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Ron DeSantis' Anti-Woke Hysteria Is A Polite Way Of Pushing Racism & He's The George Wallace Of 2023

Ron DeRacist

Do you know what George Wallace (AL), Strom Thurmond (SC), Theodore Bilbo (MS), Orval Faubus (AR), Jesse Helms (NC), David Duke (LA), Claude Kirk (FL), Lester Maddox (GA) and the father and son team Eugene and Herman Talmadge (GA) all had in common aside from being southern elected officials? They were all virulent, stand-out racists. In fact they all used their racism as part of their appeal to redneck voters. You know who’s making a name for himself doing that today? The George Wallace, you could say, of the 2024 election cycle. That’s right, Ron “Meatball Ron” DeSantis… although today they don’t call it racism; they call it an anti-woke crusade. But it’s pretty much the same thing, maybe worse in some ways, even if there’s no literal lynching.

All these creeps were around for a long time. DeSantis? He may not be. People don’t like him. To a rightist, he sounds OK on paper, but even when those people get up close, they’re repulsed. Yesterday, Dan Pfeiffer went as far as speculating that his campaign is pretty much dead in the water… over— and unlikely to rebound. Pfeiffer calculated that every single week single DeSantis announced he’s running for president has bene part of a downward spiral. His effort, in fact, “peaked in November of 2022 when he won a historically large reelection in Florida [against a career-long Republican who Democratic voters hated despair the fact that he was pretending to be a conservative Democrat, not a Republican]. Concurrently, a slew of candidates endorsed by Donald Trump went down in flames. DeSantis got another boost a few weeks later when Trump made the bizarre— but on brand— decision to dine with Kanye West and a Nazi. For a moment, DeSantis was leading in the polls. Big-money donors and experienced operatives were begging the Florida governor to enter the race. Since his peak, DeSantis has steadily dropped in the polls, become a national joke for his awkward encounters with voters, and given the worst campaign announcements in history.”

Pfeiffer reminded his readers that “Campaigns can be stories of redemption. For every flop there is a ‘Comeback Kid.’ Many candidates in history had near-death experiences on their way to accepting the nomination at their party’s convention… Could the same thing happen to DeSantis? Is there a comeback in his future or has DeSantis already become a zombie candidate— dead but still running?”

Ron DeSantis’s biggest problem is not Donald Trump, the pro-Trump MAGA media, or the growing field of candidates splitting the non-Trump vote. DeSantis’s biggest problem is that he is Ron DeSantis. To win the Presidency, you must be able to woo people during one-on-one dinners and in VFW halls in places like Iowa and be deft enough to navigate the brutal levels of media scrutiny. DeSantis can do none of the above. His speeches are boring and poorly delivered... every time he appears in public, the Florida Governor makes a gaffe that distracts from his intended message.
DeSantis will likely improve as a candidate. He can only go up from here. But will he improve enough to pull off a nearly unprecedented comeback? In his entire career, he has never demonstrated that such ability exists in him somewhere.
…As governor, DeSantis picked the right fights to generate press coverage. In terms of media scrutiny, being governor and running for president is like the difference between T-ball and the major leagues. Thus far, DeSantis has demonstrated very little ability as a presidential candidate to utilize the media to drive a message.
Look at this interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, which DeSantis billed as a major moment for the campaign:

DeSantis was fine in this interview. He didn’t screw up. But candidates running out of money and down 40 points in the polls must excel at every opportunity to pull off the impossible.
DeSantis has a media problem bigger than his own middling performance. Over the last few years, Fox News made DeSantis into a MAGA star with glowing coverage of his culture war fights in Florida. After his big reelection victory, Fox treated DeSantis like the heir apparent to the MAGA throne, which undoubtedly contributed to his spike in the polls late last year. But what Rupert giveth, Rupert can taketh away.

And he has. Murdoch is reportedly looking for someone else to be the not-Trump GOP candidate. Pfieffer still asked if DeSantis came stage a comeback. “Anything,” he asserted, “is possible. Maybe Trump will finally collapse under the weight of his own criminality and chaos. But DeSantis seems to have more in common with the highly touted candidates who collapsed early and never returned than the small handful who came back to win.”

It get worse— a feature in The Atlantic by Helen Lewis yesterday was entitled The Humiliation of Ron DeSantis and the subtitle is “The Florida governor isn’t Trump plus competence; he’s Trump minus jokes. Like many in the press, she finds he— in her own words— to be a douchebag. He demonizes the press; that’s a GOP thing these days. “Before his stump speeches in his reelection campaign last year,” she wrote, “DeSantis liked to play a video montage that showed him being gratuitously rude to reporters at press conferences. It was petty and graceless— and warmly received by the Florida governor’s base. At a DeSantis rally in Melbourne, Florida, last fall, I watched the video from an elevated press pen alongside a gaggle of local reporters. The disconnect between the unflagging politeness that DeSantis’s young volunteers showed the press corps and the ostentatious douchebaggery of the candidate was stark.”

But now he’s getting desperate and on Wednesday night he was actually polite to Jake Tapper on CNN— no nastiness on display. What happened to the core Meatball value: “Mainstream journalists are the enemy and should be treated with undisguised contempt.”

He promised to run as Trump plus an attention span, and instead he is running as Trump minus jokes. The result is ugly enough for the Republican base to recoil. Now, belatedly, the Florida governor appears to have decided that the only way to save his campaign is to execute a pivot from peevishness.
DeSantis played that montage in Melbourne, I think, because he had seen Trump railing against “fake news media” and leading his supporters in Two Minutes Hate sessions at his rallies, and he had drawn an entirely wrong conclusion. Despite being a smart guy, DeSantis apparently had not grasped that Trump’s routine was all for show. An act. All his life, Trump has phoned reporters to gossip. After leaving office, he welcomed multiple authors to Mar-a-Lago to spill his guts for their various books about his White House. Trump doesn’t hate the press; if anything, he likes it too much. This is a man who once pointed at the reporter Maggie Haberman and said, “I love being with her; she’s like my psychiatrist.”
DeSantis, by contrast, seems to genuinely hate the media, with their intrusion and attention and awkward questions. He has an unfortunate habit of waggling his head like a doll on a dashboard when receiving an inquiry he considers beneath him; he did it on a visit to Japan just before he formally announced his presidential campaign, when someone had the temerity to ask whether he was running, which he obviously was. The move creates an odd effect where his eyeballs seem to stay in the same place while the rest of his head oscillates around them. It’s a startling tell that he’s irritated or uncomfortable. Please let me play poker against this man.
Facing Tapper, though, DeSantis kept the wobble in check, offering instead a performance of earnest dullness. He stonewalled over whether the 2020 presidential election was stolen and whether the ex-president should face criminal charges, claiming that he preferred to “focus on looking forward.” He admitted that many people who attack “wokeness” can’t even define the term. And he dodged a question on whether he would extend Florida’s new six-week abortion restrictions countrywide by asserting broadly that he would be a “pro-life president” and claiming that, in any case, a Democratic Congress would try to “nationalize abortion up until the moment of birth” and even permit “post-birth abortions.” (Tapper did not challenge this at the time but later clarified the meaning with the campaign, which said it was referring to medical care being denied to any fetus that survived the abortion procedure.) The governor’s only gaffe was claiming that “the proof was in the pudding” when it came to suggestions that his campaign was failing, which brought to mind an unkind story, denied by the candidate, that he once ate a chocolate dessert straight from the tub with three fingers.
…DeSantis’s venture out of the warm shallows of Fox News and weirdo partisan sites and into the shark-filled ocean of journalists who might actually ask him difficult questions such as “Who won the 2020 election?” He needs to prove he is more than just the most popular of the also-rans, yet the whole race still revolves around the former president. “Team DeSantis refuses to see the race for what it is,” the Washington Monthly’s politics editor, Bill Scher, tweeted recently. “The race is not about who has the best tax plan. The race is: Trump, yes or no.” Even the airing of the CNN interview offered further evidence of the problem: It was pushed later in the hour by a potential third Trump indictment. It also competed with news of the Michigan attorney general charging 16 people accused of filing false claims that Trump won the 2020 election.
For DeSantis to recover, he must overcome four factors—three within his control and one outside it. The first is his squeamishness about criticizing Trump directly; you can’t defeat a bully if you look scared. The second is his decision to run to the right of Trump on several big cultural issues, including COVID policy, LBGTQ rights, and abortion. That strategy could be poison in the general election, but it’s not even paying off in the primary. The third is that DeSantis still looks lightweight on foreign and economic policy; he briefly minimized the importance of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, apparently to curry favor with Tucker Carlson, before revising his view. His book The Courage to Be Free and his campaign speeches are heavy on his pandemic policies and his fight against Disney, and notably light on pocketbook issues.
…DeSantis’s fourth problem, the one he can’t seem to control: his personality. He is not naturally funny, entertaining, or charming.
…Take away the clownishness and cartoonishness of Trump, and what is left is overtly, obviously repellent— even to many within the GOP.
Last night, DeSantis told Tapper that he had been consistently written off, whether in his first race to be governor or in his battle against Disney. He pointed out his proven fundraising abilities. He did not need to say, because everybody knows, that Trump might be in deep legal jeopardy by the time the election comes around. The race is still open. But by granting the interview at all, DeSantis conceded that his biggest problem is not that the establishment media hate him— as he regularly claims— but that his reluctance to confront Trump directly makes him all too easy to ignore.

1 Comment

Jul 22, 2023

His "anti-woke" shtick is more than coded racism. it's also coded misogyny and overt homophobia.

Possibly worse, however, is that it is militant ignorance ... and stupidity.

But as long as you are white, stupidity is... genius... apparently.

what he and murdoch and the rest have found is that after you create a deity in someone, nobody else can out-god him. his only relevant (to nazi voters) flaw is his last name ain't trump.

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