The inspiring rise of Ron DeSantis

The Florida Governor has displayed courageous leadership in the face of vicious smears from the press.

April 15, 2021

ITEM #1:  By the time the national ‘news’ media is done attacking Ron DeSantis, he might just end up as the most popular person on the planet.

In a column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Victor Joecks takes a look at the striking rise in the Florida Governor’s profile and popularity, which derives from two key factors: his superb handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and his ability to not only withstand, but successfully counter, the unyielding onslaught of attacks the press has thrown his way.

The column is framed as a look at how DeSantis has emerged as an early favorite in the 2024 GOP presidential sweepstakes, though Joecks acknowledges that the nominating process is a long way off. Still, electoral politics aside, the piece serves as a wonderful catalogue of this amazing and still-developing story of effective leadership.

On DeSantis’ handling of the virus outbreak itself, Joecks writes:

“Like governors in most states, DeSantis closed Florida early in the pandemic, although he allowed people to attend religious services and exercise outside.

“Unlike most Democrat-run states, though, he started lifting restrictions in May. By June, gyms, amusement parks and youth sports were up and running. He allowed kids to go back to school in the fall. In September, DeSantis removed all state-level restrictions on businesses. Some counties did reopen more slowly.”

Then came the predictable naysaying:

“Because his policies mirrored Donald Trump’s push to reopen, the national mainstream media spent months attacking DeSantis. A CNN headline from December highlighted criticism that he put ‘politics in front of lives.’ This is the same national media that spent months lavishing praise on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his coronavirus briefings and leadership.”

Yet DeSantis stayed strong, and has been vindicated for it. More from Joecks:

“But Florida’s predicted doomsday never came. As of this writing, its per-capita death rate is 28th in the country, according to Worldometers. That’s below the U.S. average despite having one of the oldest populations of any state. New York ranks second in the country. Nevada is 22nd highest despite a year of restrictions imposed by Gov. Steve Sisolak.

“Florida’s success didn’t happen by accident. DeSantis followed the science. He moved quickly to protect the most vulnerable, including those in nursing homes. But he also recognized that there are costs to lockdowns. He trusted Floridians to use their judgment and act responsibly.”

Rather than admit they were wrong, of course, our partisan press instead doubled down on their attacks from DeSantis:

“That leads to ‘60 Minutes.’ Last Sunday, it ran what it thought was a bombshell on DeSantis. The show asked why Florida partnered with Publix, a grocery store chain, to help with vaccine distribution. Its answer: ‘Weeks before the governor’s announcement, Publix donated $100,000 to his political action committee.’

“That’s an accusation of pay-to-play. Don’t miss what’s at stake here. One of the biggest news shows in the country implied DeSantis did something that could not only end his political career but land him in legal trouble.

“The accusation though is garbage. Walgreens and CVS were the first private pharmacies to receive vaccines, but they were focused on long-term care facilities. The State Emergency Response Team and the Florida Health Department selected Publix. They choose it because it was ready to start sooner than other companies. Even some Florida Democrats have publicly said the report is rubbish. The Democratic mayor of Palm Beach County said he asked DeSantis to expand the state’s work with Publix.

“What’s especially amazing is that ‘60 Minutes’ asked DeSantis about this in a news conference. He spelled these facts out for the reporter. The show played parts of the exchange but cut out his explanation.”

Rather than simply take all this lying down, DeSantis pushed back, calling those at “60 minutes” who were responsible for the attack “smear merchants” and adding, “That’s why nobody trusts corporate media.”

We won’t venture a guess as to how any of this might play out in 2024, or who the candidates that year will even be. But one thing is certain: By his outstanding leadership throughout this public health crisis, and his willingness to resist, combat and expose the thorough corruption of our national press corps, DeSantis has already performed a great service to his state, and to our country.

ITEM #2:  As we’ve documented before, Nevada Democrats are currently pushing through the legislative process a measure that would permanently codify some of the most irresponsible election practices imaginable.

Assembly Bill 321 would take many of the worst (but currently only temporary) elements of last summer’s AB4, including universal mail-in balloting and ballot harvesting, and make them applicable to all of our state’s elections going forward — whether Nevada is in an official state of emergency or not. 

There is indeed room to improve our elections — dramatically so, in fact. But unfortunately, Democrats are taking us in exactly the wrong direction.

What should policymakers be doing instead? A couple of weeks ago, Morning in Nevada PAC President Adam Laxalt offered some of his own thoughts on the subject in an op-ed (you can read it here), and Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Sam Kumar has now offered his own take.

Among Kumar’s ideas: proof of citizenship to register to vote, picture ID to vote (one of the chief ideas promoted in Laxalt’s op-ed), enhanced safeguards for signature verification, and a requirement that all ballots be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

On that last point, Kumar notes, correctly, that, “Votes trickling in for over a week after Election Day, with the lead changing several times during those nine days, does not engender confidence in the election process.”

He also includes a strong rebuttal to those who object to calls for voter ID on the grounds that such requirements are supposedly racist, writing:

“To argue that asking for an ID is racist is pure nonsense. Simple activities like buying tobacco and alcohol, cashing a check and getting a COVID vaccine all require a valid picture ID. Are all those activities an expression of racism? If our Founding Fathers shed their blood to gain us the right to vote, and our young men die in overseas wars to preserve that right, the least we can do is to get off our rear ends and get a picture ID to exercise that right.”

ITEM #3:  Politico has a piece out on how a group of moderate Republican U.S. Senators have been shocked — shocked! — to discover that President Biden is a hard-left politician who’s unwilling to negotiate with members of the GOP.

Here’s how the story opens:

“‘It’s a f---ing nightmare.’

“That was the lament of a staffer working for one of the members of the so-called G-10, the group of 10 Republican senators who insist they’re itching to negotiate deals with the White House.

“In the span of a few months, the G-10 has gone from the center of politics in Donald Trump’s Washington to the policy sidelines in President Joe Biden’s.

“While these senators mostly despised Trump, they were the engine of policymaking for his final Covid relief bill. While they mostly respect Biden, they have so far been irrelevant to his legislative push despite his inaugural promise of ‘unity.’

“It’s been a bewildering change for them. And if you want to understand both why Biden is winning and why his so-far successful formula could be in jeopardy, it’s worth listening closely to the voices within this frustrated and marginalized group of self-proclaimed dealmakers.”

The root of the problem, the story explains, is “what they see as some hardwired media narratives they can’t shake: that Biden is a reasonable, deal-making moderate and that Republicans talk about compromise but really just want to obstruct. It’s a perception that has given the White House all the leverage.”

This ought to serve as a wakeup call for Republicans — not just nationally but here in Nevada as well — who are tempted to believe they can work with the Democrats in charge on a reasonable, centrist agenda. There are no moderate Democrats today. The hard-left calls the shots. And anyone who tries to meet these Democrats in the middle of the road is simply going to get run over. 

ITEM #4:  Thought you knew the extent of the crisis on our Southern border? Think again.

According to the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, the situation is even more dire than most people realize — and it’s entirely because of the Biden administration’s unfathomable incompetence.

York explains:

“Here is what is most striking about the government's response to the unprecedented surge of illegal border crossers: It is entirely improvised. Jury-rigged. Thrown together in a scramble to accommodate thousands of migrants who were not coming just months ago. And the reason it is being improvised is that during his first days in office, President Joe Biden blew up the foundation of the government's handling of migrants. With a series of executive actions, Biden threw out key policies with nothing ready to replace them. And he did it using rhetoric that invited migrants to rush to the border — more than 172,000 in March alone, including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children.

“Now the government's leading agencies, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, are desperately trying to put together a new system to deal with the damage Biden's hurried and irresponsible acts have done. Under administration orders, they are no longer really trying to prevent people from entering the U.S. illegally. Rather, they are attempting to humanely house and feed the thousands prior to releasing them into the country. The border's guardians are overwhelmed and increasingly giving way to bureaucratic pressure to let most people in.”

It's absolutely infuriating that Democrats got away with excoriating President Trump for his allegedly inhumane approach to controlling our border, and now escape accountability for the genuine disaster they’ve created. 

ITEM #5:  The high costs of progressivism don’t just exist in the abstract. Its victims are actual human beings, and their stories are real.

We were reminded of this while reading a recent piece in the New York Post by Salena Zito, who looks at what’s happening in the town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, a place that has thrived thanks to the fracking industry but now has reason to fear for its future.

She starts by focusing on a man named Jason Capps, who made the decision to leave the struggling town in search of better opportunities. 

"But then," Zito informs us, "an unexpected rebirth happened here in Western Pennsylvania with the discovery of the Marcellus Shale, an ancient rock bed that offers an abundant source of natural gas.”

The local economy began to thrive as a result. “Eventually, Capps moved back to his hometown,” Zito writes, “and, in 2006, he founded Bella Sera — a successful event space resembling a grand Tuscan villa — which he still owns and operates.”

Zito traces the history of how the town, once abandoned by many who had grown up there, suddenly became such a land of opportunity:

"For decades, geologists knew Devonian black shale existed in this region, but few thought it would be a major source of natural gas, mainly because the supply was thought to be too low. 

"That all changed in 2003 when energy company Range Resources experimented with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — a new technique commonly called 'fracking' — which flushes large volumes of high-pressure water, sand and chemicals into the ground, forcing trapped gas to escape into a well. 

"In 2004, the first commercially viable well was drilled, attracting multiple oil and gas producers and suppliers to the region. The town’s Southpointe industrial park has since grown to include a breathtaking campus of homes, a championship golf course designed by Arthur Hills, and an executive business park where multiple Fortune 500 companies are based."

It all adds up to a true economic miracle … and so you know it’s probably only a matter of time before the left tries to destroy it.

More from Zito:

“In January, newly sworn-in President Joe Biden signed several executive orders that banned or halted fracking on federal lands. With the stroke of a pen, people from Louisiana to South Dakota to New Mexico saw their livelihoods canceled. While he has so far held his powder on the prohibition of fracking on non-federal lands (and the practice still goes on in Canonsburg), Biden’s statements that the climate crisis will be at the center of his policy-making has locals and business owners worried.”

Zito cites a study finding that “Pennsylvania would lose as many as 600,000 jobs if fracking is banned — and the state GDP would take a $261 billion hit, according to a report from the US Chamber of Commerce.”

Yet that’s unlikely to stop Democrats. Nor will it stop them from continuing to insist, with no hint of shame, that they’re the party that speaks for the American working class.

ITEM #6:  Here we go again with the “infrastructure.”

It seems just about anytime Democrats are trying to justify a massive government spending proposal, they sell it as a means to upgrade our infrastructure. Often, they throw the word “crumbling” in front of “infrastructure” just to accentuate the need for it.

David Keltz reports on their latest ruse for the American Spectator:

“On Friday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held his first press briefing at the White House to pitch President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

“Buttigieg, ever the salesman, described the so-called American Jobs Plan (AJP) as ‘the best chance in our lifetimes to make a generational investment in infrastructure.’

“But as I’ve written previously in The American Spectator, Biden’s proposal is neither a jobs plan nor an infrastructure bill. It amounts to a Green New Deal wish list that will raise corporate tax rates to 28 percent, increase regulations, and raise income tax rates to their highest level since 1968. The middle class will not be spared this tax burden.

“Only 6 percent of the $2.3 trillion package is devoted to roads, bridges, and highways. And Moody’s Analytics estimates that it will create only 2.7 million jobs, not the 19 million that Biden, Buttigieg, and other administration officials spent weeks falsely promising.”

As usual, some word games are afoot:

“In order to sell this non-infrastructure bill, Buttigieg has had to redefine the word ‘infrastructure.’

“According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘infrastructure’ means ‘the basic systems and services that are necessary for a country or an organization to run smoothly, for example buildings, transport and water and power supplies.’

“Buttigieg, who was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, is either unfamiliar with this definition or is deliberately misleading Americans.”

If the Biden administration thinks these ideas are necessary and worthy of support, they are more than welcome to make their pitch to the American people. But they ought to be honest about what they’re selling.

ITEM #7:  And finally this week, congratulations to Jennifer Rubin for becoming the first woman to win the “Liberal Hack Tournament.”

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn explains:

“In 2016, Hillary Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party. In 2020, Kamala Harris made history by being the first woman to be elected vice president of the United States.

“This year, Washington Post star columnist Jennifer Rubin shattered a glass ceiling of her own. 

“Rubin, also a MSNBC contributor, made history Tuesday by becoming the first woman and the second person ever to be crowned champion of the viral 'Liberal Hack Tournament.'

“With nearly 20,000 votes tallied, Rubin walked out with 50.2% following a brutal cage match against CNN's scandal-plagued anchor Chris Cuomo, who Rubin defeated despite Cuomo having his powerful older brother, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his corner.”

As Wulfsohn explains, "The tournament, sponsored by 'Ruthless,' is a viral NCAA Tournament-style contest pitting members of the mainstream media against each other in the ultimate fight to be labeled the supreme hack. The matchups are conducted on Twitter by conservative personality and 'Ruthless' co-host Comfortably Smug."

Last year's winner was CNN's Brian Stelter, and while Stelter put up a valiant fight in his quest to repeat, we must say: Rubin is every bit a worthy successor to the throne.


“Such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
“Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.” ― John Adams