“Casey got them for me,” and that was the end of the conversation abt the cowboy boots.
The earpiece was uncomfortable, at which point an aide said, “Casey got this for you,” and that was the end of the conversation abt the earpiece
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) June 18, 2023
The Jackie O and Melania comparisons have been obvious, but the vibe I’m getting from the DeSantis marriage — which this article highlighted — is Ronnie & Nancy Reagan. The Reagans shared a history of severe childhood trauma, which bound them into a mutually unstoppable political force within the GOP at that particular point in time. Don’t know the explanation behind the Ron & Casey ‘juggernaut’, but the comparison is scary enough. Washington Post (unpaywalled) gift link:
… Casey DeSantis was on the other side of the room. She knew, starting with his early days in politics, when Ron was still a member of Congress, elected at the age of 34, how she wanted to figure in his world. She knew the staff he should hire, former aides said, the invitations he should accept and the invitations he should decline. She knew his walking path at events, the people he’d stand next to on a stage. She knew his schedule, down to every meeting and call and fundraiser and congressional vote, because she asked to be copied on every calendar entry. She knew the cowboy boots he should wear, even though, at first, he complained that they hurt his feet, until a staffer suggested he buy dress shoes instead, at which point he said, “Casey got them for me,” and that was the end of the conversation about the cowboy boots. She knew the earpiece he should use for live interviews, because she had spent 15 years in television, even though, at first, the earpiece was uncomfortable in his ear, at which point an aide said, “Casey got this for you,” and that was the end of the conversation about the earpiece.
Ron was always talking about the two of them as one — when “we” got elected, when “we” protect freedom, when “we” fight the woke agenda — as if it was hard to see his role and hers in clear relief. Reporters approached Casey’s story with phrases like “co-governor,” “secret weapon,” “not-so-secret weapon” — the “X-factor” who “knows what’s best for Ron.” Ron was known to inspire fear, even in his allies. “If you can’t make ’em see the light,” he has said, quoting Ronald Reagan, “make ’em feel the heat.” But Casey — she was a subject they wouldn’t touch if they didn’t have to.
She stood, as many political spouses do, whether they wish to or not, as a mirror onto which the public could project its doubt and its criticism: Where Ron was hard and bellicose, people said, Casey was soft. Where he was unable to connect with voters, she was charming, telegenic, warm to the touch. Where he broke his stage presence — with an angry outburst, or a wild, sarcastic look in his eyes — she was steady in front of an audience. As a young TV anchor, she would stand in front of her bathroom mirror, practicing, practicing, practicing. Before debates during his campaign for governor in 2018, he was instructed to write “LIKABLE” in all-caps across the top of his notepad, according to footage published by ABC News, like a reminder…
Where was Casey? In 2011, she was in the back of small Republican gatherings, handing out copies of the book her husband had paid to publish, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers,” a treatise on constitutional conservatism that mocked Barack Obama’s best-selling memoir. In 2012, she was working one TV show in Jacksonville, and planning to launch another, while spending her weekends knocking on doors for her husband’s first congressional campaign. In 2013, she was packing up their house in Sawgrass, a gated club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to move to his new congressional district, making her commute to work an hour and seven minutes each way. In 2016, she was home with a newborn while he spent weekdays in Washington. In 2018, she was leaving TV altogether to help him run for governor. And then she was packing boxes again, this time to move to 700 N. Adams Street, the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee. She deactivated her cellphone number and didn’t give out the new one widely. She had always been exceptionally private. But there were friends and colleagues and people she mentored who didn’t hear from her again. “You’re chasing a ghost,” one said…
To try to define the relationship between politician and spouse is to muddle around in a marriage that only two people really know. But over the years, the practice has yielded a tradition of bad, gendered clichés, in which fear and suspicion glimmer just below the surface. There is fear of crossing the person closest to the politician — in this case, his wife. There is fear of a woman exerting control where, traditionally, she should not — fear of hidden influence, communicated in intimate spaces, behind closed doors, in darkened SUVs. People have ideas about what a first lady should be. There is a collective, tacit sense that when she oversteps her role, in what she does or says or wears, we will know it when we see it, even though the role itself has never been well defined or sufficiently updated. People feared Barbara Bush, whose image as “America’s grandmother” cloaked a caustic wit and opprobrium. People feared Nancy Reagan as the calculating secret power in the White House. People feared Hillary Clinton for making no secret of her power…
Fear was always going to follow Casey, in part because so many people are scared of Ron, many around him acknowledge. He wields fear like a currency in Tallahassee. The city is small. In the late spring, when the undergraduates are leaving and the state legislature is in session, the streets are humid and empty, and the city tenses with unseen activity — lobbyists and legislators navigating the force of the man in the governor’s office.
When a group of state lawmakers pledging to support DeSantis for president received invitations to the governor’s mansion last month, they refused to talk about the gathering with anyone who hadn’t been there, treating it like a state secret, according to two people familiar with the meeting who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. Of the 113 Republicans in the legislature, 100 are backing DeSantis for president. Twelve have stayed out of the race. Just one, state Sen. Joe Gruters, has been willing to publicly support Donald Trump. In Tallahassee, if you cross the governor, you aren’t just shown the door — you leave with the belief that he and his enforcers will try to harm your career. “People are terrified of them,” said a former Republican state House member. “These guys are not normal politicos. There’s no inner circle, because they just chop off heads and move on so quickly.”…
And he has done it with the language of zero tolerance. Listen to him talk onstage: The pandemic was a “Faucian dystopia.” Woke ideology is a “mind virus.” Parents are seeing gender identity issues “shoved down their throats.” The governor’s office would “wield 100 percent of executive power.” It would “spit nails” for its mission. If a member of the team wasn’t on board, that person would be eliminated: “Pack your bags right now — you’re gone,” he’s explained to crowds. No “leaks,” “no drama,” no “palace intrigue.” Other Republicans, they were like “potted plants,” DeSantis says. They didn’t do anything. Whatever “S.O.B.” succeeds him as governor would have nothing left to accomplish. “I’m getting all the meat off the bone.”
Ron and Casey live as an inner circle of two. They were always two private people, trusting of each other, often exclusively so, but the level of prominence and power they achieved in Tallahassee seemed to insulate their world further, creating a level of distance between Ron and Casey and everyone else. They don’t take social calls to the mansion, except for Christmas receptions and Easter egg rolls and the like. DeSantis’s supporters say this is a good thing, to be so focused on “the mission” at work and on their family at home. They say Ron and Casey are normal people in abnormal positions. Normal people go to Chick-fil-A, they say, just like Ron and Casey do. Normal people play T-ball with their kids, just like Ron and Casey do. At the residence, invited guests post Instagram photos standing next to a sign that reads “Governor’s Mansion: Closed to Visiting.” Outside, new layers of security fencing have been added to the perimeter…
By the time Ron was elected governor, aides could see that Casey would not be a typical first lady.
As Thanksgiving approached ahead of the inauguration, staffers planned for Ron and Casey to spend the day before the holiday at Trinity Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Jacksonville. The couple helped prep and stuff turkeys in the kitchen. Afterward, an aide suggested that Casey sit down with children at the shelter to read a book, a soft-focus event they might have arranged for Florida’s departing first lady, Ann Scott. The aide, who recounted the visit, said that after it ended, “it was made clear to everyone present that she didn’t want to do what Ann or other first ladies had previously done.”
Instead, Casey began taking daily, in-depth meetings at the Republican Party of Florida offices. Aides watched her drink cup after cup of Bulletproof Coffee. As she was preparing for her new role, she asked an aide what Melania Trump would do or wear, what stores and designers she liked, looking to the president’s wife as a model.
When it came time to plan the seating chart for the inauguration ceremony, including the reserved “Friends and Family” section, Casey provided a list of just eight names, according to a copy of the seating chart…
Much, much more at the link — read the whole thing!
Lighter, less hair-raising articles:
Is it a suitcase you throw into the ocean? https://t.co/iPa06WBDnI
— Yurok Around The Clock (@HellcatBruce) June 19, 2023
From Opinion: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' young presidential campaign is stumbling like a drunk fraternity bro with flop sweat. https://t.co/GfbXATS7F7
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 18, 2023