Former Democratic congressman Artur Davis writes on his blog:
As I told a reporter last week, this is not Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party . . . [I have described] growth as a deeper problem than exaggerated inequality; who wants to radically reform the way we educate our children; who despises identity politics and the practice of speaking for groups and not one national interest; who knows that our current course on entitlements will eventually break our solvency and cause us to break promises to our most vulnerable — that is, if we don’t start the hard work of fixing it.
On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You’ve read that in my view, the law can’t continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don’t need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our health-care system is the wrong way—it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.
Now, that’s one searing indictment of the modern Democratic Party, which has become increasingly anti-free markets under President Obama and a prisoner of its constituent groups, which demand more political goodies each year.
You’d think the media would be buzzing about the extremism of the Democratic Party? You’d think there would be panels assembled and Charlie Rose-hosted round tables bemoaning the polarization of the political scene? Oh, no. Birds chirp. Walk along, nothing to see here.
A moldy GOP incumbent or two gets sacked by the folks back home and the chattering class goes nuts. An African American Democrat and one of the first elected officials to back Obama for president leaves his party with a devastating indictment of its extremism and, well, that’s just not a big deal.
Republicans are lucky to have Davis, and not simply because he’s smart, charming and thoughtful. The GOP should see this as a sign that there are moderate and conservative Democrats who have simply had enough of Obamanomics and big-government liberalism and who are willing to give the GOP a chance. That requires on the Republicans’ part some tolerance for intellectual diversity and a tone that is not off-putting to swing voters. (Heck, maybe Christie-Davis in 2020?)
Mitt Romney might want to put in a call to Davis, invite him to campaign a bit and have Davis explain which party has gone off the ideological deep end.