Blue Dog Artur Davis Refuses to Go Away Quietly
I'm not quite sure what's more disgusting about this interview -- former Blue Dog Artur Davis pretending that there is anything besides some self-serving motivation and making sure he gets some more face time on cable television with his proclamation that he's now officially a Republican, or Wolf Blitzer for allowing him to come on and pretend he was ever anything other than a corporate shill that most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party would have welcomed leaving a long time ago.
It looks like we've got a new Joe Lieberman wanna' be on our hands who's going to happily come on the air and pretend the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left with with those in our corporate media like Blitzer happy to play along.
For anyone that would like some background on Davis that isn't already familiar with him, I'll just refer readers to these two posts:
Transcript of Davis' hackery with Blitzer below the fold.
BLITZER: And joining us now is Artur Davis, the former Democratic Congressman from Alabama. You served four terms as a Democrat in Congress.
You gave this beautiful speech, seconding the nomination of Barack Obama to be the Democratic presidential nominee, and now you say you're not going to vote for him the next time around. Why?
ARTUR DAVIS (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, two things. Number one, my decision to leave the Democratic Party, I don't want to suggest for one second it's simply about Barack Obama or the presidential race.
You mentioned I come from the state of Alabama. People in Alabama routinely don't vote for the Democrat for president and turn around and still stay in their party. You don't leave a party simply because of one candidate and one election.
I made a decision a few weeks ago to leave the Democratic Party and become Republican for a variety of reasons. Yes, I am going to vote for Mitt Romney.
But my disagreements with the Democratic Party aren't simply about the nominee for president, the president of the United States. It's about a range of things, the economy, education, pretty much every issue that we debate right now.
Wolf, I started out as a conservative southern Democrat. I used to be room for conservative southern Democrats in the Democratic Party. By the time I left the party, I didn't see that room there anymore.
BLIZTER: So what did the president do that has so disappointed you?
DAVIS: Again, I won't make it just about the president. I don't want to make a judgment on the president.
BLITZER: I'm sure you agonized on the decision whether or not you could vote again for this president.
DAVIS: Sure. Well, let me put it in perspective and tell you why I got behind Barack Obama. And I'd be the first to say I got behind him enthusiastically five years ago and worked as hard as I could.
BLITZER: I remember that in a speech you gave.
DAVIS: Sure, the reason I got behind him was two folds. Number one, perhaps naively, I believed that if Barack Obama got elected it would completely change race relations in this country.
Number two, I believed that the Democratic Party would change, because I believed perhaps naively and mistakenly, that Barack Obama represented the kind of center wing of the Democratic Party that I thought that Bill Clinton represented.
In fact, I told a number of friends at the time that Barack Obama pulled off the ultimate ingenious trick of running Bill Clinton against Hillary Clinton.
Well, fast forward four years later, I think the Obama administration has candidly gone too far to the left. You can raise all kinds of questions whether it's good politics or not, but obviously the election will determine that.
But I happen to think it's been too far to the left. I think he's taken the party too far to the left. And so that's the main reason.
BLITZER: Do you just feel more comfortable as a Republican?
DAVIS: Yes. Like so many other people, I didn't get what I voted for. You know, there are millions of us who voted for Barack Obama four years ago.
Gallup's approval rating last time I checked, a few days ago, had President Obama at 45 percent approval. So that means the 53 percent who voted for Obama, literally close to 10 million people have left his camp. I'm one of many, many people.
BLITZER: Did you have a close relationship with the president?
DAVIS: No. In fairness, I couldn't say that.
BLITZER: Did you ever talk to him at all?
DAVIS: I had great respect for the president. Don't want to any way suggest we had a close personal relationship, but nor do I want to suggest anything other than this.
I have great respect for the president as a person. I have great respect for the president's family. I think Barack Obama is an admirable role model for not just African-Americans, but all kinds of people in our country.
So, you know, we have a tendency to personalize all these things. Well, because I'm going to vote against Barack Obama, I hate Barack Obama. Most Americans don't and I certainly don't. These are policy disagreements.
BLITZER: Before I get to the next question, did you call him? Valerie Jarrett, any of the White House aides and say I just want to give you a heads-up? This is what I'm doing?
DAVIS: No, because I'm not important enough frankly to do that.
BLITZER: You ran for governor of Alabama. Not successfully, but that's pretty important.
DAVIS: I have a lot of respect for the administration. They have more important things to worry about like the economy. Like the rest of the world beginning to unravel. They have a lot more things to worry about than one guy who lost an election two years ago.
BLITZER: It's not every day that a prominent African-American like you says publicly I'm going to become a Republican. I'm leaving Alabama, living now in Virginia and I'm going to vote for Romney as opposed to Barack. You understand why this is so fascinating?
DAVIS: Sure. None of them are life decisions. You know, you don't leave a political party. A political party is a lot of attachment. It's a lot of relationships you build up over time.
But again, I want to put this in perspective. Roughly 10 million Americans, if I'm doing the math right, and I went to Harvard so my math could be badly wrong.
But roughly 10 million Americans who were in President Obama's camp in 2008 are no longer there. Because I used to be a politician and I was active in the campaign for a period of time, there's a little bit of attention to what I do.
There are 10 million of us who are making this move. In fact, it may be the most important voting bloc for the Romney campaign right now. The left were directly Democratic Party.
BLITZER: Not a whole lot of African-Americans.
DAVIS: Not yet. I'll be very candid with you. President Obama, no matter what polls show today, I expect to get 96 percent, 97 percent of the African-American vote. I expect that.
But I do think that after President Obama leaves the scene, win or lose, he will not on a ballot again. After he leaves the scene, I do think African-Americans are prepared to look seriously at the Republican Party, as are Latinos, if the Republican Party earns those votes.
Now, that's going to mean a comfort level talking about poverty and talking about how prosperity is the best way to combat poverty. I do agree with part of what Jeb Bush said last week.
The one part I agree with, I do think the Republican Party that has to look at Newt Gingrich's way of talking about immigration and not necessarily the arguments that were made in the primaries.
I don't think conservatives ought to be in the business of breaking up families. Conservatives shouldn't be in the business of disrespecting the fact --
BLITZER: You like what the president did last Friday?
DAVIS: Well, I don't like the way he did it. But I would tell you what, frankly, I wish Governor Romney had done. I wish Governor Romney had gotten on stage with Marco Rubio and frankly, announced the same thing a few weeks ago.
He would do it by executive order, but announce that he would go to Congress. Frankly, all President Obama did last Friday was adopt Marco Rubio's version of the Dream Act. Well, I voted for the Dream Act.
I think Marco Rubio's version of the Dream Act is a good compromise. It was the president given credit for it.
BLITZER: Artur Davis, good luck. Do we expect you running for office any time soon?
DAVIS: You know, some people have asked me to. Right now, I don't have any plans running for office. Two years ago, everybody told me I was unelectable so maybe we'll find out.
BLITZER: That would be in Alabama. Virginia may be different.
DAVIS: We will see. We will see.
BLITZER: Thanks for joining us.
DAVIS: Thank you.
If Davis is actually stupid enough to think that electing a black president was going to fix race relations in America, not only is he delusional, he's also blaming the wrong party for that not happening and he just joined the one at fault for it. He deserves to have his picture posted in the dictionary under the definition of "self loathing" if he actually believes what he said here and isn't just spouting nonsense to make sure he gets on television and his real reasons for claiming he's a Republican now.
Blitzer asked him if he's planning on running for office again. For the sake of the voters unfortunate enough to live in his district in Virginia and for the rest of the country that could do with a few less corporatist Blue Dogs in office, let's hope the answer ends up being no.
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