Davis moves toward political center

Davis moves toward political center

CHAMPAIGN — Not unlike his predecessor in Congress, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is moving toward the center and working to portray himself as a moderate on political issues. It's a necessary strategy in his politically divided 13th Congressional District that includes liberal Champaign-Urbana on the northeast end and conservative Macoupin County to the southwest.

For Tuesday night's State of the Union address, for example, the Taylorville Republican plans to sit with Chicago Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski who, like Davis, is a member of Congress' "No Labels" group that has pledged "to collaborate with one another to seek shared success for America," according to its website.

The 41 No Labels members of the House, Davis said, will wear distinctive orange pins on their lapels. Further, Davis' guest at the State of the Union address is David Hylla, a Madison County Democratic judge, whom Davis described as "an old friend."

And in perhaps the strongest signal of his moderate politics, Davis asserted at last Saturday's Champaign County Republican Lincoln Day luncheon that "compromise is not a bad word."

"I pledge to work with both parties in Washington, and that's not something that's popular to say here at a Republican dinner," Davis added.

Sure enough, the keynote speaker at the luncheon, former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., seemed to criticize Davis for being willing to compromise. "When we appease, when we acquiesce, when we accommodate, we lose," West said.

Davis, speaking Monday after touring the Eastern Illinois Foodbank in Urbana, said he was not upset by West's comments.

"I was not offended by what he said when he didn't like my use of the word 'compromise.' The point I was trying to make was that compromise does not mean you compromise your principles," Davis said. "The same with Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan got a lot of discussion (Saturday) in Allen's speech. And Ronald Reagan is the epitome of compromise. He didn't lose sight of what his overall goal was, but he was able to govern by compromise in a divided government and was very successful at it. That's the type of compromise I'm talking about."

Davis' work with the No Labels group, also known as the "Problem Solvers," is similar to former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson's membership in the "Center Aisle Caucus," a group devoted to bipartisanship and civility in the House.

"It's a great group. I think it's indicative of the frustration some of the rank-and-file members of Congress have over the partisanship," David said of the group whose honorary co-chairs are former Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Utah Republican, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat. "There are many Democrats and Republicans like me who have gotten together, we're meeting on a regular basis. We're talking about issues that need to be addressed and we're basically breaking bread together, which I think isn't done enough in Washington."

After just 38 roll call votes during his first several weeks in Congress, it's difficult to say how independent or moderate Davis will be. But he insisted this weekend that "I am not the rabid, right-wing Republican that (Democrats and interest groups) said I was going to be. I have a pretty good voting record that I think talks to the fact that in my campaign I said I would take a balanced, common sense approach on every issue and judge each issue one by one."

Davis' appeal to independents and moderate Democrats is, of course, calculated. He has acknowledged since winning election last November that he expects to be targeted again in 2014 by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other groups that spent more than $3 million trying to defeat him.

"Champaign is the epicenter right now of the national political climate. You guys haven't been for years. Springfield, Decatur, Taylorville, we are at the epicenter of one of the districts they want to use to take back the House so that the president, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid can have the ability to pass their major agenda items," David said in an interview.

Later in his speech to Republicans, he added, "You're looking at the No. 1 target in the nation for those who don't like our vision for America. Nancy Pelosi, Senator Durbin, Barack Obama want to bring the fight back to Champaign-Urbana once again, but with your help we'll fight and be victorious again in 2014."

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rsp wrote on February 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

If he wants us to think he's so moderate why does he keep bringing up Nancy Pelosi? Is that the only issue he knows how to talk about? Don't want to lose the base! 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2013 at 10:02 am

A wolf in sheep's clothing, or a sheep in wolf's clothing?  "Tell them what they want to hear." 

I wonder how comfortable the GOP bosses who appointed Davis felt at the Lincoln speech.  They had Alan Keyes; the failed Tea Party, "members of Congress are communists", one term House of Representatives loser; as the speaker (why not ex-rep Joe Walsh).  Keyes verbally attacked Davis in front of them.  There must be division among them.  Some hanging on to the right-wing views of the ultra conservatives; and others seeing that their party must move to the moderate center. All, and all; Davis played it pretty well.  He is seeing that the GOP's image must change to stay as a viable party.  If he does not speak Spanish now, I expect he will learn a few phrases.  He maybe "undecided" on pro-choice, and gun control also.  He is positioning himself for re-election.... oops.. election; and maybe more in the future. 

bluegrass wrote on February 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Hmmmm...   There are so many issues with your post I don't know where to begin, but perhaps we should start with the keynote speaker of the Lincoln Day Dinner, not the Lincoln speech, who was Alan West.  I know, it must be difficult for some people on the left to come to grips with the fact that there are black people who embrace the conservative party.  It must be especially difficult to understand that there are more than one.  So many, in fact, that you apparently can't keep track of them all.  Alan Keyes, you may remember, ran a very weird campaign for U.S. Senator against Barack Milhouse Obama in 2004, after Obama and his team used the dirtiest, nastiest Chicago machine political tricks they could to get Jack Ryan to pull out of the race.  Alan West is a decorated war hero, who lost a highly contested re-election race after his district was gerrymandered to push him out, amid allegations of voter fraud.  If you get really confused, you may note the Alan West wears glasses, and Alan Keyes does not.  You may be thinking, but Colin Powell was also in the military, and he's also black, and he also sometimes wears glasses.  Don't worry, he's not a conservative, so you don't need to worry about mixing up the two.  Now Thomas Sowell is a black conservative columnist who wears glasses also.  Come to think of it Dr. Carson, who recently spoke at the prayer breakfast, is also a black conservative who wears glasses.  Perhaps we should just learn their names and disregard their glasses.


SaintClarence27 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Jack Ryan got himself in trouble. It had nothing to do with Obama or the Chicago machine. THere have been plenty of dirty politics played in Illinois, but that wasn't one of them.


bluegrass wrote on February 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Really?  I guess you don't recall when the Mustached One, resident sleazeball David Axelrod got a judge to unseal testimony from a family divorce trial, and from an angry ex-wife.   You're really defending that?  It's sleazy, Chicago machine politics, and it helped to push Obama into the Senate, and into the White House.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

1) Obama was well ahead in the polls prior to the release of the custody records.

2) Divorce and custody records had already been requested to be released by Ryan's GOP opponents.

3) The tribune sued to unseal the records for the divorce and custody records during the primary.

4) The judge unsealed the divorce records, and kept the custody records sealed. The Tribune and channel 7 continued.

5) The records within the custody records not relating to custody were released based on requests from the Tribune and Channel 7, not Obama or his aides.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-0403300182mar30,0,4948964.story


bluegrass wrote on February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

Doesn't matter who is ahead in the polls, it matters who wins the election.

Ryan had already won the primary.  Granted, he was encouraged to leave by the bad advice of the republican party, but ultimately he made a personal decision to shield himself and his kid from the media and left wing light of Sauron's Eye.

David Axelrod has a track record of doing the mudslinging dirty work for his boss, see Blair Hull.  

The information was somehow 'leaked' to the public.

If you believe that Milhouse's people didn't have anything to do with it, I can't help with that.

If you want to say Jack Ryan was ultimately responsible for his own demise, assuming he wanted to play around at clubs with his wife, I'll buy it.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

Your final point is really my point - that politicians should generally expect their dirty laundry to be aired. The dirtier the laundry, the more likely it becomes public.

That said, the information wasn't leaked. It was published by the Tribune, after a lawsuit seeking to unseal the records BY THE TRIBUNE that started DURING THE GOP PRIMARY.

And yes, Axelrod was certainly responsible for the stuff regarding Blair Hull. I'm just saying he wasn't regarding Jack Ryan. Regardless, I think it's just generally to be expected regarding any political battle. Obama's national strength (and Clinton's before him) has to do with his willingness to use Axelrod. Compare that with the "weakness" that Kerry and Gore displayed - their unwillingness to do that made them vulnerable and made them look weak.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on February 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm

IT'S ALL OBAMAO'S FAULT!!!!!!!!!111!

The Republicans put up a series of wackaloon candidates and the meanie ole DemoRats called attention to just how wackaloon they were.

IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!

Obama!!!!! DEstroying the Republic!!!!1 Communisticals!!!!! Teh Gayz!!!!!!! Benghazi!!!!!!!!! Fast and FUrious!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Solyndra!!@!!!!!!!

Vote Tea Party Republican because WAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm

bluegrass;  I did say Keyes instead of West.  West did make the statement that Congress had communists as members.  He is the darling of the ultra right.  You are more knowledgeable about that of course.  Thanks for pointing out my error.  I get confused between Ron, and Rand Paul also.  Rand is the one giving the Tea Party rebuttal to the President's speech tonight.  There are two Republican parties evidently.  The GOP is giving a rebuttal following the speech; and the Tea Party is giving a rebuttal also.  Rand Paul is the younger one, right? Ron Paul is the one with the racist newsletters, right?  Thanks again for the help.

bluegrass wrote on February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

That is correct, Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, is on track to be in the hunt for the republican candidate for president.

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

God save us from that day.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on February 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

That's right you dang lib!!!!!!

Cower in fear before the mighty disciple of AQUABUDDHA!!!!!!!!!1!

Once Rand Paul is presidenting over us, reading Ayn Rand will be mandatory and you won't vote unless you can identify the speaker of random quotes selected from her reading by the election judge.

We'll then cut they government by 90% and WE WILL ENTER A GRAND TEA PARTY UTOPIA where govermint is finally small enough to fit in every uterus in the country!!!!!!

rsp wrote on February 13, 2013 at 6:02 am

Barack Milhouse Obama. Is he any relation to Barack Hussein Obama? Milhouse would be Nixon's middle name. It wasn't the Lincoln Day Dinner, it was a luncheon. As far as being a war hero, West was forced out of the military after firing a gun by a detainee's face during an illegal interrogation. He chose to change which district he ran in, and republicans voted against him. 

bluegrass wrote on February 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

I call him Barack Milhouse Obama, the bumper sticker president.

Okay, it's the Lincoln Day Luncheon.  

Alan West is a war hero, regardless of what happened.

Alan West easily won his primary in his district in 2012, so I'm not sure how republicans voted against him.

mark taylor's ghost wrote on February 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

No, as Bluey notes, he's a right winger, so whatever he does is heroic, by definition. Firing a gun inches from someone's face to make them think you're killing them is just good old fashioned fun & games. You know, like naked pyramids and submerging people in ice water for hours at a time.

He's a TRUE AMERICAN HERO and a role model for CORRECT ACTION!!!!!!!1!

johnny wrote on February 18, 2013 at 3:02 am

Thank you for recognizing the difference (many differences) between Allen West and Alan Keyes.  It's sad more people don't even care.

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on February 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Davis better be careful....or the Teabaggers will start running negative ads about him, the same way they're already doing to Aaron Schock.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Thanks, that leads to an interesting question.  After tonight's State of the Union Speech by the President; the GOP are giving a rebuttal speech, and the Tea Party are giving a rebuttal speech.  How many Republican parties are there?  Has the country reached a time where there are more than two Republican parties?  Next year; will there be a GOP rebuttal, a Tea Party rebuttal, a Left rebuttal, and an Independent rebuttal?

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Thanks, that leads to an interesting question.  After tonight's State of the Union Speech by the President; the GOP are giving a rebuttal speech, and the Tea Party are giving a rebuttal speech.  How many Republican parties are there?  Has the country reached a time where there are more than two Republican parties?  Next year; will there be a GOP rebuttal, a Tea Party rebuttal, a Left rebuttal, and an Independent rebuttal?

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Sorry, it is repetitious.


Sorry, it is repetitious.


dw wrote on February 14, 2013 at 10:02 am

The irony of the "No Labels" coalition labeling themselves with orange is particulalry juicy.  Congresscritters just don't know the meaning of "no".

Not that I'm against their ideas/philosophy... just the irony was too tastey not to bring up...