Stop It! No One Is Ready To Dub Artur Davis An Uncle Tom For Party Switch

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Artur Davis RepublicanFormer Alabama Congressman and failed gubernatorial candidate Artur Davis (pictured) announcing that he will be leaving the Democratic party for the Republican party in his new home of Virginia is not exactly shocking. As he wrote on his website, “If I were to leave the sidelines, it would be as a member of the Republican Party that is fighting the drift in this country in a way that comes closest to my way of thinking: wearing a Democratic label no longer matches what I know about my country and its possibilities.” Frankly, like many other “conservative Democrats,” the label never fit him that well to begin with.

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This is, after all, the same person who said about Obamacare:

But scrapping the program validates some of the central critiques of health care reform – that it is overly complex, is unsustainable financially, and is too experimental and bureaucratic.

Who defended voter ID laws by claiming:

“Voter fraud is common in many jurisdictions. I’m struck by the people who forcibly argue there’s no such thing, that it never happens. Many jurisdictions are slow to purge their rolls, so people who have been dead for a number of years can still be on those rolls, and people who have died more recently are certainly on them.”

Not to mention regurgitated a nifty little GOP talking point about the state of the Democratic Party when opining on Nebraskan Senator Ben Nelson’s retirement for the National Review:

There is one final way to see Nelson’s fall: as one more piece of proof that for the first time in the 150-year history of the two-party alignment, there really is a monolithically conservative party and a just as exclusively liberal party.

He also contributed money to campaigns launched by Republicans Heather Wilson and Phil Bryant. Not to mention Davis wasn’t exactly happy after suffering an embarrassing defeat to Ron Sparks in the Democratic primary for governor in 2010. You know, after he opted to bypass the state’s Black political leadership under the assumption he could build this diverse (and post-racial) voting bloc in Alabama.

Genius political strategy at work.

That said, though it remains to be seen if Artur Davis will indeed challenge Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) in 2014, perhaps some will look to him as a Joe Lieberman, who also switched parties in 2010. There’s no need to paint Artur Davis as an Uncle Tom for finally admitting his preference unless he starts mouthing off a bunch of self-loathing racial nonsense to appease his new Republican friends.

The theory that Black folks would start calling Davis an Uncle Tom was introduced by conservative radio host and political mad scientist Rush Limbaugh who seems to be under the impression (conveniently so) that Democrats and the Blacks are ready to pounce on Artur Davis for his switch.

Rush said on the radio:

“Some people are being cynical and are saying, ‘Well, he’s just doing an Arlen Specter. He’s just switching parties because he knows he can’t win as a Democrat. I don’t care. I listen to what he’s saying. This is an African-American who is setting himself up for Uncle Tom status. This guy is going to join the ranks of Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, and Shelby Steele. He’s going to be persona non grata in the Democrat Party.”

Going to Rush Limbaugh for thoughtful analysis of the Black community is like hitting Taco Bell and expecting pad thai: rarely — if ever — does an actual point roll out of his mouth.

Being a Black Republican in general does not make one an Uncle Tom. If there’s any side that goes out of its way to racialize even the smallest issue in an effort to score cheap political points, though, it will be members of Artur Davis’ new party. And yeah, good luck with that, Artur.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick

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