they normally reserve this treatment for democratic women and barack obama
— GOLIKEHELLMACHINE (@golikehellmachi) January 17, 2023
Seems as though Ron DeSantis is not the 2024 candidate the Republican elite would’ve chosen. But, at the present moment, he’s the best alternative to TFG they’ve got… and, that being so, Politico will join the work crew dedicated to reshaping his public image. Sorta. While carefully preserving a level of ‘ironic’ deniability, just in case:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When a couple hundred major donors to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s inauguration arrived at a candlelight dinner to the sounds of a solo saxophonist the night before his swearing-in last week they found a pair of surprises waiting for them.
In a departure from the pedestrian fare found at most political banquets, DeSantis, a food-lover with Italian roots, flew in the crew from Carbone, the trendy, New York-founded restaurant chain that moved to Miami last year, to both make a point about companies relocating to Florida and to offer a treat to contributors who gave at least $25,000.
Yet what was even more of a thrill to the donors than Carbone’s signature spicy rigatoni was what happened during the dinner: DeSantis and his wife, Casey, went table to table greeting and thanking the attendees.
Such a gesture would hardly be noteworthy for most politicians. But the early rap on DeSantis from his fellow Republicans is that, for all his smarts and shrewdness, he lacks charm, and is either unwilling or unable to submit to the longstanding rituals of retail politics.
So the mere fact that he table-hopped at a dinner in his honor — and that more than a few of his contributors were thrilled enough about the personal touch to recount it to me after the closed-press fete — is revealing.
The governor’s glad-handing illustrates that he’s absorbed the critique about his aloofness and is making an effort at rebutting it. The delighted response about an unremarkable show of gratitude demonstrates how little of it he’s done to date; and the relish with which his glancing interactions were recalled indicates how low the expectations bar is for DeSantis and what it means to an important constituency when he clears said bar…
Counterargument, from Lulu Garcia-Navarro in a NYTimes op-ed — “Republicans Are Getting It Wrong About DeSantis and Florida” (unpaywalled ‘gift’ link):
… The case for Mr. DeSantis… isn’t just that he looks comparatively sage next to Mr. Trump. It’s also that he spoke out early against lockdowns and has overseen a growing economy. Florida now has the fastest-growing population in the country, a factoid that Mr. DeSantis’s spokesman, Jeremy Redfern, immediately touted after it was announced. “People vote with their feet,” he said. “We are proud to be a model for the nation, and an island of sanity in a sea of madness.”
Most criticism of Mr. DeSantis’s national electability has been centered around his lack of charisma, which Mr. Trump crystallized by giving him the cumbersome nickname Ron DeSanctimonious. But focusing on personality and style obscures the governor’s real failings: Florida is not a model for the nation, unless the nation wants to become unaffordable for everyone except rich snowbirds.
While my home state’s popularity might indeed seem like good news for a governor with presidential ambitions, a closer look shows that Florida is underwater demographically. Most of those flocking there are aging boomers with deep pockets, adding to the demographic imbalance for what is already one of the grayest populations in the nation. This means that Florida won’t have the younger workers needed to care for all those seniors. And while other places understand that immigrants, who often work in the service sector and agriculture, two of Florida’s main industries, are vital to replenishing aging populations, Mr. DeSantis and the state G.O.P. are not exactly immigrant-friendly, enacting legislation to limit the ability of people with uncertain legal status to work in the state…
While Mr. DeSantis has been busy limiting what can be taught in schools, flying immigrants to Northern states and punishing “woke” Disney, working-class Floridians are being priced out of many Florida cities. Miami now surpasses Los Angeles and New York City as the least-affordable city for housing in the United States, and joining it in the top five is the once working-class South Florida Cuban-American bastion of Hialeah. Miami is also second in income inequality, with levels roughly comparable with Colombia’s and Panama’s. Rents are soaring across many other parts of the state as well. And health care costs are unbearably high compared with those in other parts of the country because workers in the state have to shoulder a higher percentage of premiums.
The fact is, Florida is having many of the same problems as its liberal archnemesis California, and its Republican-led State Legislature is doing little to help less-affluent families thrive. More than 76 percent of Floridians live on the coasts, but in an era of fierce storms due to climate change and rising sea levels, many can’t afford or even qualify for insurance for their homes, especially those who live in older buildings or in low-income areas. Lawmakers in Tallahassee ended the year giving insurance companies a huge bailout but doing little to reduce insurance costs for homeowners…
For the average Republican voter, presumably, ‘turning the whole country into a banana-Republican paradise divided between an elite kleptocracy and a vastly larger population of serfs’ would be a feature not a bug. But it certainly gives us Democrats a stick with which to beat him!
remaining pretty bullish on the idea that trump might not be able to win a primary but he can make damned sure desantis loses the general
— GOLIKEHELLMACHINE (@golikehellmachi) January 16, 2023
yeah man voters are totally gonna think a reedy-voiced religious culture warrior is the candidate of the center https://t.co/Kjns9tpddr
— knife-wielding hemophiliac (@NickTagliaferro) January 16, 2023
Romney 2012 was the tamest possible version of a candidate being brought down by pandering to evangelicals and fiscal conservatives and you think leaning into it is going to go better?
— knife-wielding hemophiliac (@NickTagliaferro) January 16, 2023
mAkE iT uP iN tHe CeNtEr pic.twitter.com/tdlwciLaOS
— Pomodoro (Dad Joke Era) (@ilpomodoro2) January 16, 2023
And, of course, TFG might not be able to clinch his own candidacy, but he most certainly can bloody up any alternative candidates…
Trump today on Desantis: “I got him elected, pure and simple. And there was no reason to go wild about endorsing him .. So, now I hear he might want to run against me. So, we’ll handle that the way I handle things.” pic.twitter.com/rBBYyUtnNW
— Ron Filipkowski ???? (@RonFilipkowski) January 16, 2023