Rep. Parker Griffith - more Benedict Arnold than Edmund Burke

With his party-switching announcement, Rep. Parker Griffith joins a growing list of political Benedict Arnolds from both parties. Griffith's political hat switching underscores a highly disturbing "get reelected at all costs" mentality that permeates Washington politics.

Instead of Edmund Burke principle, we have Benedict Arnold hurt feelings driving the decisions of our national representatives.

Burke you will remember was willing to lose his seat when he felt his judgment was correct even though it ran contrary to public opinion. During this difficult time, he uttered these immortal words,

"If, from this conduct, I shall forfeit the suffrages at an ensuing election, it will stand on record an example to future representatives of the Commons of England, that one man at least had dared to resist the desires of his constituents when his judgment assured him they were wrong."

At the next election, Burke lost his seat.

Arnold on the other hand became a turncoat, because he felt slighted and passed over for promotions in the Continental Army.

Upon closer examination of the facts, Mr. Griffith's looks a lot more like Arnold than Burke, despite some of his claims at following principle. According to the Wall Street Journal, Rep. Griffith "was miffed by the Obama administration's decision not to deploy a missile-defense system in Eastern Europe; much research for that system takes place in his district," and that he felt that he was "expendable."

The GOP would do well to maintain an extended arms length relationship with a man who only a year ago was leading the charge in GOP attack ads while working hard to find a real Republican replacement for Mr. Griffith's seat.

After all, who knows what he'll do the next time his feelings get hurt.

Lyall J. Swim is a partner at Junto Communications , a Utah-based strategic communications firm specializing in public policy, issue advocacy and political campaigns.

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