A couple of recent articles in The New York Times show just how annoyed the national media is getting at so far being unable to find something wrong with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Why hasn’t he called Donald Trump a fathead on Twitter yet?! Where are all the women who want to accuse him of being a rapist?! Why won’t he back down from positions that are popular with voters?!
Admittedly, it’s never too late for any one of those scenarios to become a reality, and Republicans rarely justify high hopes. But for now, the Times has had to settle on attacking DeSantis for not being more readily attackable.
To that end, Times book reviewer Jennifer Szalai’s take on DeSantis’ newly published book is that it’s a mega letdown, “free of anything that resembles charisma, or a discernible sense of humor.” Whereas a previous book DeSantis wrote was “weird and esoteric,” Szalai was disappointed in the new one that “reads like a politician’s memoir churned out by ChatGPT.”
Translation: Why wasn’t there anything for me to call racist?! Why Didn’t Ron include something that’s readily mocked as “election denialism”?!
I have no doubt the book is a bore. Politician books always are. (Especially Trump’s, which is why you’ve never seen a single line from it quoted anywhere.) But if that’s the No. 1 problem with a likely presidential candidate who has engaged — and won! — some highly consequential political battles, it seems to be slightly beside the point.
The DeSantis book might be best used as a re-gift for your least favorite in-law. On the other hand, the governor has a strong record of opposing Democrat-favored societal lockdowns, banning corporate vaccine coercion, and steering public institutions away from “social justice” and gender “queer” ideologies (hobbies for ugly people) that are all the rage.
An equally terrible analysis of DeSantis was offered last week in the Times by David Brooks, who, in earnest, found fault in the governor for not declaring a grand war strategy for Ukraine. DeSantis had opined on the conflict in a TV interview after being asked about President Biden’s visit to Kyiv. He said he thought it risked escalating U.S. involvement in a war that has no clear American interests (fact) and in a way that brings us closer to a third world war (fact).
For taking that position, Brooks said, “It’s not clear if DeSantis is for more Ukraine aid or not. No one can quite pin him down. Tippity tap. Tappity tip.”
It’s a weird gripe. DeSantis is a state-level leader with no power to do anything outside of Florida, let alone in a corrupt Eastern European nation. (Not that Russia is any better.) His opinion on the issue right now is meaningless.
But if it’s tricky at the moment to state unequivocally what we should do in Ukraine, that’s because it’s really hard to fix what someone else needlessly broke. A foreign conflict that might very well have been quickly settled without our involvement instead has the world in a state of unpredictability because we handcuffed ourselves to one of the participants, to whom we owed nothing. We can’t turn back time on what Biden and Congress have done.
But Brooks would rather pretend that this war by proxy is an uncomplicated issue. Translation: Do you want to send more money to Ukraine or not?! Be dumber so I can attack you for it!
I’m sure it’s frustrating. Maybe the Times staff should stick to what they know.