Monday, January 3, 2011

Not Going Quietly

The New York Times looks at the exit strategy of Alan Grayson.

He has zero faith in the incoming speaker of the House, John A. Boehner, whom he calls a “tool of special interest.”

He derides the Tea Party’s successes as “bought and paid for by the enormously rich and the selfish.”

And he can barely contain distaste for his Republican successor, whose views he sums up as “bizarre fundamentalist.”

Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida’s Eighth Congressional District, is leaving office on Wednesday much as he entered it two years ago — as the pugnaciously partisan, verbal-bomb-tossing, liberal folk hero of the 111th Congress.

But in a wide-ranging interview as his term drew to a close, he repeatedly aimed his artillery in an unexpected direction: toward his own party.

Not for overreaching, in this age of hand-wringing over big government and creeping “socialism,” or for ideological purism. Instead, while surveying the wreckage of the November elections that cost him his seat and looking to the Congressional term ahead, Mr. Grayson posits that many Democrats have not been acting Democratic enough.

Judging by the results of the midterm elections, it does not exactly seem to be a widespread sentiment.

But at a moment when centrism seems to be the party’s antidote to a redrawn political landscape, Mr. Grayson is setting forth a radically different playbook of sharp elbows and unapologetic liberalism.

I don’t think for a minute that we have heard the last from Mr. Grayson. I’ve not always been impressed by his style — his campaign commercial against his opponent in the last election, labeling him “Taliban Dan” — was infantile and, more importantly, blatantly wrong on the facts, and it probably helped lead to his defeat. But I would be very surprised if he doesn’t make another run for elective office; perhaps here in Florida with an eye towards another seat in Congress, since Florida will gain two more in redistricting. I don’t know if he’s got the statewide appeal to run for governor in 2014 against Rick Scott, but you never know.