TAMPA—Former congressman Artur Davis—once a Democratic rising star, now a Republican weapon—accused President Barack Obama late Tuesday of bamboozling voters four years ago with “flowery words” and charged that the incumbent has lost the “halo” his supporters thought he had in 2008.
“America is a land of second chances, and I gather in this close race you have room for the estimated 6 million of us who know we got it wrong in 2008 and who want to fix it,” Davis told delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Davis, who seconded Obama’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention that year, acidly quipped that “we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with styrofoam Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don’t end well.” He continued: “Maybe the Hollywood stars and the glamor blinded us a little: You thought it was the glare, some of us thought it was a halo.”
Davis switched parties after failing to get the Democratic nomination for governor of Alabama—a defeat some analysts blamed on his effort to tack to the center, notably his decision to vote against Obamacare, a repudiation of Obama thought to have cost him dearly among core Democrats. Now on the other side, Davis reached out to voters who backed the president’s historic 2008 run but are having second thoughts.
“Do you know why so many of us believed? We led with our hearts and our dreams that we could be more inclusive than America had ever been, and no candidate had ever spoken so beautifully,” he said.
“But dreams meet daybreak: The jobless know what I mean, so do the families who wonder how this administration could wreck a recovery for three years and counting,” he said. “So many of those high-flown words have faded.”
Now, said Davis, “we have a country to turn around.”
Davis praised Republicans for nominating “the most experienced executive to seek the presidency in 60 years in Mitt Romney.” “He has no illusions about what makes America great, and he doesn’t confuse the presidency with celebrity, or loftiness with leadership,” he said.
“Let’s put the poetry aside, let’s suspend the hype, let’s come down to earth and start creating jobs again,” Davis said.
“May it be said of this time in our history: 2008 to 2011: lesson learned. 2012: mistake corrected.”