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Nancy Pelosi to new Republican Parker Griffith: You're fired!

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 videDemocrat House speaker Nancy Pelosio 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).

Comments () | Archives (37)

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Why should it surprise us that the republicans are refusing to even debate the upcoming heathcare bill? Republicans hate poor people and they especially hate black people and they can't STAND the fact that we have a black president and every republican in this country and their mouthpiece Fox News is doing their best to keep the average American from getting health care. Republicans are despicable people and I am embarrassed that my folks are republicans. Mark Montgomery

Well, I see you mentioned Arlen Spector. Did you use the same vitriolic language when he switched parties that you now use for Rep. Griffith? But of course, you are just unbiased reporters of the straight news, aren't you? Keep on insulting our intelligence and playing to an ever narrowing audience.

(Who said anything about straight news? This is a political blog. You need to read this more regularly and get the feel.)


Mark, What was the party affiliation of the first president to invite a black man to the White house for lunch, to eat that is and not to serve?

What was the response from southern white democrat Senators?

What was the party affiliation of most of the KKK?

Hey pelosi, you can't FIRE him, he already quit your dirty, corrupt party.

That the broad-brush, inflammatory, blind-by-rage, one-dimensional comment by the person calling himself Mark Montgromery hasn't been further challenged on this forum speaks volumes for your readership. The use of the word hate is only used today by those who can't understand that America's heart doesn't reside solely on the coasts. And they certainly refuse to accept the Freedom of Speech should that opinion not be one with which they agree. Sad what's happened to the Left in that regard...sad, indeed.
There'll be a massive (again) switch back the right-center next Fall, of course, as a result of all this silliness since the inauguration.

Spectre switched after his party got stomped. Griffith switched, as you so succinctly put it, to a party that "even empty taxis pass them by."

If that is calculation, at least Griffith has the decency to take his lumps with the sugar.

A politician changed parties on principle? How horrid! Only a low down nothing accomplished loser would do that (by the way, for those unaware, Winston Churchill switched parties when the party he was in had changed so that he no longer felt their goals were his (or his constituents). On the other hand, Iosif Stalin never wavered in his party loyalty. Pelosi is more of the latter fellow's ilk than the former)

Pelosi is a corrupt joke. If she is still Speaker of the House after the 2010 elections our country will deserve the disaster that she and Obama are bringing onto us. As for Guantanamo Bay being open? It should stay open. Obama's plan to spend/borrow billions of dollars to bring the murdering terrorists to the heartland of the U.S., give the American constitutional rights, and million dollar defense attoney's isn't stupid its totally insane.

Let's all heed the comments of Californians who have driven their state into fiscal oblivian.
Soon they will expect the rest of the country to pay their bills.

Mark Montgomery wrote:
"Republicans hate poor people and they especially hate black people"

No Republicans hate Mark Montgomery.

"I am embarrassed that my folks are republicans"

Mark's folks are embarrassed that his mom abused alcohol during pregnancy and for all the times they dropped him on his head.

Republicans are willing and have bee debating healthcare. What I oppose -- and I'm not a Republican -- is having the government run healthcare. It's a philosophical issue. You may think that socialism helps poor people and black people (although I don't know why you would conflate the two) but I don't think so.


Nice to see Obama is losing his Movie Star Celebrity over the Senate when Dem Parker Griffith could stomach Obama & The Dems Big Government Takeover of everything! Guess with him turning to the side of the Republicans its great revenger for the Little Coward Arlen Specter to turn Dem, lol!! Just wait until 2010, voters have had it with the Democrats in Congress & Obama's BS of getting nothing done, just like an incompetent Negro thats not qualified for the job of Pres, lol! I see the Republicans back on top in 2010, yeah!

The maverick Blue Dog from northern Alabama couldn't look at himself in the mirror anymore while continuing to be a part of the self perpetuating machine that buys votes with taxpayer money. Alas, after considerable soul searching, he followed his conscience and did what he believed was in the best interest of his constituents. If only hos like Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu would follow his lead, America would be a freer place.

Hey Mark, you're a Joke & obviously a pathetic Liberal! You call Obama's wasteful spending a plus? The guy demestrates his ignorance & inability to do his job as Pres, guess thats true what they said about a black man not qualified for the job? Just cause Obama can run his mouth & people are in awe of his mindless speeches. He sure aint my President & never will be, he's an embarassment to be honest! He's weak on defense, rubs elbows with our enemies, & so full of his Narcissitic self, lol! He should be FIRED for being the worst Pres in History evn worse then Mr. Peanut.


How come everyone keeps referring to Obama as a black man? Wasn't his mother white? Or does she not matter to the liberal left in this country?

As for the Republicans hating poor people and black people. Wasn't the first black Secretary of State a black woman appointed by a white republican president? Oh, that's right, the first black Sec of State was Colin Powell, who was appointed by the same white republican president.

Another fact you probably don't know. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed only because Republicans were on board. The Democrats tried to kill the bill several times.

I personally don't care what color the mans skin is, but I don't agree with his policies that are spending our nation into bankruptcy. I'm a conservative first and a independent republican second. I believe my govt. should run the same way I run my business. If I don't have the money, I don't take it from someone else.

Mr. Mark Montgomery:

Republicans hate poor people?
-I believe the Bush Administration spent the most in foreign aid to the poor people of Africa.

Republicans hate black people?
-I believe the first Black member of Congress was a Republican and the current chairman of the National GOP Party is Black.

Republicans can't stand the fact that we have a Black president?
-I know, personally, a good handful of diehard Republicans that voted for Obama.

Republicans and Fox News are doing their best to keep the average American from getting healthcare?
-Funny, because the last time I looked, I haven't seen a member from Fox News debate the healthcare on the House and Senate Floors. And, Republicans want healthcare reform as well, but not the spending and control monstrosity that the Dems pushed through.

Republicans are despicable people and you are embarrassed that your folks are Republicans?
-I think it should be the other way around - your folks should be the ones embarrassed for your shady and lack of substance and common sense comments you've posted.

I’m sure if your "folks" knew you write things that are basic talking points from a group of socialists and don’t think for yourself they would cut you off. I'm also sure you are the apple of their eye who has been spoon feed doesn’t know what it’s like to start from nothing and work your way to the top without looking for handouts. A perfect liberal you are.
Hmmmm let’s see... I’m a conservative republican that has nothing against people of any race or gender but does not "STAND" for anyone as a president or any public official that creates class envy, promotes mediocrity and basically steals from me. I work very hard for my salary. I don’t care if someone is black, white, green, male female or whatever. If you’re a socialist I have nothing for you. I, as all my republican friends would love to have all Americans have healthcare but don’t expect us to pay for it. Also believe it or not, many of my friends that are democrats think the same as I do too. Your narrow minded "Give me" thinking wants us to have healthcare like countries such as Canada and England. Do you know that places like Canada and England make all their citizens pay into the healthcare system AND pay income taxes? In the US about 40% of people...and that is conservative, don’t pay any income taxes? Also, be careful what you wish for. I worked in anesthesia for a few years and one of my accounts in Buffalo became my number one account. I wanted to find out why. The answer I got was they were getting many Canadians coming across the border to get open heart surgery. Why would Canadians pay out of their pocket for surgery when they have such a great healthcare system? Well Skippy, they were paying cash because they could not afford to wait up to a year to get approval for surgery in Canadian healthcare system. That's great healthcare, huh? That’s rationing. They longer they make a patient wait for surgery the less surgery they have to pay for because maybe 6-9 months later they won’t need surgery because they died of heart failure.
In the US, too many people have more of a priority on buying cigarettes, alcohol, big screen TV's or cable( to make sure they are up on who is the next American Idol) than are willing to pay for healthcare even if it were cheap. People like you can’t expect other people that work hard to plan for retirement and provide for their family to pay for your healthcare.
I hope your folks think twice next time you ask them for a handout… and I’m sure that's a lot

Hey LaManda -- take a hike. Right or left, your racist speak and perspective is not acceptable. And that comes from someone who is likewise disgusted with the Administration and Congress.

hey mark, smart mark, it wasnt republicans that voted to cut off debate. it was democrats. and republicans hate poor people huh? the only war america has ever lost is the war on poverty. you wanna know why? of course you dont keep your head in the sand pal, i hear the view's mighty good down there.

You are hilarious.


Mark there has never been a party who has been worse for African Americans than the Dems. It was Lincoln a Republican that freed them. It was Republicans who provided the needed votes to overcome the southern democrats for the civil rights legislation.It's against the dems self interest for people to be successful as that just leads to lost votes. The more people on govt dole the better for the dems as well as pseudointellectual liberals who have no understanding of history .

Well after Reid today told us that citizens would be awed at the wonderment of the Obama-Reid-San Fran Nan Bill, one wonders just how much Griffith will miss that socialist pacifist tyrannical Party? Not much. In fact, there are about 25 other Blue Dogs that should leave Nan in the lurch. She hates them anyhow. And frankly, if there was any real justice and fair re-districting in Ca., Nan herself would be fired by common sense Dems and varied citizens. The racists now seem to flood the DNCers and if comments here from the dumbed down Left are any example of what Griffith is leaving, more might just follow.

BTW the name is Specter. And he could be beaten in the primary by Sestek. Prayerfully, Toomey will beat either of them in 2010. Specter was a traitor to the folks who elected him but when he saw Pat would wallop him, he jumped ship. Hopefully, the citizens of Pa. will un-elect Arlen and Pat Toomey will take his place. In off year elections, 11 out of 12 judgeships went to the Pubs. So Pa. is waking up to the fact that these socialist pacifist Dems are the ruination of our nation, our economy, our military, our heritage and our culture. I wish the voters in Ca. would follow suit.

Mark Montgomery, Republicans don't hate all those you claim, we only hate idiots like you.

nancy pelosi can rot in the underworld. she is an insult to the word "vile." nothing more need be said....

Can you say 1994 all over again? The gathering storm clouds on the horizon have begun to signal the end to this liberal Congress! Too bad for the nation I love the majority party in Washington is completely tone deaf. Before long Harry Reid will be gone from the US Senate as surely as Tom Daschle is no more. What a wonderful day that will be!

So who can tell what's coming around the corner in politics? Democrats will be replaced en masse come Nov. 2010. Straight from my crystal ball.

It takes no courage to switch from a minority party to a majority party (see: Arlin "Flap Jack" Specter). That was nothing less than political expediency. At least with Griffith, he has the honesty to publicly invoke his reasons for the switch - and he can't predict how next fall will turn out, nor can you.

Your admiration for Pelosi's hard-ball tactics tells us more about your preferences than commenting on what policies Griffith disagreed with. She is within her right to remove someone from committees, but in this case Griffith already removed himself. Sorry Nan!

@Mark Montgomery: Don't blow a fuse, pal. Actually, that might be fun to watch, as is the whole Democrat/Left crack-up. Over-reaching has its limits.

Nancy Pelosi is next! Fired! And by the way only bigots or those who are prejudice would write that GOP in general are racists! I am for one not! Thank you.

Mark Montgomery, you are a bigoted buffoon.


By the way, for all the progressive half-wits out there, do you realize that polls show that the respect the American people have for Nancy Pelosi matches that they have for Dick Cheney?

I have long felt that justice would be served by locking up Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi in the same cell and throwing away the key.

Too bad we can't fire that "Bag" Pelosi and the rest of her

If McCain couldn't get Leiberman to change affiliation to the Republican party, I don't think there's much hope of getting too many takers, what with their popularity these days. Changing partys will not solve the population being totally fed up with the entire congress. Wether it is the Repubs who are against dealing with health care for the masses, the Dems who have either used blackmail for their votes/pork, or the entire group who watered the thing to such an extent that it is barely a shadow of what needed to be done. One can only hope that they will all be forced to be clients of the health care option they end up foisting on the rest of us.

Actually , you can fire anyone you wish, as long as you get the majority to agree with you. Just an observation- it seems that the minority are the loudest and most frequent posters-guess it's all you have left.

((I believe my govt. should run the same way I run my business. If I don't have the money, I don't take it from someone else. ))

Nothing wrong with borrowing. Trouble is; borrowing more than you can
possibly pay back. That is suicidal economics.
Most of our economic problems stem from the gushing of wealth from this country to other countries because of our horrible foreign trade policies.
All foreign trade should be tit for tat.
But of course our politicians know it disastrous to allow imports to exceed exports. Makes one wonder why they allow it. Something stinks here.
And the illegal immigrants.. wtf? Why does our gov allow this?
Round up the illegals and let them work on a wall on our southern border
for room and board for two years. That will earn them citizenship.
Start up WPA and the CCC. That would ease the unemployment problem.
We need a strong leader with the peoples interests at heart.

Specter and Griffin changed parties for exactly the same major reason: Neither stood much of a chance of being reelected.

Both may be defeated in their next primaries.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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