Young Artur Davis was ‘political animal’: former professor

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis, who is poised to take a star turn with a featured speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, "didn't stand out for his academic prowess" as a Harvard undergraduate but had an "insatiable interest in political gossip and current events" and was clearly already a "political animal," a former professor recalled Tuesday.

Middlebury College political science professor Matthew Dickinson taught Davis while both were at Harvard--Dickinson getting his Ph.D. and Davis as an undergraduate. Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama, became a Republican earlier this year, a conversion that has angered his former political comrades-in-arms. Dickinson shared some of his memories of the former congressman in a blog post.

"It came as absolutely no surprise to me that he went into elective politics—it was clear that he was already a political animal," wrote Dickinson. "He was a smart student, but in a class of exceptionally bright undergraduates—(four went on to law school, one clerked for the Supreme Court, another served on Capitol Hill), he didn't stand out for his academic prowess. Instead, what I remember most about Artur is his insatiable interest in political gossip and current events."

Dickinson went on to wish Davis well on his "big night."

"This is not to say I endorse (or do not endorse!) his political conversion. But politics can be a harsh mistress, and Artur has already developed a noteworthy enemies list. There's no need to add to the list. Instead, he should expect some moral support from a former teacher," he said.

"So, knock 'em dead, Artur. I'm rooting for you."