#CPAC2013: Artur Davis ‘Freedom is not Tired - It’s just Tired of not Being Defended’

Former Alabama Congressman, Artur Davis, who changed his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican in 2012, has become something of a hero to the right, and it was obvious when he took the stage today at CPAC.

Davis began by excoriating the mainstream media “You know something kept occuring to me as we saw some of the unpleasant commentary about this conference. Isn’t it interesting that the same establishment media that claims [to be] so pious, that it wants more civility and tolerance in our politics, has no problem degrading and demonizing Americans who just happen to be Conservative? They try so hard to paint the beliefs in this room as some quaint, outmoded brand of ignorance. So this needs to be said: There are 43 million of us who answer to the name ‘Conservative’. We don’t own any Hollywood studios…but this happens to be the single biggest voting bloc…and we are not going anywhere.”

Most of Davis’ speech focused on why the Republicans lost the Presidential election in 2012, noting that the GOP needs to communicate better with independent-minded voters who didn’t respond to the message. “The ones who are left [in the middle] aren’t some idle fools. They are our neighbors and fellow citizens, and a lot of them think like us. They just need to hear from our politicians that our values work for their lives.”

He also addressed improving the seeming inability of the right to reach out to minorities. “Yes we did talk about jobs, but guess what? Black and brown Americans are no different than anybody else. They worry most about whether their kids can do better. They know that question turns first and foremost on the quality of schools their kids attend. They [take issue with] tenure laws that priviledge bad teachers, the promotion of kids who can’t read, and not having enough money to move [their] kids to a better school district or to afford a private school. But how much did we talk about any of that?”

He continued, “I know some of us like to lament the possibility that anybody might look to government for anything other than getting out of the way. The Americans I describe…when Washington takes their money they often feel it more deeply than the rest of us.”

He encouraged the crowd not to lose faith though, saying that the 2012 loss was, indeed, bad, but that “We can fix it.” He implored his audience, “If your vision of Conservatism is so small…that it only works in certain places and for certain people - and it’s a free country; you’re entitled to believe that - but keep your lack of confidence to yourself.”

He finished by driving home the point that the Republican Party really is the party of inclusion, saying, “We should always know that a child who has difficulty reading, can one day grow into a brain surgeon named Ben Carson. A father who waits tables can raise a son to become a senator named Marco Rubio. And a black nurse who works sixteen hour days…and is a single parent, can set a son on the path to become a senator named Tim Scott.”

Davis was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s 2008 bid for the presidency, and one of the national co-chairs for Obama’s 2008 campaign. Known for his oratorical skills, Davis made one of the nominating speeches for Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. While serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, Davis was the first African American member of Congress to advocate that Committee Chairman Charles Rangel surrender his gavel in the wake of ethics charges.

In 2009 and 2010 Davis voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to do so.

Leave a Reply