Hours After Congressman Switches To GOP, Obama Talks Of 'Major Disaster' In Alabama : It's All Politics Republicans have had two different viewpoints of their latest member, Parker Griffith of Alabama. And President Obama makes the ultimate sacrifice.
NPR logo Hours After Congressman Switches To GOP, Obama Talks Of 'Major Disaster' In Alabama

Hours After Congressman Switches To GOP, Obama Talks Of 'Major Disaster' In Alabama

The big political news of the day is the party-switch by Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith. Elected to his first term in 2008 as a Democrat, today he announced he has become a Republican.

Meanwhile, a press release from the White House Office of the Press Secretary, which arrived only moments ago, reads as follows:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Alabama and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Tropical Storm Ida during the period of November 9-10, 2009.

There was more to the release, but let's face it, we all know what Obama is talking about. Personally, I think he was overreacting.

But here's some fun stuff about the Griffith switch -- stuff I'm NOT making up.

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was understandably thrilled with the news of Griffith joining the party:

I would like to sincerely welcome Congressman Parker Griffith to the Republican Party. On the eve of the Senate voting on President Obama's and Harry Reid's government-run health care experiment and in the wake of four House Democrats announcing their plans to retire, Dr. Griffith's party switch sends a strong message to all Americans that there is no longer room in the Democrat Party for mainstream Americans. ... Elected officials like Parker Griffith that faithfully represent their constituents and their own personal convictions even under the extreme political pressure are the kind of politicians Americans want and deserve.

John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House, was equally ebullient:

Parker Griffith is a dedicated public servant who has consistently put the best interests of his constituents first, and it is in that spirit that Republicans welcome him.

All year long, Alabamians have been well-served by Congressman Griffith's support for conservative principles and his rejection of Washington Democrats' wrong-headed, liberal policies. Whether it was the trillion-dollar 'stimulus,' the national energy tax, or a government takeover of health care, Congressman Griffith has consistently sided with Republicans and the American people to call for better solutions rooted in common sense. He has also stood up to Speaker Pelosi by joining efforts to advance 'read the bill' reform and to ensure that not a single taxpayer dollar is used to fund abortions.

Now, check out the ad the National Republican Congressional Committee ran against Griffith in 2008, when he faced GOP candidate Wayne Parker, who was strongly backed by the NRCC. Politics is politics, but this one is worth watching (courtesy the Daily Beast):

Meanwhile, President Obama is making the ultimate sacrifice: He says he's not going to begin his Christmas vacation in Hawaii until the Senate passes the overhaul of health care. Here's the president, earlier today:

My attitude is that if they're making these sacrifices to provide health care to all Americans then the least I can do is to be around and provide them any encouragement and last-minute help where necessary.

I think the President sends a very strong signal. We should all delay our Christmas vacations in Hawaii until the Senate passes the bill.