Former Democratic Alabama Congressman Artur Davis ruffled feathers on Capitol Hill last week, when he wrote an October 17 Op-Ed for the Montgomery Advertiser where he reversed his long time position on voter identification.
“I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office,” wrote Mr. Davis, a former member of the Black Congressional Caucus (CBC).
“I think my former colleague is off base and it’s unfortunate,” Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat and Chairman of the CBC, told me on Tuesday. “I don’t know why Artur Davis wrote what he did. I saw it and was frustrated by it. I don’t know what that’s all about. Some people believe he’s getting ready to switch parties. I have no idea. Needless to say, he doesn’t confide in the CBC.”
This is not the first time Davis has bucked Democrats and the CBC. He was the only CBC member to vote against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. In 2007 he was the only CBC member not to vote for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. More importantly, he voted against the Democrats’ health care act that eventually made it to President Obama’s desk.
Mr. Davis responded to an email request from me late Tuesday afternoon regarding Mr. Cleaver’s assertion that people have been talking about Mr. Davis possibly jumping parties.
“I have heard many Democrats criticize Republicans for imposing litmus tests on their membership. I certainly hope that Congressman Cleaver and others are not suggesting that if a Democrat does not hold a certain position that he is in no longer fit to be a Democrat,” Mr. Davis wrote in an e-mail to the Washington Times Water Cooler.
Mr. Davis interestingly noted, “Since I am not a candidate for office, I don’t have to grapple with the question of what party label to wear, but I know that the quickest way for an organization to lose a member is to suggest that he is no longer welcome.”