The Jim Davis Urban Myth

The business of politics too often involves trafficking in labels. One person’s “liberal” may be another person’s progressive, limousine leftist, tree-hugger or “blame-America-first” ideologue. “Conservatives” can be neocons, Reagan conservatives, family-values true believers or right-wing religious loons. And who, truly, is a “moderate” anyway?

Another label is “wonkish,” often euphemistic for boring. It’s been affixed like a “kick me” sign to Jim Davis, the five-term congressman who is running for governor. No, he’s not charismatic like his primary opponent Rod Smith.

But, no, he hasn’t had a charisma bypass either.

At last week’s Tiger Bay Club of Tampa luncheon, Davis came across as thoughtful as well as passionate about the choices Floridians face. Substance usually trumps style, but, still, it’s obvious that the Tampa Democrat is a little less formal, a bit funnier and more energized than previous campaign incarnations.

“I’m not the screamer, not the cheerleader,” he acknowledged. “I am who I am.”

Only with a few more style points this go round.

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