Opinion: Ron DeSantis’s repulsive war on Disney will soon face a reckoning

cigaretteman

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May 29, 2001
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By Greg Sargent
Columnist
Today at 11:37 a.m. EDT
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The stench of presidential ambition around Ron DeSantis has grown so thick that it resembles Charlie Brown pal Pigpen’s visible cloud of filth, and key to the Florida governor’s hopes is finding a way to capture the political energies unleashed by Donald Trump.
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DeSantis must accomplish this while carving out a distinct path from that of the former president, who might run again himself. DeSantis’s new war with Disney appears to fit the bill perfectly.
As a good report from NBC News chronicles, DeSantis’s fellow Republicans see this battle as key to burnishing his national anti-“woke” brand. DeSantis escalated his attacks on Disney amid its criticism of the law he signed limiting classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.
But DeSantis’s war on Disney will soon face a reckoning. A big question is whether DeSantis will seek to revoke Disney’s state tax incentives as a weapon in the war over that measure, which opponents call the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
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If so, that could alienate Republicans who are fine with a bit of performative culture-warring but want to keep corporations happy where it really counts, i.e., on their bottom line. If not, that could disappoint right-wingers who actively want Republicans to wield state power wherever possible to bring “woke” corporations to their knees.
Disney came out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill after facing intense internal pressure from employees. Disney argued that it “could be used to unfairly target” LGBT kids and families.
That’s a perfectly reasonable fear. The law outlaws “instruction” in “sexual orientation or gender identity” that is not “age-appropriate.” Legal experts note that such vague wording could allow conservative parents to claim violations in many typical situations, such as a teacher mentioning gay families, or a kid discussing her gay parents, or helping a transgender student seek counseling.
Regardless, DeSantis has gone on the attack. He’s raising money off Disney’s opposition, labeling it “radical.” And he recently suggested that he might target Disney’s “special privileges” in the state.
That’s repulsive stuff. Even some Republicans have noted that Disney is simply exercising its right to weigh in on a public issue, one that matters deeply to many customers and employees, and shouldn’t face the threat of state retaliation for doing so.
Regardless, under questioning from reporters, DeSantis then clarified he is not targeting Disney’s enormously lucrative tax breaks, one of which totals in the hundreds of millions of dollars to encourage Disney to move more than 2,000 employees to Florida from California. DeSantis justified this by claiming all companies are treated equally by such tax incentives.
But as Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D) points out, Disney benefits from a tax incentive program only available to very large corporations. Eskamani says DeSantis should repeal Disney’s tax breaks in order to actually treat businesses equally, as a matter of good policy, rather than allowing that status quo to remain while going after Disney in a merely “performative" way.
“Nothing about Disney’s business model has changed whatsoever,” Eskamani told me.
James Clark, a history professor at the University of Central Florida, points to a subtle game at work here. Disney has poured enormous sums into the campaign coffers of DeSantis and GOP state legislatures, according to the Orlando Sentinel, though some Democrats have benefited as well.
DeSantis’s rhetorical attacks on Disney might not be enough to imperil future Disney donations to Republicans. Meanwhile, if Republicans keep its corporate interests largely protected, it could help sustain that arrangement.
“Disney has been very helpful to the Republican Party,” Clark told me. “I don’t think Republicans want to do anything to jeopardize that flow of money.” Disney has said it’s reassessing its political donations in response to the new law, but that will likely blow over.
Yet here’s the thing: Some on the right, particularly the new nationalists seeking to build a post-Trump Trumpism, actually do believe the state should be weaponized to fight the culture wars as aggressively as possible. Fox News’s Laura Ingraham is urging Republicans to use every tool of government possible to break corporations economically — as a weapon of retaliation against excessive wokeness.
This is sometimes described as a sign that Republicans are turning against large corporations in a fundamental shift of economic ideology. But that’s mostly nonsense. Republicans have mainly threatened retaliation for corporate transgressions like standing up for African Americans’ voting rights, trying to protect customers and workers with vaccine mandates, cooperating with a congressional investigation into Trump’s insurrection, and now, speaking up for LGBT people.
Indeed, one prominent right-wing activist explicitly told Michelle Goldberg that attacks on Disney are all about teaching it “the lesson” that “they should stay out of politics.” The goal is to wield state power to dissuade corporations from empowering the enemy known as social liberalism.
Yet at some point you’d think some on the right will want to see actual corporate blood on the floor. As a Know Your Enemy podcast powerfully details, the use of state government power to punish trans kids is multiplying ferociously across the country. How long until the right wants real results in the war against corporate wokeness?
If so, keeping old cozy relationship between Disney and Florida Republicans like DeSantis largely intact just won’t cut it anymore.

 
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Hoosierhawkeye

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I love how the right says they hate cancel culture but wants to cancel out tax breaks for corporations having a different opinion than they do.

They are also all about corporations expressing their views via citizens united and all those campaign dollars. . . until that corporation has a different opinion than they do. . . then that corporation should stay the hell out of politics.

You can't tell a entity to stay out of politics while you accept campaign money from them.

Personally I would like to get rid of tax breaks for companies. It creates this competition between states and between local governments about who can give each company the sweetest deal to bring it's business and it's jobs here. And the only winner of that competition in the long run is the corporations.
 

sober_teacher

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I doubt any such effort goes that far here, and it’s just a chance for him to score cheap political points off Disney.

If nothing else, Disney is simply too big of a lobbyist presence in Florida (right or wrong) to be touched.

Florida made their bed with Disney decades ago. Now they have to lie in it.
 
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goldmom

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Florida was a different world in 1967 - Dems firmly in control of the Legislature and every local government. They were thrilled beyond belief that Walt Disney wanted to build a park literally in the middle of nowhere (at the time).
I do wonder if that deal could get through now. The Reedy Creek District created an ability to be a self governing body for Disney. It granted them unprecedented rights - airport? No problem. A nuclear power plant? Sure!
Disney has suspended all political contributions by the way. It’s their right.

The pushback is hysteria created largely by a group of mostly California park employees by the way. We’re still waiting for researchers to look at the tiniest fine print to find the word “gay” in the bill, which the Governor didn’t write OR request to be written. But since he’s such a fearsome prospect for ‘24 he must be destroyed!!!
Facts and truth be damned! Ignorance must continue! Kindergarten kids must be taught all about sexuality!
 

goldmom

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No idea who you mean by diaper dandy. Also, it wasn't meant to be funny. The guy is a hot head, not to mention he's just a poor leader.
Do you live in Florida?
And I think you know who the Diaper Dandy is. The Delaware Dud.
Depends Dimwit.
If you live in NY pay attention to YOUR Governor. By the way - How’s that gerrymandering decision working out for y’all? LOL
 
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Tom Paris

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Oh wow, this is funny.
And the Diaper Dandy is so low key.
Here you go again with your no substance attacks on a President who is a helluva lot smarter than you are. You just go with the simpleton shots...though you voted for a complete dummy twice...and will again in 2024. Learn self awareness, because you have none.
 
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TC Nole OX

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DeSantis comes across like a vindictive little bitch. He shows his authoritarian side more and more all the time. Do NOT question him or he will come after you.

100% accurate. I have said for a while, well before the UKR invasion, that DeFascist is reminiscent of old Soviet block dictators who stood at the podium giving long angry speeches while waving his fist in the air.
 

noStemsnoSTICKS

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Feb 16, 2006
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Florida was a different world in 1967 - Dems firmly in control of the Legislature and every local government. They were thrilled beyond belief that Walt Disney wanted to build a park literally in the middle of nowhere (at the time).
I do wonder if that deal could get through now. The Reedy Creek District created an ability to be a self governing body for Disney. It granted them unprecedented rights - airport? No problem. A nuclear power plant? Sure!
Disney has suspended all political contributions by the way. It’s their right.

The pushback is hysteria created largely by a group of mostly California park employees by the way. We’re still waiting for researchers to look at the tiniest fine print to find the word “gay” in the bill, which the Governor didn’t write OR request to be written. But since he’s such a fearsome prospect for ‘24 he must be destroyed!!!
Facts and truth be damned! Ignorance must continue! Kindergarten kids must be taught all about sexuality!
Expressing whether you're a girl or a boy isn't the same as being taught about sexuality.
 

IA_HAWKI

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Here you go again with your no substance attacks on a President who is a helluva lot smarter than you are. You just go with the simpleton shots...though you voter for a complete dummy twice...and will again in 2024. Learn self awareness, because you have none.
Goldie is above personal attacks. If you don’t believe me, she will tell you as soon as you make a personal attack
 

your_master5

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I love how the right says they hate cancel culture but wants to cancel out tax breaks for corporations having a different opinion than they do.

They are also all about corporations expressing their views via citizens united and all those campaign dollars. . . until that corporation has a different opinion than they do. . . then that corporation should stay the hell out of politics.

You can't tell a entity to stay out of politics while you accept campaign money from them.

Personally I would like to get rid of tax breaks for companies. It creates this competition between states and between local governments about who can give each company the sweetest deal to bring it's business and it's jobs here. And the only winner of that competition in the long run is the corporations.
Did you read the article? The Democrat is the one who is saying Disney should lose it's tax breaks. Strange that you would put that on the right. I do agree the breaks should go away, but I don't think this is a right cancel culture thing.
 
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sober_teacher

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Did you read the article? The Democrat is the one who is saying Disney should lose it's tax breaks. Strange that you would put that on the right. I do agree the breaks should go away, but I don't think this is a right cancel culture thing.
Hey, idk that any company should have that legal status Disney has…but please try to be honest and admit the current push is primarily from DeSantis, solely because they came out against this bill.
 

sober_teacher

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Mar 26, 2007
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My grandson is in kindergarten and I can tell you he is not ready to think about anything but dinosaurs and Spider-Man.
Sure, and most aren’t. They do ask the darn questions tho, and I don’t have an issue if a teacher tries to somewhat answer it. There’s a big difference between that and saying teachers are writing lesson plans based on sexual identities.
 

goldmom

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Mar 29, 2002
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Here you go again with your no substance attacks on a President who is a helluva lot smarter than you are. You just go with the simpleton shots...though you voter for a complete dummy twice...and will again in 2024. Learn self awareness, because you have none.

Of ALL the posters on this board to even talk to me about self awareness you are the least able to push that tired and baseless accusation.
You’ve been a kindergarten teacher for how long? My God if parents knew how you talk on this message board...you are perpetually angry, verbally hysterical, and insulting. Always. An angry little man.
And if Joe Biden is smarter than my dog I’ll eat my hat. The poor guy is mentally impaired and if you cannot or will not see that, Mrs. Vice President Jill Biden has a bridge to sell you.
 

goldmom

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Hey, idk that any company should have that legal status Disney has…but please try to be honest and admit the current push is primarily from DeSantis, solely because they came out against this bill.

No he did not raise the issue of changing their status. A Republican legislator did.
 

Tom Paris

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Of ALL the posters on this board to even talk to me about self awareness you are the least able to push that tired and baseless accusation.
You’ve been a kindergarten teacher for how long? My God if parents knew how you talk on this message board...you are perpetually angry, verbally hysterical, and insulting. Always. An angry little man.
And if Joe Biden is smarter than my dog I’ll eat my hat. The poor guy is mentally impaired and if you cannot or will not see that, Mrs. Vice President Jill Biden has a bridge to sell you.
Case in point. You make it so easy. You voted for Donald Trump...a conman. A grifter. YOU did that...twice. No self awareness, like I said.
 

TC Nole OX

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Mar 29, 2002
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I feel sorry for your grandson...hopefully he grows up to realize his gammy is batshit crazy.

She's only like this on here. In real life, she is actually a nice person. Goldy reminds me of almost all of my friends and family, all republicans, who have spent far too much time consuming right wing media over the years. What I do with them is remember that they are good people and avoid talking politics with them.
 
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IA_HAWKI

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She's only like this on here. In real life, she is actually a nice person. Goldy reminds me of many of my friends and family, all republicans, who have spent far too much time consuming right wing media over the years. What I do with them is remember that they are good people and avoid talking politics with them.
She is a disgusting human who defends people who tweet out nude images of their underage daughter (and victim blames the daughter) because Team Red
 
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MWardT

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your_master5

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Hey, idk that any company should have that legal status Disney has…but please try to be honest and admit the current push is primarily from DeSantis, solely because they came out against this bill.
The only push from DeSantis is for Disney's special privileges' NOT the tax status. So, try and be honest with what he is actually pushing instead of things in the article that he is not pushing. The tax status has not been what DeSantis has discussed currently and this article brought it up with a Dem the one saying that should be revoked.
 
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noStemsnoSTICKS

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She's only like this on here. In real life, she is actually a nice person. Goldy reminds me of almost all of my friends and family, all republicans, who have spent far too much time consuming right wing media over the years. What I do with them is remember that they are good people and avoid talking politics with them.
While @goldmom and I have had many disagreements, I've found this conservative poster to be fair in her remarks. I don't get the same sort of weird trumperism I do from littlereddog, master and somethingpoet.
 

goldmom

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So Robot Ron's hands are clean in all of this? He's just an innocent bystander?
It doesn’t matter if he is or not...the Miami Herald, the TB Times and the Orlando Slantinel have said it’s all on Ron - and people who apparently have personality issues and persecution complexes are only too happy to spread the 💩.
 
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goldmom

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She is a disgusting human who defends people who tweet out nude images of their underage daughter (and victim blames the daughter) because Team Red

So how long is Kellyann in jail for?
That’s right you small brained person, she was not. Keep up your weak inaccuracies and responses. You’re gonna make it someday I’m sure. 🤤
 

Hoosierhawkeye

HR Legend
Sep 16, 2008
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Florida was a different world in 1967 - Dems firmly in control of the Legislature and every local government. They were thrilled beyond belief that Walt Disney wanted to build a park literally in the middle of nowhere (at the time).
I do wonder if that deal could get through now. The Reedy Creek District created an ability to be a self governing body for Disney. It granted them unprecedented rights - airport? No problem. A nuclear power plant? Sure!
Disney has suspended all political contributions by the way. It’s their right.

The pushback is hysteria created largely by a group of mostly California park employees by the way. We’re still waiting for researchers to look at the tiniest fine print to find the word “gay” in the bill, which the Governor didn’t write OR request to be written. But since he’s such a fearsome prospect for ‘24 he must be destroyed!!!
Facts and truth be damned! Ignorance must continue! Kindergarten kids must be taught all about sexuality!

The fact that the bill doesn't say "gay" in it is a silly argument. You are better off arguing the merits of the bill itself.

Jim Crow laws never mentioned African Americans but that's who they were aimed after.

And DeSantis signed this bill into law so he has to take some responsibility in it.

Did you read the article? The Democrat is the one who is saying Disney should lose it's tax breaks. Strange that you would put that on the right. I do agree the breaks should go away, but I don't think this is a right cancel culture thing.

There are *some* on the right that want to take this a step further and use government action against the company because Disney openly disagreed with them. The Dems would rather get rid of the tax breaks because they think the tax breaks in and of themselves are bad policy. Not because they are mad that Disney disagreed with them.

Granted because of the jobs Disney has in the state and the influence they likely have on state politicians I doubt Disney loses their tax breaks. But some on the right do want to weaponize the state against companies that go against them in the culture war.
 

goldmom

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Mar 29, 2002
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She's only like this on here. In real life, she is actually a nice person. Goldy reminds me of almost all of my friends and family, all republicans, who have spent far too much time consuming right wing media over the years. What I do with them is remember that they are good people and avoid talking politics with them.

I’m so old that I grew up before there WAS right wing media. 😂
Seriously no one knew where Walter Cronkite stood on any issue.
I sincerely appreciate your remarks, though. 😬
 
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FormerlyCyberCy

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My kids went to school in Texas and first had the subject in 5th grade - right as some were beginning to edge into puberty.
I 100% approved. Age appropriate is always the key.
Agree. Parents typically aren’t equipped as well as the school system to talk to young girls about getting pregnant and how to avoid that. My girlfriend (after the fact) told me that pulling out is not an effective birth control plan and why. I doubt her parents supplied her with that knowledge.
 
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