Gee, no surprise that I've been wrong before.

I once wrote speeches for Lt. Amy Tuck that said something to the effect: I know people say I should switch to the GOP, but darn it, I'm a Democrat and Hell will freeze over before I ever do anything different.

Feeling colder out there?

Anyway, U.S. Rep. Travis Childers insists he's a Democrat with a Big D, and I believe him. But there's no doubt it's hard to be a conservative D, although he's found a real home with like-minded colleagues as a Blue Dog.

Tuesday, in the Daily Journal Editorial Board, he said very strongly his party loyalty is not up for grabs, as apparently it's been lately with a fellow Blue Dog or so. He appears not to be running scared about what his North Mississippi constituents think about his voting record, which is hardly liberal.

And so, it's got to be hard on him when outsiders speculate very publicly that he'll be among the next to change parties. Personally, he's sorry to see friend Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama make the move.

Check out this Christian Science Monitor comment, which doesn't look like anybody spoke with the man himself:

Emory University prof. speculates Childers next Dem. defector

“This has to be a calculation that it’s going to be easier for a congressman to have a career as a Republican than a Democrat, even if it means joining the minority party, [and] that really is quite astonishing,” says Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta and author of “Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics.” “The result is you might see more changes or challenges within the Deep South from some of these districts where Democrats think it’s easier to win election as a Republican.”

Freshman Rep. Bobby Bright (D) of Alabama and Rep. Travis Childers (D) of Mississippi, who took office last year, are other possible party defectors, Professor Black says. They have voting records similar to Griffith's, represent similarly conservative districts, and are likely to encounter similar sentiments from voters.

According to MSNBC’s "First Read," a political blog, Democrats are hardly surprised by Griffith's move, given his voting record and given that he had once asked people to not call him a Democrat, but simply a "Blue Dog."

Yet Democrats argue that Griffith’s switch pales in comparison with Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republican Party, which helped give the Democratic caucus its current 60-vote supermajority.

For tradition-bound Southerners, change may simply be happening too fast in Washington. But it's also possible that Griffith's frustrations with the direction of the Democratic Party are shared beyond Dixie, Black says.

“The Democrats have gone too far, gone way too liberal, changing one-sixth of the whole economy [with proposed healthcare reform],” says Black. “This is really big social change.”

* * *

Good grief, it's not even 2010 and the campaign is on.

Buckle up ... patsy

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