Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RNC Silent on Rep. Griffith Party Switch; Allows Hard Right to Denounce Move

The Republican National Committee should be heralding the party switch of Democratic House Representative Parker Griffith (AL-5). Instead the RNC's web site is devoid of any mention of Rep. Griffith switching his party affiliation to the GOP.

Freshman Rep. Parker is a Blue Dog Democrat who has clearly decided Speaker Nancy Pelosi's House majority is not a place he is comfortable calling home. In 2008 he won with 52% of the vote, while Sen. John McCain won the congressional district with 61%.  Clearely Rep. Parker came to understand that as a Democrat he was simply renting the seat.  However, the switch is an opportunity for the RNC to state there is momentum in the GOP's favor going into the mid-term elections in 2010.

Rather than seizing this development to craft a larger story that voters are unsatisfied with legislation coming from House Democrats, the RNC has allowed the story to be co-opted by hard right organizations like Club for Growth and Red State who would rather reject Rep. Parker's conversion than embrace it as indicative of a trend that will propel GOP victories in November 2010.

The degree that the RNC has been smothered by the hard right should be disconcerting to the GOP rank and file. In the past a party switch ten months before a significant election cycle would be fodder for the RNC that demonstrates a mood shift on the heels of the last year of Democratic legislative initiatives. Today it does not even warrant a press release as of this posting; this is no way to rebuild a floundering party that needs all the good news it can get.