Parker Griffith's decision to step out of line and refuse to drink the Democratic Kool-Aid illustrates the Achilles' Heel of the Democratic regime in Washington: The radical reign of Pelosi and Reid is held up by pillars of moderate and conservative Democrats who come from districts that regularly vote Republican.
To survive in these red precincts, Democrats must act like Republicans, advocating a balanced budget, opposing big spending and fighting against socialized medicine. But, in Washington, Pelosi and Reid use their backing to bring a radical left leadership to Congress.
Once it sufficed for a moderate Democrat merely to vote "no." But American voters are onto their tricks and realize that a Democrat -- any Democrat -- will vote "yes" when his party leaders need it. The unanimous Senate Democratic support for Obamacare shows that there are really only two types of congresspeople: Democrats and Republicans. All other shadings and adjectives are mere decoration.
The Senate dealmaking that produced party unity has gone on in full public view, a vindication of Otto von Bismark's wisdom in proclaiming that the public should never witness either a sausage being made or a law being passed. We are watching, real time, as moderate Democrats fold for tiny, dirty little payoffs to their states and their egos.
A moderate Democrat is just someone who will demand a higher price for caving into what Reid and Pelosi and Obama want him to do. By focusing on his so-called moderation and hoping for his support, we just drive up his market price and elevate the bribe he will get.
(We only know now about the publicly funded bribes these moderate members of Congress are getting. We will learn, as the years unfold, what private commitments were exchanged for their health care votes. Follow the judgeships, ambassadorships and Cabinet positions to see where these folks land after their voters have thrown them out.)
So Parker Griffith realized -- as others will -- that merely voting against the legislation he did not like would not be sufficient to inoculate him against voter anger. To get out of the way of the looming tsunami of 2010, he had actually to switch political parties and become a Republican.
In 2010, voters will realize that they can vote only for one of the two parties. Individuals don't matter. Candidate personalities, preferences, backgrounds and even ideologies don't matter. Once the smart voter said that he votes for the person, not the party. Now, this once virtuous citizen would be a fool. There is no such thing as a moderate Democrat or a centrist or a conservative or a Reagan Democrat. There are only Democrats who, when the chips are down, will vote as his leaders need him to vote.
Rep. Parker Griffith, the newly minted Republican, is typical of his class of freshmen Democrats from heavily John McCain districts. For them to survive, they need to switch parties. Otherwise, they -- and the damage they have done -- will be two-year footnotes to history.