The Spectacle Blog

Ex-Democrat Artur Davis on His Evolution

By on 6.21.12 | 6:56PM

Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman who switched party lines earlier this year, says he's bullish about the prospect of a Romney presidency.

"There are about 10 million people who voted for Barack Obama four years ago that don't plan to do it now," Davis told the audience at the Newsmaker Breakfast hosted by The American Spectator and Americans for Tax Reform this morning.

He explained his disillusion with the Obama administration.

"For most of us, we look at what Democrats said they'd do 4 years ago -- they said they'd give us a country that's one thing; we're getting a different country," Davis said. "When is the last time an administration has come into office with such clearly defined, articulated priorities and seen every one of them fail or become an albatross or outright disappear in the course of one term?"

In contrast, Davis likened the Tea Party to the conservative wave that brought Ronald Reagan to power in 1980, and he said center-right activists have done a good job "taking their case to ordinary rank-and-file people and making arguments they find comprehensible and understandable."

"It's an incredibly effective run that the right has made in the last several years," he said. "It's a reflection of smart, intuitive, strategic decisions."

However, despite his party switch, there remain aspects of the Republican approach with which Davis disagrees. For instance, he said conservatives who criticize illegal immigration on social grounds -- that it's changing the American social fabric -- have the wrong approach. Instead, he argued that it's an economic issue "when you have 13.5 million people who are undocumented, who crowd the workforce," and sometimes a moral one.

"It's not altruism that motivates corporate America to hire illegal immigrants," Davis said. "It is exploitation."

In that respect -- taking the left's "moral" argument and turning it on its head -- the former Congressman echoed Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who spoke at the Newsmaker luncheon last month and advocated for the importance of moral arguments to defending capitalism, as discussed in his new book, The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.

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