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Reblogged:Sullivan on DeSantis

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Andrew Sullivan writes one of the best assessments of Ron DeSantis as presidential material I have read so far. Regulars know that I regard him as probably the most viable Republican candidate for President in 2024, but that I have deep misgivings about him, particularly on freedom of expression and economic freedom.

Sullivan would seem to agree with me overall, but is less inclined to view DeSantis as fascistic and -- although he sees DeSantis's environmental record as a virtue -- he in fact highlights another reason to be cautious about Florida's Governor.

Regarding Sullivan's assessment of whether DeSantis is a "fascist," he has a more left-tinged notion of the term than I, and he is comparing DeSantis to contemporary figures, most of whom have fascist tendencies. For example:
More generally, look at the broader context. The imposition of woke dogma throughout corporate America, the government, the nonprofit sector and our educational institutions has been a deeply authoritarian movement, brooking no dissent. The Democrats have embraced this putsch, with Biden among the most strident, deploying federal government power to advance far-left ideas. None of his underlings can define what a woman is. All seem to view America as a form of "white supremacy" -- and want to teach this as fact to kids. Do Democrats really believe that all this is simply government-as-usual, and any attempt to balance this out on the right is inherently some kind of authoritarianism? I don't.

At some point, we really do have to fight back and defend a liberal society. The Dems are attacking it. Trump can't do it -- he merely empowers and legitimizes the woke. DeSantis has shown he can actually beat them -- at their own game. A conservative seeking some swing of the cultural pendulum back to the center is not a fascist.
I don't agree with all of this, but Sullivan has a point, and I think significant numbers of people will see things this way.

And here's something Sullivan likes and will make DeSantis more viable with greenish voters:
This prospect bothers me, but not as much as a Green New Deal. (Image by a cartoonist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
Trump believes climate change is a Chinese hoax, and, given the chance, would cover our national parks with condos and oil rigs. DeSantis is a governor in a state where rising sea levels and floods are real, so Trumpian insanity is a non-starter. "I will fulfill promises from the campaign trail," DeSantis said shortly after taking office...

This year he followed through -- with more than $400 million in funds for containing rising sea levels...

So far, DeSantis is not that far from the "Teddy Roosevelt conservationist" he claimed to be. Yes, he's mainly focused on responding to, rather than preventing, climate change -- "Resilient Florida" is the slogan. And he's allergic to green uplift or catastrophism. But another Trump? Nope.
This recalls a quote I recall to the effect that he planned to fight global warming without "doing any left-wing stuff."

"Teddy Roosevelt" concerns me, but I will grant that he may be the best we can expect on environmental/energy issues in today's context. This is another factor about the man to consider.

Sullivan also notes other things: We don't really know where DeSantis stands on abortion, Putin's War, or the January 6 riots. Sullivan calls him a coward at least on that last.

I think this article is a must-read because I agree that DeSantis is the most viable alternative so far to a second term of either Joe Biden (who will beat Trump head-to-head if 2024 is a rematch) or Donald Trump (who will defeat any other Democrat as things stand now).

We need better and can get different. The big question is whether DeSantis is both of these.

-- CAV

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