DeSantis v. Disney: 'The Party Is Over for Them'
Watching Ron DeSantis work is beautiful. And "work" is the operative word -- as Michael Walsh has emphasized, while other Republicans are happy to sit back and let things happen, to talk loudly and carry a small stick, you might say, DeSantis is the opposite. He's a doer with a knack for making all the right enemies. If reports are true, he's about to throw his hat into the presidential ring -- and that is a very good thing for America.
His war with Disney is the classic example. The Mouse House is Florida's biggest employer, and over the years they've gotten used to calling their own shots. Meanwhile, their far-left ideological proclivities have gotten increasingly overt, to the point that they openly brag about using their entertainment products to indoctrinate our children into sexual exoticism. Uncle Walt, who used to entertain America's children, is long gone, having been replaced by the likes of Bob Iger, Bob Chapek and recently, in a self-engineered coup against his hand-picked successor, Bob Iger again:
Today, Iger answered his own question and escalated his fight with DeSantis by scuttling a major expansion project in Florida:
On Thursday, Mr. Iger and Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chairman, showed that they were not bluffing, pulling the plug on a nearly $1 billion office complex that was scheduled for construction in Orlando. It would have brought more than 2,000 jobs to the region, with $120,000 as the average salary, according to an estimate from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
The project, known as the Lake Nona Town Center, was supposed to involve the relocation of more than 1,000 employees from Southern California, including most of a department known as Imagineering, which works with Disney’s movie studios to develop theme park attractions. Most of the affected employees complained bitterly about having to move — some quit — but Disney largely held firm, partly because of a Florida tax credit that would have allowed the company to recoup as much as $570 million over 20 years for building and occupying the complex.
About 200 Disney employees already relocated to Florida from California. Mr. D’Amaro said in his note that the company would discuss options with them, “including the possibility of moving you back.” The Lake Nona project had initially been scheduled to open next year.
DeSantis has justified taking action against Disney by pointing out that:
Disney was enjoying unprecedented privileges and subsidies. They controlled their own government in central Florida. They were exempt from laws that virtually everybody else has to follow. That’s not free enterprise, but it’s certainly even worse, when a company takes all those privileges that have been bestowed over many, many decades and uses that to wage war on state policies regarding families and children.
His rivals for the GOP presidential nomination don't agree. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie has said, "I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative based on his actions towards Disney." Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson argued that Republicans shouldn't "become heavy-handed in government to punish those that are creating jobs for Americans and creating income and growing private sector. That's not what Republicanism is about. It's not what a conservative is about." Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley called on Disney to move their operations to her home state, saying "we’re not sanctimonious."
Translation: kowtowing to Big Business is what it means to be conservative in their eyes, and they're happy to let woke corporations do whatever they like, so long as the donations keep flowing in. Even former president Donald Trump has said that this is all a political stunt, and that Disney -- which donated more than $20 million to his campaign in 2020 -- is "destroying" DeSantis."
But DeSantis has continued plugging along. Early this month he signed into law what National Review's Jeff Zymeri referred to as "one of the most extensive anti-ESG bills in the country."
The Government and Corporate Activism Act requires that various state actors, including the chief financial officer, state agencies, and the state retirement fund properly prioritize financial risk and return, or pecuniary factors, over any political considerations. It also prohibits the sale of ESG bonds. Local governments are impacted to a noteworthy degree as they too are required to stop promoting environmental and social goals through their investment decisions.... “
We want them to act as fiduciaries. We do not want them engaged on these ideological joyrides,” explained DeSantis at a speech coinciding with the signing. “They want to use economic power to impose this agenda on our society. And we think in Florida, that is not going to fly here.”
The law also prevents banks, other financial institutions, and government contractors from discriminating against individuals and organizations on account of their political views... [T]his would ban banks from applying a “social credit score” and denying services to people based on religious beliefs or views on the Second Amendment, illegal immigration, or non-renewable energy sources.
Florida thus joins Kentucky and West Virginia as the states which have comprehensively rejected ESG. You'd think it should be more -- after all, there are 22 states with GOP governors and legislative majorities. But of course it's easier to whine about these issues on Fox News then it is to do something about them.
In DeSantis's second inaugural address he pledged to take on "entrenched bureaucrats in D.C., jet-setters in Davos, and corporations wielding public power" on behalf of Floridians. And on issue after issue he's done exactly that, all while signing the largest tax cut in state history. He's been a fearless model for Republicans throughout the country, and right now you can measure his success that he's become the principal of object of Donald Trump's classless vituperation. Go, Ron.