With his early bet on reopening and his concede-nothing posture, DeSantis has plainly won the political argument on Covid. The economic advantages and day-to-day freedoms of his hands-off approach were undeniable, and state-to-state virus statistics are rarely as clean as his opponents would like….
Some health authorities do offer qualified praise for key DeSantis decisions. Unlike New York, Florida refused to send discharged Covid patients to long-term care facilities. Federal officials pointed approvingly to the state’s walk-up testing sites. Schools reopened with single-minded drive. But many scientists still hold the governor responsible for a large fraction of Florida’s more than 80,000 Covid deaths, especially as he progressed from lockdown-lifter to apparent vaccine skeptic, aligning himself with a segment of the Republican base that jeered even Trump late last year when he told a crowd in Dallas about getting a booster.
Well, you might say, Donald Trump is a bully, too. Yes, he is. But Donald Trump is also a lifelong celebrity with a public persona that is as much about “The Apprentice” and even “Home Alone 2” as it is about his political career. What’s more, Trump has the skills of a celebrity. He’s funny, he has stage presence, and he has a kind of natural charisma. He can be a bully in part because he can temper his cruelty and egoism with the performance of a clown or a showman. He can persuade an audience that he’s just kidding — that he doesn’t actually mean it.
Ron DeSantis cannot. He may be a more competent Trump in terms of his ability to use the levers of state to amass power, but he’s also meaner and more rigid, without the soft edges and eccentricity of the actual Donald Trump.
Did you get all that? You see, Donald Trump is a bully, but he’s also soft around the edges (huh?) and is able to tame his ego by telling jokes or something. Meanwhile, DeSantis is worse because he’s more competent in using the levers of power but doesn’t have the ability to temper his “cruelty.”
I’m reading this and just thinking how nonsensical it is. One, DeSantis is likable, which is why he has some of the highest favorable ratings among major politicians (namely, those who have demanded a national stage in the last year). Two, Trump is not just some clown that doesn’t follow through. His administration was ripe with tangible actions that enraged the left on a policy level.