step right up and try the juiceless ron desantis special, the charcoal briquette
— GOLIKEHELLMACHINE (@golikehellmachi) May 13, 2023
Of note re where DeSantis is on Ukraine: "In private, Mr. DeSantis tried to calm supporters by noting that his statement [to Carlson] had not taken a position against aid to Ukraine." https://t.co/weL0EHpJK9
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 13, 2023
Or, at least, more than willing to scuff up the leading challenger-of-the-moment (to some peoples’ meal ticket). Easy targets on both sides for a lazy weekend evening — “Why Ron DeSantis Is Limping to the Starting Line“:
… In six short months from November to May, Mr. DeSantis’s 2024 run has faltered before it has even begun.
Allies have abandoned him. Tales of his icy interpersonal touch have spread. Donors have groused. And a legislative session in Tallahassee designed to burnish his conservative credentials has instead coincided with a drop in the polls…
Now, as Mr. DeSantis’s Tallahassee-based operation pivots to formally entering the race in the coming weeks, Mr. DeSantis and his allies are retooling for a more aggressive new phase. His staunchest supporters privately acknowledge that Mr. DeSantis needs to recalibrate a political outreach and media strategy that has allowed Mr. Trump to define the race.
Changes are afoot. Mr. DeSantis is building a strong Iowa operation. He has been calling influential Republicans in Iowa and is rolling out a large slate of state legislator endorsements before a weekend trip there.
“He definitely indicated that if he gets in, he will work exceptionally hard — nothing will be below him,” said Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Iowa evangelical leader whom Mr. DeSantis hosted recently for a meal at the governor’s mansion. “I think he understands — I emphasized that Iowa’s a retail politics state. You need to shake people’s hands, look them in the eye.”
Thank you, (multiple failed gubernatorial candidate) Vander Plaats, we already had the impression that nothing would be too low for DeSquamous and his minions.
Still, his central electability pitch — MAGA without the mess — has been badly bruised.
A book tour that was supposed to have introduced him nationally was marked by missteps that deepened concerns about his readiness for the biggest stage. He took positions on two pressing domestic and international issues — abortion and the war in Ukraine — that generated second-guessing and backlash among some allies and would-be benefactors. And the moves he has made to appeal to the hard right — escalating his feud with Disney, signing a strict six-week abortion ban — have unnerved donors who are worried about the general election…
Three billionaires who are major G.O.P. donors — Steve Wynn, Ike Perlmutter and Thomas Peterffy, a past DeSantis patron who has publicly soured on him — dined recently with Vivek Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old long-shot Republican.
The early months of 2023 have exposed a central challenge for Mr. DeSantis. He needs to stitch together an unwieldy ideological coalition bridging both anti-Trump Republicans and Trump supporters who are nonetheless considering turning the page on the past president. Hitting and hugging Mr. Trump at the same time has bedeviled rivals since Senator Ted Cruz tried to do so in 2016, and Cruz veterans fill key roles in Mr. DeSantis’s campaign and his super PAC…
Florida’s Ted Cruz — what a wealth of misery in just three words!
The DeSantis team seemed to buy its own hype.
Days before the midterms, the DeSantis campaign released a video that cast his rise as ordained from on high. “On the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a protector,’” a narrator booms as Mr. DeSantis appears onscreen. “So God made a fighter.”…
Today, allies say there are few people around who are willing to tell Mr. DeSantis he’s wrong, even in private.
In late 2022, the thinking was that a decision on 2024 could wait, and Mr. Trump’s midterm hangover would linger. Mr. DeSantis published a book — “I was, you know, kind of a hot commodity,” he said of writing it — that became a best seller. And Mr. DeSantis was on the offensive, tweaking Mr. Trump with a February donor retreat held only miles from Mar-a-Lago that drew Trump contributors.
But it has been Mr. Trump who has consistently one-upped Mr. DeSantis, flying into East Palestine, Ohio, after the rail disaster there, appearing with a larger crowd in the same Iowa city days after Mr. DeSantis and swiping Florida congressional endorsements while Mr. DeSantis traveled to Washington.
One Trump endorser, Representative Lance Gooden of Texas, backed the former president only hours after attending a private group meeting with Mr. DeSantis. In an interview, Mr. Gooden likened Mr. DeSantis’s decision to delay entry until after a legislative session to the example of a past Texas governor, Rick Perry, who did the same a decade ago — and quickly flamed out of the 2012 contest.
“He’s relied, much like Rick Perry did, on local political experts in his home state that just don’t know the presidential landscape,” Mr. Gooden said…
Rick *Who*? (Oops!)
People close to Mr. Trump have been blunt in private discussions that the hits so far are just the start: If Mr. DeSantis ever appears poised to capture the nomination, the former president will do everything he can to tear him apart.
Beginning with his response to the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. DeSantis’s national rise has been uniquely powered by his ability to make the right enemies: in academia, in the news media, among liberal activists and at the White House. But Mr. Trump’s broadsides and some of his own actions have put Mr. DeSantis crosswise with the right for the first time. It has been a disorienting experience for the DeSantis operation, according to allies.
For the past three years, Mr. DeSantis has had the luxury of completely shutting out what he pejoratively brands the “national regime media” or “the corporate media” — though Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation does not, in his view, count as corporate media.
This strategy served Mr. DeSantis well in Florida. But avoiding sit-down interviews with skeptical journalists has left him out of practice as he prepares for the most intense scrutiny of his career.
“The Murdochs encapsulated him in a bubble and force-fed him to a conservative audience,” said Steve Bannon, a former strategist for Mr. Trump. “He hasn’t been scuffed up. He hasn’t had these questions put in his grill.”…
Another name no sane political candidate wants to see in any discussion concerning their chances.
Donors who contributed to Mr. DeSantis’s previous campaigns tell stories of meetings in which the candidate looked as though he would rather be anywhere else. He fiddled with his phone, showed no interest in his hosts and escaped as quickly as possible. But people who have recently met with Mr. DeSantis say he has been far more engaged. At recent Wisconsin and New Hampshire events, the governor worked the room as he had rarely done before.
The governor and his team have had internal conversations acknowledging the need for him to engage in the basics of political courtship: small talk, handshaking, eye contact…
For his part, Mr. Trump recently relished hosting the Florida House Republicans who had endorsed him…
Welcome to the Big Show, little man.
Former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are having dueling appearances in Iowa today.
This comes as DeSantis shows the clearest signs yet that he could be ready to formally join the Presidential race. @DashaBurns reports. pic.twitter.com/aLbPpuIzxB
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 13, 2023
DeSantis takes the stage at the sold out Feenstra fundraising picnic. pic.twitter.com/C7hz0Yt71Z
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) May 13, 2023
(Randy Feenstra is Steve ‘Pigmuck’ King’s factory-farm-country successor.)
“It may be that Florida is the Iowa of the southeast” DeSantis says, leaning from his last trip here that you can only gush about your own state so much when you need to win an Iowa caucus. pic.twitter.com/f6O9Yfqb6m
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) May 13, 2023
But you can *never* slather too much tongue-butter over a roomful of Iowa primary voters…