Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attended the 2023 Alabama Republican Party Winter Dinner on March 9 as the event’s keynote speaker. In his speech, the governor touted several of his administration’s many accomplishments since taking office in January 2019. The majority of those highlights have been highly scrutinized by the media and have become a trove of fundraising material for left-wing politicians. However, as the title of his new book suggests, DeSantis will not be backing down.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the book is that it outlines a “blueprint for America’s revival.” Rather than publishing an extended list of musings about how America is currently failing, the Florida governor offers a plan. Given the high probability that DeSantis will launch a bid for the presidency in the coming months, this might be the most important difference between him and the current frontrunner, former President Donald Trump. Following the disappointing outcome of the 2022 midterms, Trump blamed pro-life Republicans for not supporting exceptions to abortion-restricting legislation in cases such as incest, rape, and when a mother’s life is at risk. DeSantis, on the other hand, won reelection by nearly twenty percentage points, highlighting the fact that voters in the Sunshine State are happy with their governor’s job performance. If the 2024 Republican primary offers Trump and DeSantis as the two main contenders, will voters back a former president who blames other Republicans for being too conservative, or will they support the governor who has almost single-handedly led to a massive surge in registered Republicans in his state? Only time will tell.
What I do know, however, is that Governor DeSantis’ book makes a wonderful case for a presidential bid that he hasn’t even announced yet. Just over a week after the governor marked his first full year in office, the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was confirmed. Just over a week after that, one case had grown to roughly ten thousand. However, Governor DeSantis, as he outlines in his book, refused to shut down his state, much to the dismay of the epidemiology “experts” in the nation’s capital and Democrat officials nationwide. As DeSantis explains in chapter eleven, “The COVID-19 Pandemic,”:
“Between April 2020 and mid-July 2022, New York witnessed an increase of so-called excess mortality of 20 percent, while California experienced an excess mortality increase of 17.7 percent. Excess mortality represents deaths above what is normally expected; of course, it includes COVID-19 deaths but also includes deaths caused by lockdown policies.
During the same period, excess mortality increased in Florida by 15.6 percent – a smaller increase than in lockdown-happy states that typically received media praise for their COVID-19 lockdowns.”
To me, this is what everyday Americans look for in a leader – someone who listens to facts and logic rather than reacting to all of the noise that the media and political opponents create. This is something that Governor DeSantis has proven himself to be extremely good at.
Another highlight that takes a prominent place in DeSantis’ book is his highly-publicized war with The Walt Disney Company over their attacks on the Parental Rights in Education bill, perhaps more well-known by the moniker given to the bill by the media and leftist activists and politicians, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis begins chapter twelve, “The Magic Kingdom of Woke Corporatism,” with his wedding day, September 26, 2009. DeSantis married his wife, Casey, at the Grand Floridian resort – a Disney-owned luxury hotel that sits right across the lake from Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World. Roughly a decade later, DeSantis explains, he would find himself sparring with the company over parental rights in Florida. The governor goes on to outline details of a call he had with then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek in which he advised the CEO to stay out of legislation that would not impact the company’s business interests in Florida. Chapek seemed to agree. However, a short time after that conversation, Disney took the side of the left and began attacking the bill.
Perhaps what The Walt Disney Company didn’t expect, however, was the governor’s tough reaction to their outspoken opposition to the bill. Before speaking out, Disney had county-like control of their expansive property outside of Orlando, roughly the size of the City of San Francisco, CA, called the “Reedy Creek Improvement District.” Among other things, this included Disney’s ability to have its own fire and police departments, as well as a special tax status for Walt Disney World. On Friday, February 10, just over a month before speaking to the ALGOP in Hoover, AL, and a few weeks before releasing his book, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that restricts Disney’s ability to act as a self-governing territory, effectively ending the company’s governmental autonomy that has spanned for more than five decades.
The governor’s no-nonsense style toward woke multi-billion dollar corporations like Disney and Washington, D.C. bureaucrats such as Anthony Fauci has clearly endeared him to his constituents, who just delivered him a landslide reelection victory in November. “The Courage to be Free” reflects that style, which might lead an experienced politico to believe that this is the governor’s presidential campaign book, similar to “Crippled America” by former President Trump or “No Apology” by former Republican presidential nominee and now-Senator Mitt Romney. That said, it would be highly valid to say that, if he chooses to run, the Florida governor will be a major force in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, and we just might find ourselves watching him become the forty-seventh President of the United States in January of 2025.