Compilation of analysis and reaction to Charlie Crist's speech at the DNC

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In a highly anticipated speech to the Democratic National Convention, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said his old party had walked away from its roots and is now too extreme to be trusted to lead the country. Here is a compilation of analysis and reaction to Crist’s speech:

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is never at a loss for a good quip:

“If this were a vegetarian conference, then Charlie would be a vegetarian.”

RPOF chair Lenny Curry is “really sad”:

“It was really sad to watch Charlie Crist’s speech tonight. He struggled to find areas where he could agree with President Obama, but could find none. As a self-proclaimed pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family, anti-tax Reagan Republican—who called himself as conservative as you could get—Crist has a long history of disagreeing with Obama and the Democrats on virtually everything they believe in. This speech was a sad, shameful display of political opportunism where Crist tried once again to shed his own political skin. Charlie Crist proved tonight, as always, that he is only concerned about furthering his own political ambitions.”

Chris Cillizza put Crist in his “Losers” column:

“Party switching convention speakers are rarely well received since the partisans in the audience tend to see the switcher as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That’s especially true for Crist who was the REPUBLICAN governor of Florida when President Obama was elected in 2008.  Crist’s speech was a transparent attempt to get right with the party that he wants to represent when he runs for future office. Even in the room, it was only politely received. At best.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Jim Galloway compared Crist to Zell Miller.

Former State Senator Dan Gelber was magnanimous, as usual:

“As Republicans narrow their reach, Democrats need to expand theirs.”

But asked about a 2014 Crist candidacy for governor, Gelber said, “It’s a long way to Tipperary.”

PolitiFact checked Crist’s claim that “Jeb Bush recently noted, Reagan himself would have been too moderate, too reasonable for today’s GOP”:

“We think it’s clear Bush said the partisan divide would make it difficult for Reagan to govern the way he did (i.e., Republicans might have been mad at him for working with Democrats, and Democrats might be unwilling to work with him because he’s a Republican.) What’s murky is whether Bush said — or suggested — Reagan would be ‘too moderate’ and ‘too reasonable for today’s GOP.’ “

Jake from Rantings from Florida wanted more:

“I had hoped Crist would come out tonight and declare as a Democrat. If Crist is genuinely thinking of running for governor in 2014, and especially if he wants to run for Bill Young’s House seat, we need to know Crist will be a reliable supporter of some progressive values. Specific progressive values. When will we get that speech? It wasn’t here tonight.”

The Political Hurricane’s Kartik Krishnaiyer thinks Crist would do well to wait until 2016:

“Marco Rubio is a national rock star, but Crist could rehabilitate himself in alliance with the Democrats and prove to be a giant killer if he got a clean shot at Florida’s ideologically motivated junior senator. 2010 was a wipe-out year for Democrats nationally, and Rubio’s election was plainly a fluke. In modern times,  Florida has never elected someone to the US Senate as conservative as Rubio and if he doesn’t give up his seat to run for President, Crist’s best opportunity to return to office could be a rematch.”

Mustang Bobby reminds us that party-switchers rarely achieve the status of respect that will make it possible to run and win, especially if they’ve already been elected.

“It’s one thing to have a change of heart when you’re just starting out and figuring out where your convictions align with one party or the other. But folks are naturally suspicious of both motive and conviction when it happens when you’re already vested. No one will truly trust you or think of you as much more than an opportunist who is using the party as a crutch to support your own ambitions rather than do something good for the people who elect you.”

National Review’s Betsy Woodruff theorizes that this is all a business development project for Morgan & Morgan:

“Many Florida political insiders even question whether Crist actually practices law for Morgan & Morgan. One called him a “celebrity spokesperson” for the firm, which was the top contributor to his 2010 Senate bid. John Morgan, the firm’s founder, is a prominent Florida Democratic fundraiser with a huge network throughout the state. His biennial picnics at the Central Florida Fairgrounds (the last of which featured country star Kenny Rogers) attract thousands of people, including numerous prominent politicians, attorneys, and former clients of the firm. In other words, they’re the perfect networking events for anyone seeking political resurrection.”

The Tampa Bay Times’ Alex Leary was on the fan beat:

“Seconds before Charlie Crist walked onto the stage at the DNC, a man ran out and put a small fan at the base of the podium. All was right in Crist world. … Or not. The big screen showed him sweating pretty hard.”

The Tampa Bay Times‘ Michael Van Sickler reports that the audience response to Crist was “tepid”:

“The noise level from chatter among delegates rose as Crist read from a TelePrompTer during the 6 ½-minute speech, and officials used Crist’s speech as time to ready front-row seats for Michelle Obama and other dignitaries.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.