Opinion: Nancy Pelosi to new Republican Parker Griffith: <em>You’re fired!</em>


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Ah, the perquisites of switching political parties as an elected member of the House of Representatives.

At least if, as Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith did Tuesday, you find yourself uncomfortable in Barack Obama‘s party of liberal, know-nothing, big-spending, did-we-mention liberal Democrats.


And so, even though you were elected for the first time as a Democrat from northern Alabama just 13 months ago, you grandly, albeit figuratively, walk across the House of Representatives aisle to join the minute crowd of penny-pinching, no-saying, allegedly conservative Republicans who are so important in Washington these days that even empty taxis pass them by.

The first day as an arriving hero/traitor is pretty good times. One party’s Benedict Arnold is another party’s Sir Benedict Arnold.

Lots of media coverage and speculation about other Blue Dog Democrats sniffing a shift in the nation’s political winds and sidling away from the increasingly unpopular young man from Illinois and the even less popular old lady running the House. (Have we mentioned Sarah Palin’s favorable ratings are increasing?) GOP smiles and handshakes all around.

But then comes Day Two as a member of the distinctly minority, albeit well-dressed party in Congress. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi begins to wreak her awesome revenge as only high-and-mighty San Franciscans can.

In this delightful video below, courtesy of the all-knowing, all-seeing, Cyclopean eye of C-SPAN, and spoken in the precisely bland, preciously sanitized language of parliamentary rule, Pelosi has a bored clerk politely purge Griffith from his House committee assignments. Payback time. Bye-bye, Parker.

Oh, the political pain! Can you feel it, folks?

For the moment.

Of course, Griffith, like the slightly-used, new Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter before him, made his defection decision based solely, absolutely and unequivocally on the basis of political principle.

Who in their right or left mind would ever suspect a Washington politician of either party of making a cold, calculated decision on the basis of egotistical expediency? That all goes without saying. So we won’t repeat it here.

But just suggesting, as history does, that if Griffith has calculated correctly about next November’s congressional midterm elections, today’s purgers could well become next year’s purgees.

(UPDATE: 3:40 p.m. And, btw, Politico reports that John McCain and others are working on persuading other Dems to switch sides a la Griffith.)

A full-blown Republican Revolution like 1994, when the GOP rode public dissatisfaction over the last healthcare reform drive to take control of both houses, seems impossible.

For the moment.

But then, hey, the Guantanamo terrorist detention facility was absolutely positively gonna be closed/shuttered by next week for sure. No doubt about it. The new commander-in-chief vowed, ordered and promised same to the happily watching world on just his second day in office.

And now, just 337 days later it’s gonna be at least 2011 before that happens. If it ever does.

So who can tell what’s coming around the corner in politics?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Video courtesy of C-SPAN. Photo: Associated Press (Pelosi).