I hesitate to say, “Now I’ve heard it all,” considering the day and age in which we live, but let’s just say, it’s going to be a while before anybody says anything to top this incredible comment by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan. Noonan thinks that Ron DeSantis is a real breath of fresh air. Excuse me, how do you get “fresh air” by going from a candidate who claims he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and not lose a vote to a guy who impresses you as somebody who would disconnect your life support system for something trivial like his cell phone? Aren’t they both sociopaths?
Noonan has an opinion piece in the Journal where she touts how DeSantis is the man of the hour, and he knows it. Just like JFK in 1960, she says, DeSantis knows that this is his moment, his once in a lifetime, and he’s going for it.
Frankly, if this piece is meant as a compliment to DeSantis, he might want to amplify some of the derogatory pieces written about himself, he’d be further ahead of the game.
I don’t think normal people have more than an impression: [of DeSantis] a blank face sitting behind a square desk signing bills. Often he is surrounded, sometimes oddly, by grade-school children. You imagine one of the 8-year-olds announcing somberly to the press, “We agwee—we’re too young to hear about gender fwooidity.”
He’s tough, unadorned, and carries a vibe, as I’ve said, that he might unplug your life support to re-charge his cellphone. His supporters shrug: “He’s not warm and cuddly.” I don’t think voters are looking for warm and cuddly, but they do want even-keeled—a normal man or woman who’s a leader, who has guts and a vision of where the country needs to go.
As I watched the Reagan Library speech I thought: This candidacy is going to have power. He wasn’t inspired or eloquent but plain-spoken and brisk; his address was workmanlike, from notes, but all together it packed a punch.
Harry Truman wasn’t inspired or eloquent for the most part either, but at least he was bone honest and he wasn’t agitating culture war issues. And plenty existed in those days, the culture war has always been with us, just not an all out conflagration like it is today.
He [DeSantis] is a culture warrior, but between the lines he suggests he’s also pragmatic, practical and gets things done. This may be his real superpower: When, during Hurricane Ian, the bridge to Pine Island washed away, the state had it up and operating a week later. That wasn’t talk, it was knowing the innards of government and making it deliver.
DeSantis had just come off of his performance theater piece sending the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard shortly before Hurricane Ian hit. Joe Biden went out of his way to be gracious under the circumstances and the two politicians made a show of unity and strength, which was appropriate. Biden took the high road and DeSantis went along with it for the sake of expediency. The Associated Press noted at the time that “the shift in tone is almost certainly temporary. When a 12-story condo building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed last year and killed 98 people, DeSantis appeared with local officials, including Democrats who praised his assistance. He sat next to President Joe Biden during a briefing with first responders and local officials in Miami. Within months, however, he returned to partisan brawls.”
Noonan goes on to discuss the key issue for DeSantis:
The focus on wokeness is Mr. DeSantis’s illegal immigration. He wants to own the issue in the Republican field and, as the year gets deeper, move on from there.
A political veteran present before and after the library speech found Mr. DeSantis impressive but saw a weakness: “He’s on ‘broadcast’ almost all of the time, not ‘receive.’ ” He likes to talk. He makes eye contact, there’s back-and-forth. “But my sense is that he’s thinking about what he’s next going to tell you, not what you’re going to ask.” Still, in the end the veteran sensed something electric. “You know that feeling you get when you’re in a room and it’s obvious to every person in that room, from 10 people to 5,000, that ‘No kidding, this guy really could be a president’? He’s got it.”
No, can’t say as how I do know the feeling. I do, however, know what it’s like to attempt to communicate with somebody who is not listening to me, but who is merely waiting for me to stop talking. Those people are not good communicators and if you work under one of them, your life is generally hell.
Then Noonan goes on to make helpful suggestions, but I think she crucifies him here.
Two DeSantis question areas:
First, his temperament. Does he connect with voters on the trail? How does he play it when he gets smacked around in debate? On the stage in his 2022 debate with Democrat Charlie Crist he seemed defensive and testy. This when he was on top of the world with a landslide coming. You don’t have to be a happy warrior, but you probably can’t be a morose one.
Second, can he learn to explain his thinking? He tends more to announce decisions than explain how he got there. But in the culture wars especially, you must take time and show your good faith. Can he come down with force and logic when nuts on his own side get out of line? A supporter in the state Legislature this week put out a bill that would mandate bloggers register with the state. It was absurd. More was needed from Mr. DeSantis than a statement that he had nothing to do with it. It was an opportunity to share his thinking—almost a magic moment.
If DeSantis couldn’t think on his feet with something as blatantly stupid as the blogging bill, he can’t think on his feet at all. Which his painful interviews and debate performances suggest is the case. This is not a good situation for somebody entering presidential politics.
And regarding Noonan’s comment that DeSantis was “testy and defensive in the face of a landslide?” Imagine what the man will be like when the the stakes are high? And “can he learn to explain his thinking?” Well, we sure hope so, because there’s a word for leaders who issue edicts without elaboration and that word is “dictator.”
Noonan may think that she’s painted the portrait of an American original here, a man cut from the same mold as John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but what she’s really done is identify a series of red flags, one right after the other.
This isn’t the 80’s and DeSantis is not Reagan. DeSantis is a bad candidate and the question now is going to be how far along does he get? Maybe 2028 will be the true watershed year, the time that the GOP finally moves on from Trump. Maybe Larry Hogan will run and MAGA madness will recede for all times.
Meanwhile, let’s see what happens with what’s in front of us right now. MAGA has a few more hands to play and DeSantis’ fate is by no means certain.
He’s Bob Dole without the charisma and personality, and humor. In fact humor of any sort is lacking, in that sense, he’s Automoton Ron. All studied movement and no content.
He couldn’t win a debate against Charlie frickin’ Crist. If you can’t clear that low bar, how do you expect to excel on the national level? No honest rethug political consultant (mainly the Never Trumpers) that has met DeSatan has anything positive to say about him. It’s starting to look like he’s the Scott Walker of this election cycle and if the field expands too much, we’ll get the same result of 2016.
Like trump, but with a brain, which won’t give him the advantage in gathering the MAGA core. And he doesn’t have the charisma to attract many votes across the wider spectrum, even if the WSJ and Fox trowel on the lipstick. But he could be useful.
You spelled Dick-Tater wrong! Deathsatanis is a DICK times 1000000000!!
I got a kick out of the DICK-Tater reference. Speaking of which, he’s maybe one of those dudes who stuffs a potato into his underwear to make his “junk” (DICK) look bigger! (Kinda defeats the purpose though when you walk through a disaster zone in white PVC boots like strippers wear. I recall an Episode from Six Feet Under where a stripper getting a massage from one of the main characters who was a massage therapist about them and apparently it’s to help them grip the stripper pole with their legs! Anyway, that pick and memes/videos are going to haunt little Ronnie when he finally declares. My prediction? Trump is holding back on the nuclear bomb nickname that will ruin him. A twist on “Little Marco” into “Little Ronnie stripper boots!”)
A nazi by any other name!
Desantis is little me of Trump. The problem being that Desantis has a brain that he can use and does. He might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but he’s not the dullest either. And Desantis is every bit as mean and ugly as Trump but possibly a little more charismatic. What might save us is that he’s not that well known beyond Florida. But the folks down in Florida are finding out just what a creep he is. He’s turning his governorship into a dictatorship and the people in Florida are helpless to do anything. Desantis as President would destroy America as we know it. We already made that trip once and we haven’t recovered from that yet. To get another right wing clown that’s going to try to do it all over will destroy us.
Noonan works for WSJ-does anything more need to be said?
I’ll bet she was on that “moral” bandwagon regarding student debt forgiveness too. Wonder how she feels about SVB the the bailing out of venture capitalists?