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The Right Resistance: Governor Ron DeSantis’s rehab from campaign 2024 will be painless

“Where are they now?”

We’ve all experienced random blurbs popping up on computer screens tempting (daring?) the user to click a link that supposedly leads to another webpage that purportedly spills the details on where long-lost classmates or associates are now located and offering dirt on what they’ve been doing for all those years in obscurity.


If there was such a proverbial cyber holding pen for politicians, it would no doubt contain faces and names from the past -- flash-in-the-pan candidates who, once-upon-a-time, made a big splash on the national scene but since faded from view, their campaign money having dried up, crowds dissipated and showy yard signs blown down or discarded like so many tons of no-longer-useful rubbish.


It's remarkable how quickly failed pols disappear, isn’t it?


Of course, there are those who’ve only recently bowed out of the Republican big fray and are now back to… doing whatever they did prior to devoting months of their lives to traveling the roads of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, stopping countless times to eat at diners, shake hands, answer the same questions over and over again and seek out as many media microphones and interviewers as their stomachs could stand on their journeys.


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is one such former presidential candidate, only the mid-forties Floridian didn’t need long to ponder what his post-campaign-trail immediate future would bring. DeSantis gladly went back to The Sunshine State, is moving on, but also is seeking redemption for his recently flamed-out presidential quest.


In an article titled “DeSantis seeks redemption after ill-fated White House campaign”, Naomi Lim reported recently at the Washington Examiner:


“It took less than a year for Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R-FL) 2024 political fortunes to sour, but the governor has wasted even less time trying to change his luck before 2028. DeSantis, seemingly unfazed by his campaign and super PAC’s combined $160 million doomed bid against former President Donald Trump, has reemerged from the primary, ready to defend his record in Florida, likely in preparation for the 2028 cycle.


“Two weeks after he suspended his campaign following his distant second-place finish behind Trump in Iowa, DeSantis has remained in national news headlines as he criticizes President Joe Biden and the former president, from scrutinizing Biden’s immigration and border policies to the latter’s general election chances in November. But the governor has also remained prominent in social media feeds with, for example, videos of him and his son, demonstrating a more human side of him that supporters had hoped would have been more apparent as a candidate.


“DeSantis has ‘a lot’ of political reputation rehabilitation ahead of him during his last three years as Florida’s governor, a term-limited post, regardless of his future aspirations, according to Republican strategist Susan Del Percio.”


A lot of political rehabilitation? I guess it depends on what “a lot” means, but here’s thinking DeSantis will be just fine in a month or two – or maybe even shorter – when the eternally distracted establishment media abandons the scene to pursue some other shiny object, leaving the mundane governing existence of Gov. Ron to his own whims.


The citizens of Florida, if they haven’t already, will have healed from any pride wounds they incurred during the long primary campaign last year. What so-and-so said in September or July won’t matter a darn when there are more salient and relevant battles to be fought within the confines of their state. As DeSantis was quoted in Lim’s piece, “I think that this is good. It’s a difference between talking about things and actually doing things, and I’m a doer more than a talker.”


DeSantis likely cringes whenever someone buzzes him wanting to wax over the presidential race, but that furor will subside, too, as time goes on and Trump and president senile Joe Biden are left to their own devices to fire verbal broadsides at each other, pausing only long enough to reload for the next charge.


The Florida governor definitely could use some reputational rehab, but it’s not as though he delayed his exit until the very last moment (a la Nikki Haley) and then was dragged, kicking and screaming, from a stage at campaign headquarters while vowing to fight the fight until the end whether he was in the race or not. So many politicians don’t know when it’s time to hang up the microphone; they’re addicted to the hoopla.


DeSantis has time on his side now – at least for the balance of 2024, which he can spend campaigning for Trump once the dust settles, or simply bide his hours worrying about Florida. DeSantis will succeed wherever he goes simply because he does not hesitate nor is afraid to wield power. Governor Ron knows what he wants, or should I say, knows what his constituents want, and he’s uninhibited in his methodology or resources in executing those wishes.


DeSantis isn’t like so many other red state Republicans who turn to mush once they’ve been gifted power.


These qualities didn’t necessarily translate to the campaign trail, however, because one, his personality doesn’t seem to lend itself to making mass populist-appeals like some other politicians of our times thrive in doing. Who knows, maybe DeSantis just isn’t very good at truth-bending, a flaw that many of us discovered in ourselves when confronted by authority figures from an early age.


If one looks at the most successful politicians of the past half-century – Ronald Reagan, Big Bubba Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – and, arguably, Donald Trump – they all enjoyed what could be described as a “cult of personality”. Americans would follow their candidacies and go to see their speeches for the quality of delivery, and relatability, as much as wishing to hear good things about policies and the like.


I’ve often surmised that Reagan was so successful and well-loved because he made Americans feel good about being Americans again after the Watergate disaster and four years of “Mr. Malaise” Jimmy Carter’s dour mug lecturing Americans that the country’s best days were behind it unless the people warmed up to his liberal vision of global submission.


Incidentally, I didn’t include George W. Bush in the “successful” group because he was largely unable to win the lasting love of the people, mostly due to his illogical and costly neoconservative foreign policy and absence of conservative ideological grounding.


DeSantis, for all of his many talents, didn’t make for a very good candidate. There was no “cult of personality” to be found there. Most of his failure to catch fire was due to the nation’s mood, the awful state of American culture and the presence of Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primary race. Trump, for his multitude of faults, exudes leadership qualities. The former president is certainly renowned for his ability to exaggerate and puff up his own abilities and accomplishments, but beneath the braggadocio and overconfident veneer lies real policy gusto.


Trump gives new meaning to the been there, done that feeling.


Governor Ron, on the other hand, put forward his real results in Florida as the basis for his presidential candidacy, which in “normal” years would’ve driven him much further along – and he might’ve even ended up the winner. I would argue that, but for Trump, Nikki Haley wouldn’t have made it past the pre-primary campaign and probably would’ve dropped from the campaign much, much earlier. Would her big donors have joined her side without the need to have some establishment representative opposing Trump?


After all, what does she really offer? Is there a clamor to go back to Bush-era foreign policy? I think not.


At any rate, over the past several years, DeSantis has amply demonstrated that he was ready to lead a state – a big, important state – but he wasn’t quite there in terms of convincing conservatives of other locales that he was the heir apparent to take over and lead the MAGA movement. At least not while Donald Trump was still on scene and anxious to take the reins himself once again.


With three years left on his second (and last due to term limits) term in Florida, DeSantis can now fully shift his focus to doing the people’s work, with an eye towards preparing for his next political phase. Pundits are already speculating about Gov. Ron’s prospects for a post-Trump 2028 run, but it’s impossible to tell, at this moment, if the personal shortfalls that plagued his 2024 candidacy will disintegrate or lie in wait only to resurface in a couple years’ time.


It's all part of DeSantis’s “rehab” game, though again, no one will think about what happened in 2024 once the months and years have scrubbed memories clean of petty jealousies and nitpick abrasions. Should Donald Trump win a second term, he’s going to need all the support he can get from Republicans like DeSantis in pushing through an agenda that can actually make a difference at the state level for issues such as illegal immigration.


Likewise, DeSantis stands to benefit from a Trump 2.0 presidency as well. Having a friendly White House occupant is akin to a huge helping wind for a governor. At the very least, DeSantis wouldn’t have to waste as much time battling the administrative state as he would if senile Joe were given another term. Federal policy, from taxes down to immigration, could make DeSantis’s job that much easier – or more challenging.


Governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t joined the group of former Trump 2024 primary campaign rivals to tout the frontrunner and certain winner’s effort to close out Nikki Haley. The votes will take care of themselves in the next couple weeks and then it’s time for all conservatives and Republicans to unite and beat the Democrats. DeSantis has a role in the future. What will it be?

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

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