And could be the replacement for the Grand ole Party Trump zombies to turn to….
The Politico piece is long and dives into the Florida Governor….
The piece is very good and should worry Democrats and Republicans looking at the 2024 Presidential Race…
The part that resembles NY Gov Cuomo on virus data is gonna get attention in the media….
But the guy IS a smart politician ….
Can all his stuff work outside Florida?
He was right.
Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has been saying as much for weeks — in partisan speeches, on conservative cable, at often out-of-the-way vaccine sites around the state in quick-hit appearances as spartan as they are scripted. One recent breezy, sunny afternoon in rural central Florida, for instance, an extension cord stretched from the back of a small building here at the local community college toward a thin lectern in the middle of an open field. Up pulled a shiny silver SUV. Out stepped DeSantis. Wearing black cowboy boots and a dark, too-baggy suit, he wasted no time getting to his spot. He opened a black binder. He quickly flipped through some papers. And he launched into his numbers-laden, nasal-voiced pitch.
“We’ve done as good as anybody with seniors as anywhere in the country,” DeSantis said. Behind him, elderly residents idled in lines of cars, waiting to get single-dose shots. “We have a 75-percent decrease in cases for 65 and up since the first week of January, and we have a 75-percent decrease in hospitalizations among seniors since the beginning of February. Forty states throughout the country —”
A couple dozen supporters from local Republican clubs had assembled off to his left. They interrupted him with applause. DeSantis turned. He looked at them for a split second. “Yeah—it’s good,” he confirmed. He promptly picked up where he’d left off….
“We’ve had,” he concluded, “tremendous success.”
All successful politicians tell stories most favorable to their electoral aims, but this one surprised me. A year ago, after all, at the outset of the pandemic, the name Ron DeSantis had reached the stature of some dark meme, derided as “DuhSantis,” “DeathSantis” and “DeSatan.” He was pilloried as a reckless Republican governor driven more by ideology than science. He was dogged by images of crowded beaches and bars teeming with heedless tourists. He scrapped testily with reporters over the emerging consensus—at least within conventional media—that Florida surely would become a downright peninsula-of-death. Six months ago, as the state’s caseload surged again and DeSantis nonetheless pressed to open schools, his critics piled on.
Now, though, it’s a year into the pandemic—and the apocalypse has yet to arrive. It’s been, no doubt, a wrenching year. Approximately 2 million Floridians have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 32,000 have died, the disbursement of unemployment benefits has been stingy and uneven, the vaccine rollout has been pockmarked by tales of lengthy waits, balky websites and numerous charges of socioeconomic inequities and political favoritism. Ominous variants lurk….
The most controversial policies DeSantis enacted—locking down later and opening up earlier, keeping nursing homes closed to visitation while insisting schools needed to be open to students, resisting intense pressure to issue a mask mandate—have ended up being, on balance, short of or even the opposite of ruinous. Even his fiercest detractors by now have a hard time mustering outrage over his edict on schools. And his standing looks far sturdier than his gubernatorial counterparts now teetering from Covid-related crises—Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall in California, and Andrew Cuomo, who is on the precipice of political extinction in New York. DeSantis’ approval ratings after plunging into the low 40s last year are now flirting with the mid-50s, and a variety of (admittedly very early) polls peg him as the 2024 GOP presidential favorite if Donald Trump opts to not run again….
Others, obviously, including other members of the research community, aren’t nearly as sanguine in their evaluations of DeSantis. “Florida is third in the nation in terms of confirmed cases and fourth in deaths,” Peter Hotez of Baylor University told me. “And the worst might be yet to come.” He mentioned the B.1.1.7 variant—of which Florida has the most cases in the country. He frets about a fourth wave.
Democrats in the state unsurprisingly side more with Hotez.
Crist told me DeSantis’ pandemic response has been in his estimation “horrific” and “immoral.” Ditto two others seriously weighing runs for the right to take him on next November: Nikki Fried, the state commissioner of agriculture and consumer services who is the highest-ranking statewide elected Democrat, said it’s been “very politicized” and “very chaotic.” And Miami state senator Annette Taddeo said she likes to call DeSantis “No Plan Ron.”
“There’s no compassion,” said Graham….
“When in modern political history,” asked the South Florida Democratic consultant Ben Pollara, “has taking a victory lap in the midst of an ongoing crisis ever worked out well politically?”
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot to celebrate with 32,000 dead,” Crist said….
I talked to a pollster who regularly tracks sentiment around the state about the governor. “When Covid happened, you saw a clear ideological divide. We saw it from the very beginning,” he said. Schools, however, scrambled that party-line breakdown. Republicans, Democrats—it didn’t matter as much. Toward the end of the summer, swaths of voters in their 30s and 40s who didn’t agree on much, said the pollster, “started gravitating towards this guy—because they wanted their kids in school.”….
“Most of these politicians are not smart. They play checkers. DeSantis? DeSantis has been playing 4-D chess since he was a little boy in those Little League games. And he’s been plottin’ this for a long, long time,” Morgan said.
“He caught that Trump wave at the perfect time,” he said, “and catching a wave is not easy. My children surf. Timing is everything—and you gotta be able to paddle like a motherfucker.”….
“He’s been running for president since the minute he got elected.”
image…Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star-Banner via AP