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Artur Davis -- Pushing Back on the Rumors, Part 1

by: mooncat

Sat Nov 29, 2008 at 19:56:31 PM CST


Some report elsewhere whatever is told them;  the measure of fiction always increases, and each fresh narrator adds something to what he has heard.

-- Ovid

Artur Davis

It's no secret that Congressman Artur Davis (D, AL-07) is not so quietly considering a run for Governor of Alabama in 2010.  Some folks think that's a great thing, others wish Davis would just stay in Congress and let some other Democrat have a clear field in 2010.  Given the situation, it's probably inevitable that a few folks would rather start rumors about Davis -- and hope to have them repeated on blogs and in more traditional media -- than argue the merits of potential candidates or even the benefit of having a spirited contest of ideas in a primary. 

I spoke with Congressman Davis this morning and he pushed back vigorously at several rumors making the rounds in Alabama political circles.  Our conversation will also be the basis for some additional posts, but let's deal with the most widespread rumors today, the ones involving appointment of U.S. Attorneys in Alabama, the investigation into alleged selective prosecution by the DoJ and whether Davis' interest in the 2010 governors race is sincere.

Follow me to the across the fold and we'll go point by point. 

mooncat :: Artur Davis -- Pushing Back on the Rumors, Part 1

First, what are these rumors?  If you don't read Locust Fork or Inside Alabama Politics you may have missed them.  Yesterday in a comment, Grace pointed us to this rumor posted by Glynn Wilson at Locust Fork Journal:

The hottest rumor out of Montgomery right now is that Davis is running for governor not to win it, but to develop name recognition around the state for a future run at the U.S. Senate. And there’s also an indication that Davis will pick up the support of his old friend Bill Canary at the Business Council of Alabama in the primary. There appears to be a cynical strategy afoot to get a black man on the Democratic ticket so a Republican victory in the general election would be a virtual certainty.

and this one posted as a comment, also by Glynn Wilson:

BTW: Inside Alabama Politics, the political newsletter out of Mobile, is now reporting that Davis is suggesting that Laura (sic) Canary keep her job as U.S. attorney in Montgomery, and that Davis has urged House Judiciary Committee John Conyers not to continue the investigation into the Siegelman case. The report says Conyers said no, and Davis’s office has denied the part about Canary.

Some sources are now saying none of this is true. We will see. It’s hard to know when even Democratic Party officials in Montgomery can’t seem to get Davis to return their phone calls.

Sourcing on these statements is pretty vague -- it doesn't even rise to the level of "a highly reliable/trusted source" so a grain of salt is definitely advisable. 

Let's take a look at these smears individually, and I'll share Congressman Davis' comments as they relate to the rumors.

1) "The hottest rumor out of Montgomery right now is that Davis is running for governor not to win it, but to develop name recognition around the state for a future run at the U.S. Senate."

OK, this one is so patently silly I can debunk it without even talking to Davis.  He's currently a Congressman in a very safe district -- he can keep that seat as long as he cares to run for re-election.  This rumor says Davis is planning to give up his safe seat in Congress in order to run a losing campaign for Governor in 2010, because he secretly hopes to become a U.S. Senator at some point in the future.  How stupid is that?  Check your calendar -- Jeff Sessions just won re-election and his seat won't come up again until 2014.  Anyone who wanted to run against him should have done it this year -- I'm looking at you, Commissioner Sparks.  Richard Shelby and his fantastic warchest are up for re-election in 2010 and that seat won't come up again until 2016.  So this scenario would have us believe Davis is willing to give up his safe House seat to garner name recognition that he won't be able to use for at least another 4 years!  By which time everyone will have forgotten who he is.  It would be much simpler, and smarter, for anyone interested in the Senate to have run against Sessions this year when Democratic fortunes were high.  It's also simpler to believe that Davis is interested in running for Governor because he wants to be Governor, which has nothing to do with wanting to be a U.S. Senator.  In the interest of completeness however, I did ask Congressman Davis about this and here's what he said:

"If I wanted to run against Jeff Sessions I would have done that in 2008 but I made the judgement that frankly 2008 was the wrong year to run against Sessions.  ... If Shelby were to announce that he is not running for re-election and if Bob Riley were to announce that he's not running then a number of us would also take a look at the Senate race."

As to the name recognition red herring, Davis said:

"There are some insiders in the Democratic party who don't want me to run for governor.  Some of them base that on their belief that a black candidate can't be elected and I can't do anything about people who believe that.  I was a black candidate yesterday, I'm one today and I'll be one tomorrow and that's not going to change.  If there are people who simply believe that a black can't be elected, they're entitled to that belief and they're entitled to distrust the voters in that way and I can't do anything about that other than prove them wrong.  There are other people who don't want to see me run because they believe I would bring too much change to the system.  There are some people out there in the entrails of the Democratic party who believe well, my goodness, this guy doesn't even want US Attorneys and judges to be selected by patronage.  Who knows what he would do if he were appointing state commissions and state boards and boards trustee.  There are some people out there whose attitude is, my goodness, there's no telling, if Davis became governor we may no longer to be able to engage in the kind of cronyism that we've enjoyed for so many years in the state of Alabama.  There are always people who don't want change agents to be elected so they're going to try to undercut you and they're going to do it the old fashioned way by suggesting, oh he's a closet Republican, he's not really a Democrat or whatever they can come up with.  And as things go these are pretty low level smears in Alabama politics."

Personally, I like reformers and last time I checked Artur Davis was a proponent of reforming the 1901 Alabama Constitution, too.  We all know that reform will gore some expensive and powerful oxen big mules  -- not going to win him any popularity contests in Montgomery, for sure.

2)  "And there’s also an indication that Davis will pick up the support of his old friend Bill Canary at the Business Council of Alabama in the primary."

I have no clue what "indication" that might be.  However, Bill Canary has contributed to Artur Davis' campaign in the past and I asked Davis if he would hope for or accept support from Bill Canary or the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) for a potential gubernatorial bid.

"Well Bill Canary contributed to, if I'm not mistaken, every Congressional campaign in the state of Alabama.  If you look at his contributions I believe that Billy has contributed to literally every single member of Congress in the state and I think that he's done that for pretty much the whole time he's been head of the BCA.   I don't believe he has contributed to my campaign since I raised allegations of selective prosecution, or more accurately political interference, with the Siegelman case.  I believe his last contribution actually came in early '07 well in the middle of '07 the allegations were raised around Siegelman and anyone who's read my comments on this matter ... the position I've taken is opposite the interest of Billy Canary.  Anyone who raises the question of him making contributions between 2003 and 2007 should notice the obvious that despite those contributions I've taken positions which are the opposite of his interests and the opposite of his wife's interest. ...  I know that most people are accustomed to politicians simply following the dictates of people who write checks to them.  That's not my history and anyone who looks at my voting record knows that there's been a number of instances when I've taken positions at odds with people who write checks to my campaign.  And this would be a clear cut example of that.

I would be very surprised if the BCA supported a candidate for governor who is pro-union.  The BCA has made it very clear that one of their major priorities is the defeat of card check next year.  I'm a supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act.  I voted for it last year.  I will vote for it again.  It will pass the House again.  I hope it will pass the Senate.  I know that President Obama will sign it into law.  The BCA and frankly a significant number of the business community in Alabama have made it clear this is their number one issue  They believe, mistakenly, that our economic growth is tied to the non-union status of many companies in this state.

I happen to think you can have unions and economic growth at the same time.  We did from 1947 to 1973 when we had the greatest wage growth and the greatest productivity surge and the highest level of unionization in the history of the American economy.  We had all three of those at the same time.  Greatest productivity surge, greatest wage growth and highest level of union activity.  And we did it for most of that time with very low inflation. So I think unions are helpful and I support the right of unions to organize and I support the Employee Free Choice Act.  So it is inconceivable to me that I would get the support of an organization which is strongly opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act.  I'm not focussed on any endorsements in the governor's race in 2009 and 2010,  either in the Democratic party or the Republican party.  I'm focussed on getting support from voters and having an announcement to make early next year on this. My focus in the governor's campaign will be on voters.  It will not be on interest groups in either party."

The fact checkers among us will want to check out this list of Bill Canary's donations, courtesy of Opensecrets.org.  He does indeed give to everyone and his last contribution to Davis was $500 on March 30, 2007.  You may recall that on July 17, 2007 Davis co-signed a letter "to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking him to provide documents and information about several prominent prosecutions and convictions of Democratic officials or operatives across the country" including that of Don Siegelman.  This interchange between Davis and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is from a mid-2007 hearing on selective prosecution.

           

There's no way you can say Artur Davis has been shy about shining a light on the selective prosecution issue at the DoJ, or about putting forward Don Siegelman's case as a possible example of selective prosecution. 

3) "There appears to be a cynical strategy afoot to get a black man on the Democratic ticket so a Republican victory in the general election would be a virtual certainty."

All I can say is, Alabama Republicans had better be careful what they wish for if this is their "cynical strategy" to win in 2010.  I think the same rationale was employed  as an ironclad reason Democrats shouldn't nominate Barack Obama -- no chance a black man could win.  Anyone remember how that turned out?  Oh yeah, he's the President-elect.  Sweet.

For those of you who believe it still can't happen in Alabama I would call your attention to this Capitol Survey Research poll showing Davis looking very strong against any of the likely Republican contenders.  As the Congressman said, "I was a black candidate yesterday, I'm one today and I'll be one tomorrow and that's not going to change" so there's not much he can do about these conspiracy theories.

4)   "Inside Alabama Politics, the political newsletter out of Mobile, is now reporting that Davis is suggesting that Laura (sic) Canary keep her job as U.S. attorney in Montgomery, and that Davis has urged House Judiciary Committee John Conyers not to continue the investigation into the Siegelman case. The report says Conyers said no, and Davis’s office has denied the part about Canary."

Artur Davis had a lot to say about this one and I'll just pass it on directly:

"I have made it very clear that I expect that the US Attorneys will be replaced across the country.  That's normally what happens in every regime change ... when we move from a Democrat to a Republican.  I certainly have not disussed the subject with the President-elect or his team and I've not seen them speak to the issue directly.  But I have certainly said that I expect there to be replacements of the US Attorneys -- that's been implicit in all the comments I've made about what the process should be for evaluating US Attorneys and the District Judgeship nomines.  So  I'm anticipating that there will be a routine replacement in the Middle District, the Northern District and the Southern District.  I think even Alice Martin has said she expects to be replaced, as a matter of routine with the new administration coming in.  The notion that I would somehow advocate for one of the Republican US Attorneys remaining ... first of all that's transparently ridiculous in the context of the Middle District whan I have been openly critical of the way that office handled the prosecution of Don Siegelman.

It would be nonsensical for me to openly criticize the way that office handled the prosecution of Don Siegelman, for me to suggest that the prosecution was overzealous in some ways, and for me to suggest that there is strong evidence that politics influenced and affected the investigation and prosecution of Siegelman and then to turn around and say, by the way we should keep the US Attorney in place in that office .  I mean that would be transparently ridiculous and transparently hypocritical.  For someone to suggest that I would do something that dumb, that is clearly some kind of a political smear that I think some people are spreading. 

There are some people who have a vested interest in status quo politics and unfortunately some of them in the Democratic party too, they're not all Republicans.  There are some people who appear to be threatened by the idea of former judges and law school deans evaluating the merits of potential US attorney candidates and judicial candidates.  And I'm not sure why they're threatened by it.  I'm sure some of them have buddies or cronies they want to see in these positions who they know wouldn't fare well in that process.  And I think some of them frankly view these positions as being patronage positions. Well, I candidly do not view US Attorneys and federal judgeships as being patronage positions.  They're positions that will and should go to Democrats now that we have a Democratic president, but I don't view them as patronage positions.  Patronage positions are those who frankly go to people who have been active in the political process, who have a demonstrated political history and that demonstrated political history is sometimes rewarded through appointments.  Well, when you're talking about US Attorneys and judges, those are far more significant positions. ...  We're talking about people who, in the case of judges, have lifetime appointments, in the case of US Attorneys, we're talking about people who are not subject to elections, who have  enormous leeway and discretion to investigate, to bring charges to make decisons on the disposition of cases.  It's one of the most awesome non-warmaking powers that any government official has.

... 

I believe that this whole rumor about the US Attorney's position in Montgomery is frankly an effort to undercut my postion.  I think it's an effort to suggest that I have some motive for opposing the process that [Joe] Turnham has put in place or attempted to put in place, more accurately, and I think that people should see that for what it is.  People should see that as an effort to undercut my support of a more merit-based process.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of people who are insiders realize that they can't win that argument.  They can't very well in the court of public opinion say, well here's why we ought to have a non-merit-based process for selecting judges and US Attorneys.  Most people favor a merit-based process so they figure they have to find some way to make a personal attack on me and undercut my position and make it sound as if I have some hidden agenda or hidden motive . That's unfortunate.  If you believe in your position and your position has merit you should be willing to defend it in the light of day and not depend on anonymous operatives on the blogosphere."

Mooncat:  Just to be clear, you have not urged anyone to keep on any of the current US Attorneys in Alabama? 

"Of course not.  A, I've had no conversation with anyone about it to urge anyone but I certainly would not urge anyone to maintain the US Attorneys.  Obviously there's a significant cloud over the US Atorney's office in Montgomery and its handling of the Siegelman case.  That cloud continues to the present. When you have evidence that a member of the jury is attempting to communicate with the prosecution during the trial, the prosecution's obligation should have been to disclose that to the judge and to disclose it to the defense team.  Not to send out emails joking about how cute it was.  That's an egregious breach of the standard that a prosecution team owes the government. Certainly, it's impossible to know from the emails the full extent of whether Leura Canary retained any interest in the case.  I understand recusal to mean that you are not involved in any way shape or form with the matter from which you've recused yourself.  If you're recused then you have nothing to do with it.  ... Those are things the Department of Justice should examine.  The Office of Professional Responsibility should examine it.  That should be ongoing.  That should be happening now instead of waiting for a new administration.

For me to suggest that the US Attorney whose office has been the subject of that kind of cloud should remain in office would be a completely noncredible suggestion to make and completely at odds with everything that I've said.  That's why I said it's such a transparently ridiculous political rumor that you have no choice but to question the motive of the people who are spreading it."

Mooncat:  What do you think needs to happen with the Siegelman case with the selective prosecution hearings under the new administration?  Is there going to be a need for that to continue or  do you think the new AG is going to clean house, so to speak?

"I think that's a decision that John Conyers has to make in conjunction with the new Attorney General whom I expect is Eric Holder based on news reports.  Eric Holder -- you couldn't ask for a more experienced Attorney General.  He was tthe US Attorney in Washington DC.  He was the number two person in the Department of Justice.  He was very intimately involved with selecting US Attorneys in the 1990's and I'm certain he has strong opinions about this process.  ... I think that he and John Conyers will sit down and hopefully make some judgement of where they think these lingering allegations of selective prosecution should go.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that for a year and a half at my urging, in part, the House Judiciary Committee has been involved with a very aggressive investigation of selective prosecution.  I urged that and I urged it from its early days because it's not simply the Siegelman case but a number of other cases around the country where there have been allegations made that there was political pressure brought to bear on US Attorneys and that some of those US Attorneys lost their jobs if they didn't comply with the pressure.  There have been ongoing investigations by the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of Inspector General, which are two different things.  And I'm anticipating those investigations will be released. We have already received the one report from the Office of Inspector General that .. some US Attorneys were fired for political purposes.

Not enough attention was given that by news organizations like the Birmingham News which are biased in this matter, in my opinion, but the report was still released.  I believe that before the Mukasey department leaves office that there will hopefully be a release of certain investigations around political interference with the Siegelman case. I think that's appropriate.  Now once that report is released an evaluation has to be made by the new Attorney General what to do with it. Obviously if the US Attorneys are no longer in office that means they are no longer subject to professional discipline by the Department of Justice.  The new Attorney General will have to make an evaluation of whether he thinks crimes were committed, or obstruction of justice was committed or whether he simply takes the opinion that the cases were not properly brought.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments next week, or two weeks from now, on Don Siegelman's case.  And the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will issue a judgement I'm sure sometime early next year." 

So Davis hasn't asked anyone to hang on to Leura Canary or any of the other US Attorneys and it doesn't appear that he has any interest in reining in any investigations into selective prosecution at the DoJ.

5)  "Some sources are now saying none of this is true. We will see. It’s hard to know when even Democratic Party officials in Montgomery can’t seem to get Davis to return their phone calls."

As to the first part, I see no indication that any of these rumors are true and I can only speculate on the motivation of those who promulgate them.  Artur Davis said:

"People use the blogosphere to pass on information that is completely false, either personal or political.  That's unfortunate.  This is one of the most transparently ridiculous political rumors I've seen in a while."

As to the second part, I feel kind of special because Left in Alabama front pagers have had no difficulty whatsoever getting Congressmen Davis' office to return our phone calls and emails.  They read our blog, too.

 

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Great work! (4.00 / 2)
Bookmarked! GOOD interview with extensive quotes. If only it was enough to quash the rumors...

Website || Twitter

Osborn Ink gets the Gold Star (4.00 / 1)

For wading through this extremely long post.

Gold Star

Congressman Davis is not a man of few words and I'm a sucker for letting people speak for themselves.  And I still have good material for at least two more posts which may have to wait until Monday. 



Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
The hottest rumor out of Montgomery right now (4.00 / 2)

Whoa, whoa, wait a minute...who determines just what is the 'hottest rumor out of Montgomery right now"?  Who determines what the hell is credible?  What is credible?

Just sayin'



Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
- John Adams


Hottest rumor ... (4.00 / 1)
I'm not sure who determines which hottest rumors are credible, but these rumors look pretty incredible to me on their face, and I'm surprised Inside Alabama Politics saw fit to pass crap like this on to their readers.  Maybe their smell checker got lost in the holiday rush?  Or something ...

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Artur Davis (4.00 / 2)
When I first heard those rumors, I knew they were lies. I've already told everyone that Leura Canary is going. I even named 3 likely candidates for US Attorney. I agree with everything Davis has said. It was a great read. I am looking forward to the next posts. I still do not know whether I will support Davis for Governor. He is saying all the right things, however. Looking forward to my Monday night reading. Mooncat, you deserve a gold star for working so hard on Thanksgiving weekend.

Terrific post, Mooncat! (4.00 / 1)

Congressman Davis can be, well, long-winded.  I've never met anyone who can talk so long without drawing a deep breath.  And also never met anyone who can speak as clearly, cogently, and eloquently at the drop of a hat.

I do wonder who thinks that his office isn't responsive to inquiries too.  Maybe if you have the reputation for passing along unsourced, nasty gossip then the target of your posts might be a little reluctant to associate with you.

Kind of like Obama refusing to go on Fox News....

I've found the office to be very responsive.  His press secretary has never taken more than a day to return a phone call or email.  And when we were in Denver, she approached me several times to make sure I had everything I needed. 

Can't wait to read the rest of the interview!



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




Rejoicing that Autur did as I had hoped said "It ain't so!" (4.00 / 2)

I'm delighted that Rep. Davis has now publically denied those rumors right here on Left in Alabama and hope he will continue to quickly respond to any new rumors that will probably be hatched by Republican intersts in our State.  It's great to have this ammunition, straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak,  to fight against these kinds of Rove/Atwater tactics.  Super job, Mooncat, and GO Arthur!



Rumors (4.00 / 1)
I think we can expect Congressman Davis to respond vigorously to any rumors hatched by Republicans or Democrats in this state.  We need to remember that it isn't just the GOP who plays hardball politics in Alabama -- Dems aren't always as innocent as we would like.  The only time I have ever had tacks poured in my driveway was during a primary several years ago -- if that was a political statement it came from a fellow Democrat because I wasn't campaigning for any Republicans, lol.

Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Well, I'm glad that's cleared up. (4.00 / 1)
Hopefully, we'll be able to open up a clear path for the Dem nominee, whomever that may be, before the primaries even begin.

Clear path (4.00 / 1)

I used to think a clear path to the nomination was preferred, and I would still hate to see Davis, Folsom and Sparks all concentrate on this race, but I no longer think a contested primary is necessarily a bad thing.  It takes more money, for sure, but it keeps the contest of ideas in front of the voters for a much longer period and sharpens the eventual nominee's campaign skills and organization.  Look what a good thing it was for Obama, despite all our concerns about "splitting the party."  There's no question that Hillary Clinton made Obama a stronger general election candidate.

It seems like someone did research after the 2004 election and found that Senate candidates who were in contested primaries were more likely to win the general than those who had a free ride.  

Separately, I'd also like to see Alabama Democrats have a deep enough bench that we could support contested primaries more often than not -- it's just more democratic.  More and better Democrats! 



Work harder and work smarter!

[ Parent ]
Would be a mistake for him to run in 2010 (4.00 / 1)

Obama was able to win the primary quite frankly for two reasons. First, North Alabama didn't vote in it. The Republican Primary vote in Alabama far exceeded any Republican Primary vote there ever, and far exceeded the June and July elections, when as usual, no one voted as a Republican north of Birmingham, save Huntsville.

There was also an increased Democratic vote in the cities, including among some white youths who must have voted for Obama, that won't show up in a primary because in our urban counties, local races tend to be decided at the Republican level. Basically, the Presidential Primary followed national politics rules and not state politics rules

In an actual Alabama state primary, it will have a heavily rural cast, and there will be one crucial difference. In the Obama election, nothing was on the line. The state's black leadership backed Hillary Clinton, but there was nothing they could do and nothing they could say to dissuade pride because there was nothing at stake. Nothing was on the line tangibly if he won or lost

 In 2010, redistricting would be on the line, the legislature would be on the line, and Davis would not be able to count on 95% black support. He might not even be able to count on majority support. The reason Troy King is AG is because Joe Reed managed to swing enough votes, in both elections, to ensure that Tyson wasn't going to get it. Reed didn't back Jackson in 1984, he didn't back Obama till he had the nomination, and I can assure you Reed probably doesn't believe that in 2010 Alabama can elect a black governor. I'd like to be optimistic, but I've lived in this state all my life and I have my doubts too, especially when I look at the presidential results from North Alabama.

 I don't know how Davis picks out "it's promising" from the election numbers this time. Now if this were Georgia, I wouldn't be saying this. In Georgia, whites have been electing blacks statewide for two decades. In this state though, the only black ever elected statewide was in 1994, and in large part, Alabama voters were not aware that he was black, and they weren't exactly voting against him, they were voting against his opponent.

 Not that I think Davis won't have his time, and yes, I understand the Fields victory in Cullman, but Fields lived in Cullman, was known there, was known in the community, and I hate to say it, but a large number of white Alabamians categorize blacks into groups of "good blacks" and well, the other thing. To those white people in Cullman, Fields obviously came off as the former, and it should be pointed out, there are no black people in Cullman, there are no activist blacks, black-white tensions can't exist in a community where there are virtually no black people.

 The black leadership of this state are not going to line up behind Davis, it's not like they wanted him in Congress in the first place, and much of the state's black political leadership only grudgingly supports him, with some black leaders like Al Turner outright showing their contempt for him, and unlike in the presidential primaries, their arguments will hold weight, because they can frame it as, all black political power in Alabama stems from Democratic control of the legislature (true point). Loss of the legislature means that black political power in this state is set back years.

 White voters, Davis will have to win over anyway, but I feel what probably does him in, at least now, are the black powerbrokers in the legislature, who know what being in the majority does for them personally, and who probably among the older members, probably agree with the statement that Alabama remains too racist in 2010 to elect a black governor.

 Personally, the only way you are going to get a black governor in Alabama is to either let time pass some some older people die, or you are going to have to get a black elected to some kind of low level statewide post, one that you have to try to do a bad job in, give that person visibility and as that person gets visibility, resistance statewide to a black governor diminishes. I personally feel Davis probably is our first black governor, but I see something around 2022, 2026 as his time.

 Our clearest path to victory would be, Folsom for governor, Sparks, Lieutentant Governor, I have to think Tyson would win this time, and run hard on the Exxon issue. I think if Davis runs for governor, it might tempt Sparks to run, and if Sparks to run, I think a few other candidates who might not otherwise run will consider running, because as the primary fractures, it is less and less of the vote you need to make it to that runoff. I personally think the GOP primary will end up devolving to where the two runoff contenders will have polled less than 50% of the total statewide vote. They simply have nobody.

 And I personally like Davis, but I also know that redistricting is everything. In 1990, we controlled 90% of seats in the legislature. We didn't pay attention to redistricting, assumed as always, Democrats would hold a supermajority. We lost most seats in 1994 and 1998. Since 2002, we have held at around 62% in the House, and a 70% or so, in the Senate. Electing a Democratic governor and holding the legislature guarantee we at least hold at that, and possibly increase. In particular, in a few of our urban areas, there are ways to design seats to elect Democrats.

 If the GOP though, is able to get both the legislature and hold the mansion. They will do as they did in Texas. They will increase the number of black seats in the legislature, by creating black supermajority districts, and the trade off will be white washed districts that will elect Republicans. All it would take for them to take the legislature would be to tinker with districts in the Wiregrass, all they have to do.

 At all costs, a divisive primary needs to be avoided. The GOP will have one and as such that will confer an advantage to us. Remember, we now control all seats on the PSC for the first time since the 1980s. We are taking back statewide posts. The first priority needs to be driving the Republican Party in this state out of existence and making it like it was 25 years ago, when being an open active Republican made you the subject of community ridicule



re: mistake (4.00 / 1)

Obama was able to win the primary quite frankly for two reasons. First, North Alabama didn't vote in it.

I live about ten miles from the Tennessee line and I voted for Obama, both in the primary and in the general election. I'm not sure which part of North Alabama you're referring to.

 In 2010, redistricting would be on the line, the legislature would be on the line, and Davis would not be able to count on 95% black support.

I have trouble believing that blacks would turn out to help elect the nation's first black president but wouldn't turn out to possibly elect Alabama's first black governor.

The reason Troy King is AG is because Joe Reed managed to swing enough votes, in both elections, to ensure that Tyson wasn't going to get it.

The reason that Troy Knig is Attorney General is because he was appointed by Governor Bob Riley. He was elected more because of Bob Riley's coattails and the fact that Alabama usually re-elects an incumbent than because of Joe Reed's support. Joe Reed may have some influence in the Democratic primary but he has very little, if any, in the general election because it then becomes Democrat vs. Republican.

much of the state's black political leadership only grudgingly supports him, with some black leaders like Al Turner outright showing their contempt for him

You could say the same about Obama.

 

but I also know that redistricting is everything. In 1990, we controlled 90% of seats in the legislature. We didn't pay attention to redistricting, assumed as always, Democrats would hold a supermajority. We lost most seats in 1994 and 1998.

It's not really that simple. The first thing that energized the rebirth of the Republican party in Alabama was the legal battle between Bill Baxley and Charlie Graddick, where the Alabama Democratic party was seen as overturning the vote of the people and handing the nomination to the candidate that they preferred. As for 1994, it was the first midterm election for the Clinton administration and Democrats lost a ton of seats everywhere. The same can be said of 1988.

The first priority needs to be driving the Republican Party in this state out of existence and making it like it was 25 years ago, when being an open active Republican made you the subject of community ridicule

I hope that you meant this as a joke. I'm a firm believer in a two party (or preferably more) system. If you have one party in complete control, that has no political opposition, you may as well have a communist government. Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

 



"Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future." - William Wordsworth

[ Parent ]
Bottom line (4.00 / 1)
Alabama votes did not elect Barack Obama.  The rest of the marjority of these United States dd.  Alabama went for McCain, much to my distress and unhappiness.  We did elect one new member to the ranks of the Democrats in Congress, down here in my district...Bobby Bright defeated Jay Love.  We have miles to go before we sleep.

[ Parent ]
Yes We Do (4.00 / 1)
And Yes We Can!

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.~Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D. MA)



[ Parent ]
A few things (0.00 / 0)

Before I go any further, I would like to say this. That period of time post civil rights movement before the GOP actually became a force in this state, basically, 1968 or so to 1994. That was the greatest period of democracy in Alabama history. If you didn't want to vote in the Democratic Primary, and simply decided it was better to throw your vote away, that was your right, but everyone else voted in the Democratic Primary, and so in effect, in the elections that counted, you couldn't just vote a straight ticket mindlessly.

 It's not healthy for the state to have two primaries, especially when there is such a geographic disparity in those two primaries. The old one party system, once everyone had the right to vote, was healthier.

And the difference between Davis and Obama was, black voters in Alabama actually believed Obama could be President. Only the most optimistic of persons could believe that this state is electing a black governor. I'll be honest enough to say this, it was only 8 years ago when 40% of the state (and quite honestly, the majority of that 40% live in rural Democratic controlled counties that we have to win to win statewide).

 That Obama got pummelled in this state, and I'll say this for north Alabama, more white voters there supported him than anywhere else in the state. But he got around 30% of the white vote in North Alabama, and generic Democrats usually have a bar minimum of 45% in N. Ala. The vote from Jackson County was not encouraging to say the least.

 I think if they thought he could win, they might turn out, but I kind of doubt anyone except Artur Davis thinks he can win in 2010, and as someone who does not want to see any anti-union or tort reform legislation passed by a Republican legislature, it is a concern I have

 And I think you sell Joe Reed short. Tyson got the same percentages as many Democratic candidates who lost because in Mobile, he polled 15 points better than every other Democratic candidate and in Baldwin, he polled 8 points better. That couldn't make up for the fact that in Macon for example, every single Democrat on the ballot recieved the standard 85% that all Democrats recieve in Macon. Tyson got 77%. That was Joe Reed's doing. Tyson also lost Lauderdale. No other Democrat lost Lauderdale, I don't think you can attribute Lauderdale to Reed, but for some reason, every other Democrat won in Lauderdale, except Baxley, who lost by almost 20 points.

 If Tyson had just performed as well in the rest of the state as Nancy Worley, Janie Baker Clarke, generic Democrat on ballot, Tyson would have defeated King and would have been 2nd on the ticket only to Sparks because of his vote in South Alabama, and in Mobile for example, that county tended more Republican than the state in every race except AG. He came out with a huge advantage, that was offset by losses statewide.

Just look at some of the countywide results, and it's not the first time this happened. In 2002, a civil rights attorney from Montgomery ran for Senate, using the same basic strategy that elected Folsom and Sue Bell in 2006, and Reed decided he didn't want this man as the Democratic nominee and so his vote actually went down in the runoff from what is was in the primary, and I honestly think this guy could have beaten Sessions, wouldn't have been easy, but it could have at least been a competitive race. Reed drove him out of statewide politics. Reed's problem with Tyson was even more petty, Reed didn't like that Tyson had prosecuted someone, publically said it, publically said Tyson needed to learn a lesson. Having said this, I doubt Reed believes a black candidate is viable in an Alabama gubernatorial race. I agree with him on that, Alabama has not progressed that far on race, and it won't, until a certain number of older Alabamians move on to their final reward. I'll at least face up to this fact about the state I love.

 And my comments about N. Ala not voting in the presidential primary, I stand by it. Compare the Republican votes in the presidential primaries to those in June, a lot of people who voted in the June Democratic primaries were Republican Huckabee voters in February, and Huckabee actually sounded like a Democrat when he was campaigning, in his rhetoric at the very least, all he talked was populism, and alot of people in N. Ala bought it, and probably voted in the only Republican primary of their lives to vote for him.

Finally, I do believe that if possible, we need to avoid a split primary. This election is too important. Deals need to be made in this next year so we can come back in 2010, and as I said before, work towards driving the Republicans back into the political wilderness.



[ Parent ]
was only 8 years ago (0.00 / 0)

when 40% of the state voted to keep a ban on interracial marriage, and it was only 4 years ago when the state actually voted to keep segregated schools in the constitution, even though neither was enforceable

 

 



[ Parent ]
jacool, (0.00 / 0)
You give Joe Reed way too much credit and way too much power. 

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.~Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D. MA)



[ Parent ]
Keep in mind (0.00 / 0)

that there was a movement afoot by the Constitution Reform folks to encourage everybody to vote NO on every constitutional amendment in every election until the legislature agreed to some sort of re-write or reform proposal.

I know a LOT of good, non-racist people who did just that.  They held their noses and voted NO on the inter-racial marriage amendment even though they loathed the idea.

I voted to repeal it though, because I KNEW the national media - which never misses an opportunity (and even manufactures them) to make Alabama residents look like toothless, racist, ignorant goobers.  And if we voted that amendment down, it would be open season yet again.

Because so many people voted no - for the Constitution Reform reason - they were able to do it anyway.  "Amendment to repeal ban on inter-racial marriage barely passes in Alabama!"

Although I hated having it in the Constitution, I hated even more that we had to vote to take it out.  It was a clear "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

Leave it in and "Look! Alabama's still trying to ban inter-racial marriage!"  Take it out and "Damn.  Alabama JUST NOW got around to repealing the ban!"

When in fact, federal law had voided the statute anyway.

You made a lot of other good points in your post, jacool, but I just want to explain that I don't agree with your conclusion about the inter-racial marriage repeal vote.

 



"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith




[ Parent ]
Not sure I agree with your history (4.00 / 1)

The Republicans, on a national level, first won Alabama (post reconstruction) in 1964 when Alabama went for Goldwater. It has, at least on the presidential level, been a red state ever since.

The resurgence of the GOP on a state level can be traced to the 1986 when the Democratic leadership stripped Charles Graddick of the nomination for governor (in favor of Baxley) because of alleged crossover voting.

Since then, the GOP  has managed to convince Alabama voters on statewide candidates that Repubs better "reflect" their (the voters) values.

In part that is because the Democrat Party in Alabama forgot that the biggest attraction of the Democratic Party historically has been fairness, economic opportunity for all and taking the side of the average citizen versus both big business and even government. Instead we allowed the GOP to set the agenda for elections as hot button issues such as "gay rights", "abortion" and 'gun control" 

The Democrats have retained the majority of local offices and legislative seats because the "too liberal' label didn't and doesn't work when the voters are personally familiar with the local Democratic candidate.

it has worked far too well in state races where voters do not have that personal knowledge of the candidates. 



All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke


[ Parent ]
1986 was the birth of the Republicans (0.00 / 0)

1986 was the year they became more than a statewide joke. But that alone couldn't kill the Democratic Party in the state, and it never has died, but the best success we have had since they have brought up that values crap is when we run candidates who say, "we have the same values as you on questions like guns, but this is where we differ"

That's what Folsom did, he won the election because of that Mountain Brook ad, probably the most successful ad of the 2006 cycle, and also because on some level, someone named Luther Strange was never going to beat Jim Folsom's son in an election in Alabama.

But what makes Folsom appealing, at least from my standpoint, he got the same kind of numbers in the rural areas that Siegelman got in 1998. It really was the little people of the state who elected him, no different than his daddy.

 My standpoint has always been run on economics, because that is what the party is supposed to be about anyway, but also find a way to neutralize some of those cultural issues. Clinton was really good at that, probably the best at that. Makes no sense to run a gun control advocate or an atheist in Alabama.

 Having said that, I do think for 2010, the strongest candidate would be Folsom because Folsom has the best name recognition, Sparks would be second because his name is on every gas pump in the state. I know who Davis is because I follow politics, most of the state, couldn't tell you who he is, and the Harvard graduate thing is not going to impress the voters of this state, as i said, his time does come, but I think some older folks have to die off, and he does need to add some age

He'll be 43 in 2010. Last time we elected a governor in his 40s was Fob James who was 43 when he won the election that counted (but he had been a football star at Auburn when they were good), and before that, George Wallace in 1962, who was elected at 42. Prior to that, electing young governors was the norm, but since then, we've had Hunt, who was 53, James won again at 60, Siegelman won at 53, and Riley won at 58

 I'm honest and admitting I'm a Folsom partisan for this, and it has everything to do with the numbers. Folsom wouldn't be a risk, I think Davis, at least in 2010, is. Personally, depending on how the Birmingham mayor's situation works out, I think Davis's best course of action is run for Mayor of Birmingham. It would be an executive position, and it would be a position that, at least in the minds of average Alabamians, doesn't have a high level of what needs to be done to improve.

Davis would make a real good mayor of Birmingham, and if he had the press of having turned Birmingham around, that would help him get elected governor. I honestly think politically it would do him good, and after years of bad management at city hall, I think Birmingham deserves a mayor like Davis



[ Parent ]
A continuing problem (4.00 / 1)
  

To start with, jacool has one minor point wrong.  Justice Cook’s 1994 win was not the only post-Reconstruction win by an African-American statewide candidate.  Justice Oscar W. Adams, Jr., won elections in 1982 and 1988.  But it does need to be kept in mind that these wins happened before the Business Council got into judicial races behind Republican candidates, and the first win happened before the 1986 Baxley-Graddick-Hunt fiasco jumpstarted the Republican Party at the state level.  It is also noteworthy that Justice Adams never did media featuring his own photograph – though one of his primary opponents did use the Justice’s picture in his media.

 

That inaccuracy aside, the picture is bleak.  Since Justice Cook’s successful 1994 defense of his Supreme Court seat – and that win was so close, AP didn’t call it until late Wednesday afternoon – we are 0-and-whatever in putting African-Americans into statewide offices.  This includes the twin losses of Justice Cook and Justice England (both incumbents) in 2000, and Judge Jones’s loss this year.  Some of that has been a function of partisan alignment, but not all.  Especially in the Supreme Court races, where candidate information is more widely diffused (i.e., more voters know the candidates’ races), there’s a perceptible Republican shift in whiter counties.

 

As I noted in an earlier comment, I hope, when precinct level results are certified and available, to take a more detailed look at Obama’s Alabama numbers.  But I will go ahead and say now that I expect to find cause for pessimism about an Artur Davis general election gubernatorial prospect.  There is no question that Obama ran well behind the ticket in white-majority counties that statewide Democrats can’t win without, like Jackson, Lauderdale and Colbert.  Stay tuned.

 

With respect to the argument that Davis can’t win because he will suffer the fate of John Tyson, jacool may be right, but for some of the wrong reasons.  While Troy King’s incumbency may have been a factor, as Dale Jr indicates, there is no question that Tyson’s difficulties with African-American constituencies played a big part.  He ran behind the ticket in African-American precincts in Mobile, where his prosecution of school board member David Thomas was locally known.  He also had problems in places like the Black Belt and Jefferson County, where minority vote frequently depends on organized turnout.  Unfortunately, a Democratic nominee can have issues like that.  Remember, while Tyson was losing, Democrats Jim Folsom and Ron Sparks were winning their races.

 



[ Parent ]
He Proved It! (0.00 / 0)
Obama In his adress proved he is not able to do the job! he is an idiot!

 If Alabama Democrats could stick together we could make a differance!

[ Parent ]
The Huntsville Times has this story today (4.00 / 1)

"Absurd" that he would back GOP attorney, Davis says

In an interview Monday, Davis said the idea that he would support Leura Canary, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, over a Democrat is "absurd."

"This strikes me as one of dumbest political rumors that's ever been passed around," he said. "It's a political smear by someone with an agenda to undercut my position."

It's been a full 2 days since this blog reported the same information, in rather more depth.  



Work harder and work smarter!

Better Late Than Never? (0.00 / 0)

It's the media we have instead of the media we wish we had.

 



The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.~Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D. MA)



[ Parent ]

 

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