Is Donald Trump looking over his shoulder these days?
No doubt some folks shudder with jaws agape at the notion that the senior Trump is afraid or apprehensive about anything, but as the weeks and months go by and the 2024 Republican party presidential nominating season crawls ever closer, many conservatives are sizing up the coming struggle and taking it with a special degree of seriousness.
Simply put, liberty-lovers can’t afford to get it wrong. Not that any presidential election is more or less important than the one that proceeded it, but America is in particularly bad shape now and rational citizens wonder whether the nation can endure another four years of Democrat rule after this term concludes. Senile president Joe Biden has proven to be every bit as awful as predicted, and smart observers are even suggesting Kamala Harris is the worst vice president of all-time.
Meanwhile, Trump’s popularity and stature has risen -- some -- since he left office in January of last year. How could it not? Every former president enjoys a bump in favorability once he’s no longer the lead story of every news cycle. The New Yorker has done a great job of keeping his name in the national debate, but there is still a great deal of wondering about whether he should be brought back as an all-or-nothing relief pitcher when the game is already so far out of reach.
One Republican has risen above the gathering crowd of potential Trump challengers, and his impressive tally of legislative and policy victories is growing as time passes. You know who I’m talking about… he’s Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis is on a roll in the Sunshine State, and the rest of the country is beginning to notice.
“A cheering crowd near Miami watched him sign a trio of bills … aimed at reining in ‘woke’ activism by the Walt Disney Company. [Last] week, another group of enthusiastic supporters at a sports bar on the other side of the state watched him sign into law new voter ID requirements, tough penalties for voter fraud and the creation of a first-of-its-kind Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election wrongdoing.
“’My message is just I don’t think there’s any other place in the country where you should have more confidence that your vote counts than in the state of Florida,’ Mr. DeSantis said, winning another round of applause. In this way, Mr. DeSantis has solidified his rising-star status in the Republican Party. He’s burnished a reputation as a conservative champion that will serve him in his quest for a second term in November and a possible 2024 presidential run.”
Yes indeed, DeSantis is quite a phenom. Watching the man roll through his leftist opposition is akin to witnessing a star quarterback predicting a Super Bowl victory -- and then winning it by trampling the other team. If I didn’t know better, just from observing events unfold, I’d say Gov. Ron can do anything he wants to do in The Sunshine State.
It’s a remarkable thing.
I can’t speak for the Florida governor, but his successful formula seems pretty simple: read the newspaper or watch the TV news -- doesn’t matter the paper or the station -- identify the issues that most animate people, run the problems through his conservative principle filter, determine the best course of action to correct them or fix them, call his chief of staff to get the item added to the calendar, talk about it with advisors, assign skilled legislation writers to devise language for a bill or executive order, then go in front of the media cameras to announce the concepts.
Then, listen for the intensity of anti-good-idea wrath from the political left to garner a feeling of how important the kooks consider the issue within the overall scheme of things. Obviously, the louder the kvetching, the better. Liberals don’t bother with small ball. They want big, headline attracting public battles, which they assume, based on past experience, that they’ll always win.
With Ron DeSantis, they’ll get the fight alright. Wins? Not a chance.
Of course, there is give-and-take with legislative leaders of both parties in there somewhere to determine the level of support for any proposal, but it’s part of the process. Ron DeSantis is the most successful Republican governor in recent memory because he’s able to separate the salient stuff from the puffery and set in motion a course of action that gets to the heart of the matter. If you want the standard wishy-washy RINO bull crap, look elsewhere. How about in Utah?
People love it. I don’t live in Florida and haven’t visited the state in over a decade, but nonetheless find myself following its politics fairly closely, mostly because it’s fun to watch DeSantis take what everyone’s talking about in the national news and turn the issue into a conservative success story. This was particularly evident during the overhyped COVID hysteria period that swept the nation the past couple years.
Recall that DeSantis initially went along with the Washington swamp dwellers and ordered shutdown measures of state and local facilities in accordance with what the federal authorities directed everyone to do. This was Donald Trump’s administration, right? Heck, even I bought into the “15 Days to Stop the Spread” line of argument. But then the two-plus weeks came and went and the powers-that-be -- not necessarily Trump himself, but those around him -- called for more and more isolation time for no discernible benefit.
DeSantis recognized the writing on the wall. He examined the data and took a “scientific” approach to Florida’s strategy to deal with COVID. Then he opened the beaches as well as most of everything else, including schools. The barely middle-aged Floridian took enormous amounts of flak for doing what many thought would need to happen eventually -- open everything up -- and saved his state from financial ruin with bold leadership.
The left hated it. 60 Minutes did a hit piece on the governor where they claimed he prioritized campaign contributors over effective treatments. Nonsense and lies. Blue state governors and Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden singled him out for special rebuke and condemnation. The hags at “The View” couldn’t stand him. Joy Behar wondered whether DeSantis could be accused of “negligent homicide” and called him a “sociopath”, “dangerous criminal” and a “white supremacist”. DeSantis’s crime? He disagreed with Anthony Fauci and the CDC and rescinded the mask mandate in his state. The battle continues over COVID but the war is mostly won as the federal brains can’t resist the tide of public opinion much longer. And it’s all because leaders like Ron DeSantis long ago got out in front of the matter and did what was right, not what was politically expedient.
The list of DeSantis successes goes on and on. Ron’s recent public spat with the “woke” Walt Disney Company was a particular stroke of genius. Some conservatives have complained about Disney’s sad descent into politically correct hades for decades. Look how far the entertainment giant has slid! Don’t they have “sensitivity” disclaimers for their older movies now? How pathetic! Again, I don’t live in Florida, but I imagine what it must be like to be a Democrat there with DeSantis’s incredible popularity and steady control. They complain loudly that DeSantis is a dictator and he gets whatever he demands, but when a politician has the People on his side, power comes with it. It certainly aids DeSantis’s cause that he has a friendly legislature, but success breeds success, and it’s better to be part of a greater movement that’s achieving results rather than resort to the usual RINO establishment course of hoping to find “consensus” on issues and “govern in a bipartisan” manner. That’s stupid.
It's better to make a liberal cry than make him, her or “it” happy.
Why not simply get it right the first time and steamroll the competition? Isn’t there a lesson here for congressional Republicans if they’re gifted with a majority after the midterm elections in November? And DeSantis has done it all with a bright smile on his face, a prototypical happy warrior.
Last November, Virginians, myself included, elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin and a full slate of Republican executive officers here in the Commonwealth. At the time, my hope was that Youngkin would check-in regularly with DeSantis for the Floridian’s thoughts on which issues to push the hardest. Thus far, Youngkin has done a very good if not excellent job. All one really needs to emulate is proven success, right? Cultural issues are at the forefront in 2022. A wise leader recognizes where it’s at and acts accordingly.
It could be argued that DeSantis learned from Donald Trump’s take-no-prisoners example, and that but for a Donald Trump presidency there would be no Ron DeSantis. I’m not sure if it’s true, but the model sure seems to work in Florida and, if given a chance after the electoral demise of the Democrats this year and in 2024, could be just as effective in the national capital.
Ron DeSantis doesn’t face the same barriers to success that Donald Trump did when he was president. Congressional Democrats stymied Trump at every intersection and made the president’s job all the more difficult. If DeSantis ever reaches the Oval Office, he would encounter similar resistance. Would the results be the same, or different? Perhaps we’ll find out.
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