‘What kind of man is Parker Griffith?’

‘WHAT KIND OF MAN IS PARKER GRIFFITH?’…. In general, it’s pretty easy to ignore the weekly Republican address. But this week’s was a little more interesting than most, not because of what was said, but because of who was saying it.

In 2008, Republicans ripped apart Parker Griffith’s medical practice in a brutal campaign ad, saying he dosed patients so he could make more money. A campaign advertisement said he was “warehousing cancer patients.” The National Republican Congressional Committee called Griffith’s conduct shameful and said he “can’t be trusted.”

That was when Griffith was a Democrat. On Saturday, Griffith will give the Republican radio address on health care – some two months after he switched parties to become a Republican.

Now, I can appreciate why Griffith might seem like an appealing messenger for Republicans to present to the public. To have a right-wing doctor, who used to be a Democrat, attacking health care reform with all kinds of nonsense — substantively, the GOP address is one big lie — probably looked like a sound strategy on paper.

But it’s that recent history that keeps getting in the way. Not quite two years ago, Republicans ran an ad accusing Griffith, a medical doctor, of “warehousing cancer patients,” and causing “unwarranted pain and suffering” so he could “make more profits.” Republicans asked at the time, “What kind of man is Parker Griffith?” and then answered their own question, describing Griffith as someone who “can’t be trusted.”

But as long as we’re here, let’s take this just a little further. In 2004, Parker Griffith was so supportive of Democratic health care reform efforts, he donated $1,500 to Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. Two years later, then-State Senator Parker Griffith proudly proclaimed himself an enthusiastic supporter of “health care for all of the citizens.”

And in 2008, with the Democratic Party running on a platform of health care reform, Griffith ran and won as a Democratic candidate, and had nary a discouraging word to say about the party’s approach to fixing the dysfunctional health care system.

But now we’re supposed to believe Griffith considers the Democratic proposal a “massive government takeover of health care.” Sure, Parker, tell us another one.

“What kind of man is Parker Griffith?” That’s hard to say for sure, but words like “honesty” and “integrity” don’t come to mind.