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Reblogged:DeSantis Puts It All on the Line

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At The American Mind is a transcript of remarks by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida to the recent National Conservatism Conference. I regard the Governor as both a likely contender for President in 2024 and a strong candidate.

I am still digesting this -- it's just shy of 10,000 words, about a half-hour read -- but it is the best outline I know of of DeSantis's political philosophy, and I highly recommend it for the purpose of evaluating him as a political candidate.

In my opinion, the below two paragraphs -- regarding his reaction to how the pandemic affected government schools -- offer a good best-of/worst-of sample of his thinking:
Image by the Office of the Governor of Florida, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
We had to make sure that our policies weren't excluding all these important values, just because people with a very narrow-minded view, with some credentials by their name, were telling us that those values didn't matter. And a great example is when we were dealing with the schools, and whether schools should be open. The fact of the matter is, from a perspective of evidence and data, this was not a very difficult decision. But it was a very difficult political decision. Just in terms of the blowback that we got: we were opposed by almost every major health bureaucrat that would go on T.V., or that was on the White House task force, or in different state capitals. But the reality was, we had seen this go fine in other parts of the world. And we were following observed experience. And we put that ahead of what some intellectual elite thought should happen.


We were one of the first. We were one of the first, if not the first state, to stand up. And this was early in 2021. We were among the first to say, our schools cannot compel students to do a COVID shot. So we got that off the board very early, before it was even available. Because we saw what they were up to. We saw what was coming down the pike. We were one of the first to ban so-called vaccine passports, the idea that you have to show proof of a COVID shot to be able to participate in society. And there were some conservatives that said, "yeah, well, government shouldn't do a vaccine passport. But if a private business wants to do it, what's wrong with that?" Well, I'll tell you what wrong. What's wrong with that is an individual has a right to participate in society. And we're not just going to sit idly by if you're trying to circumscribe people's freedoms. And that's true if it's government; it's also true if it's big business. [bold added]
The good, embodied in the first paragraph, is that I think DeSantis's heart is in the right place in terms of protecting the rights of Floridians, and that he will not bow to pressure when the going gets tough.

The bad comes in the second paragraph: While I applaud DeSantis being wary of and opposing government-imposed vaccine mandates and "passports," he was wrong to prevent businesses who wanted them to require vaccinations of their employees or customers if that is what their (individual!) owners wanted to do. This is almost blatantly contradictory and indicates that, for his admiration of America's founding principles, he does not understand them appreciably better than most other politicians.

DeSantis spends lots of time -- when discussing his opposition to ESG (which I share and which, again, comes from a good place) -- justifying various improper interventions of his against corporations (including, pertinently, his ban on businesses setting their own vaccination policies). These directly contradict his assertion that "I'm not a central planner," and an inappropriate political response to that problem could do a great deal of damage indeed. I will say that in his defense, what to do about ESG isn't straightforward.

Again, I'm still digesting this, but I highly recommend it, especially given that DeSantis, whom many will take to be a "Trump Without the Baggage" or "Better Than Trump" GOP candidate, is, as either, a serious presidential contender.

-- CAV

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