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. Duane

    Well most politicians, in my view, are in it for their own good, not the good of the people...Yeah, they say they are, but at the end of the day, many are just as slimy as Artur Davis...At the end of the day, no matter what side they are on, it seems that they aren't on the side of the American people, especially Congress.

    August 28, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. tony

    Political offices should be assignedt at regular intervals by computer random selection to highly qualified people only, who would prefer not to do it Just like we make citizens perform jury duty now. Then we'd have democracy.

    August 28, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. oldvet10

    Well said DRTSAT! My country, may it always be right but always my country. Both parties have forgotten their country

    August 28, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    DENNA- I worked 55 years before retiring and like you paid into Medicare and Social Security because I had no choice. The two systems are in dire trouble, and if not reformed or modified, will just go away. Ignoring the problem and raiding Medicare of $716 Billion to fund Obamacare was a total disaster. So I'll vote for Romney/Ryan.

    August 28, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Changecoming

    Mr. Davis knows a failure when he sees it. Obama has been an abject failure, Davis realizes the only hope for AMERICA is a change to Romney.

    August 28, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Bill, NY

    Hey before LBJ supported civil rights Republicans were democrats and Democrats were Republicans. The Republican party was commandeered by social conservatives unhappy with what LBJ had done. The Republican party was originally formed by ex slaves and abolitionists because there was no political group that represented their political beliefs. As for Mr. Davis's change of heart, it is still allegedly a free country. As a person of color I wish him the best.

    August 28, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. truth hurts

    >daveinla - BCC has always been a very intolerant organization.

    The Democrat Party has always been a very intolerant organization.

    August 28, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Akaej47

    He will find out the same thing Michael Steele learned..if Obama was not elected to the office, Steele would have never been chosen to become the head of the RNC. It was under his watch that the GOP took the house and how did they repay him.....they fired him. They used him and that's what they do....

    August 28, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Jeff E

    What a crock. Either you're for equality for everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sex orrientation, or you're not. Either you're for equality in healthcare, or you're not. Either you're for preventing corporate America from destroying our environment for profit, or you're not. Either you're for everyone having the same quality of education, regardless of race, religion, gender, sex orrientation, or you're not. Either you're for everyone having the same chances to make it in this world, without money being the primary factor to determine that, or you're not.

    Clearly, and without a doubt, the Republicans are not, it's not about the party you're in, it's about right and wrong, and the Democrats are right, and the Republicans are wrong!

    August 28, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Lean6

    While agree that Davis is apparently just another sleezebag opportunistic politician, the black caucus just simply shouldn't exist in 2012. As a 40-year old liberal-leaning Black person myself, I think they're an anachronism, pure and simple. You can't try to argue for a post-racial America and have the existence of the black caucus within Congress. You're lying to yourself if you believe anything else.

    August 28, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Jeff of Peor ia

    By all means DO NOT THINK FOR YOURSELF. Make sure the Dems do that for you. That's what they're there for.

    August 28, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. bb

    Artur Davis is switching parties for one reason and one reason only, he needs a job. His political career within the Democratic Party has come to the end of the road.

    August 28, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    Both parties have let down their members because they both are now next door neighbors in the grey area in the middle where they both end up doing nothing.

    Example: after the recent shootings by armed citizens did Romney declare solid support for the NRA and did Obama offer a clear message for gun control as you might think (and they would like you to think)?

    After all the empty words, this is in fact the common concrete message they gave out to the American People: " ".

    August 28, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. John

    You cannot sit here and type that he has had a legitimate change of heart. He is a bitter opportunist. Obama has not done anything farther to the left than he campaigned for. Most Democrats are angry he has not been more to the left. Bringing up the Biden remark is another obvious weak excuse which shows it is not a legitimate change of ideology.

    August 28, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Mike Buck

    Welcome to the Theocracy Empire of America (TEA) Party.

    August 28, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. UDidntBuildThat

    Reggie from LA
    U do realize that Obama could not be blocked fr passing anything in his 1st 2 yrs in office b/c he controlled the House and the Senate? U do realize that Obama refused to work with the Repub the 1st 2 yrs of his admin and told them we won. There is a stalemate in Congress and the guy at the top Obama is 100% to be blamed. Remember the empty rhetoric of "not red states, not blue states but the United states"? Obama is the most divisive President ever. He has no shame. Now he is trying to ride the coat tails of Clinton. pathetic!

    August 28, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Thunderbolt

    Yeah Yeah the republicans did it, the republicans did it. I'll act like I don't know Barney Frank and all his abuses and stupid policies. I'll act like I don't know who was behind the housing bubble and the dems blocking efforts for years to do something before it failed. I'll try not to remember who made the rules that made banks loan money on houses that they knew couldn't be paid back. I'll forget Acorn, Freddy, Fanny. For Obama's sake I'll try to forget travesties like Fast and Furious, and solyndra. I wonder why the CEO's took the fifth....don't you? How about Fast and Furious. Executive privelege when Obama said he knew nothing about it. Look at Holder and this administrations defiance to enforce the rules and laws that was already on the books when he took office. Yeah, if the republicans did it, it was because of compromising when they should have said hell no!

    August 28, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. tor5

    I agree that Biden shouldn’t have gone there with his “in chains” comment. Dems shouldn’t play this game. But it’s a little hard to believe that this had anything to do with Davis’s switch to the Republicans. After all, Republicans are the undisputed champions of the race card. They’re constantly trying to think of ways to subtly or shamelessly inject it in any campaign where it might help. Of course, Davis knows this.

    August 28, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Lance

    This is the reaction one should expect if they choose to "leave the plantation".

    August 28, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Ben

    Common sense. He didn't get the democratic nomination so he is out there talking nonsense and even endorsing a dishonest Romney. Who cares!!

    August 28, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. linda Collins

    Seems to me he's asking VP Biden to apologize for telling the truth. His defection is only going to hurt Race-relations and is self-serving. I guess when he doesn't get the governors seat as a republican he'll switch back. Obviously he blames the party for his loss instead of his own failure to capture the voters.

    August 28, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. cnnmembuh

    You gotta wonder about polls suggesting that zero percent of black voters will vote for Romney. Zero! I mean, certainly a lot of whites voted for and will vote again for Obama. It makes one question who really views this election through the racial prism?

    August 28, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Reality

    Ancient Texan – You are mistaken. The $716 billion was reduced costs to Medicare, not a funding cut. A funding cut is what Romney/Ryan want to do so they can cut taxes on the wealthy. So you vote for them, you show 'em. They will thank you all the way to the bank – THEIR BANK.

    August 28, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Frankly, it sounds like he wasn't much of a Democrat anyway. The Congressional Black Caucus has always had a problem with Black Republicans (Edward Brooke, Gary Franks, JC Watts, Allen West, etc). They were invited to the lunches, but were not allowed to remain for policy discussions. If they want to be taken more seriously, they really need to reevaluate their inclusion policies concerning Black Republicans.

    August 28, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. zisee

    Well, Mr, Davis, I am proud of you for standing up for your beliefs and not letting anyone bully you. Bravo to you!!!!!!!!!

    August 28, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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