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Decoding DeSantis’s Weird War on Disney
Plus: Donald Trump Is Running a Democratic Campaign in a Republican Primary
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CHARLIE SYKES: Ron DeSantis Has a Lizard Problem
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BERNY BELVEDERE: Decoding DeSantis’s Weird War on Disney.
This week, when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggested that he might build a prison next to Disney World, his critics reacted with a mix of befuddlement and scorn, as they have throughout his year-long clash with the company. Here, for example, is libertarian journalist Julian Sanchez:
“It cannot be stressed enough how absolutely psychotic this is. DeSantis has decided to declare all-out war on a company that’s an absolute economic godsend for Florida because they were mildly critical of his anti-gay policies.”
Sanchez is right that it’s psychotic, but that’s according to normie logic. According to MAGA logic, though—a plane of reasoning that only the best people, the best minds, are able to access—DeSantis’s move makes all the sense in the world. In that perspective, ordinary metrics of governing success—such as reasonably accommodating, and refraining from alienating, business entities of enormous economic importance to your state—are abandoned in favor of a less orthodox yardstick: inflicting maximal pain on megacorporations that are even mildly critical of your policy proposals.
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DONALD TRUMP IS PUMMELING RON DESANTIS in the battle for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He accuses DeSantis of exaggerating Florida’s economic success, failing to control crime, and locking down businesses during COVID. But Trump’s main line of attack comes straight out of the Democratic playbook: He says DeSantis would cut Medicare and Social Security and would raise the eligibility ages for these programs.
Essentially, Trump is running a Democratic campaign in a Republican primary. It’s the kind of attack that often works in a general election, because most voters oppose cuts to entitlement programs. But will it work in a Republican primary?
Yes, it will. It may not decide the nomination, but it will certainly help Trump. The reason is that Republican voters are willing to cut lots of programs, but not Medicare or Social Security. And they’re strongly inclined to vote on this issue, even in a primary.
BRIAN STEWART: Syria’s Dictator Returns to the Normal Nations Club.
The murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, once an international pariah thought to be doomed to collapse, is on the verge of rejoining the league of normal states, despite its continued monstrosity. The U.S.-led campaign aimed at keeping Syria off the list of civilized nations looks doomed to fail. However noble the intention, denying Assad’s regime a legitimate place in the order of nations cannot be achieved by suasion alone. It requires an element that has long been lacking in the West’s conduct toward the regime in Damascus: power.
The last of the Arab uprisings came to Syria in March 2011. Its width and depth made observers around the world believe this revolt would succeed in ways that eluded others before it. Regime change seemed assured after President Barack Obama called for Assad to step aside—but the dictator reckoned he could cling to power by assaulting the Sunni rebellion without mercy and calling the American bluff.
Happy Thursday… The badges are gone from Twitter, unless you pay. And Twitter is breaking, like his rocket. Which is causing some to leave, and others, including government accounts, to come up with their own authentication attempts. We’ll meet again, I guess. I didn’t have “Andrew Sullivan is a Bulwark Reply Guy” on my bingo card, yet… Other DeSantistans are totally not panicking and reacting normally.
Did Fox… Just Pay for the Privilege of Continued Corruption? (Yes, contra Betteridge.)
Did J.D. Vance fall for Russian Propaganda? Speaking at The Heritage Foundation, our former colleague Andrew Egger quoted the Ohio Senator making this claim: "We're learning that maybe apparently America already has troops on the ground in Ukraine." Did he really fall for this Prisencolinensinainciusol?
In George Santos news… He claims he’s donating his salary to charity, if you can believe that. Is it the Human Fund?
Meanwhile, in Tennessee… A GOP leader is found guilty of sexually harassing interns. I’m sure they’ll expel him, right? Right?
Looking for a Fox apology? This is the closest you’ll get, and it’s fake.
Vinyl’s back, baby! Take a trip inside this Minnesota factory where the music happens.
Vote yes, hope no. A rare honest tweet from a politician.
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