They have to nudge you first.”

But the aide acknowledged that they had gotten “a nibble” from Carney and were now making the pitch that he’d be better off switching parties than running again as a Democrat in a northeastern Pennsylvania seat that President Obama lost by 9 percentage points last year.

Carney won easily last year, 56/44, even in a solidly McCain district and felt confident enough about reelection to vote for the stimulus in February. In fact, on that legislative scorecard I posted yesterday, he’s slightly to the left of Griffith. Pretty amazing that the GOP thinks he’ll be formidable enough next year, even in the poisoned climate of huge unemployment and ObamaCare bitterness, to try to flip him instead of knocking him off cleanly in the general. There’s no Dixiecrat dynamic to worry about here: Unlike Griffith’s seat, the GOP had a lock on this one until just recently. Why flip him when you can whip ‘im, especially with grassroots righties eager to flex their muscle by running conservatives against centrists in primaries?

As for Griffith, here’s the scene from the House floor today when the ceremonial committee de-pantsing took place. And of course, the whisper campaign is gearing up as we speak.

Update: Most of the article’s behind a reg wall but Roll Call says Carney has nixed the switch. I wonder what the Dems have on him. Or did Politico’s source mess up the deal by leaking information too soon?