Via Politico:

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


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


He has bucked the Democratic leadership on nearly all of its major domestic initiatives, including the stimulus package, health care legislation, the cap-and trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform.

Hmmmm? What? Oh... oh, right. Right. That's my cue. Sorry. Ahem.

*rends garments*

Woe!! Woe!! Whither the progressive agenda without this man? How ever shall the Democrats pull off their policy goals without this man in their caucus? How ever shall we survive with him voting against us from the other side of the aisle? We've gotten so used to his voting against us from this side. Woe!! Woe!!

*dons sackcloth*

Enjoy your new opportunist, GOP! At least when Specter jumped ship, he actually changed the way he voted a little bit. Since the "before" and "after" pictures of Griffith's voting patterns will probably look exactly the same, all this does is give the Democrats a (slim) chance of replacing him with someone who will actually vote to further their agenda. This guy only had a "D" after his name in order to land a consistently Democratic seat, and his switch is no surprise.

I also found this (from earlier in the article) interesting:
Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith plans to blast the Democratic health care bill as a prime reason for his decision to switch parties—and is expected to cite his medical background as his authority on the subject.

One wonders what Griffith was doing back in 2008 when the Democratic Party was making health care reform such a prominent part of its platform. Maybe he didn't notice?

Anyhoodle, it's no surprise that he would be against health care reform. He practices an intervention-intensive specialty, and he owns his own center. He has a vested interest in continuing the current means of reimbursement, which heavily favor interventionalist care. (As an aside, it's opposition such as this that makes me irritated by articles that conflate the AMA with doctors in general. Providers of primary care have a very different perspective than those who earn their [heaps of] money performing procedures.)

So sail on, Rep. Griffith. Enjoy your new pals. I'm sure Nancy Pelosi will miss you exactly as much as you will miss her.


  1. Down to 40, and counting!

  2. As this man was patently disinclined to vote with the Democratic caucus on just about anything, the actual impact on the Democrats' agenda is nil. Thus, no cause for alarm or lament.

  3. He was over 2% of the majority vote giving Nancy P the Speakership. Drip, drip, drip, every little bit helps.

    And speaking of conflict of interest, what if people argued that your support of the healthcare bill was based on your financial interest in not having to deal with uninsured patients? Shouldn't we discount your support for this reason?

  4. Would it be great if we (and by "we," I mean the hospital that employs me) didn't have to write off a certain number of patient visits every year because the "self pay" patients couldn't afford our fees? Sure. That would be nice. However, the distance between me and the financial benefits of a change in our insured/uninsured mix is such that it makes no difference to me, from a wallet-based POV.

    Griffith, on the other hand, owned his own treatment center. That is, of course, his right, but it changes his incentives pretty dramatically. Also, while it's a moot point, he also was on the record as saying he wouldn't have voted for Pelosi. (He didn't give Pelosi the Speakership, since he's a freshman Rep. and she's been Speaker since the end of the W. years.)

  5. funnu gj, I didn't hear you lament losing that ubersafe Republican seat in NY. So what we have here is a bona fide wash. So much for drip drip drip.


  6. charo, the number dropped. And if the NY seat was indeed ubersafe, the Reps will only need 39. I hope the NY GOP learned a lesson, and the locals certainly learned that the Reps need watching closely, and that's a Good Thing.

    Dan, are you saying your paycheck doesn't have any connection to the financial wellbeing of your employer? Is this some kind of progressive economics, or have you just not considered the link?

  7. Down to 40 and counting??? The reason the R's will not get their 40 is this. They are for the most part a party of hatred, bigots and the party of NO. I give you this fine example of bipartisan cooperation. Republicans remained unapologetic that 92 year old Senator Byrd has been forced into dark-of-night and predawn votes, alleging a Democratic rush to approve health care is forcing the nonagenarian into precarious votes. Again not wanting to be upstaged by decency, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) delivered a Sunday speech asking for prayers that a Democrat would not make the first of three anti-filibuster votes at 1 a.m. Monday. Many perceived it as a prayer for tragedy, inevitably leading to chatter about Byrd's mortality. This behavior is the reason they will not prevail much to JG's chagrin.

  8. Why yes, John. I am saying precisely that my paycheck doesn't have any connection to the financial well-being of my employer, barring a catastrophic change in its fortunes. I am lucky enough to work in a field and to hold a position in which I am pretty well cushioned from how much money my employer makes or loses. If the hospital were to go belly-up, I'd obviously be adversely affected, but the self-pay write-offs make an insufficient difference to effect that outcome.

    Further, my employers fortunes would be buoyed more notably if the state's Medicaid reimbursements were more substantial and efficient. Is this the reason that I think Medicaid should receive more funding? No. But it would make a bigger difference than covering the uninsured would.