“The football team at my high school, they were tough. After they sacked the quarterback, they went after his family.” – Rodney Dangerfield (as Thornton Melon in “Back to School”, 1986)
With June first now upon us, is it now time to get serious about the 2024 Republican presidential primary race? A lot of politics fans are wondering the same thing, as up until this point, the unofficial beginning of the summer campaign season, there’s mostly been a boatload of back-and-forth in the establishment media about Donald Trump – his legal problems, criminal problems, age issue, January 6 dilemma (specifically, can he ever get his name detached from it?), his 2020 election issue (can he still insist that he won even when the establishment media calls him out on “The Big Lie” every time it comes up?) and his “meanness” problem (aren’t his attacks on Ron DeSantis over the top?).
One thing Trump hasn’t had to deal with – much – this time around are unfair journalistic assaults on his family. One should recall eight years ago when the Trump-obsessed establishment media talkers went out of their way to hyper-sensitize every aspect of Trump’s being, including his marriage to a much younger former model, Melania, their teenaged son Barron, his daughter’s conversion to Judaism, her (Ivanka’s) marriage to the son of a convicted former businessman, his two older sons from his first marriage (Don Jr. and Eric) who oversaw most of the family businesses, their wives, their children, Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany – and a thousand other paparazzi-type fascinations with the rich and famous and newly political.
Having had decades worth of experience dealing with the American media, none of the deep diving from the biased writers and reporters surprised any of us all that much. Donald Trump was a major celebrity, the kind of icon everyone was familiar with even if they’d never watched “The Apprentice” or stayed at one of his hotels. Trump invited much of the coverage on himself and his relations since he seemingly enjoyed the tabloid-sort of fixation, even if it wasn’t exactly flattering. But now that Trump’s kin have already been thoroughly pored over and exploited by the establishment media, the spineless journos are looking for new “meat” to smear, distort and mischaracterize. Enter Governor Ron DeSantis’s wife Casey.
The new-to-the-race DeSantis is hardly a fresh face to the talkers, his having been knee deep in the COVID and “woke” culture wars since the former congressman first took his state’s oath of office in early 2019. I’m not sure if it was intentional – maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t – but DeSantis has shown a very Trump-like knack for soliciting “controversy”, at least in the minds of his enemies. The governor’s year-long dustup with Disney demonstrated his willingness to go to the mat for traditional conservative values… and the left hates him for it.
Are the establishment media members so “tough” (Rodney Dangerfield’s word) that they’ve now set off after DeSantis’s family? You decide. In a lengthy piece titled “The Casey DeSantis Problem: ‘His Greatest Asset and His Greatest Liability’”, Michael Kruse wrote at Politico Magazine recently:
“In the tragic drama, of course, Lady Macbeth prods her husband to kill the king so she can be the queen. At this juncture, the literary analogy goes only so far. Ron DeSantis has trouble even criticizing Trump by name, but with the head-to-head battle about to begin, the role of his wife is of paramount concern to many in and around the world of DeSantis, as well as those considering whether to back him. The more complicated but also more instructive reality is that she is neither the fawning caricature she’s made out to be in conservative and even at times mainstream media nor a Shakespearean villain.
“She might well be a bit of both, say even some DeSantis proponents, and somewhere in this tension sits the central dynamic of the pending DeSantis campaign. She can ameliorate some of the effects of his idiosyncrasies. She can also accentuate, even exacerbate, his hubris, and his paranoia, and his vaulting ambition — because those are all traits that they share. He wouldn’t be where he is without her. He might not get to where he wants to go because of her.
“’He’s a leader who makes political decisions with the assistance of his wife, who was elected by nobody, who’s blindly ambitious,’ said a former DeSantis administration staffer. ‘And she sees ghosts in every corner.’”
Yeah sure, and “Dr.” Jill Biden, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, and, and…. all didn’t have anything to do with advising their husbands, right? The media fawned – and continues to fawn – over the Democrat first ladies so blatantly that it would’ve been inconceivable for anyone in the journo world to depict any of them as, gulp, Lady Macbeth.
Yet here they go again, the latest – but certainly not the first or last – attempt to delve into the mind of a major Republican candidate and portray him as a simpleton stooge for his wife. The fact that Casey DeSantis is young and beautiful and accomplished in her own right makes her a major threat to the media’s carefully crafted notion that Gov. Ron is a knuckle-dragging misogynistic caveman who, like all other non-liberal men, drags Casey around by her hair when the two are out of view and couldn’t possibly know how to do anything for himself without his old lady’s say-so.
The only reason they didn’t give Melania Trump the same treatment is the talkers already had directed so much hate at Donald that they didn’t have any energy left to go to work on the First Lady. She was small potatoes in their world, and a victim just by virtue of being married to the ogre in the Oval Office. Add the fact that she speaks with a noticeable accent and to pick on her would look like bullying. And every reporter or writer is a nice, objective person, correct? It’s been mentioned a lot lately, but with stories like this Politico not-so-flattering “Casey is Lady MacBeth in Jaqueline Kennedy’s clothes” piece, it’s hard to deny that the establishment media is afraid of a Ron DeSantis-led 2024 Republican ticket. If they weren’t so apprehensive, why would they bother devoting this kind of column space to the spouse of a candidate polling (in some surveys) forty or fifty points behind the frontrunner?
I do recall there were similar treatments on Ted Cruz’s wife (Heidi) in 2015 and ’16, but only because the bored media ran out of ways to disparage the Texas senator vis-à-vis their favorite (at the time), Donald Trump, so they dredged for additional material/mud to loft at the upstart 40-something senator in case he got too close to winning. Heidi, a very accomplished Goldman Sachs executive herself, provided just the right qualifications for the judgmental lot to shout – “Ah Ha! See, she’s in bed (literally) with the finance industry! Corrupt! Corrupt!”.
There was talk back then of Heidi being the behind-the-scenes puppet master for poor Ted, who the gossipmongers claimed couldn’t tie his shoes without his wife’s help. Some media outlets also insinuated that Ted was having an affair with a staffer – they even went so far as to offer supposed photo evidence – so the hate Cruz campaign reached high ebb in the spring of 2016. And this was apart from what Donald Trump himself was saying about Cruz, which wasn’t the nicest, was it?
Then, when Trump secured the delegate total for the GOP nomination, it was open season on the nominee and his family. From that point on, Heidi and Ted Cruz were so yesterday!
In 2023, substitute in “Casey DeSantis” for Heidi Cruz, and the media is simply pressing the repeat button on the ol’ spouse slime remote. Either the lefties in journo-land are awful afraid of DeSantis now, or they’re softening the proverbial beaches for more landing assaults when DeSantis tries a future campaign. Or, possibly to hit the ground running if DeSantis combines with Trump on what many would consider to be an unbeatable 2024 ticket (with Gov. Ron taking the second spot, of course).
The media didn’t exactly ignore DeSantis in the recent past, though there’s been a noticeable step-up in animosity ever since the Florida leader took on – and badly beat – the “woke” Disney corporation. As though anyone should feel sorry for Disney. The entertainment giant’s decline has nothing to do with DeSantis. No, it’s their own decisions to stomp on the values of decent Americans who’re sick to death of seeing everything sexualized in schools or on TV or the movie theater. Who wants their kids exposed to that? So there appears to be a concerted effort to toss a wet blanket on DeSantis to extinguish his candidacy before it even catches fire. And, as the Politico smear would indicate, they’re calling up everyone in his orbit who might say something nasty about his wife, turning her into a controlling jezebel who wouldn’t let Ron burp without issuing a public “excuse me”.
At the same time, the media losers are simply reinforcing the already established allegation that DeSantis doesn’t have the personality to be president. If Ron is so boring, why was he reelected in a landslide last November? Was it all Casey’s doing? And, for argument’s sake, even if Casey was behind it all, wouldn’t that be a good thing for him? She must know what she’s doing if she’s the brains behind all his successes. Come on, put two and two together. It’s not tough.
The truth is, to have the media conducting more character assassination isn’t surprising. It’s what they do. Ron DeSantis will compete and win – or lose – on his own merits. Don’t blame or credit Casey DeSantis for either eventuality.
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