Party-switcher Parker Griffith was handpicked to deliver the GOP’s response to President Obama’s radio address today, but House Minority Leader John Boehner may be surprised at the hostile reception he gets in Huntsville at a Monday fundraiser for Griffith.
Conservatives in north Alabama’s 5th District have hated Griffith for years, and his switch from “R” to “D” hasn’t changed that. However, the discontent of local Democrats has enabled Tea Party leaders to organize bipartisan opposition to Griffith now:
Not long after invitations were sent out for a Rep. Parker Griffith fundraising event, headlined by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), several local organizations from both sides of the political spectrum announced plans to protest the event. Planned for March 8, 2010 at the Space & Rocket Center, starting at 5:00 pm, the the protest will include members of the Huntsville Tea Party, Left In Alabama, Athens-Limestone Tea Party Patriots, AAMU Democrats Student Club, The Dale Jackson Show, North Alabama Healthcare for All, Madison County Republican Executive Committee, and the Limestone County Republican Executive Committee. AFL-CIO will be holding a press conference at the Marriott Hotel near the Space & Rocket Center in protestation, before the protest event and the fundraiser. Organizers invite the public to attend.
“We are sending a message to the national Republican establishment: stay out of our primary. We also want to support the true conservative candidates that Tea Party activists and the local GOP have gotten behind, Les Phillip and Mo Brooks. We’re pushing back against the political machine,” said Christie Carden, founder of the Huntsville Tea Party.
“Bipartisanship is not dead. People of all political persuasions see that Parker Griffith is an opportunist who cannot be trusted to keep his word. As such, he is not - nor can he ever be - an effective representative for North Alabama. Griffith gave up critical committee assignments at a time when the 5th District is fighting for federal transportation and space dollars, clearly demonstrating that he cares more about his reelection prospects than his constituents. Now, Congressman Boehner is displaying the same indifference to local concerns by meddling in the Republican primary. Such behavior deserves no reward,” said Sherry Walker, publisher of Left In Alabama blog, who is encouraging her readers to attend the protest.
“Our message to Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) is stay out of the 5th district’s business. Mr. Boehner’s support of Parker Griffith proves he has a blatant disregard for what the voters in Alabama’s 5th congressional district want. The Tea Party Movement began and is continuing today because the people are being ignored. Government officials have forgotten who they work for and “We the People” are tired of it and determined to take our Country Back,” said Deborah King, founder of the Athens-Limestone Tea Party Patriots… .
Republican challenger Les Phillip says Boehner’s support for Griffith illustrates the fundamental disconnect between national GOP leadership and rank-and-file voters:
“Congressman Boehner coming to Huntsville to raise money for Parker Griffith goes to show exactly how out of touch Washington D.C. is with the rest of America and their refusal to listen to “We the People”,” remarked Phillip.
“Two of our local Republican executive committees specifically asked the National Republican Congressional Committee to stay out of this race and let the people of North Alabama decide who our best candidate is, but they refuse to listen because they think they know better than we do what is best for the fifth district.” . . .
“John Boehner and the NRCC are supporting Griffith with the notion that he will lure more Democrats to switch parties. This approach does not take into consideration the conservative nature of Republicans in Alabama’s 5th district, or Griffith’s record of voting with Nancy Pelosi nearly 85% of the time, more than many of his former Democrat colleagues.”
The liberal blog Left in Alabama adds:
Griffith is everybody’s problem. Sure, I won’t agree with everyone at this protest on every single thing — maybe not on most things. But we all agree that Griffith has got to go, and for now that one common purpose will let us stand on the same sidewalk in near perfect harmony.
John Boehner: A Uniter, Not a Divider.