(This may be a little inside baseball for people outside Alabama, but I do think it's worth knowing what the Blue Dogs get up to when they're home.)
I'm beginning to think the only reason Parker Griffith (D R ? - AL 5) ran as a Democrat in 2008 was the handwriting on the wall that the Dems would win a big majority in the House. Apparently he's lost his memory -- along with his integrity -- and can't remember to which party he belongs.
The union man was angry.
He loudly reminded U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, of a promise he made to U.S. Steel Workers Local 193 in Courtland last spring that if they helped him get elected, he'd do everything he could to get health insurance for all Americans.
While surrounded by many more conservatives than liberals in the Monday night town hall meeting at the University of North Alabama, union President Phil Everett wanted to know: "Are you a Democrat or are you a Republican?"
The Democratic congressman took a negative stance on the Democratic-proposed economic stimulus package and the cap-and-trade pollution bill, and has offered conservative-leaning answers to dozens of questions on health care reform.
In fact, applause nearly drowned him out as he walked over to shake the unhappy union man's hand and said, "I'm an American, and a good one." [emphasis mine]
A good American? Hey, so am I, but I have a feeling Parker was using that term to mean "stealth Republican".
Or maybe we can leave off the "stealth" part, given that his talking points were identical to those spouted by Spencer Bachus (R-AL 6) last Monday night. He went on to say the following about Nancy Pelosi, whom he supported when she ran for Speaker:
Another speaker commended him for his stance, but said he was concerned that if Pelosi was privy to everything he was saying, "she might not let you back in chambers."
Griffith laughed and said, "If she doesn't like it, I've got a gift certificate to the mental health center."
Christie Carden, the 25-year-old organizer of the Huntsville Tea Party Movement, asked if he would vote for Pelosi for speaker again. Griffith said that if matter came up for a vote today, "I would not vote for her. Someone that divisive and that polarizing cannot bring us together."
He's got a gift certificate to the mental health center. Good to know, because it sounds like he's taken leave of his senses.
I can't imagine what he hopes to gain by this. Mooncat at Left in Alabama contacted Griffith's office to ask about his comment and received this reply: Griffith "was stressing the difference of opinion on the public option between Pelosi and himself." Um, no. If he were stressing a difference of opinion, he would say, "Speaker Pelosi and I have a difference of opinion on this issue." He wouldn't imply that she's mentally unstable.
Does Griffith think his own party's leadership will let him get away with this? Is he planning to switch parties in the near future? A well-connected emailer to LiA has this to say:
I think he's lost his mind. The local Republicans hate the guy because he kept trust-fund baby, empty suit Wayne Parker out of Congress. They're laying for him big time, and even if he pushed Pelosi off a cliff they wouldn't vote for him for dog catcher.
On the other side, he has the Democrats who held their noses, campaigned, and voted for him. Does he think that the GOP will nominate someone so horrible that we'll have no choice but to vote for him? He's burned so many bridges locally with black voters, unions, health care reform people, etc. etc. that I can't see anyone knocking themselves out to even vote for him - much less get out and campaign or contribute.
And the DCCC will receive NOT ONE PENNY of my money if they try to use it to prop up shills like Parker Griffith, Jim Cooper, etc. etc.
I hope Griffith enjoys spending more time with his family; he may find himself doing so after 2010.