Ron DeSantis’ sudden lurch into a position opposing U.S. assistance to Ukraine may unravel his own 2024 coalition and introduce splits into the entire GOP, as I explained at New York:
Cynics have wondered if Ron DeSantis’s recent emergence as a populist culture warrior is a bit of an opportunistic act meant to help him both sideline and co-opt Donald Trump’s MAGA movement in the 2024 presidential race. After all, before Trump helped lift him to the Florida governorship, DeSantis was a congressman with a conventional conservative profile. He was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus back when its claim to fame was a favoring fiscal austerity even if that meant cutting popular retirement programs (as Trump has acidly pointed out). DeSantis’s recent antics could be seen as an attempt to attract both Trump supporters and Republicans who have had enough of the 45th president but know that some Trumpism is necessary to win the election.
If that’s his play, DeSantis may have taken it a bit too far in his recent about-face on Ukraine, which he broadcast in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. As my colleague Jonathan Chait explains, the governor didn’t just hedge his strong support in Congress for U.S. aid to Ukraine or criticize Joe Biden’s handling of the conflict. Nor did he only describe Ukraine’s plight as the lesser of competing priorities — as he has done in the very recent past. No, he systematically went through the isolationist catechism on Ukraine, describing Russia’s aggression as a “territorial dispute” in which both sides are at fault while denouncing U.S. aid as “wasteful” and our whole posture as risking nuclear war.
This all sounded pretty familiar, Trump immediately noted, saying that DeSantis is “following what I am saying. It is a flip-flop. He was totally different. Whatever I want, he wants.”
Nikki Haley, another announced candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential contest, agreed. “President Trump is right when he says Governor DeSantis is copying him — first in his style, then on entitlement reform, and now on Ukraine. I have a different style than President Trump, and while I agree with him on most policies, I do not on those. Republicans deserve a choice, not an echo,” Haley said in a statement, per the Washington Examiner.
More generally, the backlash to DeSantis’s comments on Ukraine from key members of the Republican Establishment in the U.S. Senate was quite intense — with Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, Marco Rubio, John Thune, and Mitt Romney all deploring his new position with varying degrees of heat. Former governor and 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie went furthest, saying that DeSantis “sounds like Neville Chamberlain talking about when Germany had designs on Czechoslovakia.”
One of conservatism’s major media pillars, The Wall Street Journal editorial board, blasted DeSantis for a “puzzling surrender this week to the Trumpian temptation of American retreat,” comparing his indifference to Russian aggression unfavorably to Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” posture toward adversaries like the Soviet Union. The editorial’s headline calls this DeSantis’s “first big mistake,” reflecting its perceived importance.
DeSantis is even getting serious guff over his Ukraine repositioning in the pages of National Review, which is often described as a “fanzine” for the Florida governor. National Review regular Noah Rothman denounced DeSantis’s statement to Carlson as “weak and convoluted” and “likely to haunt DeSantis in both the primary campaign and, should he make it that far, the general election. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a ‘dispute’ over territory in the same way a bank robber and depositor have a ‘dispute’ over money.” Just as telling was National Review senior political correspondent Jim Geraghty’s defensive treatment of the Ukraine flip-flop as a piece of cheap campaign demagoguery that DeSantis would likely abandon if he actually makes it to the White House.
One pertinent question is how GOP voters feel about Ukraine and U.S. support for the beleaguered country. As Charlie Sykes notes, the party’s rank and file are divided: “A Pew poll in January found that 40 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think the United States is giving too much aid to Ukraine, a number that has been steadily rising. But 41 percent still thought that we were not giving them enough, or that the aid was ‘about right.’” That means the sweet spot for GOP candidates is probably to attack Biden for all-purpose “weakness” — saying he emboldened thugs like Vladimir Putin, then overcompensated by making commitments to Ukraine that may exceed legitimate national interest. DeSantis has clearly gone beyond that safe posture and into America First disdain for the whole “dispute.”
The risk for DeSantis is more than just stoking doubts among some GOP primary voters, who are probably more interested in his anti-woke crusade in Florida than in what sort of foreign policy he might pursue in office. And the issue isn’t that he’s “copying” Trump, though that’s not a good look either. The bigger strategic problem is that DeSantis is trying to put together a mind-bending coalition that includes some Trump supporters as well as anti-Trump Republicans. Senator Mitt Romney, for example, seemed to hint recently that it was time for other potential candidates to give DeSantis a clean shot at the reigning champ.
What DeSantis is saying about Ukraine is precisely the kind of thing that could repel many anti-Trump Republicans or drive them into the arms of other candidates. And other GOP candidates will likely be quick to exploit a joint DeSantis-Trump position on Ukraine that alienates some GOP voters and a lot of GOP elites. Mike Pence is especially likely to join Haley in speaking out on the issue, as his mantra has been that “there is no room in this party for apologists for Putin.” In seeking to co-opt Trump on this issue, DeSantis may be shrinking what looked like a very big tent of post-Trump Republicans who looked to him as ringmaster.
My Former spouse told me “The State is supposed to pay for the boys support and needs- don’t bug me about it!”
As the mother of two, now grown sons, who had a former spouse become incarcerated immediately following our divorce, his then Temporary Child Support Order was put on hold, NOT ACCRUING interest or anything while he went to prison for 8 years. He had his medical, dental, 3 hots and a cot, recreation access sufficient to build things to sell to other inmates, their families and friends, and had to send NO MONEY to support his children. I was toughing it, working a clerical job, Medicaid, Foodstamps for the boys, yard sales and hand me downs mostly for their church and school clothes. I Pro Se attempted to get an order for Child Support for during those eight years, after I barely (he went for a minimum wage job so as not to pay what was appropriate- $10 job before he went in. Kept getting a crotchety, old goat of a judge, rudely barking, “Ya can’t get money out of someone in jail.” I wanted to see the statute, but nobody would tell me, so when his new bride (married after out 3 months) cried “Abuse”” he was violated on his Probation and messed my upkeep of our sons up, me stressed already, I had to drop out of my Paralegal course at Valencia (started when I was 40, realizing the boys weren’t going to get anything decent with me working clerically) and was hospitalized for Major Depression Recurrent.
No these guys/gals have not
PAID THEIR DEBT TO SOCIETY”, not as long as their children have not received their 8 years worth of support, loss of a positive male role model (which he wasn’t anyway!).
They should assess and Order Child Support in the beginning according to the rate of pay then, let it accrue while they are in, and upon release, give them a fraction of the Child Support Arrearage so as not to “frighten” them, debying freedom in order to avoid their responsibilities returning to jail. The after a year or so of the small percentage, they will mostlikely have accepted a raise, promotion, and they’ve becom aclimated to being FREE & OUTSIDE, their percentage can be increased, they’ll be more likely to pay it than return as before. Shoulf they get their DEBT TO THEIR CHILDREN/Society caught up, paid off, THEN THEY SHOULD RECEIVE SOME RIGHTS, BUT ONLY ON THE CONDITION THEY CONTINUE OR COMPLETE THEIR CHILD SUPPPORT PAYMENTS IN THEIR ENTIRETY. CHILDREN FIRST
Felon disenfranchisement and DREs are the major reasons why the Republican party maintains so many seats in congress. If ex-felons could have voted on hand counted paper ballots in the 2000 elections, Al Gore would be President and 3100+ dead American soldiers would now be alive. Paper Ballots are needed to break the current minority control of the United States.
The problem with restoring voter rights for ex-felons is that if Democrats advocate it, then we’re tagged with caring more about criminals than “decent, honest folks” (as the term goes). Because of that, I think Dems should focus only on an automatic restoration of voting rights once someone is completely free of the jucidial system, i.e., they are out of prison and not on parole or probation. The argument for this is much simpler and less politically controversial to make. Sadly, I think it’s the best we can do.
Hello, I have friend whose son served time and was paroled. She claims he is inelgible to vote. I say there must be a way. Does someone have some advice??
I do not understand why a person that has served his time and has been reintroduced to society must be held accountable for a crime paid for. While in jail I can see but once released to society ALL RIGHTS and PRIVLEDGES should be restored.
That will probably happen now since so many from the bush Crime Family are going to be going to jail and they need these thieves and Liars to operate.
Just and repukulan move to strip a Real American of participation in the government.