Thursday, May 25, 2023


National Review's Jim Geraghty assures his readers that Ron DeSantis's campaign launch wasn't that bad:
When you tell the whole country to tune in at 6 p.m., and then lots of people do, and no one can hear anything for 25 minutes or so because of technical issues, that’s bad. It’s not fatal, but it’s bad.

But when the history of the Ron DeSantis 2024 presidential campaign is written, his announcement will be just one chapter....

No one who was contemplating voting for DeSantis is now not going to vote for him because Twitter Spaces took too long to start working last night.
I'm not so sure about that.

Here's why: The single most important criterion for a leader in the Republican Party is the perceived ability to own the libs. Donald Trump has been seen as the Republican who owns us most effectively -- everything he does makes us furious and crazy. Ron DeSantis has been the runner-up in the race for the presidential nomination because his actions as governor infuriate us almost as much as Trump's words and deeds do. No one else in the race comes close.

But consider two previous GOP favorites: Sarah Palin and Chris Christie.

In the immediate aftermath of Palin's 2008 Republican convention speech, she was seen as a lib-owner with charisma to burn; in early September, just after that speech, a number of polls showed Palin and John McCain beating Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Then she gave a series of embarrassing interviews. She began to be mocked on Saturday Night Live. And she and McCain lost the election decisively. Afterward, she tried to maintain political viability, but bad decisions (quitting as governor of Alaska before her term was up) and personal and family embarrassments combined with her previous gaffes to make her a national laughingstock. And so Republican voters stopped looking to her as a potential slayer of the liberal beast, because she'd gone from seemingly owning the libs to being owned.

When Chris Christie was in his first term as governor of New Jersey, he thrilled Republican voters because he routinely insulted reporters, schoolteachers, and anyone else who dared to question him. He passed up a chance to run for president in 2012, but he won reelection as governor in a landslide the following year.

And then the Bridgegate story broke. It's widely assumed that Republican voters cooled on Christie because he vindictively closed those George Washington Bridge access lanes in Fort Lee. But a more likely explanation is that he was now being owned by the hated mainstream media. In his first term, when he was a bully, Republicans loved him. When he was on the defensive, they abandoned him.

That's where Ron DeSantis appears to be headed now. As a governor, he's still horrifying liberals, but as a candidate, he's being mocked by us -- for his personality (or lack thereof), for his alleged eating habits, and now for his sad, pathetic campaign launch.

I suppose he could turn it around -- by arresting and persecuting a few more unwitting illegal voters, by threatening the jobs of a few more teachers, by dehumanizing trans people a few more ways. But right now, he's being owned a lot more than he's owning. (And Trump is owning him too, on a regular basis.) If he can't get back on the positive side of the ownage ledger, he's doomed. His political career is over.

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