Following former Congressman Artur Davis' announced booking for the Republican Party convention the shock professed by certain Black leaders is the response of only a small naive minority. The majority of members of the Congressional Black Caucus and quite a number of national Democratic leaders have witnessed Artur's drift toward right-wing wealth since his arrival in Congress. One of his first votes was support for Bush's war in Iraq. In my book, The Peacock Elite, completed in 2010, I predicted the destabilizing disloyalty that has now come to pass.
Inspired by his mentor, former Congressman Harold Ford, now a regular guest consultant on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Artur has been quietly but desperately pursuing a million dollar payoff position in some big bank or mega law firm. But since Ford has already been engaged for more than two million dollars a year to occupy the slot of "conservative Democrat," Artur has been forced to deal without camouflage. To reach his salary objective he has been pushed to the mourner's bench to proclaim himself a born again Republican. His coming prime-time trashing of President Obama is the final requirement in this initiation ritual.
Although clever Artur has cast himself as a soul-searching tragic hero and is seeking a profile-in-courage trophy the evidence of his plot has been handwritten on the wall for some time. Very few principles are involved in this opportunistic Judas conversion. To clinch his thirty pieces of silver Artur Davis has now openly placed a for sale sign on himself.
After ignoring Black leaders for years the rich right-wing brokers have entered this market offering very high prices. The self-hating Congressman Alan West is hauling in millions of dollars for his campaign wagon. Until he became too hot to handle, Herman Cain was a well-subsidized prize buck. At all levels -- business, academic, sports, entertainment -- highly visible Blacks who are willing to spit on Martin Luther King's dream are being promised extravagant rewards. And among too many Black elected officials the mysterious silence on issues of grave concern is the result of an epidemic of preening in preparation for good corporate deals after retirement. Following Artur's bold move the volume of trading will surge upwards.
In launching my crusade against "peacock" opportunism I pinpoint the dangers of Black closet predators by focusing on the Republican recruitment and ambush of losing Tennessee Senate candidate Harold Ford. On page 39 in the chapter on "The Destructive Power of Peacock Mania" of The Peacock Elite I state the following:
... A Harold victory would have indicated the following: that no matter how hostile a president's policies are toward your constituents, you should nevertheless embrace him as a friend. Show no anger even when he shows up to campaign for your opponent. That voting for the Patriot Act, for trillions for defense, and against amnesty for illegal aliens is all right because Blacks don't really assign much importance to these matters. That despite the low quality of education in Memphis schools and the low pay of Tennessee teachers, expenditures for the war in Iraq's drain on federal funds is not relevant to services and programs needed by working families and the poor ... In summary, the positions of Harold Ford would have been far more hurtful for Blacks than the positions presently held by most white southern members of the Senate ...
Artur Davis assumed the posture of younger twin to Harold Ford: he voted for the war in Iraq and he joined the Blue Dogs. As I write on page 283, in "Countering the Internal Balkanization Threat":
On June 1, 2010, the deal between Congressman Artur Davis and the Alabama Blue Dogs collapsed when Davis lost the Democratic Primary election for governor with 37.7% of the vote.
Davis had replaced Harold Ford as the leader of the crossover CBC members. His demise ended the bold overt 'in your face' contempt for Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Struggle. In addition to Harold Ford III, the lineup of predator peacocks had included Kweisi Mfume, Mike Espy, Al Wynn, Barbara Rose Collins, Cleo Fields, Theodore Meeks, and William Jefferson. A lingering set of 'sleeper agents' has become less visible. In the winter of 2010 Harold Ford III surfaced as a possible imported candidate for the New York Senate seat held by Kirsten Gillibrand. It was publicly acknowledged that Harold's New York banking industry employer had guaranteed him an income of no less than two and a half million dollars per year. The stakes keep rising.
Tune in to the Artur Davis show at the Republican convention and you will see that when the right picks up a smooth, double-talking Harvard Law School graduate it can be satisfied that it has made a profitable trip to the political bargain basement.
HuffPost Black Voices sends a daily dose of the best and most important news about black life, culture and excellence straight to your inbox. Learn more