Posts Tagged ‘Artur Davis’
May 19th, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Artur Davis: Don’t Dismiss These Scandals

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis has done a smart, well-reasoned analysis of the underlying meaning(s) of Barack Obama’s week of scandals. He rightly notes that “Obama’s administration struggles mightily with the threshold concept of accountability.”


The emerging argument, which seems to be that the Obama White House was detached enough to rely on the expertise of its department heads to resolve the dilemmas around each event in the current spotlight, would sound strained even if it came during a presidency that was famously disengaged….

More fundamentally, the “we left it to our division heads defense” would not excuse any executive leadership in the public or private sector from the imperative of setting values and standards of conduct for decisions made inside the organization’s own walls, and policing the extent to which those standards survive.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that at a minimum, if you credit its defense, that this government seems more rudderless than could have been imagined eleven days ago.

Also of great note, Davis rightly focuses on a supremely important facet of the Benghazi scandal that the establishment media seems to have willfully ignored, even though it is one of the most despicable aspects of the administration’s longer-term response to the attack:

Even if one buys the rationalization that Benghazi was only so much internecine backbiting between two old rivals, the State Department and CIA, that rationalization entirely omits the evidence that a career diplomat was punished for raising internal questions about security in advance of the Libyan attack, as well as about the unofficial chronicle, or “talking points”, regarding what led to the assault. What kind of leadership is oblivious to the immediate fortunes of a reasonably high ranking whistleblower?

Of course, this is hardly the first time that this administration has tried to bully whistleblowers. They did it to Justice Department whistleblowers J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates; they did it to five (!) different Inspectors General; and they at the very least undermined a whistleblower in the St. Paul, Minnesota case that has so badly (and rightly) harmed the confirmation prospects for Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez.

Anyway, Davis has a lot of other insights well worth reading in his post.

January 30th, 2013 at 5:37 pm
Another Home Run by Artur Davis

At NRO, former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis tells important truths to conservatives — namely, that we need to learn how to talk to people who aren’t already on our side and who are not of natural cultural affinity with us (not that they are necessarily culturally against us, but just that they aren’t automatically in cultural concert with us either).

Many of them work with their hands, and their backs and legs and feet hurt at the end of the day. They worry not about freedom, but about the depleted state of their savings. They don’t carry around a pocket copy of the Constitution, but they know that too many of their tax dollars go to Washington, and is it such a quaint thought that they want a return on their investment and want government to work for their interests?

What do we have to say to them, the people who work with their hands….?

Davis is right. Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal are saying similar things, with Ryan naturally recalling the themes of his late, great mentor, Jack Kemp.

I’ll throw out an issue conservatives need to do better at. We, myself definitely included, have made lots of justifiable noise about the dangers of vote fraud. We cannot back down on that issue no matter how many media people spread cheap shots about how our real goal is “vote suppression.” BUT…. BUT…. BUT, we also must show that we are intensely interested in making sure that as many people who legitimately qualify to vote find it as easy as possible to register and vote — and we must particularly try to figure out how to make voting not such a chore, so that nobody is forced to stand in line for hours just to participate in the electoral process. If there are any left-leaning people who seriously want to reach out and find solutions rather than bash us, we should find them, and see if we can find common ground. If they will admit the indisputable fact that vote fraud is a problem, and help us fight against it, we should admit that our voting system is often too complicated or convoluted.

Anyway, that’s going astray from what Davis said. But it’s just one example, admittedly on a second-tier issue (for most people), of how conservatives should try to broaden our reach. More importantly, we should likewise try to broaden our reach on economics, on opportunity, and on health care, among other major topics.

I’ll end with by quoting Davis again:

The world that Obama does not see in his progressive manifesto, the world that he barely acknowledges or address, it is the space that we can occupy as conservatives if we will only claim it.

January 14th, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Artur Davis Defends Tea Partiers

The ever-thoughtful former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who is definitely of the center-right rather than the Tea Party right, nonetheless does a nice job defending the energy and many of the motivations of Tea Party activists in this essay at his web site.

The shortest distance in modern politics is the one between a Republican willing to denounce his party for extremism and the set of a cable or Sunday morning talk show. The gift of exposure is waiting for the cheap ticket of describing today’s Republicans as an intolerant set of know-nothings whom one no longer recognizes…. One modest proposal for Republican moderates: spend more time traveling the side roads to the buffet chains and libraries where, for example, local Tea Parties organize. The virtue of the trip, for a moderate, would be a discovery that a Tea Party conclave is as likely to include a civil engineer, or retired university professor as is the regular party committee, and far more likely to contain volunteers than are the luncheons of platinum level donors. Among other discoveries, to draw on personal experience, the presence of people like one Tea Party activist in Virginia, whose other major volunteer engagement is a network in Richmond for tutoring homeless young adults; or a Tea Party activist in Fairfax County who risked a lucrative career in business development over exposing a client’s wage scale that systematically discriminated against blacks.

Davis does not specifically refer to Colin Powell’s demagogically unfair remarks on Meet the Press yesterday, but his essay’s message (if not its direct intent, which surely had nothing to do with Powell) stands as a tacit rebuke to the Powells of the world who rush to denounce and smear good, decent Americans.

Again, though, that’s not the point of his essay. The point is that centrists and rightists should work to find common ground and build on that, rather than seek areas of disagreement and bash each other over those disagreements.  (As it so happens, I have an essay coming out in the February print edition of The American Spectator that makes a plea for a similar approach.) He’s correct, and his constructive advice is one that everybody right of center ought to take to heart.

September 26th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
Powerful Long-Form Ad

It’s amazing how many different styles, lengths, and messages are part of the new political ad landscape. Here’s an example that goes beyond the usual 30-second or 60-second spot, into a 270-second segment. Fairly impressive stuff. Also worth noting is the strong appearance by former Democratic Congressman Artur Davis. I don’t know why the Romney campaign doesn’t make more use of him.

This phenomenon of new ad approaches, from a purely neutral standpoint, is well worth watching. How well will these new approaches work? I bet some of them work well…..

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August 30th, 2012 at 12:24 pm
Reihan Salam Gets Artur Davis Right

Great column by Reihan Salam on how to interpret former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis’ switch to the Republican team.

The simple truth is that as the Obama years wore on, Davis found himself agreeing more and more with right-of-center figures like Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Their tough-minded, whatever-works pragmatism resonated with his experiences, while the Obama administration’s highly ideological approach did not. Davis anticipates, in his words, “the rise of a reform-oriented center-right that is bent on restoring accountability and market principles to public systems” over the next decade.

I have known Davis longer and at least slightly better than most of my conservative brethren. I have been hoping, and at least half-expecting, him to move rightward for years. I think he is very sincere. I will note that he first was elected by bucking the black Democratic machine, and that he supported controversial judicial nominee (now federal appellate judge) Bill Pryor even as the national left was badly smearing the nominee. He also had the grace and integrity, along among Democrats, to apologize, once the financial crisis broke, for having opposed reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier in his congressional career. These were the actions, all along, of a man looking for some sort of a reformist polity near the center of the political spectrum — and, if you spoke to him, you always got the sense that he was at least open to arguments from the right, especially if they came from people of good will.

Anyway, Salam’s whole column got it right. Well worth a read. Again, see the link at the top of this blog post.

August 29th, 2012 at 4:47 pm
The RNC Speeches MSNBC Didn’t Want You to See

The utra-liberal anchors at MSNBC, led by Chris “I-feel-thrills-up-my-leg-when-Obama-speaks” Matthews, abandoned all sense of journalistic integrity long ago.  But they’ve stooped to new lows with their coverage of the Republican convention in Tampa, where they’ve ramped up their election-year campaign to label Republicans racist.

 As Ed Morrisey put it over at Hot Air:

 The cast and management at MSNBC really, really want their viewers — all 20 of them now, I believe — to understand that the Republican Party is raaaaaaaaaaaacist, and that the GOP convention is nothing more than a bunch of white men talking and applauding.  They are so desperate to sell their meme latent Republican racism that they simply averted their eyes every time a speaker that didn’t fit their lone talking point took the stage.

Matthews, Maddow and Co. not only averted their own eyes, they blacked out (oops, too insensitive?) cut their convention coverage almost every time a prominent Republican minority took the podium.

So on the off chance that you are one of the few people tuned into MSNBC for convention coverage, we herewith present you with several of the speeches MSNBC didn’t want you to see:





February 24th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Affirmative Action, a Middle View

The always thoughtful, always interesting former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama has a superb essay on affirmative action, in response to the Supreme Court announcing it will hear a new case challenging race-based admissions. Davis is more in the middle on the issue than I am — I am dead set against using race as a factor in any way, pro or con, because I believe in absolute legal color-blindness — but he does make good points to the effect that the lack of ANY racial consciousness probably would have the short-term effect, at some schools, of a lower rate of black admissions and enrollments.

One thing he missed, though, is the strong evidence that black students, or any students for that matter, admitted to more competitive institutions than they otherwise would qualify for tend, in turn, to fail at higher rates — whereas if they went to slightly less competitive institutions, they succeed, and end up better off in the long run. In fact, in the Texas case heading to the Supreme Court, three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow, Todd Gaziano) make that point exactly.

Without discussing that point, though, Davis still notes that there are plenty of less competitive, but perfectly competent schools, that will indeed take students turned down by, say, the Ivy League schools, and then writes:

But the reflexive instinct that ending race conscious college admissions is a disaster in the making? It’s no longer a serious claim. Even a full-scale retreat would hardly disenfranchise African American students or consign them to sub-par schools that lack adequate resources. The market of higher education is much too robust for that. 

This is great stuff. Conservatives do need to recognize that it is important, in one way or another, to ensure that opportunities are not closed, for cultural or whatever other reasons, to black Americans. (Other reasons might include semi-legitimate practices such as preferences for “legacy” candidates.) Those of us who oppose affirmative action should always keep in mind that even if racism isn’t at work, black Americans proportionately do seem to suffer from fewer opportunities, in practice, than white ones. This doesn’t mean the law should discriminate in their favor, but it does mean the culture still needs work.

Meanwhile, let’s hope the high court does the right thing and strikes down the racial preferences in Texas…..

January 9th, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Artur Davis Calls Foul on Racism Theme

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, a moderate Democrat, has been on a roll of late in exploding liberal shibboleths, from the false claim that voter ID laws are racist ploys (and that vote fraud is nonexistent) to the idea that Rick Santorum can’t appeal to the political center. His latest, at NRO, takes on a recent, scurrilous column by the NY Times’ Andy Rosenthal, claiming that most opposition to Barack Obama is race-based. Davis blows away Rosenthal’s allegation, here.

For instance:

To be sure, some of Obama’s enemies have depicted him in dumb, outrageous ways. Their bad behavior ought to be denounced, but accuracy demands that this be done in the context of rejecting the personal demonization that is par for the course in partisan politics. Rosenthal does civility a disservice by deploying it narrowly, to make a smear of his own, and by falsely suggesting that the toxicity in politics is a right-wing product.

Davis, who was the first member of Congress outside of Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois to endorse Obama for president, is no closet conservative. When conservatives stray from decency or honesty, I expect him to call us on it with the same verve that he has been calling “foul” on the left in recent months — and we will certainly deserve it, because Davis doesn’t take cheap shots. There is, for instance, racism that remains on the right, and we all have an obligation to call it out when we see it. But for the charge to carry weight, it should not be diluted by false accusations that deprive the charge of its power and weight. Kudos to Davis for trying to keep the conversation honest.

October 21st, 2011 at 7:28 pm
A Big Vote for Voter ID

In what should be seen as a tremendously significant development on the Voter ID front, former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, a (black) Democrat from Alabama and long one of the “good guys” on the left-of-center side of things (smart, honest, thoughtful, etc.), wrote this week in the Montgomery Advertiser that he now supports a requirement (as passed in Alabama) for a voter ID law in order to fight voter fraud.

The money paragraph:

Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights — that’s suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.

This is a big development. It completely contradicts the Obama/Wasserman-Schultz/Bill Clinton narrative that voter ID laws are somehow an evil plot to suppress votes. Instead, ensuring honest elections, as Davis writes, are the best way to fight AGAINST vote suppression.

There will be much more to say on this subject, including Artur Davis’ brave stance, in the coming weeks. But I didn’t want to let this week go by without highlighting it — especially since Davis will be my guest on my weekly radio show this coming Thursday night on 106.5 FM, WAVH, in Mobile, at 8 pm Central time. When the time comes, you can listen online here.

Davis, is should be said, has good reason for his views. He has seen, and rightly objects to, massive vote fraud in Perry and Hale Counties in Alabama, some of which is recounted in the great new book by J. Christian Adams, Injustice, blasting Eric Holder’s lawless Justice Department.

Anyway, please do listen in next Thursday night. And stay tuned to this space as well, because this is a subject that needs more attention.