Quick Review of the Davis-Sparks Matchup

ETA:  This was another in a long line of well-organized and informative events sponsored by the Over the Mountain Democrats.  Mooncat and countrycat from Left in Alabama were there too — see coverage here.

There was a good crowd for the OTM Dems gubernatorial forum tonight.  My take?  Artur Davis was the clear winner.  He was relaxed, confident and well-prepared.  Ron Sparks came across as angry and defensive.

Davis supports a citizens’ convention to rewrite Alabama’s outdated 1901 constitution.  Sparks wants to let the legislature do an article-by-article rewrite,  which is never going to happen.  Even if there were the will, there isn’t enough time in the legislative session to get it done.  Davis wants diversified economic development; Sparks is putting all his money on legalizing and taxing the hell out of gambling.  Both of them oppose marriage equality, but Sparks was the only one who felt the need to assert that “marriage is between one man and one woman” (and let me say how much I appreciated the dead silence from the crowd as they went through their verbal gymnastics explaining how some people are more equal than others).

And, when the electability question came up, Sparks played the race card, basically saying that Davis can’t win because he’s black and we’d better vote for Sparks instead if we want a Democratic governor.  “We know how Alabama is.”  You know what?  He may be right, and what a disgusting thought that is, but he chose the wrong crowd for that dogwhistle.

I went into the forum undecided.  I saw one man fixated on a single idea to shore up revenue and fund education in the state, and I saw another who has a long-term vision of what this state can be and the smarts to back it up.  I have my differences with Davis — his lack of support for LGBT equality frustrates me no end, and I don’t like the weaseling on health care reform — but Sparks sounded for all the world like a Republican.

If I had to make a decision tonight, there’s no question who would get my vote, even if I have to hold my nose a little while I cast it.

12 Responses to “Quick Review of the Davis-Sparks Matchup”

  1. mooncat says:

    Spot on analysis. As I told countrycat on the way out, I’ve been trying hard to stay on the fence and avoid taking sides until we’re further into the race, but if Sparks keeps prefacing his Constitution Reform remarks with “if we have a problem” I’m going to have to climb down and it will definitely be on the side of a Constitutional Convention.

    Sorry we didn’t get to meet you. We were in the third row, no hat, just a video camera.

  2. Kathy says:

    I was a few rows back, also with a video camera. :) I look forward to reading your post on this. Maybe we’ll meet for real sometime soon.

  3. [...] Birmingham Blues – Quick Review of the Davis-Sparks Match-Up [...]

  4. Goat Hill says:

    If he sounds like a republican, looks like a republican, answers questions like a republican and owes his soul to ALFA, then he’s a republican. It’s that simple! Ronnie Sparks is a lost ball in high weeds!

  5. Joe says:

    Why Lord, why, is there not a third choice?

  6. Kathy says:

    Amen, brother. I want to smack Artur every time he falls back on what his gramma taught him. He’s all about leadership and ideals on other issues, but on equality he wants to go with his personal opinion.

  7. kayman says:

    You guys do realize this is Alabama and he is black and Democrat? So there are 2 negative already against him right off the bat, and he has to appeal to the right-leaning moderate voters that reside all over this state. He’s playing the role and card that James Field, Jr. had to play in rural, white, and conservative Cullman County to get elected. I’ve kept up with Davis’ Congressional voting record on the issues, since I do live in his district, and I’ve noticed and questioned him number of times on the equality issues especially why he was for ENDA in 2006 and against it in 2008. After asking to him personally and looking at what is going on I can tell he is trying to look at “moderate” as possible without alienating the majority core Democratic base in the state and district. Now I will push him to make a more clear stance on what equality issues are since marriage is off the table such as supporting hate crime and employment protections.

    Unfortunately, to get elected in a very conservative state like Alabama, you have to play their game to win.

  8. Kathy says:

    Yes, kayman, of course I realize all these things. I just get tired of hearing Artur say he’s a leader on so many other issues but refusing to lead on equality. What bothers me most about it is I’ve come to believe that his anti-equality stance reflects his personal beliefs as well as political reality.

  9. kayman says:

    I don’t know because he gives the suspicion he may not even be heterosexual, but that’s another conversation. However, his record early on in Congress was more pro-equality than con, but as I’ve said it “evolved” when he decided to pursue the gubernatorial helm here around 2007.

  10. [...] Birmingham Blues – Quick Review of the Davis-Sparks Match-Up [...]

  11. NameRequired says:

    I am a member of the LGBT community too, and completely understand where you are coming from. However, I believe given the choices Artur Davis is the best candidate. I have a lot of moderate friends who supported McCain and they are backing him. He appeals to moderates, he’s not ultra-conservative,he’s intelligent, and there is no way someone who is very liberal will win this race. Those are the facts. Alabama isn’t very progressive yet. I think Artur Davis has the BEST chance of beating the Republican nominee. I’ve looked at their list and I’ll gladly take Artur Davis! Sometimes you have no choice but to compromise or get even less than you wanted. That’s my opinion. Having said that, this a democracy so do what you feel is right.

  12. NameRequired says:

    Thinking of those we lost 8 years ago.

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