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Topic: Artur Davis

Artur Davis: The Fun Speech

Former Democratic congressman Artur Davis, who was an Obama co-chair in 2008, came on to play the now-standard role of rueful turncoat who knows better than anybody else how problematic his own party’s choice and conduct is. What came out was the first really fun speech of the convention, a lively and punchy sing-song that began by making fun of the Greek columns at the 2008 convention and ends with Obamacare as a betrayal of the bipartisan spirit of JFK and Bill Clinton. Of the convention next week in Charlotte, he said, “The theme song should be this year’s hit, ‘Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.'”

“This is no dark hour,” he said. “This is the dawn before we remember who we are.” Now that’s how you give a stemwinder.

Former Democratic congressman Artur Davis, who was an Obama co-chair in 2008, came on to play the now-standard role of rueful turncoat who knows better than anybody else how problematic his own party’s choice and conduct is. What came out was the first really fun speech of the convention, a lively and punchy sing-song that began by making fun of the Greek columns at the 2008 convention and ends with Obamacare as a betrayal of the bipartisan spirit of JFK and Bill Clinton. Of the convention next week in Charlotte, he said, “The theme song should be this year’s hit, ‘Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.'”

“This is no dark hour,” he said. “This is the dawn before we remember who we are.” Now that’s how you give a stemwinder.

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Artur Davis to Speak at GOP Convention

Artur Davis, the one-time Democratic congressman and 2008 Obama campaign co-chair, has been moving rightward for quite some time. But his speaking slot at the Republican National Convention later this month shows just how much the GOP has embraced him as a Romney surrogate:

“The one thing that I can bring to the table is to be something of a voice for that group of people,” Davis said in announcing his speaking slot. …

At the convention, Davis said he would speak about areas in which he felt Obama had failed to deliver on his promises from 2008.

“President Obama — Senator Obama — ran on two broad themes,” Davis said. “One of those broad themes was reunifying this country. And another broad theme was turning this economy around…. I’ll certainly be talking about those two failures.”

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Artur Davis, the one-time Democratic congressman and 2008 Obama campaign co-chair, has been moving rightward for quite some time. But his speaking slot at the Republican National Convention later this month shows just how much the GOP has embraced him as a Romney surrogate:

“The one thing that I can bring to the table is to be something of a voice for that group of people,” Davis said in announcing his speaking slot. …

At the convention, Davis said he would speak about areas in which he felt Obama had failed to deliver on his promises from 2008.

“President Obama — Senator Obama — ran on two broad themes,” Davis said. “One of those broad themes was reunifying this country. And another broad theme was turning this economy around…. I’ll certainly be talking about those two failures.”

The RNC has sounded this theme throughout the race — most recently with the “It’s Okay to Make a Change” ad directed at disillusioned Obama voters — but the message is far more powerful coming from the person who seconded Obama’s nomination at the 2008 Democratic convention.

Americans for Prosperity is also targeting disenchanted voters with its latest ad campaign that actually includes interviews with former Obama supporters:

The soft, disappointed tone of these ads actually seems more compelling now that the Obama campaign has gone viciously negative in its attacks. It’s as if the Obama campaign is proving these ads — and all those disillusioned voters — correct by destroying the last shred of hope that Obama’s 2008 persona was the real deal.

In fact, it’s probably more effective to use these ads than the ones that blatantly attack Obama. Now that the Romney campaign has a clear message, it doesn’t need to go entirely negative — but the Obama campaign does. The more mud Obama throws, the more he’ll end up turning off independent voters and discrediting himself.

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Why Davis Is Leaving the Democrats

Yesterday, Alana noted the latest fallout from Cory Booker’s critique of the Obama administration on “Meet the Press” and the subsequent, utterly ridiculous “hostage” video he recorded after the Obama campaign reminded him that independent thinking is strongly discouraged in the Democratic Party. Booker’s communications director, Anne Torres, resigned, citing “different views on how communications should be run.”

It wasn’t clear whether Torres objected more to Booker’s defense of capitalism or the cringeworthy apology video–which would have been embarrassing for any communications shop to have on its record–or whether this was merely the last straw in a simmering dispute (possibly about the mayor’s famous obsession with Twitter). But considering that Obama’s Bain attacks made several high-profile Democrats uncomfortable, the fact that Booker was the only one to consent to a walkback video seemed to indicate that the campaign wanted no daylight between Obama and Booker on the issue, even if others strayed from the message. Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray took a look at how race may have affected the campaign’s damage control strategy:

As Senator Barack Obama rose toward power in 2007 and 2008, he was sometimes taken as the avatar of a new generation of African-American leaders.

They were, PBS’s Gwen Ifill wrote, a “Joshua Generation” led by figures from Alabama Rep. Artur Davis to Newark Mayor Cory Booker. They were, like Obama, born too late to participate in the Civil Rights movement, and late enough to benefit from it with blue chip educations and direct paths to power. They were free of the urban machines that had defined black politics in America, and ready for a different and more hopeful sort of politics of race.

But as President Barack Obama struggles to keep his party united around him, few figures have proven more troublesome than that cadre of black leaders, each of whom was seen at some point as a candidate for the post which only Obama will ever hold: First Black President.

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Yesterday, Alana noted the latest fallout from Cory Booker’s critique of the Obama administration on “Meet the Press” and the subsequent, utterly ridiculous “hostage” video he recorded after the Obama campaign reminded him that independent thinking is strongly discouraged in the Democratic Party. Booker’s communications director, Anne Torres, resigned, citing “different views on how communications should be run.”

It wasn’t clear whether Torres objected more to Booker’s defense of capitalism or the cringeworthy apology video–which would have been embarrassing for any communications shop to have on its record–or whether this was merely the last straw in a simmering dispute (possibly about the mayor’s famous obsession with Twitter). But considering that Obama’s Bain attacks made several high-profile Democrats uncomfortable, the fact that Booker was the only one to consent to a walkback video seemed to indicate that the campaign wanted no daylight between Obama and Booker on the issue, even if others strayed from the message. Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray took a look at how race may have affected the campaign’s damage control strategy:

As Senator Barack Obama rose toward power in 2007 and 2008, he was sometimes taken as the avatar of a new generation of African-American leaders.

They were, PBS’s Gwen Ifill wrote, a “Joshua Generation” led by figures from Alabama Rep. Artur Davis to Newark Mayor Cory Booker. They were, like Obama, born too late to participate in the Civil Rights movement, and late enough to benefit from it with blue chip educations and direct paths to power. They were free of the urban machines that had defined black politics in America, and ready for a different and more hopeful sort of politics of race.

But as President Barack Obama struggles to keep his party united around him, few figures have proven more troublesome than that cadre of black leaders, each of whom was seen at some point as a candidate for the post which only Obama will ever hold: First Black President.

But Davis was already uncomfortable with the leftward tilt of the Democratic Party, which had been driving out its moderates for years. After Davis left office, he began writing regularly for National Review, after being a go-to guy for leftish dissent for Politico’s “Arena.” Then rumors swirled that Davis was considering a party registration switch to possibly run for office as a Republican in Northern Virginia. Davis has now confirmed those rumors, and posted on his website a statement of explanation in which he airs his disagreement with the Obama administration (and mainstream Democratic Party) about taxes and healthcare policy as well as the “racial spoils system” the Democrats attempt to exploit each election cycle:

On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You’ve read that in my view, the law can’t continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don’t need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way—it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.

Davis isn’t a Tea Partier–and certainly neither is Booker. But they also have been uneasy about the extent to which the Democratic Party uses identity politics as an end in itself. Obviously, both were hoping Obama would change that. Booker has shown support for school choice and defended Bain because he, like Davis, wants inner-city youth to get a better shot at an education and to have job opportunities thereafter. Obama may not be in danger of losing black voters’ support in November, but the party he leads is going to have to grapple with a new generation of centrist black politicians who are clearly bothered by a status quo–and the Democratic Party’s strict adherence to it–that remains woefully inadequate to their constituents.

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Poll Shows Americans Support Photo ID Voting Requirement

Americans support a photo ID voting requirement, and by a pretty definitive margin, according to a Rasmussen poll out today. While liberals have downplayed the impact of voter fraud and warned that photo ID requirements will disenfranchise minority voters, 73 percent of the voting public says that these laws are not discriminatory:

Despite his insistence that voter fraud is not a serious problem, Attorney General Eric Holder was embarrassed last week when a video surfaced of someone illegally obtaining a ballot to vote under Holder’s name in his home precinct in Washington, D.C. Most voters consider voter fraud a problem in America today and continue to overwhelmingly support laws requiring people to show photo identification before being allowed to vote.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64 percent of Likely U.S. Voters rate voter fraud at least a somewhat serious problem in the United States today, and just 24 percent disagree. This includes 35 percent who consider it a Very Serious problem and seven percent who view it as Not At All Serious. Twelve percent are undecided.

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Americans support a photo ID voting requirement, and by a pretty definitive margin, according to a Rasmussen poll out today. While liberals have downplayed the impact of voter fraud and warned that photo ID requirements will disenfranchise minority voters, 73 percent of the voting public says that these laws are not discriminatory:

Despite his insistence that voter fraud is not a serious problem, Attorney General Eric Holder was embarrassed last week when a video surfaced of someone illegally obtaining a ballot to vote under Holder’s name in his home precinct in Washington, D.C. Most voters consider voter fraud a problem in America today and continue to overwhelmingly support laws requiring people to show photo identification before being allowed to vote.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64 percent of Likely U.S. Voters rate voter fraud at least a somewhat serious problem in the United States today, and just 24 percent disagree. This includes 35 percent who consider it a Very Serious problem and seven percent who view it as Not At All Serious. Twelve percent are undecided.

It’s not a surprise the public is supportive of these laws, as photo IDs are already required for so many day-to-day activities that it seems odd they aren’t already necessary for voting. Progressive activists must sense they’re facing an upward battle to convince Americans that photo ID laws are discriminatory, since they’re now redirecting their attention to convincing corporations. They’re pressuring companies to cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, which supports voter photo ID laws. And the campaign has been fairly successful so far:

Some of America’s best known brands are dropping their membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council at least partly in response to controversy over the group’s backing of voter ID laws. Coca-Cola quit on April 4 and Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Intuit, McDonald’s and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation followed them out after a coalition of left-wing groups launched pressure campaigns. Nine states have passed strict voter ID requirements just since 2011, which opponents say could result in millions being unable to cast ballots in November.

Polls like the Rasmussen one today debunk the idea there’s a vast public groundswell opposed to voter photo ID requirements, but unfortunately, committed groups of noisy activists can still make private companies uncomfortable associating themselves with these laws. At the moment, there isn’t really a comparably-organized counter-movement of voter ID law supporters to push back, but one appears to be in the works. Dave Weigel reports:

The conference will feature some mainstays of the conservative voter integrity circuit. James O’Keefe; former DOJ lawyer/anti-New Black Panther crusader J. Christian Adams; and so on. But the star is Artur Davis, the former Democratic congressman from Alabama who has started irritating his old party by ringing bells about voter fraud.

Artur Davis’s involvement is pretty significant, at least in terms of drawing attention to the campaign. A group of conservatives arguing in favor of voter ID laws is predictable, but Davis can provide a much more persuasive counter-argument as a Democrat and progressive.

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