Daily Archives: December 23, 2009

Some People Are Never Happy: Republicans Should Welcome Party Switchers by Gregory Hilton

Rep. Parker Griffith (AL), 67, switched parties and became a Republican today. This is the first time in 140 years his district has been represented by a Republican, and most elected officials in his native north Alabama are Democrats. Unlike most party switchers over the years, he went from the majority to minority party.
With each congressional seat now costing in the millions to win or retain, losing one is always significant. This is especially true when it is the result of an act of conscience rather than an election.
In making the switch Griffith said “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. . . I want to make it perfectly clear that the health care bill is bad for my fellow doctors. It is also bad for patients, and bad for anyone considering going into the health care field.”
In July Rep. Griffith promised to never again vote for Speaker Pelosi. He is pro-life, pro-gun, voted no on the stimulus, cap-and-trade, Obama’s budget and ObamaCare. He promised to return over $80,000 in donations from Democratic political actions committees.
Griffith was also annoyed with the Obama administration’s decision to scrap plans to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. His district contains the facility for Boeing’s ground-based missile defense research program.
Many Blue Dog Democrats are in a position similar to Rep. Griffith, and it makes perfect sense to welcome them if the GOP wants a majority. That was what we did with Rep. Billy Tauzin (LA) and Sen. Richard Shelby in 1993, and by 1994 we controlled both the House and Senate. I completely disagree with RedState and the Club for Growth who are now mounting a primary challenge to Griffith. They are upset because he did not vote right on cash for clunkers, and some other minor matters. There are 15 Democrats who are more conservative than Griffith, and I want them in the GOP. It does not help our efforts to recruit them when conservatives mount a primary challenge.