Although it's hard to believe, your eyes aren't fooling you: the New York Times really did publish a profile of disgraced outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson in today's paper. And while the Florida Democrat takes shots at the GOP, he also lives up to his scratch-your-head reputation by taking some curious shots at his own party. Why? It's not been liberal enough.
The profile begins as expected. Grayson, who was beaten handily in November, calls incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) a "tool of special interest," brushes aside Tea Party success as “bought and paid for by the enormously rich and the selfish," and labels his GOP successor (who is a pastor) as a "bizarre fundamentalist."
But then the Times quickly turns the article to highlight Grayson's friendly fire:
[I]n a wide-ranging interview as his term drew to a close, he repeatedly aimed his artillery in an unexpected direction: toward his own party.
Not for overreaching, in this age of hand-wringing over big government and creeping “socialism,” or for ideological purism. Instead, while surveying the wreckage of the November elections that cost him his seat and looking to the Congressional term ahead, Mr. Grayson posits that many Democrats have not been acting Democratic enough.
“What did the environmentalists see over the last two years?” he asks as he lays out an example. “A proposed monumental increase in subsidies for nuclear power industry and offshore drilling.”
Then there are gay voters: “What they got to see was a judge order that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ no longer be enforced and a Democratic president appeal that decision. That is what that constituency saw before Nov. 2.”
But no Grayson profile would be complete without a glimpse into his governing strategy. Simply put, reward those who support your campaign.
“If you want people to support you, then you have to support them,” he said. “You have to think long about what you did for people who voted for you, made phone calls for you, who went door to door for you.”
His views and remarks throughout the interview, which a generous person might only call odd, didn't stop the Times from giving him the similarly odd, and unsubstantiated, label of "darling of many on the left." A better term, however, might be "joker," if only because the Times emphasizes that Grayson likes to wear steal-toed cowboy boots, "the better to kick Republicans with, he jokes." But also maybe because Grayson "earned renown for colorful floor speeches and elaborate props."
And while the profile seems to end with what might be considered by many as another joke, Grayson is actually quite serious when the the Times notes that he has not ruled out running for Congress again “if that’s what people want.”
Author's note: See our previous articles on Grayson here, including his devastating loss and some of his more "darling" comments.