'Eventually He Will Win You Over': Megyn Kelly Picks Winner of Family Leadership Summit

(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

The 2023 Family Leadership Forum, billed as “The Midwest’s largest gathering of Christians seeking cultural transformation in the family, church, government and more,” has been analyzed six ways from Sunday. Of particular interest were the interviews of six GOP presidential candidates by Tucker Carlson, each of whom sought to prove they are — or can become — a viable alternative to Donald Trump.

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Podcaster Megyn Kelly was among those who closely watched and then critiqued the performances of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador under Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

While the 800-pound gorilla — former President Trump — was intentionally not in the room, he was likely on the minds of everyone who was.

After everything was said and done, Kelly declared Ron DeSantis is “starting to find his groove” — after what many political analysts and pundits have called a disastrous start to his campaign.

I thought that was the best I’ve seen Ron DeSantis. I think DeSantis is starting to find his groove. He’s getting better at this. It was the best he’s done on Ukraine and a number of other issues. So I thought it was a DeSantis win.

While it’s early in the process, as we reported earlier, Carlson pretty much burned to the ground the campaigns of Pence and Hutchinson, or more precisely, both candidates willingly self-immolated.

Hutchinson, while governor, vetoed a bill in 2021 that would have prevented the irreversible mutilation of children — confused boys who think they’re girls, and vice versa — which can include double mastectomies, hysterectomies, and castrations — all under the disgusting guise of “gender-affirming care.” And Pence’s interview was pretty much a disaster from the beginning, with the following exchange being among the worst:

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Carlson:

You are distressed that the Ukrainians don’t have enough American tanks. Every city in the United States has become much worse in the last three years…! And yet your concern is that the Ukrainiansdon’t have enough tanks?

Pence promptly dug his hole even deeper:

I’ve heard that routine from you before, but that’s not my concern.

Awkward, Mike.

So here’s the thing.

While Pence might very well have misspoken or misrepresented his intention with his “That’s not my concern” comment, the age-old axiom applies: Perception is often more important than reality. And as God knows, particularly with respect to politics, political opponents react like sharks smelling blood in the water as they jump on one another’s perceived missteps.

While noting that she thinks DeSantis is “a little nerdy,” Kelly said he’s not yet kicked his campaign into high gear:

But it is relatively early, and he’s got $150 million in his war chest. So it’s too early to pronounce his campaign over. Having said that, it hasn’t been gangbusters. You know, he got sort of a false start with that Twitter Spaces thing. And he’s not a natural retail politician.

But if you watch the guy enough, I think eventually he will win you over. He’s a little nerdy. He doesn’t have Trump’s charisma. But he’s a smart technocratic get ‘er done kind of guy. And I really think the number one thing he needs to do is get himself in front of adversarial liberal media and fight.

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Correct — particularly Kelly’s last line: “[H]e needs to…get himself in front of adversarial liberal media and fight.”

Even more importantly, DeSantis needs to get himself in front of the aforementioned 800-pound gorilla, Donald Trump, which raises an important question — and the question applies to Joe Biden with respect to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other potentially serious Democrat contenders.

While both Biden and Trump have indicated they won’t participate in presidential debates (in Biden’s case, his allies use the “incumbents don’t debate” excuse), Trump says he won’t participate because of his so-far-prohibitive lead in the polls. In effect, Trump asks, “Why should I?”

I got this one — and the same answer applies to both candidates.

America stands on the precipice of arguably the most important presidential election in modern history. (Yes, I’m fully aware that every presidential election that comes down the tracks is labeled as such.)

So… should candidates “sit this out” for what they perceive as their own good, or do the voters of America deserve the right to vet all candidates thoroughly, including debates with viable challengers? I not-so-humbly suggest that the correct answer is the latter, while the former is self-serving at best  — except to loyal followers of either candidate.

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Besides, if this candidate or that one truly believes he’s the best candidate to get the job done, why wouldn’t he want to debate serious challengers and prove it?

I’ll leave just leave that question where it is. For consideration, of course.

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