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Artur Davis
Failed Alabama governor candidate Artur Davis

Former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis is either trying to out-Harold Ford Harold Ford by being a Democratic turn-coat, or he's auditioning for a slot on Fox News. Or maybe this is all just sour grapes because he lost in a Democratic primary to Ron Sparks when he ran in 2010.

Anyway, Davis made news last week (the only news he's made since losing in the primary) by writing an editorail in the Montgomery Advertiser alleging that voter suppression laws were perfectly reasonable. That's because, he says, "the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt."

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.

Ah, he's "heard" about voter fraud happening in Alabama's African-American community. So Dave Weigel asked him "who are the vote fraudsters?" Like that would work.

"I choose not to make allegations regarding specific individuals in the media," Davis told me, via e-mail. "As you might guess, the purpose of my editorial was to voice an opinion and to state the foundation for it, not to engage in name calling. Anyone who is even a casual observer of Alabama politics, however, knows quite well the frequency of absentee ballot charges and convictions within counties in the congressional district I represented, specifcially Hale, Greene, Lowndes, Perry, and the Bessemer areas within Jefferson County."

TPM also asked Davis that key question, and got an even better answer.

“I know that those are the talking points that some groups opposed to my article have disseminated and I choose not to play that game with you or them,” Davis told TPM in an email. “It strikes me as the ‘shoot the messenger’ politics both the left and the right deploy and I hope you will do me the courtesy of printing my reply."

Because asking for evidence is just the same as shooting the messenger. In fairness to Davis, there was a case in the 1990s of absentee ballot fraud in Greene County, Alabama, a case that the Heritage Foundation and Hans von Spakovsky (the Bush administration Justice Department's go-to guy for voter suppression) keep citing. Since actual voter fraud, particularly the kind of individual fraud that all these new voter ID and registration restriction laws would address almost never happens.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is Davis working for Fox? (11+ / 0-)

    Or just auditioning?

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:04:36 PM PDT

    •  He Should Be (7+ / 0-)

      Is Davis working for Fox?

      ... or consider joining the Republican Party.

      (click link to enlarge cartoon)
      Hat tip - The Liberal Curmudgeon

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam - A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

      by JekyllnHyde on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:35:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  just doing republicans dirty work (0+ / 0-)

      heard barraso touting ford's editorial yesterday...

      they are not slick...they are getting paid off to write this nonsense...they are just pissed off they lost...

      "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

      by justmy2 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:25:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, he's just working for himself (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM, zizi, esquimaux, rikyrah

      He's either reading the times exactly right, or exactly wrong.  

      He's an opportunist with no core values. Politics is a business for him - he sees Herman Cain's success and he's going to morph into a Republican now.  There's lots of money in it.  How do you warm the cold, cold heart of major Republican donors?  Voter suppression and union-busting are the flavor of the month right now.

      If he hasn't already, he will start portraying himself as "pro-life" and court value voters next.  

      The GOP is desperate for more black politicians and this is a golden marketing opportunity for him.  Win or lose, he can get a lot of corporate and PAC money if he plays this right.

      In the past, many black Republicans have managed to scam the system and get support from outside of their constituencies.  Think J.C. Watts and Michael Steele.  The Democratic Party in Alabama is in danger of irrelevance, and he's ambitious and soul-less enough to see what he needs to do to keep the business afloat.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:29:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe you're onto something.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        cause Black Republicans are scarce as hens' teeth.
        Davis' defection would bring immediate love and attention from the RNC,
        Fox & Frightwing radio.

        Republicans have the 1% vote locked up.

        by MartyM on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 12:31:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He lost me in 2005 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ivorybill, Calamity Jean

        ... when he voted for that atrocious bankruptcy bill. There was NO constituency for that bill even among conservative Republican voters in Alabama, let alone those in his district. This wasn't one of those hot-button social issues like abortion or gun control that you cut Southern politicians slack on. This was purely to curry favor among corporate donors or to endear him to future employers.

        And the Greene County case and others he cites mostly involved absentee ballot fraud -- which photo ID does nothing to curb -- and such rampant local corruption that it wasn't even very hard to figure out that something was rotten -- way more ballots than there were voters, etc. But because Republicans love absentee ballots, they don't try to come up with any policies to combat fraud in that area. Instead, they focus on the MUCH MUCH rarer crime of at-the-polls fraud.

        Plus, he's even lying or being disingenuous about his throwaway examples of everyday ID requirements. I work at a public library in Alabama, and you do NOT have to have photo ID or any state-issued ID to get a library card. All you need is something that shows your name and current address -- which is all you USED to have to show to vote in the state. Almost everyone could come up with a utility bill or something that had his or her name and address on it. As for writing a check, many of the people who would have trouble supplying the required photo ID don't have bank accounts, so they don't write checks.

        As far as I'm concerned, unless the ID is both completely free of charge AND all the documentation needed is free of charge AND free and easily accessed transportation is available to gather those documents and procure the ID, then it's nothing but a poll tax.  I don't see how anyone can argue that it isn't. And it's not like we're talking about Minnesota or Vermont or places with no particular history of minority voter suppression. This is Alabama. It's not like we don't have a history here. It's been within my lifetime and memory that people in this state were beaten and murdered for even asserting they had the right to vote, let alone exercising it.

        •  Worth a diary (0+ / 0-)

          Agree 100%

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:27:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          As far as I'm concerned, unless the ID is both completely free of charge AND all the documentation needed is free of charge AND free and easily accessed transportation is available to gather those documents and procure the ID, then it's nothing but a poll tax.

          Renewable energy brings national global security.      -6.25, -6.05

          by Calamity Jean on Sun Oct 30, 2011 at 04:07:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  with the 2000 result, election fraud became (5+ / 0-)

    an equal opportunist(sic) activity reaching to the highest levels of government

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:05:34 PM PDT

  •  "I'm the kind of public servant who (12+ / 0-)

    makes allegations.  Not the kind who backs them up."

  •  joan, the answer here is simple. (12+ / 0-)

    african american votes?
    voter fraud.

    why?  because of the first part of the description!

    why, having grown up in the south, we ALL knew that woment didn't have enough "sense" to make up their own minds and should vote with their husbands and if you're black, forget it!

    poll tax
    literacy test

    why?  to keep those pesky negroes from getting anywhere NEAR the ballot box.

    now, it's been expanded to police officers spot checking brown skinned voters at road checks on the way to the polls that have been moved so many times that even those following the letters telling them to avoid the rush and vote the next day are caught up in the net.


    vwb is just the new dwb.

    /snarky anger

    Is GlowNZ back yet?

    by edrie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:08:56 PM PDT

  •  Repeat after me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, twigg, millwood, irishwitch


    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:12:16 PM PDT

  •  Maybe he wants to be Herman Cain's VP. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, irishwitch

    He was going off of the deep end during his last election bid.

  •  Mr. Davis, Harvard on line 1 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, howd, millwood, irishwitch, justmy2

    They want their degrees back. You obviously aren't doing anything useful with them.

    Occupy Wall Street AND K Street!!!!

    by Egalitare on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:27:04 PM PDT

  •  Artur Davis is a fraud (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howd, millwood, justmy2

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:32:36 PM PDT

  •  That must be the reason Democrats win so many (7+ / 0-)

    elections in Alabama.

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:34:01 PM PDT

  •  I am an Alabamian. (6+ / 0-)

    And all I can say is "Oh, this fucker again."

    For the record, he never represented Alabama's "black belt." (So called not really for the racial makeup, but more for the soil.) He's never really known agricultural issues. He's perhaps known poverty in an urban setting (Birmingham), but never rural poverty like that that exists in the black belt.

    He's just bitter over having gotten his ass handed to him in the 2010 gubernatorial primary by Ron Sparks. Indeed, Davis even lost his own congressional district in that primary.

    I ordered enchiladas and I ate 'em. Ali had the fruit punch. - A Tribe Called Quest

    by turnover on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:46:48 PM PDT

    •  Didn't Davis pull a Nixon? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I could've sworn he told us he was moving to New York, and we wouldn't have Artur Davis to kick around anymore.

      But did you mean that he represented the Black Belt in name only? The 7th District does include about half the traditionally designated counties.

      Of course there is also the weird finger that takes in parts of Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties. Without it, my neighborhood in Birmingham might be "represented" by Spencer Bachus.

      Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

      by susanala on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 06:47:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Makes Harold Ford look like he has integrity. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:51:01 PM PDT

    •  not so fast my friend (0+ / 0-)

      "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

      by justmy2 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:26:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's not ridicule and pooh-pooh this stuff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let's debunk it where it doesn't exist, and stamp it out in the few places it does occur.

    I know in my area there were a few outbreaks a number of years ago when supporters of one AA candidate were out "helping" an awful lot of seniors fill in absentee ballots to defeat the other AA candidate (seniors who later said they never knowingly voted at all, or supported a different candidate). Right now we are having a big uproar because a losing Latino candidate charged his Latino opponent with fraudulent practices - and lo-n-behold some members of the winners family have openly bragged (on FB!) that they lied about their address so they could vote in their relative's district.

    We need to take such charges seriously, investigate as needed, and ensure if such crap happens it doesn't happen in our party or on our watch.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 06:00:32 PM PDT

  •  I believe there are still many (4+ / 0-)

    in Alabama who feel that black people voting at all is voter fraud!

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 06:33:07 PM PDT

  •! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wonder would he still be bitter if those fraudulent voting African Americans had voted for his no-good ass in the Democratic primary for governor last year.

    Davis wears bitterness well!

  •  Well, I heard Republican pols boast (0+ / 0-)

    about having incestuous gay sex with a Brahma bull. And no, I won't prove it because, by his rules I don't have to.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 07:43:22 PM PDT

  •  ruh roh sounds like someone is auditioning for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the gravy train for black folk who carry the Republicons' water.

    He'll get a cushy job on Fakes News and high speaking fees and a book deal and the whole 999 yards.

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:43:17 PM PDT

  •  I guess they haven't figured out (0+ / 0-)

    why they lost (Davis and Ford that is).

    Oh wait, they have and the are just paying their third way blue dog donors back...

    The Democratic Party would be a much better place if they just went ahead and joined CfL and be done with it.  

    Two guys I basically can't stand.  Fenty, Emanuel, Cuomo,  and Booker are off doing their best impressions of them every chance they get.  At least Booker seems to get something done every now and then.

    Btw-It is time to investigate and prosecute Davis for being an accomplice to a federal crime.  Anyone willing to sign a petition?  We should let him get off scot free if he is, and if he is just espousing nonsense he should say so.

    These are the folks that the Administration was listening to for 2 can only hope he doesn't revert to old habits.

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:23:30 PM PDT

  •  I see they often have (0+ / 0-)

    Harold Ford on the Sunday shows as the Dem representative.  He sure doesnt sound like much of a Dem to me.  Do they purposely pick the worst they can find?

    •  Well, in that he's a cowardly suckup to the (0+ / 0-)

      rich and powerful who stands for nothing and caves on everything, he makes a pretty good spokesman for the Dem establishment.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dear Artur Davis: welcome to Being Republican. (0+ / 0-)

    Where losing elections means that poor people must have cheated you somehow out of your rightful place among the ruling elite.

    The rich are eating the world. The Republicans are their teeth. The Democrats are dentists who refuse to pull those teeth because they are so beautiful and sharp.

    by Leftcandid on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:21:18 AM PDT

  •  No facts? No mercy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe that in all 50 states, it is quite lawful to "shoot the messenger" when the messenger's bag is only full of factfromassed accusations and completely empty of facts.

  •  What a canard!! Corporations should be the focus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't say I'm surprised though, most people seem to think that they need an ID already in my town.  There is this thought that we NEED to prove who we are inherently, and all politicians like Davis are are stoking the fear that people will lie to vote.  They should be more worried about the fraud that comes with loads of campaign cash coming from huge corporations.

    "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it."--Robert F. Kennedy

    by chriscom on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:27:42 AM PDT

  •  There's a special place in hell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for people who sell out their side, in order to "prove" that they're not "one of those people" and gain favor with the current power "in crowd". It's especially contemptible when done by a member of an historically persecuted minority.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:31:05 AM PDT

  •  Unabashed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...audition for a seat in front of O'Reilly & Hannity in the political whorehouse.

    Fixed News is on a roll with the African-Americans lately:

    Once Herman Cain is finished with his clown act, he'll probably receive Beck's old slot.

    Once Davis is finished spreading his ignorant conspiracy theories, he's  headed to the Doocy couch.

    And I thought the political whorehouse that is Fixed News was against multiculturalism.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:32:20 AM PDT

  •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

    Did he also say that the African-American community has been brain-washed???

    "Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality." Mignon McLaughlin

    by djbender on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:33:57 AM PDT

  •  What a sham! Davis gets no credibility, unless ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B

    ... he can back up these off-the-cuff musings.

    Davis alleges: "As you might guess, the purpose of my editorial was to voice an opinion and to state the foundation for it, not to engage in name calling."

    No, I would not "guess" any such thing. Such serious allegations coming from an elected official do not call for guesses. Responsible people making that kind of allegation must support it with specifics. Possibly not names of voters - although that would be the most verifiable proof of his charges - but by enough details that allow for fact-checking.

    It is just such irresponsible and largely, if not totally, unsupported claims that the GOP legislatures and governors are using to perpetuate voter frauds greater than any numbers of mis-cast ballots. If they know whereof they speak, they should come forth with facts, not "voicing opinions". Failing that, they do not deserve to be listened to.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:43:21 AM PDT

  •  Asking for evidence of an assertion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, esquimaux

    Is now "shooting the messenger?"

    I have heard that Davis took many multi-million dollar bribes from Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and others and stashes them in an account in the Cayman Islands.

    Shoot me.

    At this point, far more people have now been arrested for protesting Wall Street's mortgage fraud crimes than have been for committing and presiding over them.

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:44:48 AM PDT

  •  Imaginary problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckydog, foresterbob

    Imaginary problems are much easier to fix than are real problems.

    “But lest there be any doubt, the idea that the death penalty is fairly and rationally imposed in this country is a farce.” Boyce F. Martin, Jr. - Sixth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

    by tomwfox on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:45:12 AM PDT

  •  Artur Davis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wanted to vote for Davis for governor, as Ron Sparks did not seem very bright.  However when Artur Davis voted against the Affordable Care Act, after being Obama's state campaign coordinator, I felt like he'd betrayed the Democrats in Alabama.  

    Davis never cultivated the entrenched black powers in Alabama, and that's why he was dumped by them in favor of a white man, Ron Sparks.  It may be that they wanted a candidate who was beholding to them, as political creatures are expected to require pay back.  

    Artur, those white Republicans will never stop laughing that your mother mispelled your name.  They may even demand to see your birth certificate.  

  •  Proof doesn't matter... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just talking about an issue and getting headlines and cameras to turn his way is all that counts.

    When has proof or truth ever had any meaning to people like this??

    LOOK, we're talking about it, too!!

    If enough people talk about it, it eventually becomes a truth, justifying the speakers initial utterance...

    Lesson 1 in being an effective politician:

    Say outrageous things and eventually they will be taken as unequivocal truths.

    As proof of this phenomenon read the reactions to an Ann Coulter article in the right-wing blogs. ;)

  •  Yeah, the wholesale manufacture of ballots (0+ / 0-)

    in the "black belt" is why blacks and Democrats win so many elections in Alabama. Oh, wait . . .

    David Koch, a teabagger and a union member sit down at a table. There is a plate with a dozen cookies. Koch quickly stuffs 11 cookies into his pockets, leans toward the bagger and whispers "watch out, the union thug will try to steal your cookie".

    by Dave in AZ on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:52:12 AM PDT

  •  Guess he sees the Herm Cain positioning opening up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ....and he wants to be on the inside track.

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 11:53:40 AM PDT

  •  Either he's covering up criminal conduct (0+ / 0-)

    ...or he's lying his ass off.

    Of course the funny thing about absentee ballot fraud is that Republicans looove absentee in Florida they've pulled out the stops to promote "vote by mail." Absentee ballots get around the ID requirement and allow SOE's to decide whose votes to count and whose signatures get that extra-careful scrutiny...also the well-funded Republicans have perfected the absentee ballot collection GOTV process.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 12:17:38 PM PDT

  •  a sig % of what RW radio does is sell vote fraud (0+ / 0-)

    that's why davis and many others in politics and media can get away with it - it's been screamed from 1000 radio stations for years with no one to contradict the lies.

    Progressives will lose all major messaging battles until they picket the limbaugh/hannity megastations and boycott those stations' local sponsors.

    by certainot on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 12:20:29 PM PDT

  •  Wonder how long (0+ / 0-)

    before Republicans start going after absentee voting? Far more chance of "fraud" with absentees than with regular voting. Of course, since a significant percentage of their base is elderly and likely to vote absentee, that would end up biting them in the ass...

    Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

    by Cali Scribe on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 12:40:34 PM PDT

  •  Dude needs to get some hobbies. (0+ / 0-)

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 12:48:31 PM PDT

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