Smile Politely

Rodney Davis was so offended by the President’s racist comments that he did absolutely nothing

Congressman Rodney Davis is a feckless coward.

I’m aware that this isn’t a very civil thing to say. I’m also aware that Rep. Davis hates incivility.

Luckily, an opportunity presented itself this weekend for Davis to prove that his concern over the absence of polite and respectful political discourse was more than self-righteous moral preening or a transparently calculated attempt to stifle criticism.

Unfortunately, Congressman Rodney Davis is a colossal hypocrite and cynical political opportunist who is more interested in keeping his nativist base happy than being consistent in his beliefs, so he didn’t do that.

When the President (who benefits from Davis’ overwhelming support) told four women of color (three of whom were born here) to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” in an explicitly racist attack, Davis had the chance to be as clear and as forceful in condemning those comments as he is when his constituents beg him not to take away the healthcare they rely on to not die.

Instead Davis has been completely, utterly, deafeningly silent. It’s a weird choice for a guy that never misses an opportunity to paternalistically lecture his constituents about how we need to return to the halcyon (see also: mythical) days of reasoned dialogue with those who disagree with us.

It’s not like Davis hasn’t been given ample time and opportunity to respond. It’s been over 24 hours. I’ve called his DC office and e-mailed his communications director requesting a statement. Actual journalist Mark Maxwell over at WCIA 3 has been after Davis since last night with no success. If Davis actually had something to say, he would have said it by now, which tells me one of two things:

A.) Davis sees nothing wrong with the comments


B.) Davis hasn’t been told what to say yet

Neither option makes Davis look particularly good. If it’s Option A, Rodney Davis is a racist, full stop. If it’s Option B he’s little more than a child who isn’t allowed to cross the (political) street unless someone holds his hand. It’s on Davis and his team to help those of us justifiably appalled by the President’s comments to figure out where he stands. The absence of an answer is itself an answer on something as blatant as this.

In contrast I reached out to his opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, for a statement and got this back in five minutes.

“We need leaders who are more afraid of losing their moral compass than they are about losing an election. We deserve a representative who isn’t afraid to raise her voice against racism and injustice.”

**Editor’s Note, 7:40 p.m.: Rodney Davis has made a statement, per WCIA’s Mark Maxwell. See Maxwell’s tweet below with the rather unsurprising response where he basically turns it back on Democrats and squeezes in a reference to the congressional baseball game shooting. 

Photo from Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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