Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tom Davis - Conservative Cassandra

History rightly removed Tom Davis from office in 2008. In his years leading the Government Reform Committee, he was an abysmal failure in reigning in the radical excesses of the Bush Administration. He was the first to call those of us who opposed the war in Iraq "Traitors", and he is not missed.

After wasting his entire war chest in a failed effort to save his wife's State Senate seat (defeated by Virginia progressive hero Chap Petersen), Tom Davis walked away from Congress, calling the GOP brand something tarnished worse than tainted dog food, and leaving his rapidly Dem-trending district to our energetic and successful Representative Gerry Connolly.

Still, you've got to leave it to Tom Davis, he really does know how to turn a phrase, and may well be the best GOP critic on record today.

Here are a few comments from this weekend's Log Cabin Republicans conference as reported by Huffpo's Sam Stein:

Former Rep. Tom Davis warned on Saturday night that the Republican Party he has been a part of throughout his career had become "a private club with an admissions test," destined to long-term minority status without major structural changes.

Speaking before the pro-gay rights Log Cabin Republicans, Davis, a long-serving Virginia Republican, warned that "cultural issues" and a lack of diversity (especially within cities) "has been killing" the GOP. The "old coalition," he concluded, simply "isn't working."

"We have been spiraling downhill," he said. "This administration, as they start making their decisions, it is going to be change some people can't believe in...The question for us is, as a party, are we going to be a welcome mat for these people? Or are we going to demand an admissions test and become a club? If that's the way we go, we are not going to be able to capitalize. We are not going to be able to grow. And we are not going to be able to govern."


"Right now, we've become a regional party," said Davis. "It is not the people in the party. It is the national branding that so hurts us... There are 18 states, which total, with the District of Columbia, 238 electoral votes that have now gone democratic in five straight presidential elections. And Sen. McCain wasn't within ten points in any of those 18 states."

Tom Davis has toyed with the idea of returning to public life, but it's just not possible in today's litmus test GOP. A fake moderate like Davis needs cover. As the GOP flails its extremist wings in every direction, a dyed in the wool conservative like Davis is exposed as every bit as radical as the other Limbaugh lackeys who run the small-tent circus.

For progressives, a guy like Tom Davis is a true gift. He's a Bush lackey wandering like a zombie, rightly suffering the afflictions of his radical past. All the while, he highlights just how out-of-touch his party remains even in exile.

I hope his party keeps lurching to the right so that Tom Davis can remain the Republicans' best Cassandra.

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