Congressional Black Caucus blasts Artur Davis over party switch
August 28th, 2012
09:24 AM ET
10 years ago

Congressional Black Caucus blasts Artur Davis over party switch

(CNN) - Members of the Congressional Black Caucus disparaged former Rep. Artur Davis Tuesday, blasting the former Obama supporter for endorsing Mitt Romney this cycle.

Davis switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican this year, two years after he failed to capture the Democratic nomination in his bid for the Alabama governorship.

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He's been in the headlines recently as a top surrogate for the Romney campaign, attributing his switch to the GOP to what he calls President Barack Obama's transition to the far left.

Fourteen members of the caucus, however, strongly took issue with Davis' decision and described his party move as a political ploy.

"Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010," the members wrote in a letter addressed to Davis.

The letter comes the same day as Davis, a former member of the caucus himself, is scheduled to speak in a primetime hour of 9 p.m. ET at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

His high-profile speech draws a sharp contrast to his convention role four years ago, when he seconded Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. At the time, he served as a co-chairman on Obama's presidential campaign.

Davis said he had hoped Obama's presidency would make a huge dent in race relations, as well as move the Democratic Party further to the center. Speaking on CNN two weeks ago, Davis also pointed to Vice President Joe Biden's controversial comments–in which he told a Virginia crowd that Romney's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains"–as an example of why Davis is disappointed in the current administration.

"It ought to embarrass President Obama," Davis said. "President Obama has talked so movingly about our country moving beyond race, and his own vice president makes this kind of comment yesterday? It was wrong and the president ought to be embarrassed by it, and the president ought to say it was wrong."

The 14 caucus members also referenced the former congressman's previous statements of support for Obama and Democratic views on big issues, including Wall Street reform, the stimulus bill, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
"We regret that you have chosen this course, but are confident that the American people see your pronouncements for what they are and come to the same disappointing conclusion of your former colleagues," the letter stated.

The letter was signed by the following members of Congress:

Chairman Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Rep. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Rep Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Rep. James E. Clyburn (SC-06)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Rep. Barbara J. Lee (CA-09)
Rep. John Lewis (GA-05)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY-06)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (AL-07)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)

soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Niko_in_Richmond

    He's a politician. He'll do whatever it takes to make his political objective a reality even if it means betraying all that he as stood or in the past. I wish him well out there in the frozen tundra that is the GOP. I'm sure he'll be right at home.

    August 28, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Here we go again

    Who cares. Good riddance to him.

    August 28, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Most supporters of Mittens are in search of 'Freedom.' To eliminate any social programs the GOP wants to eliminate every program that helps Americans, while pushing for freedom from getting social security and medicare, freedom from women's reproductive rights, freedom from earning a decent wage, freedom from getting an affordable education, freedom from receiving health care, freedom from driving on highways, freedom from public education, freedom from clean air, freedom from environmental protections, and freedom from getting veterans' benefits.

    August 28, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Sniffit

    Truth hurts, eh Davis? Ambition is a cruel mistress.

    August 28, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    He pulled a Ricky Perry.

    As you all know, Perry was once a democrat and when he saw he was not good enough to get elected on the democratic side, he jumped ship.

    Sad part is he may be accepted in Alabama,but he'll never really be 'accepted'.

    August 28, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. BostonianNTheWoodlandsTX

    And oh...whatever you do Davis, don't forget where you come from.

    Have you learned not from Micheal Steele ?

    What people will do just to be the flavor of the month............

    August 28, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. The Elephant in the Room

    Art Davis is one of those "crabs-in-a-barrel" types. He think only of his own, selfish interests and is willing to sell his soul and compromise his integrity to get a small prize. He truly IS a Republican.

    If he were a highly educated & accomplished minority or woman; or a realistic, honorable white male, he`d recognize and admit that the entire GOP establishment was plotting Obama`s demise on his inaguration day and was so arrogant about it that McConnell told us that he would wake up every day seeking to deny the President any "legislative victories". This obstruction had NOTHING to do with the President`s policies – it started way too early for that to be the case.

    All blacks don`t have to be Democrats, nor do all have to like the President. But no self respecting one would give comfort to the GOP after the way they have disrespected Obama. Micheal Steele thought that approach would pay off and you see how they treated him. Nuff said.

    August 28, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Sandy

    Poor Artur Davis. Has sour grapes because his base, read black folks, didn't vote for him. HE LOST THE BLACK VOTE! That ought to prove to people that black folks vote the issues not the person. After supporting democratic causes, Davis decided to pander to the tea party and LOST. HA!

    August 28, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Clay Williams

    On the issue of Members of the Congressional Black Caucus disparaged former Rep. Artur Davis Tuesday, blasting the former Obama supporter for endorsing Mitt Romney this cycle.

    Do you suppose these same people were thinking the same thing when Arlen Spector switched parties to help the Democrats?
    I believe everyone has the right to reconsider their positions and change affiliations.
    You people need to get a life and grow up.

    August 28, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. First

    Did he get a Herman Cain nod from the G.O.P for 2016?

    August 28, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Reaganista

    And these same Democrats have no problem welcoming the backstabber Charlie Crist to speak at their convention who also switched parties as a result of a lost primary, in his case from Republican to independent.


    August 28, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Cory

    buts it ok for Charlie Crist to do the exact same thing?

    August 28, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. HenryMiller

    Why is the Congressional Black Caucus even allowed to exist considering that a hypothetical Congressional White Caucus would be blasted from every direction as racist?

    The only conclusion I can see is that blacks see racism as a tool, to be seen only when it suits their purposes, in this case, when they think it furthers the interests of the Democratic party. They use it so effectively that even noticing it's racist is considered racist.

    August 28, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. Quent

    So he makes the change for racial reasons? This guy is a joke and his reason for switching parties is baseless as the GOP is known for being more politically incorrect when it comes to race. Why is he not upset over all of the racist things said by GOP members about President Obama? Come'on dude and just say you are looking to build your political career. He will remember this when he goes the way of Mike Steele – used and refused.

    August 28, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. DN

    My question is why did Davis switch parties and now so venomous against the Democratic party now? The man appears angry.

    My guess is either Mr. Davis has been a Republican all along but lived in a liberal district so he ran as a Democrat. And then when he lost his bid for Governor to another Democrat, he moved out of state and became his true self: a Republican.

    Either that or this man is mentally ill. To switch so dramatically and with such venom toward the party with which you've been affiliated for so long is disturbing.

    Artur Davis has the right to be affiliated with whichever party he wants, but to flip so extremely on all of the issues should cause even his family alarm (to be more neutral or soft spoken would make sense, but to hate what you spent so long fighting for is shocking. Does this man really now embrace everything he used to fight?

    August 28, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Seattle11

    I hope Mr. Davis loses his next election.

    August 28, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Davis lost in 2010 because he had a serious fund raising problem. Apparently he didn't get major funding support from the national committee in his bid to be Alabama's governer. If he couldn't drum up his own funding support, what does that say about his support among Alabama voters? His campaign fell victim to a bad year for Democrats nationwide. He may have felt some betrayal from the Obama administration, but they had their hands full holding onto the House. He's being played for a sucker, in my opinion. Let's see what happens to his rapport with Republicans after election day, regardless of who wins.

    August 28, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Balanced99

    "president Obama's transition to the far left" – what transition? I think he made a few statements during his campaign for president to make people think he had some thoughts towards the middle – but his actions and affiliations, historically and through his presidency – clearly show him fighting for position way out on the left with Carter, Pelosi and Reed.

    August 28, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. ordman

    It would appear that Mr. Davis has come to understand that the inevitable truth that it’s the progressives that have been keeping minorities in their place since 1865. Welcome to the light Mr. Davis. At first you will feel a little woozy, but that will pass as your common sense returns.

    August 28, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. Independent from NH

    Perfect flip-flopper for Mitt Romney. The Democrats should use this to their advantage to paint Romney as a person who not only IS a chameleon but also a person who surrounds himself with chameleons.

    August 28, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. BigTBone

    Here's the entire Convention for the GOP summed up in the response:

    "your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation"

    The only repubs fit to govern have bailed on the GOP anyways. (Crist, Latourette come to mind)

    August 28, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |

    Hey, you win some, you lose some. We can do fine without Mr. Davis. He's looking out for his own personal political ambitions. He can run for governor next time as a republican and the result will be the same. Maybe worse the next time around.

    August 28, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. TheTraveler

    I have to agree with those who signed the letter. Davis failed as a Democrat and what better party to join than the GOP, a party whom is well known for it's members ambitions for power and control. Plenty of money, corporate sway, a well-heeled power base.

    "The letter comes the same day as Davis, a former member of the caucus himself, is scheduled to speak in a primetime hour of 9 p.m. ET at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida."

    Prime time slot for Davis, great exposure, chance to impress the GOP power brokers and plenty of viewers (read: potential future voters). 'nuff said ...

    August 28, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Wilson

    Of course they blast him, they are racists and see him as being a traitor to his kind. Even though he is actually showing he has more intelligence.

    August 28, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. EBrooks

    Great choice Mr Arthur not being swayed by the no do nothing blacks in congress. I am a BLACK vet voted for obama voting for Mitt this time. What has obama done to help black people NOTHING neither has the black congress.

    August 28, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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