Jennifer Rubin nails it (gift link) in the second part of her piece on the Trump challengers:
[…] Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has abused immigrants, run roughshod over the First Amendment, regularly intervened in free markets for political reasons (e.g., bullying Disney for criticizing his policies), fanned white nationalism with his scaremongering about “critical race theory” and used the power of the state to persecute disfavored groups (e.g., LGBTQ students). It’s not even clear whether he rejects the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen. (He has become adept at sidestepping questions.) In other words, DeSantis reflects many of authoritarian attributes the MAGA cult reveres; he’s just more disciplined than Trump.
Meanwhile, too many in the D.C. media bubble have treated Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin as a departure from Trumpism or a return to “normal” GOP politics. Wrong! Youngkin in his campaign for governor embraced election “integrity” measures premised on the need to prevent nonexistent fraud. He has waged war on public schools and also pushed the “critical race theory” issue. He even campaigned with Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, arguably the worst of the election deniers this campaign cycle. And let’s not forget the appalling “joke” he made about the vicious attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, which he later apologized for. Despite his slightly better manners, he, too, is a MAGA figurehead.
Some other 2024 contenders — such as Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) — tried to implement Trump’s coup plot by pushing the “big lie” and objecting to electors with no basis. They also both voted to acquit Trump twice in his impeachment trials and smeared the Justice Department and FBI for conducting a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club for highly classified documents. And Cruz, who acknowledged that the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection amounted to a “terrorist attack,” later groveled before Fox News’s Tucker Carlson to disassociate himself with his own remarks. It’s possible Hawley and Cruz are even worse than Trump, since they certainly should know better and understand the injurious impact of their lies.
The first part of her column is a heartfelt paean to conservativism that never was and never will be, but she definitely is not buying the DC bullshit that DeSantis is some kind of normal alternative to Trump. He’s just as bad or maybe worse.
Here’s a gift link to Josh Marshall and Kate Riga’s interview with Fetterman campaign manager Brendan McPhillips. If you have an hour to spend on it, this is some great insight into one of the best campaigns of this cycle.
Finally, I have a feeling that the right wing effort to shit on Gisele Fetterman will be successful in the way that the effort to shit on Pelosi, AOC and others has been successful: it may motivate a nutjob to attack her, but overall most sane people will see the misogny and hatred and be repulsed.