Alan Grayson’s Got Guts

Alan Grayson undoubtedly has guts. The question is will he have them when it counts, or is he largely just political theater.

Alan Grayson is a United States congressman who is unique in many ways. He won Florida’s 8th district in 2008 despite only one Democrat having done so before since its creation in 1970. Moreover he did not tack to the right to win this vote, he calls himself a progressive and has been very outspoken about issues generally associated with this label.

He rose to national prominence during the health care debates in 2009. Among many inflammatory comments he made, one of the most notable was that the Republican health care plan was:

Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.

More dramatic pronouncements like this followed and he quickly became a darling of many progressives. His combative style suited a group who felt that the strong majorities that they had helped win in both houses of congress, plus the presidency, were not working hard to pass their issues. There was also a feeling that Republicans were bullies and that Grayson was standing up to them.

The question about Grayson however is whether he represents part of the solution or part of the problem. While it is inspiring for people whose views are often seen as fringe to have an outspoken congressman, the approach of politics through sound bites can often be counterproductive when it comes time to govern. True governing is about compromise and negotiation typically.

While Grayson may play well for many people who feel disenfranchised, he isn’t necessarily the archetype of politician to get the US Congress out of its current morass. You can easily visualize the same firebrand antics Grayson uses as a method to justify the same kind of obstructionist politics in which the Republicans are engaging.

 In many ways Grayson holds the same appeal as the Tea-Party movement, which is highly partisan. Alan Grayson may have guts, but does he have the willpower to be constructive as well as compelling.

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