Ex-Democrat: Party Suffers 'Arrested Development'

Wednesday, 10 Feb 2010 02:24 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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In the intelligence world, the best way to learn about an enemy is to debrief a defector from the enemy camp. The political world works the same way, making the observations of Rep. Parker Griffith, who switched from Democrat to Republican in December, illuminating.

A radiation oncologist, Griffith is a freshman representative from Alabama who decided he could no longer stomach his own party.

“I began to realize that the Obama administration, along with the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, was a very, very far left-leaning group [that] really wasn’t concerned about what a moderate or a conservative had to say,” Griffith tells Newsmax.

As a prime example, Griffith cites the healthcare bill, which he says had very little to do with improving healthcare.

“The healthcare bill was a bill that became less and less about healthcare reform and more and more about ego and a trophy for a certain person or a certain committee,” Griffith says.

“Their theory was that, with healthcare taking up 16 percent to 18 percent of the GDP, they wanted to see that come down,” he says. “And they thought that the best way to do that was to centralize control over healthcare. And it actually would have increased costs.”

As a doctor, Griffith was particularly concerned about the bill’s potential impact on the quality of healthcare.

The federal government would be deciding “what policies and procedures would be done in hospitals or in physician offices, what would be paid for, what would not be paid for,” Griffith says. “All of the things that we cherish as a culture were being modified, really more as a control mechanism of a larger government.”

When asked what Democratic lawmakers said privately about the bill, Griffith says, “Actually, the meetings where it all went on were secret. And they were really not where I could participate, and when I did participate, it was not necessarily a welcome participation.”

Like fellow Republicans, Griffith wants to reform healthcare incrementally, without centralizing the system or taking discretion away from doctors.

He cites example after example of other initiatives that he could not support.
“I saw the stimulus bill being put together with little or no accountability,” Griffith says. “I saw us buying 80 percent of AIG, bailing out General Motors, a failed management system, and bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That was very unsettling to me. At the same time, we were losing 500,000 or 600,000 jobs a month. It became apparent that the leadership, as well as the administration, was failing to prioritize where we needed to put our emphasis.”

After passage of the stimulus bill, “We ran into a concept that was theoretical in my opinion, called cap and trade,” Griffith says. “And we spent months on that while we were still losing these 300,000 400,000, 500,000 jobs. And then we sent cap and trade over to the Senate. Right before that, though, we wrote 300 pages of the cap and trade bill at 2 a.m. and were forced to vote on it six hours later on the floor of the House without even a physical copy of the bill.”

Meanwhile, Griffith saw the Democrats undercut national defense. That was of particular concern to Griffith because his district includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and defense-related companies.

“I watched our national defense being watered down, and I watched our manned space flight Constellation project being cut,” Griffith says. At the same time, he watched “our State Department think that they were somehow having a dialogue with Iran, and the whole time all Iran is doing is buying time to progress to arming a nuclear warhead so it could fit on the end of a missile that they’ve already developed.”

While Obama is articulate, “I think he’s over his head,” Griffith says. “He has not transitioned from campaign to executive or manager.”

As for Congress, “I think these [committee] chairmen came through the ’60s and the ’70s,” Griffith says. “I think they are suffering from what I call ‘medicine arrested development.’ I don’t think they recognize China as a threat. I think they think the United States is the same as it was when they believed that all corporate America was evil, that they needed to control and regulate corporate America at every step of the way, not recognizing that we can’t compete internationally with an oppressive government. And so we are suffering from leadership that’s failed to see a changing world.”

Over time, Griffith says, “I began to realize that even though I had come in as a Democrat, it was not a party for a conservative or even a moderate.”

View the Parker interview below.

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Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.

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