Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Glad I Don't Work For That Guy

Remember the Congressman that switched to the Republican Party last month? This morning I saw that most of the staff of Congressman Parker Griffith (R-AL) had resigned. There are risks to switching parties. It isn't always hunky-dory.

The question I ask you is, would you resign if your Congressman (/boss) switched parties? In this economic situation? 

Since many of our Lefty's writers and readers have worked in congressional offices, I figured you would have an opinion on the matter.


Joe Lowry said...

In most cases, the D.C. staff will resign when their boss switches parties. Usually the district staff will stay, depending on how long the Member has been in office. District staff tend to be less partisan and from the district. DC-based staff tend to be more partisan and work for the Member and the Party. The DCCC or House Leadership will take care of ensuring that Griffith's staff remain on someone's payroll for the next couple of months until they can find permanent employment.

Gregory said...

I would not resign, unless a) I had some other better job lined up or b) my boss was asking me to do things that I considered to be morally unjustifiable.

So, I would most likely not resign. And I'd be interested to hear what happens to these people, considering it may take more than a couple months to find permanent employment. I would definitely not suffer unemployment for any significant period of time for purely partisan or ideological reasons.

ShamRockNRoll said...

I would absolutely resign--in most circumstances. If it was a petty move aimed at trying to stay in office, like it seems this guy's rationale was, I'd be out the door right away. I'm trying to think of some ideological/principled reason why a Democrat would switch to the Republican party, and I can't think of anything that I could see myself really respecting.

If the person I was working for were to switch to the Green Party, or become an independent, or something like that, I would probably be okay with it as long as I thought he or she would still be representing what I stand for, and not caucusing with the Republicans. Of course if it was someone like Joe Lieberman I wouldn't likely be working for that person in the first place.

Bill said...

I'm not sure what I would do in a situation like that, which brings me the conclusion that I would likely never be in a situation like that in the first place. Just as I would never apply to work for a Republican based on ideological reasons, it would be just as unlikely for me to work for a Democrat that is conservative enough to consider switching parties.

Gregory said...

I'm kind of amazed that you guys seem to value ideology over mundane concerns, like, feeding yourself.

What issue(s) would make it absolutely morally repugnant for you to work for a Republican? What if it were a moderate/liberal Republican?

I could maybe see myself resigning over some issue of intrinsic immorality, such as abortion or euthanasia. And yet, I might even consider working for an abortion rights politician, if I were guaranteed that I would not have to participate in that part of his activism/policy-making.

Contrarily, someone's position on something that I consider to be important, but "only" a matter of prudential judgment, such as a politician's views on health care, taxes, social security, the environment, trade, immigration, etc. would not be allowed to determine my employment status.

Bill said...

Until you reach the higher levels in those congressional offices you really couldn't claim have any real part in the policy-making, so that's not really much of a problem.

My unwillingness to work for a politician that I disagree with stems more from my concern that I would feel completely out of place. If I can avoid a potentially hostile work environment, I will. With the job market the way it is, I don't have the luxury to make a choice like that. I'd certainly rather work for a Republican's office than not work at all, but I can't imagine a scenario where those are my only two options.

Gregory said...

Interesting. Would you really consider working with conservatives/centrists to be a situation that could likely turn into a hostile work environment?

I remember one of our guys in the office I worked in was not particularly conservative. He wasn't anti-conservative either. But I remember on a couple of occasions him saying things that you wouldn't really expect out of a Republican staffer. But he was popular around the office, and no one looked down on him. I actually don't remember deep political/philosophical discussions occuring all that much in the office. There wasn't a taboo, but it just seemed like people were busy working to engage in punditry very often. Come to think of it, there was an intern who was liberal/moderate on at least two fairly large issues, one of which would have basically put him outside the mainstream of the Republican party, but I think I learned that when we were hanging out casually outside of work.

I dunno, I guess it's a matter of personal preference. There may be some offices I'd find intolerable. E.g. Barbara Boxer has a reputation for being obnoxious. Maybe she hires mostly obnoxious people.

ShamRockNRoll said...

What's so surprising about not wanting to work for someone that we do not agree with? I wouldn't want to work any job where I couldn't look at myself in the mirror when I got home. Working for someone/something I believe in is why I went to college in the first place--so that I would feel some sense of meaning in what it is I do every day. Otherwise I would have kept punching the clock every day in my old, mind-numbing job.

Gregory said...

Sure, all else equal, I'd prefer to work for the 'publicans. That's kind of a trivial point. The more interesting question is how much would you be willing to suffer/sacrifice to avoid working for the bad guys? In my case, I would probably not be willing to endure indefinite unemployment rather than work for the Dems. (If I could be guaranteed that the unemployment would be brief, that might change my answer.)

ShamRockNRoll said...

I would not under any circumstances work for a republican... unless, he or she was someone who was VERY moderate and actively tried to be bi-partisan, and didn't just pay lip service to that notion. For example, the Governator (I'm from CA) hired a Dem chief of staff, and in many ways was very bipartisan... though I do have some other issues with him.