I had such high hopes for Ron DeSantis back in 2018. That has now all faded away.
Governor DeSantis just had a landmark victory having been re-elected by almost 20 points over tired retread Charlie Crist. In today’s Florida Democrat Party, Crist was the best they could do. Ron “De-Sanctimonious,” as Trump likes to call him, is now the Republicans best shot at winning the presidency in 2024. When first elected, I would have been very happy with that, but now I am not.
At first, DeSantis was truly conservative in a way I would champion. Over the course of his first term, he went from being that kind of conservative to being a cultural warrior who I cannot support. His early forays into education, especially concerning charters, was right on target, but then his educational pronouncements became caught up in pleasing a more and more irrational base.
He was on the money by opening Florida’s schools and economy early. But then his cries of a “free Florida” began to sound hollow when he dictated to private business whether they could run their businesses the way they wanted. Describing the state’s pro-business stance as free and then imposing prohibitions on the private sector based on political points of view doesn’t ring true.
It is sensible to make sure that 7-year-old children are not required to learn in detail what LGBTQIA all means. At the same time, stopping the treatment of teens trying to sort out their sexuality causes needless pain and suicides. It is one thing to allow parents a say on the books their children can read but another to ban books altogether from all libraires including for adults.
DeSantis was able to bring the COVID vaccines to millions of Floridians earlier than most states. It should be celebrated as a triumph and, for a time, it was. Then Ron the Governor became more interested in Ron the Politician, and now he has back tracked. He has now convened a grand jury to investigate crimes and wrong doings related to the very vaccines that allowed Florida to be successful in fighting the disease.
For the most part, mandates on being vaccinated are unnecessary. Let those who want to be vaccinated with all the attenuated boosters go ahead. Those who do not have the right not to be. But to bring up, once again, all the anti-vax lunacy is not governance but politics. As an aside, the states (including Florida) do not have a vote in what medicines or medical treatments are approved or not…that is a federal decision.
Ron DeSantis has been consumed by presidential ambitions and not being the governor of our state. Most of his policies are not about governing but about “owning the libs” and populist outrage. As Trump and his minions found in recent general elections, that is a losing strategy. The hardcore 30% cannot give a candidate enough votes…no matter how extreme and ridiculous his rhetoric is.
De-Sanctimonious is hoping to be a more extreme replacement for Donald Trump. And he needs to succeed in 2024 because after this term, he cannot be governor because of term limits. Headlines will be harder to grasp…just ask Trump. His campaign themes will be his greatest hits and by 2028 an entirely new genre of politics may have captured his people’s attention.