Will the Real Artur Davis Please Stand Up?

Former Democratic Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Artur Davis will return to Alabama next week as the “star attraction” for a Republican fundraiser.

A lot has changed since Artur Davis was the center of attention at a political gathering in his native Alabama.

How much have things changed?

Well, when Davis made his last noteworthy appearance in Alabama he was a congressman, a Democrat, a candidate for governor.

And he was still welcomed at the White House.

Davis, who seconded the presidential nomination of Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, didn’t just slide over from Blue Dog Democrat to moderate Republican – he’s gone full-blown Tea Party. He spoke at this year’s Republican National Convention, one of a series of people of color on stage in front of an almost all white audience. He’s the new “See? We’re Not Racists!” face of True the Vote, an organization whose primary purpose appears to be unsubstantiated voter challenges that (just coincidentally, of course) disproportionately target people of color.

As I listened to Davis speak [to True the Vote] in Houston, I remembered a similar summit I attended in 2006, which was organized by “Patriot” and “Minutemen” groups. These tea party predecessors were transparent about not only their anti-immigrant stances, but their hostility towards Latinos in general. They used a lot of the same language as today’s tea party groups, like “taking back America” and “restoring America’s heritage.” And like True the Vote, they had a couple of black speakers at their summit who absolved the otherwise all-white movement of racism charges.

Most of those Patriot and Minutemen groups dissolved, just before the rise of Obama. But in 2010, tea party groups that look and sound just like them emerged, better organized and better funded. Many are just as far to the right as their predecessors, but on race specifically they use softer language. They proclaim that they just want to help improve government, and are offended by charges that they threaten black and Latino people. Their politics are not racist, they say, and if you don’t believe them, just ask Artur Davis.

What happened to the man who Buy Cialis, just two short years ago, ran for governor as a progressive Democrat, championing a new constitutional convention truly representative of the people of Alabama? This was a man who fought to win his Congressional seat against the entrenched  power structure in the Alabama Democratic Party, but he didn’t shy away from being a Democrat. (He did choose to vote against the Affordable Care Act, but  - while I disagree with his vote – I continue to believe that it was a strategic move, sanctioned by the White House, to help him in the general election.)

Then he lost. Not just lost – he was pummeled in the primary, never getting the chance to make his case to the state as a whole. He left Alabama behind to move to Virginia. He said he was done with politics. Alabama ended up with accidental Gov. Dr. Dr. Robert Bentley.

Now Davis pens op-eds claiming widespread voter fraud in Alabama’s Black Belt and elsewhere but refuses to back up his allegations:

“If you are asking if I will name individuals whose organizations regularly practice such tactics, why would I elevate unknowns to my level by identifying them and giving them a national forum? I understand that you are doing your job as a journalist but I don’t owe your readers any clarification.”

And right there in that quote is, in my opinion, the key to Artur’s party switch: he’s pissed that Alabama Democrats didn’t show him the adulation to which he believes he’s entitled. National Republicans, ever on the quest to prove their diversity, are piling on the praise that he didn’t get at home. He’s on TV! He’s invited to speak! He’s a respected pundit! He’s fawned over like a new religious convert.

I believed Artur Davis when he said he supported a new constitution that would help Alabama move forward into a better future. I believed him when he said he supported Barack Obama for president. I was disappointed when he left Alabama, letting his hurt feelings trump his principles.

Of course, that was back when I believed he had some principles. Looks like I was wrong.



5 Responses to “Will the Real Artur Davis Please Stand Up?”

  1. Del says:

    I wish I could be proud of having called this one when the opportunistic little snake moved to VA. I knew then that the Rs were going to have to find somebody besides Michael Steele to tokenate for them. But I think all it means is that I’m almost as cynical as Artur.

    You nailed it with the religious convert comparison. Answering that altar call gets you such sweet, sweet attention. Coupled with career-boosting speaking fees, what’s not to like?

  2. Kathy says:

    I wonder what will happen once the luster rubs off and he’s no longer a featured speaker. Perhaps his next stop will be Fox News. Ugh.

  3. Redeye says:

    Hi Kathy,
    I would like to respond to this post, and comments made by you and Doozey Dem on Left in Alabama regarding this post because as you well know, I was banned from LiA because I tried to tell some of y’all who the real Artur Davis was/is, or in this case, was/is not.

    You said;
    I just wish… (4.00 / 1)
    …someone else at his level would start talking again about REAL constitutional reform.

    Artur Davis didn’t care about REAL constitutional reform, he cared about getting votes. We don’t need anyone on his level talking about anything. We need someone who will enact real reform.

    Doozey Dem said;
    Joe Reed, Hank Sanders and Pay for Play (0.00 / 0)
    Beat Artur. So he spurned the Democratic base and the gatekeepers.

    He’s out of Alabama and I’m sure Artur’s book on Joe L. Reed is quite extensive – he just needs a time and a place to utilize it, what better place than with a bunch of GOPers in a Legislative Supermajority to cut off ADC and Joe Reed where their funding comes.

    This isn’t about Barack Obama, this is about using Mike Hubbard and Del Marsh to get back at Joe Reed before and during 2014.

    It was always about “getting back at Joe Reed” and the ADC (Alabama Democratic Conference), because for some reason, Joe Reed and the ADC are the enemy.

    You said;
    This was a man who fought to win his Congressional seat against the entrenched power structure in the Alabama Democratic Party, but he didn’t shy away from being a Democrat. (He did choose to vote against the Affordable Care Act, but – while I disagree with his vote – I continue to believe that it was a strategic move, sanctioned by the White House, to help him in the general election.)

    Why would the White House sanction a democrat voting against the Affordable Health Care Act to help Artur in the General Election? I submit if he had voted for the AHCA he would have won the democratic primary.

  4. Kathy says:

    Hi Redeye. Thanks for your comment. Sorry to be so long responding. I’ve been neglecting the blog again, as work demands and my health have kept me otherwise occupied. I agree with you that had Artur voted for the Affordable Care Act, he may well have won the Democratic primary. I don’t think he would have won the general election, however. I do believe that he was given dispensation to vote no in order to help him in the general. He was still at least pretending to be friends with his old classmate, and the national Democratic party would have loved to see a Dem governor in our state.

    I don’t know Doozey Dem, and I can’t respond to his/her comments. If I remember right, I asked for more information and never got a reply.

    I hope I’ll have more time to get back to blogging as the holiday season approaches. I don’t know about you, but I’m thrilled with the national election results, although sickened by the idea that Roy Moore will hold any judicial power in Alabama. We have a long way to go here.

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