Today’s announcement by Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith to switch to the Republican Party confirms what many people already knew, Washington is no longer a place for a Conservative Democrat. I serve with a number of conservative state legislators who are able to hold fast to their conservative values yet still serve as a Democrat. That is not the case in Washington, and it is certainly not the case in the Pelosi led House of Representatives.
Congressman Griffith was first elected in 2008 to represent North Alabama in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat. No doubt, he felt he could hold his conservative values and find a place to serve in Congress. In short, he felt he was a Blue Dog. Now, a short eleven months later, he finds those two principles in conflict.
In announcing his affiliation with the Republican Party, Congressman Griffith said,
“I now believe I have to go further and stand with a party that is more in tune with my beliefs and convictions. I take this step because 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.”
This announcement follows two other Blue Dogs announcement of their retirement from Congress – John Tanner and Bart Gordon, both from Tennessee.
There are two facts that emerge from this unusual sequence of events.
First, conservative Democrats have no place in today’s Washington and in the Pelosi House of Representatives. Those who remain are not conservative.
Second, a few Blue Dogs were able to vote against some of the higher profile pieces of legislation such as Cap and Trade and the Health Care bill. They were able to do so because Speaker Pelosi had the necessary votes and was able to cut these few Blue Dogs a little slack so that they could look good “back home”. After 2011, these Blue Dogs will be fewer in number, and will have to answer when Madam Speaker calls.
Alan Nunnelee for Congress