Right now, Ron DeSantis lacks the killer spirit to defeat Trump
Is Ron DeSantis not ready for prime time? His performance over the past few weeks has not inspired any confidence. We’ve seen him flip out on everything from cutting eligibility programs to his support for Ukraine. We’ve also seen Trump disparage him with nicknames like “Ron DeSanctimonious” and “Meatball Ron,” not to mention that he’s a “groomer.” (DeSantis also just denied an anecdote in a Daily Beast report that he once ate three-finger pudding on a private flight. Disgusting.)
This unpredictable behavior seems to have left its mark. As The New York Times‘ Nate Cohn wrote last week: ‘In polls conducted since the Trump offensive began two months ago, Mr. DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has steadily lost ground to Mr. Trump, whose own numbers have been increasing. ” And The was before DeSantis tried to take it both ways regarding Donald Trump’s potential arrest. (He criticized the prosecutor, adding, “I don’t know what it takes to pay a porn star to keep quiet about any sort of alleged affair.”)
But I’m more moved, which is admittedly anecdotal: the mood. Watch a clip from DeSantis’ recent interview with Piers Morgan, and he suddenly appears mortal. Together. He lacks the charisma and confidence that we see when he controls the environment and lectures to Florida reporters.
What is the problem? Like pornography, you know it when you see it. His body language gives him away. He’s not comfortable in his own skin. Be laughing seems creepy. These criticisms may seem superficial, but just ask Kamala Harris how politically damaging such perceptions can be.
Killing a monster like Donald Trump requires a certain presence. But in his interview with Piers Morgan, DeSantis comes across as a politician who wants to make his point and prove it logical why he is superior to trump. And the thing is, you don’t kill dragons with logic. You need guts, heart, and a razor sharp sword (or tongue in this case).
The streets are littered with the political corpses of men who appeared to be eight feet tall and bulletproof Before run for the presidency. Rick Perry was a rock star in Texas before he ran for president. Fred Thompson was a literal movie star. There were others, including General Wes Clark and America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani. I could go on.
I spent some time with Perry leading up to the 2012 presidential race. To be honest, he seemed great. Only later did I realize that this was always in his environment. Most of our interactions have been at gun ranges or barbecues, and they’ve always been in Texas. He controlled the venue and put himself in a position to excel.
Likewise, in Florida, I think DeSantis was able to stack the deck in his favor. The upside is that he was able to build a strong brand as a tough but effective leader. The danger is that this is a form of protectionism. He never had to practice being outside of his comfort zone. Until now.
In what has become a legendary on-camera caught Soundbite, the former Houston Oilers coach Jerry Glanville warns a referee about this “NFL means ‘not for long’ if you fucking call them.” Glanville’s message was profanely blunt, but also true: “Up here” (as they say) in the big leagues, only the best of the best survive. That lesson is one of many Ron DeSantis is now learning—or will learn.
This is not to detract from his amazing performances in Florida. DeSantis was re-elected there by a large margin. Additionally, he has raised his political profile enough to be Donald Trump’s undisputed rival within the GOP. It’s an impressive achievement, but the question remains: will he be Patrick Mahomes or Tim Tebow? Based on the past few weeks, it’s starting to look like the latter.
One problem for DeSantis is that Donald Trump has changed the game. The kind of plans that worked for the Washington Redskins in 1987 probably wouldn’t hold up today when faced with the Kansas City Chiefs. Players are now bigger and faster too. DeSantis had the luxury of watching Trump change policy. And of course, DeSantis has embraced many of these changes (as evidenced by his tough demeanor and flip-flops). But as Abe Greenwald recently hinted on The Commentary podcast, DeSantis is “a politician who actually believes in some things,” which makes him “bad at it” when it comes to lying and pandering.
Sure, it’s theoretically possible that DeSantis could improve on the trail. But his performance over the past few weeks reminds me he was a pretty average Pole before Trump ever came down that escalator.
And it’s probably going to get worse. While DeSantis fends off Trump’s attacks (including his argument that Florida isn’t great under DeSantis), he’ll also be scrutinized by the national media and forced to defend the policies he’s piloted in Florida. This includes policies related to LGBTQ and trans people and other culture war-related issues (including books that want to be taken out of classrooms). Change laws protecting journalists) that he outflanked Trump on the right.
All this means that he will fight a two-front war. And he’ll have to do a lot of it on someone else’s lawn (in places like Davenport, Iowa, or Manchester, New Hampshire).
Can he rise to the occasion? In the last few weeks he has seemed smaller. He seems less confident. He doesn’t seem to be in his league.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/right-now-ron-desantis-lacks-the-killer-spirit-to-vanquish-trump Right now, Ron DeSantis lacks the killer spirit to defeat Trump