Democrats took another blow Friday evening when Rep. Vic Snyder of Arkansas announced his retirement. Snyder was an oddity--a liberal in Arkansas' 2nd District who'd held office since 1996. A few minutes ago, my colleagues down at The Cook Report issued a special update on the race and declared Synder's Republican opponent, Tim Griffin, the favorite to win the seat. Griffin is a familiar name to Beltway types, a protégé of Karl Rove and the former head of the Republican National Committee's opposition research shop, who happens to have appeared in the opening scene of an Atlantic piece I wrote ("Playing Dirty") in 2004.

I predict he won't base his campaign on a promise to bring bipartisan comity to Washington. Griffin's job at the RNC was to destroy Democrats. The opening scene of my piece (which was based on a BBC documentary called "Digging for Dirt" that starred Griffin and was set in RNC headquarters on the night of a Gore-Bush debate in the 2000 campaign) featured Griffin standing beside a sign that read "ON MY COMMAND--UNLEASH HELL (ON AL)" and describing himself and his colleagues like this: "We think of ourselves as the creators of the ammunition in a war. We make the bullets." In fairness to Griffin, the Democrats do the same thing...although I don't recall hearing that Chris Lehane is running for Congress.