UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2000, the USS Cole was attacked. 2001, terrorists attack America. 2008, the Marriott in Pakistan is bombed but Parker Griffith says we have nothing to fear from radical Islam.
PARKER GRIFFITH: I think America's greatest enemy is America and its materialism. We have nothing to fear from radical Islam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parker Griffith, wrong for Alabama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, of course, the Republicans say Parker Griffith is right for Alabama. But there are those who think that this is something of a canary in a coal mine, Parker Griffith's defection. Among them, the former commerce secretary William Daley who said in an op/ed in the "Washington Post," "While it may be too late to avoid some losses in 2010, it is not too late to avoid the kind of rout that redraws the political map. The leaders of the Democratic Party need to move back toward the center."
Is Daley right? Do the leaders of Democrat Party need to move more toward to the center?
MARCUS: I thought he overstated the case and I think Parker Griffith is going to turn out to be a pretty lonely canary in that coal mine.
There's no indication from talking to the people who would know that any other potentially squishy Democrats are thinking about morphing themselves into Republicans. And I think that to get back to Matt's point about the potential albatross of the health care bill, absolutely they're going to pivot to jobs, jobs, jobs. Absolutely if they don't start to also simultaneously sell this health care bill. We're all talking about it as if it's a fait accompli but it will be eventually, I think, Senator McConnell's desire not withstanding.
If they don't find a way to also sell it as a positive transformation, it is going to be an albatross.
TAPPER: How do they do that?
MARCUS: By talking to people. Well, it's both doable and complicated. The complicated part is that many of the things that it will achieve will not start until 2013 or 2014. So it's a little hard to say to people, life is going to be great two elections from now if you don't have health care or if you're nervous about your health care. But there's going to be a lot of talk about the immediate deliverables, which is one of the terms that the administration uses.
So for example, senior citizens -- senior citizens, who are A, nervous about what's happening to their Medicare, witness grandma, will have their donut hole filled or somewhat filled very quickly. And people will be able to keep their kids on their insurance policies after they're out of college until age 26 or 27. So there's going to be some focus on that. It is hard to talk about legislation that is promising something in the future as and inevitably they will, as people's health premiums continue to go up.
TAPPER: Can the Democrats sell this?
KRUGMAN: Some. I mean, I'm waiting for the first poll that asks do you want to repeal this which is very different from whether you approve of it. And I bet you're not going to find anything like those numbers.
Let me also say about Parker Griffith. As I've looked at it, I think the correct description of him is he's a living fossil. He's sort of the last Dixiecrat. All of those conservative Democrats in the South are now Republicans and here's this one guy whose left over. It isn't necessarily an omen of very much.