Perhaps our favorite part of the story is that it inspired one of the most insightful statements about modern conservatism that we've ever read.
More on that in a moment. But first, let's examine the latest news on the Griffith front. Reporter Patricia C. McCarter of The Huntsville Times provides a solid overview. Here are some highlights:
* The Alabama Democratic Party (ADC) accused Main Street Strategies, Griffith's political-consulting firm, of downloading the party's voter identification data in the "wee hours" before Griffith changed parties. Here is the official ADC release, and Raw Story has a splendid overview piece on the controversy.
* Griffith said he did not commission a poll to determine his electability as a Democrat. But that contradicts a Congressional Quarterly report that said Griffith's office confirmed he did commission a poll.
* Griffith's press secretary, Sean Magers, resigned.
* Griffith predicted that he would be a presence on congressional committees, but he could not point to any agreement he has with Republicans regarding committee assignments.
Is Parker Griffith a two-faced phony? Raw Story found evidence that the answer is yes, considering that Griffith cited his opposition to health-care reform as a prime reason for leaving the Democratic Party. Reports Raw Story:
David Weigel at the Washington Independent notes that Griffith's denouncement of the health care reform effort doesn't jibe with his pro-health reform track record. Greg Sargent catches a May 2006 interview with then-State Senator Parker Griffith in which he refers to himself as a “life-long” Democrat and a supporter of “health care for all of the citizens.”
Perhaps most importantly, we will be eternally grateful for Griffith's party switch because it inspired some brilliant writing from "DavidNYC" of Daily Kos.
In a diary titled "AL--05: Parker Griffith Can Lose," "DavidNYC" writes:
It's important to remember that to remain a member in good standing of the conservative movement, it isn't enough just to vote a certain way. You have to evidence a very particular tribal belonging - you need to hate the right people, be ignorant of the right facts, be fearful of the right bogeymen, and be arrogant about the whole enterprise. If you somehow fail this tribal litmus test, it doesn't matter how right-wing you are.
Talk about cutting to the chase. We raised the issue of American tribalism, and the dangers it presents, in a post the day after the November 2008 elections. We even noted the irony that we are fighting wars in two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, that are dysfunctional largely because of tribalism.
It took us more than a dozen paragraphs to make our point. But "DavidNYC" gets right to the ugly truth about conservatism in three short sentences.
Brilliant stuff. Thank you, Parker Griffith.