Opinion DeSantis is smarter than Trump. That may make him more of a threat.

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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By Max Boot
Columnist |
July 6, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is having a moment. Pundits are suggesting that the Jan. 6 hearings, by exposing former president Donald Trump’s complicity in a coup attempt, will redound to DeSantis’s benefit in 2024. Already, a poll in New Hampshire shows DeSantis topping Trump. The question, from the standpoint of those of us who have a sentimental attachment to American democracy, is which man is a bigger threat to the republic? I found myself grappling with that issue as I read a long and enlightening profile of DeSantis by Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker.
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Filkins notes that, “while Trump, with his lazy, Barnumesque persona, projects a fundamental lack of seriousness, DeSantis has an intense work ethic, a formidable intelligence, and a granular understanding of policy. Articulate and fast on his feet, he has been described as Trump with a brain.” But do we really want a president who will work harder and more intelligently to implement a Trumpian agenda? Is it really better to have a president who is relentlessly focused on right-wing bugaboos such as critical race theory, transgender athletes, undocumented immigrants and “woke corporations” rather than one who is easily distracted into braggadocio about his golf game or his flooring?
Actually, the more I read about DeSantis, the more he reminds me not of Trump but of another disgraced Republican president. One of DeSantis’s Yale baseball teammates told Filkins he is really “smart” but deficient in interpersonal skills: “He has always loved embarrassing and humiliating people. I’m speaking for others — he was the biggest d---k we knew.” A former House colleague said of DeSantis: “He’s a little reclusive, a bit of an odd duck … but he’s just incredibly disciplined.”
Smart and disciplined but reclusive and unpleasant: Who does that remind you of? That’s right: Richard M. Nixon. And I don’t mean the Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, implemented affirmative action, went to China and took other surprisingly liberal steps. DeSantis has never shown any similar willingness to challenge his base. I’m thinking of the Nixon who smeared his opponents (he accused Adlai Stevenson of having a “Ph.D. from Dean Acheson’s cowardly college of Communist containment”) and warred with the press (“You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore,” he said in 1962, “because gentlemen, this is my last press conference”). I’m thinking of the Nixon who employed the government against his “enemies list,” catered to White bigotry (the Southern strategy) and exacerbated social divisions in an attempt to mobilize the Silent Majority against liberal elites.


DeSantis seems hellbent on carrying on the disreputable legacy of Tricky Dick, and with even less respect for democratic norms than Nixon displayed. Indeed, he wages culture war with a ruthlessness that recalls Nixon during the bombing of Cambodia.
DeSantis signed legislation severely curtailing mask and vaccine mandates for businesses and local governments, thereby running roughshod over private property rights even while denouncing Democrats as socialists. The University of Florida — controlled by DeSantis appointees — has forbidden professors from testifying against DeSantis plans to restrict mask-wearing and voting rights. A pediatrician was removed from a state board overseeing children’s health insurance after criticizing DeSantis’s outrageous reluctance to provide covid vaccines for children under five.
DeSantis refuses to say whether President Biden was legitimately elected and criticizes the Jan. 6 committee hearings. He created a special task force to police voter fraud even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud. In the name of election security, he also pushed through a bill restricting voting rights that was largely struck down by a federal judge as unconstitutional. A DeSantis-backed “anti-riot” bill, passed in response to Black Lives Matter rallies, was blocked by another federal judge for infringing on the First Amendment.
DeSantis signed a “don’t say gay” law restricting discussion of gender and sexuality issues in public schools — and then took away tax breaks from Disney for criticizing the legislation. In a similarly vindictive vein, he vetoed state funding for a Tampa Bay Rays training facility after the baseball team had the temerity to call for gun-safety legislation to stop mass shootings.
DeSantis signed legislation to limit what schools, colleges and workplaces can teach about race and identity, while promulgating teacher training wrongly claiming that the Founders didn’t really want separation of church and state. He also signed legislation that would give the state greater control over what is taught in universities under the guise of promoting viewpoint “diversity.” He is even threatening to investigate parents who take their kids to drag shows.
In short, DeSantis is engaged in one of the most alarming assaults on free speech and academic freedom since the dark days of McCarthyism in the 1950s, when Nixon rose to power. His actions may not be as blatant as inciting a mob to attack Congress, but his record reveals a troubling pattern of authoritarianism and vindictiveness that would be extremely dangerous in the Oval Office.
Just because DeSantis is smarter than Trump doesn’t mean that he is any less dangerous. In fact, he might be an even bigger threat for that very reason.

 

TC Nole OX

HR Heisman
Mar 29, 2002
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I like Charlie, for the most part, but he is probably too much of a nice guy to take on DeFascist. It also doesn't help that he really didn't show much interest in being governor when he was the governor. He does have name recognition. Maybe that and moderate appeal will be enough to make him a viable challenger. I am hoping that Nikki Fried does something but I don't hear much about her in the news.
 
Dec 25, 2020
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I think for the core trump supporters, Desantis is too measured. People love Trump because he speaks off the cuff and says whatever. DeSantis doesnt. He's Trump-Lite while still being radical enough to turn away independents. Its on the Democrats to just put out a candidate who is only slightly better than Biden and Im fully confident they will fail to do that.
 

artradley

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Apr 26, 2013
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I think for the core trump supporters, Desantis is too measured. People love Trump because he speaks off the cuff and says whatever. DeSantis doesnt. He's Trump-Lite while still being radical enough to turn away independents. Its on the Democrats to just put out a candidate who is only slightly better than Biden and Im fully confident they will fail to do that.

This. The fact that Desantis is smarter than Trump is precisely why he is not as dangerous. Trump never makes the mistake of overestimating his minions. Trump never starts with a basis of reality. Trump is unencumbered by reason or self-awareness. He is willing to say and do things that can undermine democracy, and because he will speak in the most base and absurd manner possible he is able to inspire his base in a manner nobody else can replicate, and because of this Trump instills fear into other GOP politicians that nobody else can replicate. And it is the way Trump inspires his base, and frightens other GOP politicians, that makes him dangerous.
 

TC Nole OX

HR Heisman
Mar 29, 2002
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DeFascist trails Kamala Harris in head to head polls. If not for the relic that is the slavery college he wouldn't stand a chance of ever being president.

 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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But the political backdrop was as atypical as unexpected: The day before his speech, one of the national teacher unions that opposes him released a battleground-state survey showing voters approve of DeSantis’ education policy positions, and even some of his rhetoric.


The American Federation of Teachers circulated the poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Hart Research, as a call to arms for its members and allies to emphasize more popular proposals like spending more on schools and reducing class sizes, and de-emphasize fights that center on cultural issues.

A major set of red flags in the poll for Democrats and teacher unions were a series of questions that look like they were ripped from DeSantis’s Friday speech on “critical race theory” and teaching kids about sexuality and gender identity. While the survey didn't mention DeSantis by name, it tested education messages he has popularized nationally — more so than Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who won in a Democratic-leaning state last year on a parental-rights education platform that was far less provocative than DeSantis'.


One poll question found that voters, by a 32 percentage-point margin, said they were more likely to vote for candidates who believe public schools should focus less on teaching race and more on core subjects. By 27 points, they said schools should be banned from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to kids in kindergarten through third grade. By 28 points, they said transgender athletes should be banned from competing in girls’ sports.


The same poll suggests DeSantis has been smart about where to draw the line. Most voters said they would be less likely to back candidates who want to prosecute teachers for instructing students on critical race theory and gender identity. The same goes for candidates who want books removed from school libraries, although DeSantis on Friday bashed some books as being too sexualized, and some Florida schools are banning books.

“DeSantis has been reasonably shrewd in choosing his culture war initiatives, avoiding toxic ideas like criminally prosecuting teachers,” Guy Molyneux, one of the pollsters who conducted the survey, said in an email to NBC News.

“BUT, going forward I think he will struggle to distinguish his approach from general Republican efforts to enflame political wars in school systems, which voters really don’t want,” Molyneux said. “And [the Supreme Court’s abortion] decision, with Clarence Thomas openly threatening same-sex marriage, has made it much harder for DeSantis to avoid being lumped in with a party that wants to turn back the clock on rights that Americans now take for granted.”




 

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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But the political backdrop was as atypical as unexpected: The day before his speech, one of the national teacher unions that opposes him released a battleground-state survey showing voters approve of DeSantis’ education policy positions, and even some of his rhetoric.


The American Federation of Teachers circulated the poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Hart Research, as a call to arms for its members and allies to emphasize more popular proposals like spending more on schools and reducing class sizes, and de-emphasize fights that center on cultural issues.

A major set of red flags in the poll for Democrats and teacher unions were a series of questions that look like they were ripped from DeSantis’s Friday speech on “critical race theory” and teaching kids about sexuality and gender identity. While the survey didn't mention DeSantis by name, it tested education messages he has popularized nationally — more so than Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who won in a Democratic-leaning state last year on a parental-rights education platform that was far less provocative than DeSantis'.


One poll question found that voters, by a 32 percentage-point margin, said they were more likely to vote for candidates who believe public schools should focus less on teaching race and more on core subjects. By 27 points, they said schools should be banned from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to kids in kindergarten through third grade. By 28 points, they said transgender athletes should be banned from competing in girls’ sports.

The same poll suggests DeSantis has been smart about where to draw the line. Most voters said they would be less likely to back candidates who want to prosecute teachers for instructing students on critical race theory and gender identity. The same goes for candidates who want books removed from school libraries, although DeSantis on Friday bashed some books as being too sexualized, and some Florida schools are banning books.

“DeSantis has been reasonably shrewd in choosing his culture war initiatives, avoiding toxic ideas like criminally prosecuting teachers,” Guy Molyneux, one of the pollsters who conducted the survey, said in an email to NBC News.

“BUT, going forward I think he will struggle to distinguish his approach from general Republican efforts to enflame political wars in school systems, which voters really don’t want,” Molyneux said. “And [the Supreme Court’s abortion] decision, with Clarence Thomas openly threatening same-sex marriage, has made it much harder for DeSantis to avoid being lumped in with a party that wants to turn back the clock on rights that Americans now take for granted.”




People are stupid and lazy and have bought into the Republican false narrative about what is really being taught in our schools. Id does not bode well for the future of our country.
 

littlez

HR Heisman
Jan 29, 2003
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Yep…that’s the D talking point. A losing one at that…
Are you saying it's not the truth? Are we not going to teach about slavery and the Civil War anymore? Some Republican states now want to teach about "both sides" of the holocaust? Please tell me you don't believe there are 2 sides to the holocaust? You claim to be such a moderate Dem but you take up for them on every single cause. Your act is tired.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Are you saying it's not the truth? Are we not going to teach about slavery and the Civil War anymore? Some Republican states now want to teach about "both sides" of the holocaust? Please tell me you don't believe there are 2 sides to the holocaust? You claim to be such a moderate Dem but you take up for them on every single cause. Your act is tired.
You didn’t read the poll results….a poll funded by The American Federation of Teachers….who don’t much care for Desantis.

They still teach about slavery and the Civil War in Florida schools FWIW 🤣
 
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lucas80

HR King
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You didn’t read the poll results….a poll funded by The American Federation of Teachers….who don’t much care for Desantis.

They still teach about slavery and the Civil War in Florida schools FWIW 🤣
For now.
People as blindly ambitious and without a moral core like DeSantis should scare people.
 
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littlez

HR Heisman
Jan 29, 2003
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You didn’t read the poll results….a poll funded by The American Federation of Teachers….who don’t much care for Desantis.

They still teach about slavery and the Civil War in Florida schools FWIW 🤣
And they don’t teach critical race theory in Florida either. Never have. DeSantis is the one making shit up. Just like you. When you teach American history you talk about slavery, which involves race. That’s called a fact. You’re a fraud.