Saturday, August 07, 2004

Congressman Alexander Switches Parties

This dude, Rep. Rodney Alexander, is so devilishly calm, so sneaky, so silent as he did it, so interesting, that I am fascinated by what logistics went on behind the scenes that caused him to switch parties and take such a gamble at a time when, quite frankly, anything can happen and it usually does.

In these partisan days, where all collegial comeraderie and sense of compromise has gone the Way of the Dodo, I'd thought I'd seen everything -- everything! -- and here comes Rodney Alexander, who schools me but good on Politicking 101. I didn't even see this one coming, I don't think anyone did, not even the political junkies at, and certainly not the "plugged in" cats on CNN's Inside Politics, or Chris Matthews' Hard Ball.

Old Rod just gave us all a lesson in the political snooker, and how an unassuming Congressman can steal the weekend. Who knew he had game like that? He and Alan Keyes are the players of the week the AP reports:

"In 48 hours, Rep. Rodney Alexander went from Democrat to Republican, friend to foe � or foe to friend, depending on your political persuasion.

"Democrats reacted to the news by calling the first-term congressman a turncoat and a coward. They must now gain another seat, 12 in all, to win back the House this fall. The count today: Democrats 205, Republicans 229. "A new ally, on the other hand, rang him up Friday to say congratulations. President Bush according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan, welcomed Alexander to the GOP and wished him well.

"Alexander's about-face came about in two days, but had really been in the works for two years. After announcing his new affiliation Friday afternoon, Alexander said he had been struggling with his conservative votes for his entire term � backing the Bush tax cuts as well as the war in Iraq � and noted they had brought him criticism from Democrats.

"'I just decided it would be best for me to switch parties, that I would be more effective in the 5th District in the state of Louisiana as a Republican,' he said.

"In March, Alexander found himself under such intense pressure that he had to publicly announce he would remain a Democrat. Yet, he skipped last month's National Convention in Boston.

"On Wednesday, Alexander registered at the start of qualifying for the 5th District race as a Democrat. Friday afternoon, the last day of qualifying for the Nov. 2 ballot, he made his switch, leaving Democrats no time to enter a strong candidate in the race."

Damn, that's some Machiavelli-sneaky shit right there. That's downright Cajun. Especially considering Louisisana is a swing state, but will more likely go for Bush (if it doesn't, Alexander is royally fucked when payback comes) than Kerry and trends Republican. And, of course, you just know the Congressional Republicans have a cornucopia of campaign cash, PAC cash and special lucrative committee assignments for his district, "face time" with POTUS, and such booty as to boggle the imagination to bestow to this Prince. It was a shrewd move, and I'd counsel Democrats to avoid looking like punks and just move on, no use crying over spilt milk.

Check, Karl Rove; checkmate ... to be determined at a later date.


starzstylista said...

Good times, good times. RJ dating a post-adolescent Linda Purl. The extraordinary doogie roll hair. The lyrics! "Room 714, I'll be waiting." So deep. He will be missed.

The Corsair said...

I switched this around from the Rick James story and I don't know how to transfer comments, but yeah, he will be missed. Linda Blair? Is that the one? I heard he dated Linda Blair for a while -- she liked her coffee like she liked her men -- but that sounded do wierd, even for Rick James, dating Regan from the Exorcist. But, for a child star, I cannot rule anything out. She was really wild in the mid-70s.

starzstylista said...

This guy's switch is actually much more of a surprise than Rick James's premature death. This is fascinating news.

The Corsair said...

Thanks for the posts. Odd that the switch was on the last possible day he could do it so as to escape a Primary opponent. Sneaky. And, it appears, so under the radar that none of the talking head shows picked up on it on Sunday. Livin the vida loca ...

(S)wine said...

Having worked w/Chris Matthews on Hardball for almost 8 years I can assure you that Mr. Matthews hardly sees anything coming. Think: producers/researchers/interns/peons.