Pick One, House GOP or the Ron DeSantis Action Figure?

(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
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You may have thought there was one Republican Party all these years. But there were at least two GOPs on display for some to see in recent days.

One was a pack of rancorous wannabes chockful of self-importance feuding over its in-house leadership for ill-defined reasons best described as they wish it was them.

The other GOP was a refreshing look into the future, with one man set to fulfill even more campaign promises after four years of already doing that with great success.

Guess which Republican Party DC’s liberal media chose to chronicle ad nauseam with hourly stories about the petty rancor and endless series of maneuvers and votes for House Speaker.

All as if anyone outside of the Washington Beltway cared about the vote resembling an election for some high-school class president. They finally elected Kevin McCarthy House Speaker on the 15th ballot.

You need to understand that reporters and political actors in Washington need no fact checkers to know their beat is the source of all things important, both news and people. Another reason they quaintly share with us so much news of their Washington sports teams.

It’s a perfect illustration of why the Swamp’s political and journalistic denizens are so regularly surprised by events in the states, in which Republicans run 27 of them.

And it’s also an example of the convulsions that both parties are experiencing as they try to reboot themselves with younger leadership capable of addressing an array of voter frustrations, fears, anger, and new challenges that seem to exceed the ability of their existing senior leaders to comprehend, let alone handle.

The parties on Capitol Hill do not behave all that differently when it comes to inter-mural arm-wrestling for positions of power or legislative sway. Remember Sen. Joe Manchin last year throwing his weight around because slim Democrat control of that body gave one recalcitrant member unusual clout?

This Republican struggle in the House gave a handful of pouty pols with numerous agendas, and no leadership, the same ability to delay the installation of McCarthy, who was the overwhelming choice of the entire party caucus for this season leading up to the 2024 presidential election cycle.

Times, however, are widely worrisome. Gallup just reported:

Coming off several challenging years, Americans enter 2023 with a mostly gloomy outlook for the U.S. as majorities predict negative conditions in 12 of 13 economic, political, societal and international arenas.

When offered opposing outcomes on each issue, about eight in 10 U.S. adults think 2023 will be a year of economic difficulty with higher rather than lower taxes and a growing rather than shrinking budget deficit.


Virtually everyone in the country faces swirling economic currents with soaring prices, weakening wages, job uncertainty with massive layoffs, surging interest rates, and a sour stock market corroding investments and dreams. And we have an 80-year-old president happily living undisturbed on his own mental Martian landscape.

Joe Biden usually cranks out at least one lie in just about every public appearance. Last week, he again referred to Kamala Harris as the president who’s done such remarkable work addressing the southern border chaos. And then he shared with Americans this observation in formal remarks in Kentucky:

I’ll paraphrase the phrase of my old neighborhood. The rest of the countries, the world is not a patch in our jeans if we do what we wanna do, we need to do.

Alrighty then.

Contrast all this with the hope, optimism, determination, and conservative record of achievement of the state Republican Party on display at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ second inauguration in Florida.

With a GOP legislative super-majority, the state has basically turned into a showcase laboratory for designing, passing, and implementing conservative policies.

“Florida,” DeSantis declared, “is where Woke goes to die.”

Apparently, voters agree. DeSantis’ November victory margin was 19.4 points out of 7.8 million cast.

The Navy veteran’s rousing remarks (text here and video here) ran through a litany of state progress in tax and regulatory relief, spending and legal restraint, education reform, and environmental protection with assurances of more to come.

“When the world lost its mind,” DeSantis said, “when common sense suddenly became an uncommon virtue, Florida was a refuge of sanity, a citadel of freedom for our fellow Americans and even for people around the world.”

He added:

These last few years have witnessed a great test of governing philosophies as many jurisdictions pursued a much different path than we have pursued here in the state of Florida.

Many of these cities and states have embraced faddish ideology at the expense of enduring principles. They have harmed public safety by coddling criminals and attacking law enforcement.

They have imposed unreasonable burdens on taxpayers to finance unfathomable levels of public spending. They have harmed education by subordinating the interests of students and parents to partisan interest groups.

They have imposed medical authoritarianism in the guise of pandemic mandates and restrictions that lack a scientific basis.

This bizarre but prevalent ideology that permeates these policy measures purports to act in the name of justice for the marginalized, but it frowns upon American institutions, it rejects merit and achievement, and it advocates identity essentialism.

We reject this woke ideology. We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy!

Then, the 44-year-old father of three aimed his observations at the nation’s squabbling Capitol 870 miles and a world to the north, which he described as “floundering”:

The federal government has gone on an inflationary spending binge that has left our nation weaker and our citizens poorer. It has enacted pandemic restrictions and mandates — based more on ideology and politics than on sound science — and this has eroded freedom and stunted commerce.

It has recklessly facilitated open borders, making a mockery of the rule of law, allowing massive amounts of narcotics to infest our states, importing criminal aliens, and greenlighting the flow of millions of illegal aliens into our country, burdening communities and taxpayers throughout the land.

It has imposed an energy policy that has crippled our nation’s domestic production, causing energy to cost more for our citizens and eroding our nation’s energy security and, in the process, our national security.

DeSantis has wisely said nothing about running for president. Plenty of time for that. And he uttered no personal attacks. Of course, he may not run. But his speech could not have been a better stage-setter for such a vicious and grueling undertaking.

I doubt it’s accidental that there’s hardly anything in the DeSantis outline of principles and values that a genuine Republican would disagree with.

Remember now, as you watch the campaign unfold, the general election is a long way off, now 667 endless Biden days, to be exact. And Republican primaries come first next year.


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