Like everyone else, I listened to DeSantis’s botched Twitter Spaces launch, but then reached some conclusions about the trajectory of his campaign at New York:
Before long, the laughter over the technical glitches that marred Ron DeSantis’s official presidential campaign launch with Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces will fade. We’ll all probably look back and place this moment in better perspective. Political-media folk (not to mention DeSantis’s Republican rivals and Democratic enemies) tend to overreact to “game changing” moments in campaigns when fundamentals and long-term trends matter infinitely more. Relatively few actual voters were tuned in to Twitter to watch the botched launch, and even fewer will think less of DeSantis as a potential president because of this incident.
It mattered in one respect, however: The screwed-up launch stepped all over a DeSantis campaign reset designed to depict the Florida governor as a political Death Star with unlimited funds and an unbeatable strategy for winning the GOP nomination. The reset was important to rebut the prevailing story line that DeSantis had lost an extraordinary amount of ground since the salad days following his landslide reelection last year, when he briefly looked to be consolidating partywide support as a more electable and less erratic replacement for Donald Trump. For reasons both within and beyond his control, he missed two critical strategic objectives going into the 2024 race: keeping the presidential field small enough to give him a one-on-one shot at Trump and keeping Trump from reestablishing himself as the front-runner with an air of inevitability about a third straight nomination.
To dissipate growing concerns about the DeSantis candidacy, the top chieftains of his Never Back Down super-PAC let it be known earlier this week that they had a plan that would shock and awe the political world, based on their extraordinary financial resources (fed by an $80 million surplus DeSantis transferred from his Florida reelection campaign account). The New York Times wrote up the scheme without questioning its connection to reality:
“A key political group supporting Ron DeSantis’s presidential run is preparing a $100 million voter-outreach push so big it plans to knock on the door of every possible DeSantis voter at least four times in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — and five times in the kickoff Iowa caucuses.
“The effort is part of an on-the-ground organizing operation that intends to hire more than 2,600 field organizers by Labor Day, an extraordinary number of people for even the best-funded campaigns….
“The group said it expected to have an overall budget of at least $200 million.”
In case the numbers didn’t properly document the audacity of this plan, Team DeSantis made it explicit. The Times report continues:
“‘No one has ever contemplated the scale of this organization or operation, let alone done it,’ said Chris Jankowski, the group’s chief executive. ‘This has just never even been dreamed up.’” …
At the helm of the DeSantis super PAC is Jeff Roe, a veteran Republican strategist who was Mr. [Ted] Cruz’s campaign manager in 2016. In an interview, Mr. Roe described an ambitious political apparatus whose 2,600 field organizers by the fall would be roughly double the peak of Senator Bernie Sanders’s entire 2020 primary campaign staff.
Clearly opening up the thesaurus to find metaphors for the extraordinary power and glory of their plans, one DeSantis operative told the Dispatch they were “light speed and light years ahead of any campaign out there, including Trump’s.”
Now more than ever, DeSantis’s campaign will have to prove its grand plans aren’t just fantasies. Those doors in Iowa really will have to be knocked. Thanks to Trump’s current lead, DeSantis will absolutely have to beat expectations there and do just as well in New Hampshire and South Carolina before facing an existential challenge in his and Trump’s home state of Florida. And while DeSantis had a good weekend in Iowa recently, picking up a lot of state legislative endorsements even as Trump canceled a rally due to bad weather that never arrived, he’s got a ways to go. A new Emerson poll of the first-in-the-nation-caucuses state shows Trump leading by an astonishing margin of 62 percent to 20 percent. And obviously enough, Iowa is where DeSantis will likely face the largest number of rivals aside from Trump; he’s a sudden surge from Tim Scott or Mike Pence or Nikki Haley or even Vivek Ramaswamy away from a real Iowa crisis.
Door knocking aside, a focus on Iowa, with its base-dominated caucus system and its large and powerful conservative Evangelical population, will likely force DeSantis to run to Trump’s right even more than he already has. The newly official candidate did not mention abortion policy during his launch event on Twitter; that will have to change, since he has a crucial opportunity to tell Iowa Evangelicals about the six-week ban he recently signed (similar, in fact, to the law Iowa governor Kim Reynolds enacted), in contrast to Trump’s scolding of the anti-abortion movement for extremism. DeSantis also failed once again to talk about his own religious faith, whatever it is; that will probably have to change in Iowa too. He did, however, talk a lot during the launch about his battle against the COVID-19 restrictions the federal government sought to impose on Florida even during the Trump administration. That will very likely continue.
The glitchy launch basically cost DeSantis whatever room for maneuvering he might have enjoyed as the 2024 competition begins to get very real — less than eight months before Iowa Republicans caucus (the exact date remains TBD). He’d better get used to spending a lot of time in Iowa’s churches and Pizza Ranches, and he also needs to begin winning more of the exchanges of potshots with Trump, which will only accelerate from here on out. All the money he has and all the hype and spin his campaign puts out won’t win the nomination now that Trump is fully engaged, and it sure doesn’t look like the 45th president’s legal problems will represent anything other than rocket fuel for his jaunt through the primaries. So for DeSantis, it’s time to put up or shut up.
We Americans Owe Our Souls to the Company Store
Judging by the uninspiring and dispassionate campaign launched by the McCain camp, one can conclude that the current regime along with the entire Republican ‘leadership,’ are completely unconcerned with the outcome of the November election, and with good reason. Last week, the White House announced that the next administration will inherit roughly, a 500 billion dollar debt. The question the American people continue to avoid is, to whom do we owe this astronomical sum? The answer, while ugly, is quite simple. We owe it to them. When Georgie W. took over the family business in 2001, he had one and only one goal: to establish a perpetual source of wealth for his father’s friends and the private interests who installed him in office. Through a campaign of lies, deceit, and propaganda he has achieved his goal.
It is astounding that, in the realm of global politics, the majority of Americans and, for that matter, most citizens of the world, find it easy to dismiss the obvious while embracing the absurd. The simple truth is that Georges Bush, Senior and Junior; Dick Cheney; David Addington; along with the entire Carlyle Group; are on the same payroll as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Nouri Maliki, and Muqtada al-Sadr. These individuals will do anything necessary, independently or in cooperation with each other, to manipulate the price of oil. Let’s face it; it’s in their best interest.
John McCain, along with his cheerleaders continues to tout the fact that, contrary to Obama’s predictions, “the surge has worked.” In reality, the surge “worked” because agents of the United States government in collusion with representatives from the Big Three Oil Companies have made substantial cash deals with the warlords and gang leaders attempting to fill the power vacuum left by the Bathist Regime. Muqtada al-Sadr, now the highest paid extortionist in world history, has restrained his guns and has assumed the responsibility of turf assignment to his capos. The “surge” has merely kept the parties apart until the final deals could be finalized.
Furthermore, McCain somehow holds Obama responsible for rising oil prices by attributing the phenomenon to Obama’s past refusal to support offshore drilling (did I mention absurdity). It is a foregone conclusion that even if oil was extracted from these sights, it would not impact gasoline supplies for seven to ten years and the target market for this supply would be in China. More importantly, no American voting in the next election should be complacent with the prospect of driving a gasoline-powered vehicle ten years from today.
The American people have a single issue on the ballot: are we willing to allow big oil and special interests to dictate global policies of war and peace, environmental preservation, and economic stability? Are we willing to allow our children and grandchildren to kill and die for Exxon Mobil and Halliburton?
It’s time for America to embrace the obvious and reject the absurd. Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and their entire multi-billion dollar propaganda machine must laugh themselves to sleep at night when they consider the following: for eight years they were successfully able to convince the American people that the American heartland, with the most powerful military in the world; with the most technologically sophisticated intelligence apparatus known to science; one which boasts of the ability to read a license plate from outer space; is under constant threat of attack by an international terrorist network with a capacity to strike at a moment’s notice that is commanded by three individuals operating from a cave in Afghanistan. Nice work Dick. In the final analysis, even if the Republicans lose the Presidential election and every seat in the legislature, they will still be in power by order of the golden rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules.