Ron DeSantis has made his first unforced error in his nascent, as yet still-unannounced, campaign for the Republican presidential nomination 2024. Even worse, he showed weakness – and that, in this late-Roman Republic political climate, is an unforgiveable sin. If DeSantis is not to be bullied out of the primaries by the raging bull elephant that is Donald Trump, he needs to do better, asap
Note I said do. Not talk. Talk is Trump's realm, a world in which only words, not deeds, matter and the rest is just boob bait. The Wall, unbuilt; the Swamp, undrained. The 2020 election stolen right out from underneath him, and by perfectly legal means: they said they were going to do it, they explained how they were going to do it, and they did it. All while Trump was prancing and dancing at pointless rallies. Never mind: things will be better next time, we are told.
Up until last week, action was DeSantis's realm: taking on Disney, sacking Soros prosecutors, signing a sweeping school-choice bill, firing the board of the leftist New College in Florida and replacing it with sane conservatives not in thrall to the diktats of Wokism; the new board promptly canned its entire, useless "diversity" office. All these events were cheer moments for a GOP base long starved for victories unbesmirched by Jared, Ivanka, Jeff Sessions, or Stormy Daniels, as well as the promise of further bold, decisive steps to come.
If not him, who?
DeSantis was also a rare voice of Republican sanity among the chorus of pro-Ukraine capons in D.C., led by Turtle McChao and Lindsey Graham when he correctly stated that the U.S. has no vital national interest in whatever happens to Vladimir Zelensky and his war-by-photo-op in the historic heart of Russia.
While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them. The Biden administration’s virtual 'blank check' funding of this conflict for 'as long as it takes,' without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges."
And that's where he should have stopped. But the media, the warmongering neocons, and Mitch's minions screamed bloody murder, buffaloing DeSantis into a near-fatal error: in an interview with British professional mediocrity Piers Morgan (someone no American political figure should ever speak with) he backtracked: and by so doing, dug himself deeper and deeper into the media Pit of No Return. Behold the peril of talking (at least as quoted by Morgan):
Writing in The New York Post about the interview, Morgan quoted the Florida governor as saying: “Well, I think it’s been mischaracterised. Obviously, Russia invaded (last year) – that was wrong. They invaded Crimea and took that in 2014 – That was wrong.” The Florida governor, who is laying the groundwork to win the Republican nomination against former president Donald Trump for the 2024 elections, faced a torrent of criticism from Republicans for his remarks.
“What I’m referring to is where the fighting is going on now which is that eastern border region Donbas, and then Crimea, and you have a situation where Russia has had that. I don’t think legitimately but they had,” Mr DeSantis clarified. “There’s a lot of ethnic Russians there. So, that’s some difficult fighting and that’s what I was referring to and so it wasn’t that I thought Russia had a right to that, and so if I should have made that more clear, I could have done it, but I think the larger point is, okay, Russia is not showing the ability to take over Ukraine, to topple the government or certainly to threaten NATO.
“That’s a good thing. I just don’t think that’s a sufficient interest for us to escalate more involvement. I would not want to see American troops involved there. But the idea that I think somehow Russia was justified (in invading) – that’s nonsense,” he said. Mr DeSantis also added that he viewed the Russian president as a “war criminal” who should be held “accountable”. “I think he is a war criminal,” he was quoted as saying.
Mamma mia! As the old political saying goes, when you're explaining, you're losing. Immediately, the press in the form of the New York Times head poll watcher Nate Cohn, pounced on DeSantis' "slippage" in the polls pitting a potential candidate against the former president of the United States:
It’s been a tough few months for Ron DeSantis. Donald Trump and his allies have blasted him as “Meatball Ron,” “Ron DeSanctimonious,” a “groomer,” disloyal and a supporter of cutting entitlement programs. Now, he’s getting criticism from many mainstream conservatives for calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “territorial dispute.” Is all of this making a difference in the polls? There are signs the answer is yes. In surveys taken since the Trump offensive began two months ago, DeSantis, the Florida governor, has steadily lost ground against Trump, whose own numbers have increased.
Of course the polls, meaningless at this point, quickly rallied, showing the Florida governor leading Trump in two crucial early states: "Two new polls from a top Republican polling firm — provided exclusively to Axios — find Florida Gov. DeSantis is running more competitively with former President Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire than he is faring in national surveys. The surveys, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies from March 21 to 23 for an outside client (not a candidate or super PAC) found DeSantis leading Trump by eight points (45%-37%) in a head-to-head matchup in Iowa and tied with Trump (39%-39%) in New Hampshire."
Faces of leaders, not saints.
So what's the lesson here? In 1942, with the million-man armies of National Socialist Germany and Communist Russia locked in mortal combat deep inside Soviet territory, Stalin issued Order 227: "It is time to finish retreating. Not one step back! Such should now be our main slogan." Ron DeSantis should take this to heart and make it his battle-cry.
In a world led by avaricious weaklings—Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Rishi Sunak, Ursula von der Leyen—fully on board with the inhuman tenets of Wokism, electorates around the world are crying out for real leadership. (See: Italy.) Someone uninterested in currying favor with the media (such as Trump in his personal relationships with reporters) or drunk on his own power (Macron). Someone who refuses to accept the diabolical two-step of the Marxist Critical Theory collectivists–first, posit an absurd counter-factual and then act on it as if it were true: transgenderism, DEI, Modern Monetary Theory, and of course "climate change," which will in good time be revealed as an ever greater hoax than Covid. In fact, the pushback is now getting under way.
Real leadership doesn't care about any of this. It's not pretty or friendly; it takes power in a vacuum and seizes it when it has to; it is neither intrinsically moral or immoral, but amoral. Posing as an affable goofball and protected by his snarling hack Praetorian Guard media, a vicious and nasty man named Biden has emerged as a virtual dictator, repeatedly violating the Constitution and ordering Americans around like peons via "executive orders." Posing as the people's tribune, an ambitious but emotionally insecure man named Trump delivered his country over to the likes of Tony Fauci and Christopher Wray. Now, both these superannuated politicos (combined age in November 2024: 160, minus a few days) are vying for the Oval Office once more, unless somebody stops them, as somebody must.
The nation awaits its man on horseback.
On the 19th of Brumaire (in the Revolutionary calendar; we call it Nov. 9) in 1799, a young general named Napoleon Bonaparte took advantage of the collapse of the Directory that had briefly governed in the wake of the French Revolution to take power for himself. When asked, "what about the constitution?" Napoleon replied: "The Constitution? You yourselves have destroyed it."
DeSantis is no revolutionary. His military background is as a lawyer, not a fighting man. His success thus far in electoral politics in transforming Florida from a swing state into a solid Republican base of 29 electoral votes has been unprecedented in recent political history. He is thoughtful and articulate, if largely unpolished. That will come as his suit sizes get smaller in anticipation of prolonged media exposure over the next 18 months. But right now, nice guys still finish last. DeSantis needs to take a leaf from Benjamin Disraeli's playbook that has since become a British royal family watchword: Never complain, never explain.
And, for good measure, not one step back.