In a post-mortem on the GOP’s performance in the 2012 presidential race, former Alabama congressman Artur Davis says that, while the Republican party “made an impeccable argument” to likeminded voters, it failed to appeal to centrists. “They’re not some island fools, they’re our neighbors,” Davis said, and for Republicans to succeed politically these voters must be convinced that “our values will work for their lives and their circumstances.”
“We didn’t even talk to them,” he lamented.
Despite his criticism of the GOP’s latest effort, Davis maintained that the problem lies with a lack of outreach rather than with conservative philosophy or the Republican political platform. Conservatism, he said, is not “tired or exhausted,” merely “tired of not being defended.” He blasted political pundits who “don’t want the GOP to win telling Republicans how to fix this party” and had equally harsh words for the party’s internal critics: “Keep your lack of confidence to yourself,” he said, and “get out of the way.”
Davis, who is African-American, told his audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the black community is “as conservative and faith oriented as many in this room,” in particular when it comes to the issue of education, and urged Republicans to focus their outreach on this issue.
A vocal supporter of President Obama during the 2008 campaign, Davis left the Democratic party and registered as a Republican in 2012.