Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The View From Florida - Tonight's Debate.

EDITORIAL: Republican first debate - DeSantis, candidates need to reclaim GOP values

My Note:  I am not ready to count the self-proclaimed  Emperor of Florida out yet.  Many see DeSantis circling the drain, however, he is still number two to Trump who may be a convicted felon before the Republican convention next summer. 

I believe that DeSantis's true colors have shown through, but as with many movie villains, never count them out until the final scene. (Remember "Fatal Attraction") The Palm Beach Post Editorial below highlights again the view from Florida discussing the top two candidates we have in the 2024 race. Let's hope better choices emerge before it is too late.


From The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board are the opinions of the Board, not of the Post newsroom.   

Tonight’s Republican debate in Milwaukee is not about who looks the most poised, hydrated or insect-free. It’s not about bluster, or who's quickest with a rehearsed retort. Tonight’s debate is about one thing. Values.  

Because there, the Republican party has a lot of explaining to do. We’ve seen its leaders set aside traditional conservative standards of fairness and rectitude and freedom from government interference, in favor of political expedience, even in the face of what they must know is wrong. 

Here in Florida, we’ve seen two of the candidates up-close who epitomize that behavior — and who lead the pack in the polls. We’ve known our Mar-a-Lago neighbor, former President Donald Trump, and his rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis, long enough to know that neither is worthy of the highest office in the land. The former has no moral compass. In the latter, what passes for a moral compass is cruelly miscalibrated. 

Trump has declined to participate in tonight’s debate. In his calculus, he’s so far ahead, he’d have nothing to gain from making himself a target for candidates crying out for a fraction of the attention that he can garner from counter-programming.  

No loss: We’ve already seen the horse medicine he sells. We’ve witnessed his well-earned impeachments, the dozens (91) pending felony counts, his professed admiration for dictators, from the genocidal Vladimir Putin on down. We’ve watched his stagecraft stir masses while his policies favor the wealthy. Those who see all this yet still support him, can’t be reached by reason; those in the political sphere won’t suddenly find courage to step outside the arc of his influence unless they have something to gain. 

Less known nationally is Gov. DeSantis, who many once imagined as a Trump without the trouble. But, many in his home state can testify he’s the opposite: 

  • DeSantis has shamelessly redrawn congressional districts to diminish the voting power of African Americans. He signed laws that stir gender phobia in schools and which would marginalize whole sectors of society for political gain. And he has taken harsh revenge against those who opposed him, even one of Florida’s most respected and successful corporate residents, which dared to lend a modicum of public support to LGBTQ employees. 

  • He has school districts banning books and courses. Public universities are being spun into an extremist maelstrom, academic independence swept aside for dogma. 

  • His hyper-politicized war on Latino immigrants, despite the horrors they’re fleeing and notwithstanding his own family’s immigrant heritage, has seen armies of Florida law enforcers marched off to other states along the Mexico border; millions spent to deceive new arrivals to board flights from Texas to politically blue states on the pretext that some might have headed to Florida; and has seen many immigrant workers already here and sorely needed by Florida farmers, builders and hoteliers, gathering their families and rushing north to escape DeSantis’ grasp. 

  • Our Governor has signed laws that would in effect ban abortion in Florida, severely restricting women’s rights to make decisions governing their own bodies and health. (He’s not alone in that. Planned Parenthood this week noted that Republicans Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Trump have also voiced support for a national abortion ban.) 

  • DeSantis has done all of the above while spending little time on climate-change solutions that demand urgent attention in a state that's barely above sea level.

  •  He has used the crisis of soaring property insurance premiums as an excuse to hand the insurance industry its holy grail of virtual immunity from litigation — but without finding ways to restrict the rates Florida homeowners must pay. That’s incomprehensible, if only because those shocking rate increases rates will haunt his candidacy as they sink in, the closer to Election Day we come. 

So let’s take a look at all the candidates seeking the GOP nomination. How quick were they to speak out against Trump’s misogyny, bigotry, lies about the election he lost, the court losses of so many of his hired hands, the pending charges for RICO, fraud and yes, secret documents at Mar-a-Lago? What do the candidates have to say about all that now? What conservative values do they promise to reclaim? 

We’re listening. 


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