Monday, October 4, 2010

Artur Davis Is Gone--And We Hope He's Never Coming Back

Artur Davis on election night

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) is winding down his Congressional career as he prepares to become a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in Virginia. In what could be called a farewell interview with The Birmingham News, Davis indicates he probably will not return to political life in Alabama.

We have two reactions--"good" and "good riddance."

After getting trounced by Ron Sparks in the Democratic primary for governor, Davis showed that he is both a weak candidate and a sore loser. In his latest interview, he reveals that he apparently isn't all that smart.

Even Davis' most harsh critics have tended to admit that he is a bright guy. But after reading the new interview with reporter Mary Orndorff, we're not so sure about that anymore. Smart people usually learn from their mistakes--especially huge, public mistakes. But Davis sounds as if he has learned nothing from his crash-and-burn campaign for governor.

In fact, Davis seems to have so many sour grapes in his mouth, you wonder how Orndorff could understand a word he said. He predicts that Sparks will lose to Republican Robert Bentley in November. He says Republicans have a "very good chance" of taking over both houses of the Alabama Legislature. And without directly saying it, he seems to imply that such outcomes would have been unthinkable if voters had only recognized the brilliance of . . . Artur "Superman" Davis.

One, or both, of Davis' predictions might come true. But we see no reason to think Artur Davis was the answer to Democrats' problems in Alabama--or anywhere else.

Orndorff fills us in on "Dr. Davis" prescription. And what a hoot it is:

He has two specific warnings for his home-state party. One, he said, it's close to becoming the party that believes only in bingo, represents two or three interest groups and, banging on his Capitol Hill desk for emphasis, "offers the same defeated solutions over and over again and somehow expects to convince a new set of voters on the next go-round."

And what "solutions" was Davis offering? Why, he chose to cozy up to the Business Council of Alabama and other corporate interests while repeatedly shunning Alabama's progressive base. As Dr. Phil would say, "And how . . . is that . . . working out . . . for you?"

As Artur Davis still examines the wreckage of his political career, he might ponder a few news events from the past eight to 10 years:

* America is hit with a series of business scandals--Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and Global Crossing, to name a few;

* America's economy almost collapses when greed and lax regulation cause a crisis in the mortgage industry;

* Gross mismanagement forces bailouts for America's banking and automotive industries;

* Corporate interests, using possibly criminal techniques, buy up state courts and help corrupt the federal justice system from one coast to the other.

This is just a "starter list" of corporate wrongdoing over the past decade. But Artur Davis' answer is to jump in bed with people like Bill Canary, president of the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and a strong ally of Tom Donohue and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

Here is something to ponder, Artur: Alabama business advocate Ralph Stacy, by all accounts a good and decent man, made the mistake earlier this year of jumping in bed with Canary and Donohue. Roughly two weeks ago, Mr. Stacy died from a supposedly self-inflicted gunshot wound at BCA headquarters, in a mystery that the Alabama press and law enforcement seemingly are working overtime NOT to unravel.

I've heard from a number of Mr. Stacy's friends who say they do not believe for a minute that he committed suicide. On top of that, the Montgomery Advertiser has failed to do any serious reporting on an important story that took place in its backyard? Why is that? And you think we need to put more trust in people like Bill Canary and Tom Donohue?

Finally, Davis blames his loss partly on his role in helping to pick federal nominees for the Obama administration. Writes Orndorff:

Davis described the second "untold" story of his loss. After Obama won the White House, those organizations and the Alabama Democratic Party wanted a role in deciding whom to recommend for federal appointments around the state, the classic patronage spoil for the victor. Davis, however, came up with his own selection process, one that was not based inside the party. And then Davis' picks were more often heeded by the White House than the party's.

Get a load of this quote from Davis:

"For the U.S. attorney position in Montgomery, there were some in the Democratic Party who wanted that to be filled by someone who would lay hands off the Democratic Party," Davis said. "I was agnostic about who filled the positions but I wanted a process in place to produce candidates who were Democrats but who were merit-based, selected based on their legal ability."

With Davis largely at the helm, what do we have in terms of federal appointees? Well, Bush lackey Leura Canary still is U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. Joyce White Vance holds office in the Northern District, where she has done little but protect and cover up for her corrupt predecessor, Alice Martin. And I have seen evidence that one Obama nominee to the federal bench, chosen with Davis' help, is little more than a toady for corrupt corporate interests. The notion that these people were chosen for their "legal ability" makes me want to guffaw.

In short, Davis' handling of the federal-nominations process in Alabama has been an unmitigated disaster.

Orndorff leave us with this thought about Davis' future:

He left Alabama for college, returned, and is now leaving it again for a career as a white-collar criminal defense attorney. He may or may not be back.

"If I see evidence that, either because of the way people react to this election or another combination of reasons, that there has been fundamental change in leadership and direction of the Democratic Party in Alabama and it's still in my heart to serve the state, then I'll make some phone calls," Davis said.

His bottom line?

"Simply because you lose doesn't mean you're wrong."

Artur, you lost--and you were wrong. Do us all a favor: Find a comfy place to live in Virginia, lick your wounds, and stay the hell away from Alabama--at least our political world. We have plenty of corporate suck-ups down here. We don't need another one.


Redeye said...

I HOPE we don't get another corporate suck up.....

Johnny Smith said...

Artur Davis once had promise, but he lost all credibility when he tried to remake himself into a Blue Dog before the party primaries. If only 1/3 of the voters of his own party supported his bid for governor, what makes him so confident he could have won the general election? If he ever wants to return to public service, he needs to get over himself and grow a thicker skin.

Redeye said...

You spoke too soon LS, He's back.
Share 43 Comments "Any candidate for high office this year, including my party's candidates for Governor and Attorney General, need to do the right thing and return any contributions they have received from any of the defendants named today," Davis said. "Voters who are wrestling with their choices will be watching to see if the people who would lead our state have the independence and the integrity to separate themselves from corruption."

Davis was defeated by Ron Sparks in the June primary for the Democratic nomination for governor. Sparks has said he would support strongly regulating and taxing gaming in the state.