We are writing to express our disdain over several recent comments you have made about the important issues facing voters in November, your total distortion of President Barack Obama’s record, and your complete flip-flop on certain core principles you once held dear. Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010.
Despite recent news reports that you sought advice from a Virginia political consultant about running for office as a Democrat, you currently proclaim to have switched to the Republican Party. However, in 2009 you repeatedly criticized former Representative Parker Griffith for the same act, saying, “his decision repudiates the hard work of many Democrats who sustained him during his election to two high offices.” You continued, “He leaves a party where differences of opinion are tolerated and respected to join a party that in Washington, marches in lockstep, demands the most rigid unity, and articulates no governing philosophy beyond the forceful use of the word, ‘no.’”
It’s unconscionable that you now claim Voter ID laws do not violate civil rights or suppress minority voter turnout. Yet in 2007 while still representing Alabama’s 7th congressional district, you joined then-Senator Obama in calling for the resignation of the Justice Department’s Voting Rights chief after he claimed that Voter ID laws did not hurt minorities, saying, “you can't argue that voter ID laws don't disfranchise African-Americans.”
You also may recall that less than two years ago, you routinely touted your progressive record as a member of the House of Representatives. You supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Wall Street reform bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and ending tax subsidies for oil companies. Despite voting against the final bill, you even supported major pillars of the Affordable Care Act like banning discrimination against pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid, and providing tax breaks to small businesses that provide health care, to name a few.
Contrary to your recent declarations, you hailed President Barack Obama as a “beacon of leadership,” touted President Obama as your “model,” and widely described the President as a friend. As a member of the House of Representatives, you supported President Obama’s agenda 95% of the time, were quoted saying “I agree with him on everything,” and repeatedly invoked President Obama in your failed gubernatorial campaign.
It is important that the American people have these important facts and draw their own conclusions about your true motivations for speaking at the Republican National Convention. We have come to the disturbing conclusion that your recent public statements have no basis in real policy or political disagreements, but rather they stem from transparent opportunism and a personal determination to overcome failing to win the Alabama Democratic primary for Governor in 2010. We regret that you have chosen this course, but are confident that the American people see your pronouncements for what they are and come to the same disappointing conclusion of your former colleagues.
Chairman Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Rep. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Rep Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Rep. James E. Clyburn (SC-06)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Rep. Barbara J. Lee (CA-09)
Rep. John Lewis (GA-05)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY-06)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (AL-07)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)