DeSantis Understands the Best Defense Is a Good Offense

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s tussle with Disney has befuddled many right-of-center commentators. Some insist eliminating the Reedy Creek Improvement District is fundamentally anti-conservative. Others cheer on DeSantis and want other red-state governors to emulate him. The debate has strained ideological alliances, with pundits usually on the same side bickering on social media, podcasts, and tit-for-tat think pieces.

Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

For decades, conservatives have played defense on social issues. Then, when they’ve lost the social issue de jour, they play defense on the next issue, and the one after that. This is how we’ve arrived at teachers encouraging third graders to question their gender and reassuring Jake that turning into Jessica is just a scalpel and hormone shot away.

Some Republican thinkers insist that even this isn’t quite the hill to die on, there is no slippery slope, and we need to demonstrate our acceptance and goodwill to progressives. Why aren’t we focusing on economic issues? Besides, doesn’t Jessica look adorable in her sundress? The Florida GOP enacted the bill they wanted, beat Disney, so let’s move on. Punishing them by ending Reedy Creek is just churlish.

If Gov. DeSantis was satisfied with playing defense, this would be correct. Instead, he has chosen offense.

Defeating Woke, Inc., is the goal, not a single win on a small issue. He showed Disney that pro forma DEI press releases have a cost. When you wrongly call the governor, statehouse, and a majority of Florida voters anti-gay and transphobic, there will be a price to pay. When you promise to work to overturn the people’s will and defeat their representatives, pushback will follow. The horrible punishment? Being treated like any other company.

This message wasn’t only delivered to Disney. MLB can pull an all-star game from Georgia; do that south of the border and maybe you don’t get that new ballpark in Miami. Huge multinational corporations can ridicule red-state residents all they want, but they might want to diversify their stock portfolio first. Disney stock has fallen 30 percent in the past six months. The next would-be woke CEO might decide it’s wiser not to spout off.

None of this violates free speech. Slam a state government all you want, but don’t expect special carve-outs for your shareholders. Being a huge multinational doesn’t guarantee you extraconstitutional rights.

An oft-cited comparison is San Antonio trying to keep Chick-fil-A out of their airport for the company’s Christian views. Since The Big Cluck didn’t have any sweetheart deals with the city, this is a non-starter. They should be treated like any other fast food joint. And Disney can be treated like any other entertainment company.

Another criticism is that DeSantis is violating conservativism by meddling in the free market.

It might violate libertarianism, but not conservatism. At least since the 1980s, conservatism has been a three-legged stool, aligning economic freedom, national defense, and social issues. A materialist theory like libertarianism reduces humans to homo economicus; all that matters to human flourishing is the almighty dollar. But conservatism asserts there is much more to life, including upholding a standard of public values and protection from foreign threats.

Libertarianism often aligns with conservatism, but not always. A conservative might want to ban a strip club from opening in his neighborhood; a libertarian would insist “Sketchy Sammy’s Boom Boom Room” is just fine. DeSantis is a conservative, not a libertarian, so he has not violated his stated principles.

Besides, the Reedy Creek legislation won’t take effect until June 2023; there’s plenty of time for the two sides to come to an agreement. And they probably will.

The last anti-DeSanti argument is not what he did, but why he did it. This is far too Jesuitical for a simple political debate. Not even Thomas Aquinas could parse the deepest longings of a human’s heart. We’d make more progress counting angels on pinheads.

It is long past time for the GOP to be as aggressive on social issues as they have been on economic issues. Pushing back against woke insanity is wildly popular with the base, independents, and even the middle manager wondering why she/they/xe needs to add pronouns to her email signature.

DeSantis understands that the best defense is a good offense.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Here is something I posted elsewhere:

    Scott Adams called what DeSantis did in revoking Disney’s privileges “retaliation,” and said DeSantis should be impeached for retaliating. 

    I disagree.  I agree that what DeSantis did was retaliation. But I also believe that in this case it was merited. The left and right have been playing a game of Prisoners’ Dilemma for years. In Prisoners’ Dilemma everyone gains if both cooperate, but one player gains more and the other player loses a lot when one player refuses to cooperate. (The player that refuses to cooperate gains big,) If both refuse to cooperate, they each lose a little.

    The optimum strategy of the game is to cooperate on the first round, and then do what your opponent did on the previous round for all subsequent rounds. You cooperate. If he does not cooperate on that  round you do not cooperate in the next round. If he cooperates in the first round, you cooperate in the next. And yes, not cooperating in the next round is retaliation. That is the point. For years conservatives have insisted on cooperating even – and especially after – the other side did not cooperate. 

    Similarly, Disney played a red card in a previous round, so DeSantis played a red card in this one. If DeSantis continues playing red cards gratuitously after Disney starts cooperating again, then Adams might have a point. But right now?

    The flag we conservative like has a snake with the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” If someone treads on you while you are flying that flag, they deserve to get bit. They  have to get bit, or your words are hollow. If they don’t tread on you again, you leave them alone. That is what this is about. Disney tread on Florida. 

    • #1
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The sweetheart Disney deal should go away. Disney invests in Woke candidates, and ballot measures in Florida elections. They essentially undermine voters in Florida, especially their wallets, with no risk to their own earnings.

    • #2
  3. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Besides, the Reedy Creek legislation won’t take effect until June 2023; there’s plenty of time for the two sides to come to an agreement. And they probably will.

     

    Not so sure.  Any deal will have to satisfy the legislation, which as I understand it, says they lose special treatment.  It’s not like this was an executive order.

    • #3
  4. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    I’m opposed to any so-called principles that require us to lose.

    I’ll add this: Disney wisely stayed quiet until a number of their LGBTQXYZ employees made a stink (this was a small percentage of all Disney employees). This was amplified by the Democrat’s stenographers in the mainstream press. Then Disney protested the law, and vowed to help overturn it. So DeSantis and the Florida legislature followed suit.

    The lesson: Don’t want none, don’t start none.

    And @seawriter makes a great point: Play tit-for-tat.

    • #4
  5. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    I learned in grade school if you do not want to get bullied you have to bloody his nose occasionally. You might get pounded, but if you inflict some return pain the bully will chose easier targets.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Any elected Republican who cannot figure out what happened in the Youngkin/McAuliffe election in Virginia needs to pack up his pencil box and go home.

    • #6
  7. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Percival (View Comment):

    Any elected Republican who cannot figure out what happened in the Youngkin/McAuliffe election in Virginia needs to pack up his pencil crayon box and go home.

    FIFY.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: This is how we’ve arrived at teachers encouraging third graders to question their gender and reassuring Jake that turning into Jessica is just a scalpel and hormone shot away.

    With at least a blind assumption, if not more, that Jessica can easily go back to being Jake again, if being Jessica isn’t all that great after all.

    • #8
  9. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

     

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that.  They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless.  Or worse, actually collaborators.

    • #10
  11. Adios Muchacho Inactive
    Adios Muchacho
    @OldDanRhody

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: MLB can pull an all-star game from Georgia;

    It was sweet irony that they couldn’t do the same with the World Series.

    • #11
  12. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: MLB can pull an all-star game from Georgia;

    And move it to a state with MORE restrictive voting laws than Georgia…  but nobody complains about that… nor do they complain about the more-restrictive voting laws in Brandon’s home state of Delaware…

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Adios Muchacho (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: MLB can pull an all-star game from Georgia;

    It was sweet irony that they couldn’t do the same with the World Series.

    It was sweeter that Atlanta won the whole thing and the Atlanta fans booed Robby Manfred at the trophy presentation.

    • #13
  14. Nathanael Ferguson Contributor
    Nathanael Ferguson
    @NathanaelFerguson

    It is long past time for the GOP to be as aggressive on social issues as they have been on economic issues. Pushing back against woke insanity is wildly popular with the base, independents, and even the middle manager wondering why she/they/xe needs to add pronouns to her email signature.

    A.M.E.N.

    • #14
  15. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that. They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless. Or worse, actually collaborators.

    I don’t think so.  You talk as if they were criticizing a vague symbol of Republicanism.  They were in fact trashing all current Republican office holders.  There was even a post titled “Elon Musk Does More for the Conservative Base than the Entire Conservative Movement Has for Decades.”  Go back a re-read some of the comments that were claiming that all Republican office-holders were absolutely worthless and never did anything for the movement.  I couldn’t convince any one of them of a single accomplishment that Republicans have achieved.

    https://ricochet.com/1214943/elon-musk-does-more-for-the-conservative-base-than-the-entire-conservative-movement-has-for-decades/

    Or try this one – “Spineless and Pathetic Loser” in which the author contends that electing Republicans will not change a thing.

    https://ricochet.com/1217671/spineless-and-pathetic-loser/

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that. They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless. Or worse, actually collaborators.

    I don’t think so. You talk as if they were criticizing a vague symbol of Republicanism. They were in fact trashing all current Republican office holders. There was even a post titled “Elon Musk Does More for the Conservative Base than the Entire Conservative Movement Has for Decades.” Go back a re-read some of the comments that were claiming that all Republican office-holders were absolutely worthless and never did anything for the movement. I couldn’t convince any one of them of a single accomplishment that Republicans have achieved.

    https://ricochet.com/1214943/elon-musk-does-more-for-the-conservative-base-than-the-entire-conservative-movement-has-for-decades/

    Or try this one – “Spineless and Pathetic Loser” in which the author contends that electing Republicans will not change a thing.

    https://ricochet.com/1217671/spineless-and-pathetic-loser/

    That was because they consider those people to be part of the GOP Establishment, more or less all of them.

    • #16
  17. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    I met a libertarian author once.  He was suing me for violating his copyright. That is when I realized I was not smart enough to be a libertarian.

    As a counter to DeSantis, I heard the Progs (sounds more reptilian than Progressives) in Floria are suing to keep the Bible out of the public schools claiming bestiality and rape appear.  Well, that kind of publicity should attract millions more young readers.

    I don’t recall seeing a Bible in a public school.  Maybe we should require all texts brought in to public schools be screened for scandalous or threatening content.  My math text referred to irrational numbers, yet there were no trigger warnings.  And why are we still teaching division?  Diversity, Yes!  Division, No!

    • #17
  18. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that. They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless. Or worse, actually collaborators.

    I don’t think so. You talk as if they were criticizing a vague symbol of Republicanism. They were in fact trashing all current Republican office holders. There was even a post titled “Elon Musk Does More for the Conservative Base than the Entire Conservative Movement Has for Decades.” Go back a re-read some of the comments that were claiming that all Republican office-holders were absolutely worthless and never did anything for the movement. I couldn’t convince any one of them of a single accomplishment that Republicans have achieved.

    https://ricochet.com/1214943/elon-musk-does-more-for-the-conservative-base-than-the-entire-conservative-movement-has-for-decades/

    Or try this one – “Spineless and Pathetic Loser” in which the author contends that electing Republicans will not change a thing.

    https://ricochet.com/1217671/spineless-and-pathetic-loser/

    DeSantis being the only one doing this is proof of the argument that the GOP is useless. The party commentariat and leadership criticizing DeSantis for it is proof that the leadership is useless.

    DeSantis was NOT the GOP favorite for the Florida Governor primary. I’m actually shocked we got him and that he’s been THIS GOOD.

    And that shock exists because the GOP is useless.

    • #18
  19. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    None of this violates free speech. Slam a state government all you want, but don’t expect special carve-outs for your shareholders. Being a huge multinational doesn’t guarantee you extraconstitutional rights.

    I agree but that’s because I interpret the Constitution strictly. The first amendment only means you can’t be criminally punished for your speech. But I’m pretty sure there’s legal precedent which expands that to the kind of retaliation Florida did here. 

    • #19
  20. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    The way we talk about Texas, Abbott should be doing exactly what DeSantis has done, but Texas is either GOP central or it has been used by GOP central to curry voter approval.

    Abbott is the only other Governor pushing back against the left and he pales next to Florida Man.

    • #20
  21. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that. They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless. Or worse, actually collaborators.

    Yes, it’s quite an easy distinction to make, and there are dozens of great examples of this going back decades.

    Sorry Steven, your argument omits serial betrayals, broken promises and outright contemptuous actions perpetrated by key figures in the GOP against the base going back at least 20 years. And these actions and positions continue to this day.

    We’ve had this discussion over and over with people like you already. We’ve considered every possibility, every mitigating circumstance, every reason and excuse, and after twenty years of this farce we are now left with incontrovertible evidence that the GOP at its core has been – and continues to be – craven, weak, duplicitous and venal.

    One Republican governor shows some fortitude and gumption, and you want to spin the entire narrative as though Republicans are now, and were, all like DeSantis? I don’t think so.

    This is said, astonishingly, after the playing field has shifted so far into Crazyland ( soon to be a new section of Disney World) whereby a major corporation can use its over-sized influence to brainwash schoolchildren into questioning their sexuality and gender such that DeSantis has almost zero electoral risk? That is, outside of some writers at National Review and some miserable blue-haired wokist discontents. 

    This is a slam dunk issue. It’s sad that we had to come this far. The Democrats were somehow allowed to trespass so deep into reconstructing/deconstructing some of the most basic foundations of anthropology and biology, not to mention core values of every religion on the planet,  that we are even discussing this.

     

     

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Another criticism is that DeSantis is violating conservativism by meddling in the free market.

    People should realize Disney is meddling in state government affairs . . .

    • #22
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    W Bob (View Comment):

    None of this violates free speech. Slam a state government all you want, but don’t expect special carve-outs for your shareholders. Being a huge multinational doesn’t guarantee you extraconstitutional rights.

     

    I agree but that’s because I interpret the Constitution strictly. The first amendment only means you can’t be criminally punished for your speech. But I’m pretty sure there’s legal precedent which expands that to the kind of retaliation Florida did here.

    Enforcing the strictures that are in place for other businesses is not exactly retaliation. What the government giveth, the government can taketh away.

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Any elected Republican who cannot figure out what happened in the Youngkin/McAuliffe election in Virginia needs to pack up his pencil crayon box and go home.

    FIFY.

    We had to bring colored pencils. Typical government overregulation. I did not eat the crayons!

    Other peoples’ crayons, anyway.

    • #24
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that. They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless. Or worse, actually collaborators.

    Actually, the only real response for Steven is that he is not serious. Almost Everyone who complains about the GOPe is delighted. This statement is just derision and a straw man. Don’t take it seriously. 

     

    • #25
  26. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Stina (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

    This news is going to disappoint many here on Ricochet who keep insisting that republicans are useless.

    They don’t do that. They say the Republican PARTY – at least/especially the establishment part/version – is useless. Or worse, actually collaborators.

    I don’t think so. You talk as if they were criticizing a vague symbol of Republicanism. They were in fact trashing all current Republican office holders. There was even a post titled “Elon Musk Does More for the Conservative Base than the Entire Conservative Movement Has for Decades.” Go back a re-read some of the comments that were claiming that all Republican office-holders were absolutely worthless and never did anything for the movement. I couldn’t convince any one of them of a single accomplishment that Republicans have achieved.

    https://ricochet.com/1214943/elon-musk-does-more-for-the-conservative-base-than-the-entire-conservative-movement-has-for-decades/

    Or try this one – “Spineless and Pathetic Loser” in which the author contends that electing Republicans will not change a thing.

    https://ricochet.com/1217671/spineless-and-pathetic-loser/

    DeSantis being the only one doing this is proof of the argument that the GOP is useless. The party commentariat and leadership criticizing DeSantis for it is proof that the leadership is useless.

    DeSantis was NOT the GOP favorite for the Florida Governor primary. I’m actually shocked we got him and that he’s been THIS GOOD.

    And that shock exists because the GOP is useless.

    But DeSantis is not the only governor nor the only Republican legislator that is doing this kind of stuff.  He’s only the one that is in the news.  On those other threads I pointed out tons of stuff that was happening by the GOP in Red States that nobody seemed to be aware of.

    • #26
  27. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Stina (View Comment):

    The way we talk about Texas, Abbott should be doing exactly what DeSantis has done, but Texas is either GOP central or it has been used by GOP central to curry voter approval.

    Abbott is the only other Governor pushing back against the left and he pales next to Florida Man.

    He’s not, though.  Nearly all of them are pushing back against the left.  Just take a look at what Glen Younkin did in Virginia within the first month.  It leaves DeSantis in the dust, however, he had more to overcome from the previous administration.

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Stina (View Comment):
    and he pales next to Florida Man.

    Two words that can be used in a lot of campaign slogans. I like!

    • #28
  29. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    The way we talk about Texas, Abbott should be doing exactly what DeSantis has done, but Texas is either GOP central or it has been used by GOP central to curry voter approval.

    Abbott is the only other Governor pushing back against the left and he pales next to Florida Man.

    He’s not, though. Nearly all of them are pushing back against the left. Just take a look at what Glen Younkin did in Virginia within the first month. It leaves DeSantis in the dust, however, he had more to overcome from the previous administration.

    I like Youngkin and I think he’s going to be great, too. But what on earth are you talking about? DeSantis was doing a ton of stuff before COVID hit, making waves in national media. He had built an amazing bipartisan coalition around major state issues that had been ignored for too long. DeSantis didn’t just start with the parents’ rights act and slamming Disney. He started almost immediately with Broward County and moving into the environmental/water issues of our state.

    • #29
  30. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    And if anything, DeSantis paced the way for Youngkin. But Trump paved the way for DeSantis.

    • #30
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