As many states in the union struggled to come up with any kind of coherent response to COVID, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has stood out as an exception. He spurned lock downs early on, opened schools, and most importantly, he owned the results like a leader is supposed to. He didn’t hide behind draconian mitigation measures in order to shirk the responsibility he has for his residents. That’s led to one of the better balances of health and economic outcomes in the country.
You wouldn’t know that by the media coverage. As I shared last night, the press are already cooking up their latest scandal, which laughably enough seems to revolve around the fact that DeSantis has prioritized seniors for vaccination (see The Media Push a New Ron DeSantis ‘Scandal’ Because They Are Freaking Terrified of Him).
But while we know how the left and their media allies view DeSantis, an open question has been how the Never Trump remnants of the Republican party will handle the highly successful and well liked governor.
Well, we have the beginnings of an answer, and it’s one I’ve speculated on before.
I am shocked, absolutely shocked that The Dispatch crew don’t like DeSantis. Completely unpredictable and impossible to foresee. https://t.co/hcdyyOLtjK
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) February 21, 2021
Running for governor of a sovereign state he all but vowed to be a vassal of the president and politicized his own kids as members of a cult of personality to a federal authority.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) February 21, 2021
A few weeks ago, I saw some ranting from David French, a writer at Goldberg’s The Dispatch, on Twitter. I noted his continued obsession with Trump while others on the right were discussing the future possibilities of figures such as DeSantis and Kristi Noem. I then said that I’m sure The Dispatch will find a reason to disapprove of DeSantis as well. And while I figured I’d be proven right eventually, I wasn’t sure it’d be this soon.
Regardless, take note of what’s an unforgivable sin in Never Trump circles because it says a lot about their supposed principles. To many Republicans, pushing almost half a dozen disastrous conflicts in the last 20 years might be unforgivable, whether we are talking Iraq, Libya, Syria, or the rest. To others, perhaps they’d find terrible fiscal policy or caving to the cultural left to be unacceptable. For many, support for abortion would be something they couldn’t look past.
Yet, for Never Trumpers, as per their namesake, everything revolves around the former president. They have no qualms with politicians who helped push garbage “arm the rebels” policies in Syria, for example, that led to over half a million dead bodies of innocents. They are also perfectly fine with Susan Collins being pro-choice. But let a politician make a cringe campaign commercial aimed at Trump voters and that becomes an eternal, damnable sin. Think about how stupid that is.
Nothing was more predictable than Never Trump inevitably showing themselves to be as shallow as they accuse their opponents of being. While they rail against “cults,” they continue to form their entire political identity around a man who isn’t even in office anymore, to the point where they’d preemptively reject one of the best positioned candidates the Republicans have in 2024. DeSantis appeals to everyone from your average Trump supporter to your moderate soccer mom. That’s why the left are so intent on destroying him. You’d think Goldberg and the rest could take a step back and recognize that, forgoing their constant obsession with making everything about Trump for just a moment.
They can’t do that, though, because their obsession is truly all encompassing. That’s the great irony here. While the rest of us are writing more on Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden these days, Never Trump are still stuck in 2016, desperately preaching the gospel of “letting go” of the former president while being completely unable to do so themselves.