As I wrote on Twitter last night, we got Artur Davis, and the Democrats got Charlie Crist. So far it looks like a great trade, and they didn’t even get a player to be named later. We’ll see how Crist does next week in his speech to the Democratic convention, but Davis wowed the crowd at the GOP convention with his ten-minute speech aimed at those Barack Obama voters in 2008 that have become disillusioned in the four years since. “Maybe we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with plywood Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don’t end well,” Davis told the crowd:
Here was a key part of the speech, and the key to why Davis matters a lot more than Crist regardless of performance:
We don’t need flowery words about inequality to tell us that, and we don’t need a party that has led while poverty and hunger rose to record levels to give us lectures about suffering.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are Americans who are listening to this speech tonight who haven’t always been with you, and I want you to let me talk — just to them – for a moment.
I know how loaded up our politics is with anger and animosity, but I have to believe we can still make a case over the raised voices.
There are Americans who voted for the president, but who are searching right now, because they know that their votes didn’t build the country they wanted.
To those Democrats and independents whose minds are open to argument: listen closely to the Democratic Party that will gather in Charlotte and ask yourself if you ever hear your voice in the clamor.
Ask yourself if these Democrats still speak for you.
When they say we have a duty to grow government even when we can’t afford it, does it sound like compassion to you — or recklessness?
When you hear the party that glorified Occupy Wall Street blast success; when you hear them minimize the genius of the men and women who make jobs out of nothing, is that what you teach your children about work?
When they tell you America is this unequal place where the powerful trample on the powerless, does that sound like the country your children or your spouse risked their lives for in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Do you even recognize the America they are talking about? And what can we say about a house that doesn’t honor the pictures on its walls?
John F. Kennedy asked us what we could do for America. This Democratic Party asks what can government give you. Don’t worry about paying the bill, it’s on your kids and grandkids.
Bill Clinton took on his base and made welfare a thing you had to work for; this current crowd guts the welfare work requirement in the dead of night.
Bill Clinton, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson reached out across the aisle and said meet me in the middle; but their party rammed through a healthcare bill that took over one-sixth of our economy, without accepting a single Republican idea, without winning a single vote in either house from a party whose constituents make up about 50 percent of the country.
You know, the Democrats used to have a night when they presented a film of their presidential legends: if they do it in Charlotte, the theme song should be this year’s hit, “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
Davis speaks for the people who voted for Obama and have seen their lives worsen ever since, a widely-experienced phenomenon as incomes have dropped faster during the Obama “recovery” than they did during the recession. More people are unemployed, more people are despairing, and now more people want real change. That is Davis’ audience.
In contrast, what will Crist’s audience be? People who voted for McCain, but now want to vote for Obama because they’re lives are so improved? That’s a pretty narrow slice of the population. Where Davis speaks for millions, Crist will speak for hundreds at best. But I bet MSNBC will carry every word of Crist’s speech live.