by Sam Stein of the Huffington Post
Tampa, Fla. — Fourteen members of the Congressional Black Caucus penned a letter to their former colleague Artur Davis on Tuesday morning, accusing him of political opportunism and calling some of his recent policy proclamations “unconscionable.”
The letter is timed for the day that Davis, a former Democratic House member from Alabama turned failed gubernatorial candidate turned current Republican House candidate in Virginia, is set to give an address at the Republican National Convention.
We are writing to express our disdain over several recent comments you have made about the important issues facing voters in November, your total distortion of President Barack Obama’s record, and your complete flip-flop on certain core principles you once held dear. 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.
It’s unconscionable that you now claim Voter ID laws do not violate civil rights or suppress minority voter turnout. Yet in 2007 while still representing Alabama’s 7th congressional district, you joined then-Senator Obama in calling for the resignation of the Justice Department’s Voting Rights chief after he claimed that Voter ID laws did not hurt minorities, saying, “you can’t argue that voter ID laws don’t disfranchise African-Americans.”
You also may recall that less than two years ago, you routinely touted your progressive record as a member of the House of Representatives. You supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Wall Street reform bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and ending tax subsidies for oil companies. Despite voting against the final bill, you even supported major pillars of the Affordable Care Act like banning discrimination against pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid, and providing tax breaks to small businesses that provide health care, to name a few.
Contrary to your recent declarations, you hailed President Barack Obama as a “beacon of leadership,” touted President Obama as your “model,” and widely described the President as a friend. As a member of the House of Representatives, you supported President Obama’s agenda 95% of the time, were quoted saying “I agree with him on everything,” and repeatedly invoked President Obama in your failed gubernatorial campaign.
The 14 CBC members who signed the letter note that there is something incongruous with Davis’ evolution over the past two years. As much as the former congressman was ideologically tough-to-pin down, he did support a wide swath of the Obama agenda, in addition to supporting the president himself. So while the letter may be an attempt to delegitimize him before his big night on the RNC stage, it also seems to reflect a legitimate sense of betrayal felt among these members.