We all had a good laugh over DeSantis’s recent ‘Assigned Floridian at birth, Identifies as a Rust Belter‘ claims, but this is no joke.
In a strong, lengthy @VanityFair piece Katherine Eban writes that @GovRonDeSantis has decided his ticket to the White House in '24 is going all-out #antivax — on all vaccines.
Playing politics via dangerous anti-public health messaging…https://t.co/lKutoaCyRX
— Laurie Garrett (@Laurie_Garrett) March 21, 2023
On December 14, 2020, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, wearing a mask, watched expectantly as a FedEx truck backed up to a loading dock at Tampa General Hospital. The truck carried precious cargo: boxes of the very first COVID-19 vaccines. With a flourish, DeSantis signed the FedEx manifest. “Today, we will have shots going in arms,” he proudly declared.
At the time, Republicans across the country were eager to share credit for a singular feat in President Donald Trump’s otherwise disastrous handling of the pandemic: the record-speed development of COVID-19 vaccines that offered hope of a return to normal life.
By the end of last year, however, DeSantis’s vaccine cheerleading was a distant memory. On December 13, almost exactly two years after the FedEx delivery, he petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to let him empanel a statewide grand jury to investigate COVID-19 vaccine makers, particularly Pfizer and Moderna. “It is against the law to mislead and misrepresent, particularly when you’re talking about the efficacy of a drug,” DeSantis said, comparing the vaccine push to the profiteering that drove the deadly opioid epidemic.
In January, the grand jury went to work looking for dark intent or false claims behind the lifesaving vaccines. It is slated to report its findings by January 2024. That would be just in time to potentially influence the outcome of the Republican presidential primaries, in which DeSantis is widely seen as a leading challenger to Trump, even though he hasn’t yet officially declared his candidacy…
Those familiar with DeSantis’s inner circle say his vaccine stance is indeed driven by politics, not science. “There’s no medical people involved in this,” someone with knowledge of DeSantis’s advisers says. “It’s all political people. Now a couple of those TV doctors, those people are in his orbit, but this is not engineered by the scientific side of the house.” His goal, insiders say, is to tack to Trump’s right and peel off anti-vaxxers whose votes could prove decisive in the Republican presidential primaries next year.
In his new book, The Courage to Be Free, DeSantis attempts to paint Trump as a passive actor in the early days of the pandemic, standing by as Dr. Anthony Fauci, then director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, controlled the public health response. “As the iron curtain of Faucism descended upon our continent, the State of Florida stood resolutely in the way,” DeSantis writes, doubling down on his ideological about-face. (Governor DeSantis’s office did not respond to detailed questions seeking comment. Through a spokesperson, Fauci declined to comment.)
DeSantis has recruited a host of doctors who are helping him disparage federal health agencies and platform concerns about vaccine safety. Leading the pack is his handpicked surgeon general, Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, who has recommended against the COVID-19 vaccine for children and claimed, in a widely debunked study, that Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines elevate the risk of cardiac-related deaths in young men…
While DeSantis’s strategy may be rooted in politics, it is likely to have far-reaching public health repercussions, says Dr. Jonathan Howard, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “You’re going to continue to see Republicans dying [from COVID-19] at a higher rate, and a return of measles and whooping cough and God knows what else,” says Howard, who has studied the anti-vax movement for a decade…
It is hard to predict the overall impact of Florida’s decisions, says Dr. Sean O’Leary, chair of the Committee of Infectious Diseases for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Do parents “trust Ron DeSantis more than they trust their pediatrician? I don’t think so,” he says. Nevertheless, “it has become a deeply held belief for a lot of people that these COVID-19 vaccines are somehow bad.”
This widespread distrust is reflected in the low uptake of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines. In Florida, only 11.8% of people five and up are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19—lower even than the nationwide average of 17.4%, according to CDC data.
Florida’s stance on pediatric vaccines sets a dangerous precedent, says Peter Hotez, codirector of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. “No one state has the intellectual horsepower to make those complicated assessments on illness in children. There are reasons to have a federal government. To have individual states going rogue really endangers that state’s population.”
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history at New York University and author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, sees DeSantis’s COVID-19 policies as part of his effort to use Florida as a testing ground for an American model of autocracy. Wearing a mask or getting vaccinated are acts of collective caretaking, she says. “Autocrats want to turn everyone against each other. They don’t want you to have solidarity. They want radical individualism. It makes people paranoid of the federal government. The real goal is to elevate their own [power and judgment].” …
” the iron curtain of Faucism”
that is so fucking dumb, wow
Republicans choosing to die from preventable diseases? Please proceed, wingnuts.
@M31: and you know the clueless fucks who came up with it danced around giving each other high fives. 🤮
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Vaccines have caused a real decline in the deaf community. Because of those vaccines, fewer children are born blind or deaf. This isn’t a ‘problem’ I think DeSantis should be solving. I guess in a few years the schools for the deaf and blind will need to start hiring.
Open Thread good news: Castner Range in West Texas is now a National Monument.
The area was formerly Fort Bliss, and was largely undeveloped. The presence of unexploded ordnance has something to do with that.
“we were allies of Fauci when he helped, uh, invade Berlin from the East, but then his jackbooted thugs of the NIH helped us all avoid death from preventable disease, but now the Nazis are good, and so are the Russians under their new Stalin, and it was all Roosevelt’s fault anyway for making up the New Deal and turning America into Russia, which was bad and is now good”
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: you’re right. Pregnant women are among the most cautious and don’t realize that their baby is far more likely to be harmed if she gets covid or whooping cough than by a vaccine. This nonsense makes them doubt their doctors.
I am 100% certain that if the Death Cult wins the trifecta (WH-Sen-House), they will pass a law banning all vaccines. And probably all masks. They will kill us all if they can.
Seems like “Faucism” would only work in print. That would seem to limit its cleverness.
@Sebastian: Seriously. Like, nobody tell them that I don’t feel owned if they FAAFO.
@Sebastian: If only it were only them, the wingnuts… and not also the immunocompromised and the children and so forth. Puts all of us at risk in the end.
It doesn’t get much more cold, calculated and cynical than this. This is a monster.
Fortunately, our mainstream media will point this out far and wide. They certainly wouldn’t want Americans to die needlessly.. just look at the run-up to the Iraq war
Exactly, let evolution take its course. I am still mad that Obama didn’t tell them not to drink bleach. We considered it an absurd and surreal joke but looking at what they did during COVID, I am convinced it was a lost oppotunity.
I know, my friend. Then there is our duty as humans to prevent harm, too.
But considering that they will proceed with this shit anyway our best option is to protect the immunocompromised as best as we can and let the fire rip through the stupid cohort.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@Citizen Alan: There isn’t enough support to ban vaccines, but there probably will be enough to get rid of all vaccine mandates. I feel like I’m watching a horror movie. You’re sitting there screaming at the TV, don’t go there! But they just laugh and go anyway. They don’t know the horrors they are bringing on themselves… what they’ll be doing to their children and immune compromised relatives. This will be devastating. As angry as they are now, us being healthy while they aren’t is only going to keep fueling that rage. They can’t ever seem to admit they volunteer for some of their hardship.
Formerly disgruntled in Oregon
Seems like a few folks may need a reminder…
If unvaccinated people are spreading diseases, the spread impacts the entire community. It doesn’t ask for party registration or who you voted for last year.
So “let it spread” among the wingers isn’t a great idea.
Dr. Oz scouting luxury condos fronting the Intercoastal?
He’ll probably pick off some “progressives” just on this issue.
The Moar You Know
Problem for Rage Munchkin here is that he’s not going to be able beat Trump unless Trump dies.
But let’s say that happens. Rage Munchkin is not going to be able to pull the “pivot to the center” needed to win the general. He can be king of the losers, but I suspect he’s pretty used to that.
I hope Moderna and Phizer sue all the liars for big money because it is hurting their business. Plus all the other vaccine makers, measles, smallpox etc. Discovery can be very interesting and explosive. Medical companies need to look at the Fox voting machine lawsuits and be planning a coordinated attack all across the world because their was big money lost and specific liars who said things who made money saying those lies and who knew they were lies. In this specific case, I think they definitely know and are being told it’s lies. Trump was told it was lies on voting machines…..we wondered if his ego made him believe the lies or only yes men got to him but it turned out he had been told repeatedly. I think Desantis has been told or already knew so Sue him. Bankrupt his campaign and the republican party in Florida ! I think you can do that. Lets also bankrupt all the superpacks that contribute to him. I am sure his donors will stop contributing and start a new fund, but it seems to me that if they contribute to any ads that repeat the lies and discovery shows they knew they were lies, then they get sued too…
Plus, lets go after the antivax liars anyway. Sure they kill people, but sometimes that is hard to prove because it is indirectly. Losing money can be proven. That it self wouldn’t educate any fools, but what discovery reveals really could blow up some of these scams?
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:
There’s that. There’s also that travel to other, more civilized countries that take control of infectious diseases seriously will be impeded.
Some countries will not want Americans without proof of vaccination, or a period of isolation.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Probably. The only good thing to come out of the pandemic is that some of my liberal anti-vax to vaccine hestitant friends/aquaintances have gotten a clue and changed their views. I wish that were more universally true.
@Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Actually schools are not part of DeSantis’s plan either. Let the little kids work in factories and fields, or beg on the street if they can’t work.
DeSantis would do whatever to win the nomination. He’d put Robert Kennedy Jr. on the ticket if he thought it would help.
Perhaps a Floridian will be familiar enough with the local lingo/geography/politics/milieu to put together an updated version of the 1950s Jo Stafford hit “Shrimp Boats (Is A-comin’)” — “Shrimp Boots (Is A-comin’).”
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, is definitely a must-follow on Twitter.
@Sebastian: The problem is that they also want to deny us our vaccines as well. I suppose if all the big cities/blue parts are vaccinated that means that the rural areas will continue to suffer further. If they all get sick, how are they going to get to the voting booths? hmm?
I don’t think that’s going to matter. There isn’t enough support for abortion amongst the general populace but that doesn’t stop them from passing laws. When you’ve gerrymandered everything in your favor.
This is also authoritarism – which also likely means they will make sure that the majority won’t have power to effect change.
Expect a lot of laws against trans, women, and the general LBGTQ community.
@cain: If he won, he would appt the director the CDC, so you are right.
I also remember stories about DeSantis making sure that wealthy people in some Florida communities got access to the Covid vaccine first. Interesting game he plays.
Truth. If I may add: that spread isn’t just communicable diseases. It’s anti-Trans, anti-Gay, antisemitic, hostile to equality for Women and Racial Minorities in America, and so much more.
And it’s anti-democratic, because these people would be cast out from the public square in a functioning democracy.
We can’t give them this “inch,” because as much as it’s easy to mock anti-vaxxers, we know that’s a key vector to extremism.
More like “The Courage to Be Dead.”
I don’t see DeSantis being popular nationwide. We are not all Florida, and not all IGMFY people.
I don’t think DeSantis will wear well nationwide. MSM loves to hype these reactionary R governors, Ron DeSantis is the Scott Walker of this cycle.
OT: BS bros and other assorted roses are tweeting snake emojis at EW. I am getting popcorn to settle in and read Twitter. They are upset because BS is whining about her not dropping out of the primaries and endorsing him.
What a sore loser he is.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Yes, but as far as they are concerned, those laws punish loose women. We all know it isn’t true, but that is irrelevant. Plenty of elderly white men get their flu shot every year, including Republican members in the House and Senate. They won’t pass laws that curtail their own priviledges.
DeSantis doesn’t have to be POTUS to cause real and irreparable harm to millions in America.
God knows people like George Wallace and Strom Thurmond weren’t popular nationwide in their day — but the work the Dixiecrats and the enforces of Jim Crow did in the America South did not end at the Mason-Dixie line. And a lot of that work was enabled by the rest of America turning a blind eye until some brave people put their bodies on the literal line.
I am glad I work from home so I have to go out as little as possible. Florida is one variant away from tens of thousands more dead.
@MisterDancer: That’s true.
However, DeSantis is the Special Sauce a great plurality of voters went for last election. Florida Voter.
and I thought in hospital surgical suites masks were ok.
The 2020 Texas Republican Party platform, item 137, calls for prohibiting any attempt to mandate masks or vaccination, even in an emergency or pandemic.
ICYMI, CapitalBNews.org – Meet the 3 Black prosecutors taking on Donald Trump:
The media really needs to call out DeStupid on his “I won the pandemic” shit.
The death rates here were 8th worst in the nation and that’s with the DeathSantis’ regimes undercounting.
Everytime he talks about public health it should be hammered home that coming 42nd out of 50 is not winning. I am sick of this narrative being unchallenged.
The new head of our county Republican Party says one of his goals is to win back suburban white women.
I live among these women. They are college educated and very protective of their children. A war on childhood vaccines is going to repel them further.
I think that in the end, this brainstorm of DeSantis’s is going nowhere but I am going to enjoy the thought of all the Republican Party officials trying to win my neighbors back getting stomach aches every time DeSantis goes on about outlawing vaccines.
@Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:
Agreed. Their attitude puts the immune compromised at great risk.
I don’t think he is the Scott Walker type. I think he is the Chris Christie type. But maybe that’s a distinction without a difference.
So his legacy is to be Ron DeTetanus?
I’ve made comments before that “We were never guaranteed that the enlightenment would last forever.” But I didn’t expect that rampaging preventable diseases would be a campaign platform plank quite yet.