Many Years Too Late, the Black Caucus Turns on Artur Davis
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The 14 Black Caucus members are incensed that Davis has turned officially Republican after having called Barack Obama his ‘model’ and ‘friend.’”
One-third of the Black representatives on Capitol Hill are pretending to be outraged that one of their former colleagues, Artur Davis, secured a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, in Tampa. In a letter sent out, and probably composed, by the Democratic National Committee, the 14 congresspersons cite Davis’ “complete flip flop” on “core principles” that he supposedly once held, turning his back on his own “progressive record” as a member of the House from 2003 to 2011.
The fact is, Artur Davis was always among the worst, most right-wing members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Along with Harold Ford, Jr., of Memphis, and David Scott, of Atlanta, Davis consistently scored at the bottom of the CBC Monitor’s periodic Report Card. He was a Blue Dog Democrat, like Harold Ford, a magnet for bankers’ money, like David Scott, and a champion of corporate America – like Gregory Meeks, the New York congressman who signed this week’s letter denouncing Davis.
Like Georgia’s David Scott, Davis came to Congress with the class of 2002, the year the first tidal wave of corporate money flooded selected Black districts, defeating Cynthia McKinney, in Atlanta, and almost electing Cory Booker in his first run for mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Davis won by vastly outspending progressive congressman Earl Hilliard, but still managed to lose the majority of the African American vote in his Black Belt Alabama district.
“He was a Blue Dog Democrat, like Harold Ford.”
In 2010, Davis lost his primary bid for the governorship because he, essentially, told Black Democrats – who make up the core of the party in Alabama – to kiss his butt.
The 14 Black Caucus members are incensed that Davis has turned officially Republican after having called Barack Obama his “model” and “friend.” But, they were political friends. Davis was picked by Obama’s alter ego and future White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, as co-chair of the southern region of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in 2005. He was put there to recruit and finance other right-wing Black politicians like himself, and to silence Black southern progressive voices in the party. That’s what the Rahm Emanuel-Barack Obama wing of the party wanted – so, yes, Davis was a friend.
And it paid off for him. Every corporate media story on Black politics grouped Davis among the new crop of “business-friendly” young Black Democratic up-and-comers like Harold Ford, Jr., Cory Booker and, of course, Barack Obama.
If Davis had played his cards right, he could have landed a prestigious appointment in Obama’s administration, or found a plush job with the Democratic National Committee or a Wall Street firm, as did his soul mate, Harold Ford. But Davis thought he could run for Alabama governor as a Democrat while telling Blacks that he didn’t plan to do anything for them once he got in office. There’s only one Black man with those kinds of skills – and Artur Davis is no Barack Obama. However, politically, they’re from the same side of the barn. Obama wants to create a grand coalition with the GOP, while Davis has settled for a speaking date at their convention.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to Black Agenda Report.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.