I have begun to read The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival, despite my general aversion to this genre of literature. I consider reading Ron DeSantis’s book to be a duty both as a blog publisher and as a new Floridian. Progressive academic friends in Cambridge feel that they already know Mr. DeSantis. One noted, during my most recent visit, that DeSantis is responsible for importing slaves into the United States to pick sugar cane. “They come on boats in chains,” he said, “and aren’t paid.” Why don’t journalists from New York-based media enterprises ask Mr. DeSantis about his slave importation operation at press conferences? “They know that he won’t answer.” Why didn’t the progressive himself go down to Florida and picket outside the Governor’s Mansion for the slaves to be released? He’s a member of the laptop class and can work from anywhere. He couldn’t explain why he wasn’t willing to invest the price of a plane ticket to protest the actual slavery that he has identified on U.S. soil.
For folks who don’t feel that they already know everything worth knowing about Ron D, read on…
The book starts out rough, in my opinion:
Most Americans instinctively know that something has gone wrong with our country over the past generation.
How is Ron going to win with this message? Successful politicians generally tell Americans that they are the world’s greatest people living in the world’s greatest (and richest) country. A vote for the politician is a path to slightly increased greatness, not a recovery from a nosedive. The language gets a little softer later in the introduction:
Our nation needs immigration policies that recognize and enforce the country’s sovereignty, not just by having a wall at the southern border but also by quickly repatriating those in the country illegally. An erroneous claim of asylum should not give a foreign national a ticket to settle in the interior of our country. Nor should the legal immigration system have policies such as the diversity lottery and chain migration; instead, the immigration system should be merit-based; favor assimilation, not mass migration; and be geared toward benefiting the wages of working-class Americans.
Ron D will not deport migrants, but repatriate them.
Looking for useful life advice?
People often talk about the need for a student-athlete to “balance” the demands of the classroom with the requirements of sports. For me, I rejected the idea that I would strike a balance between academic achievement and athletic success, because I was not willing to give less than 100 percent to either baseball or my academics. So instead of balancing, I just did everything to the hilt and let the chips fall where they may.
He gave 110 percent while at Yale, in other words? Or 200 percent? I am not sure how to put this into practice since my capacity is about 50 percent on my best day.
We learn about Ron and Casey’s working class and military roots. Ron worked during high school and college, e.g., for an electrical contractor, while Casey’s sister was a USAF C-17 pilot. (Even today, the DeSantis family has minimal wealth.) Ron’s own military service made him skeptical of America’s recent war aims:
It was just as obvious that we would not succeed in establishing a pro-American, Western-style democracy in Iraq. This was simply outside the capability of any military force to achieve. The cultural differences were too vast for Iraq to embrace Madisonian constitutionalism. In fact, the Iraqis considered “freedom” to be submission to sharia law, not the enactment of a liberal democracy.
(The U.S. would be a lot friendlier to the immigrants that we claim to welcome if Michigan and Minnesota adopted sharia law. Why should Muslim immigrants, many of whom are asylees or refugees who are fleeing violence, have to accept a debauched society? They didn’t come to the U.S. because they love the way that the U.S. is, but because they would have been killed if they had stayed in their home countries.)
Ron was inspired by Barack Obama:
Once I left active duty, I began to think more and more about how our country was moving in the wrong direction, especially under the leftist agenda of the Obama administration.
What did he learn as a Congressman?
Ingrained in Beltway thinking is a contempt for average voters, particularly voters who reject leftist ideology.
That’s certainly consistent with my experience of D.C.! Also, Ron turns out to be one of the few Representatives who actually reads the bills.
The book does get more substantive. Leafing through, I found the following, for example:
Our reforms included protections for political candidates against being deplatformed, which is a way for Big Tech to interfere in elections. What is stopping Big Tech companies from shutting off Republican candidates from social media platforms during the stretch run of an election? If someone hosts a get-together for a candidate and provides refreshments, that must be accounted for as a campaign contribution, yet a tech company can upend an entire candidate’s campaign, and that is somehow not considered interference with an election. The reforms also included transparency requirements for the social media companies’ content moderation policies, and required that users be given notice of changes to those policies. The opaqueness of how Big Tech arrives at its censorship decisions means that it is easy for them to move the goalposts to stifle views the industry does not like.
I’m actually surprised that Twitter, Facebook, and Google allow Republican candidates to use their platforms at all. Any of these firms could cite the following analysis of the January 6 insurrection and say that it wasn’t safe to allow Republicans to speak.
I hope that some readers will read along with me!
So far I’m dismayed that Ron hasn’t adapted his message to be more like conventional politicians’. Crushing it in Florida against an all-abortion-care-all-the-time fossil does not mean that he can crush it with voters nationwide in 2024. Americans in general are the most timid and compliant humans ever to occupy this planet. The Floridians who wanted the freedom to leave their houses, breathe without masks, send children to school, not inject their children with experimental drugs, etc., are outliers on the spectrum of American cowerhood. Young/cognitively sharp/competent/energetic/effective sounds good, but Americans in 2020 chose a new president who does not have any of these qualities.
22 thoughts on “Ron DeSantis’s book”
Everything in US is done in corporate interests, does it really matter who’s in the WH? The same wars continue, same Wall Street bailouts, same giveaways to Big Pharma, even airlines, and most money of all for “defense.” If Ron gets in, his good ideas will be ignored while sheeple voters will be mesmerized by stories on his “anti-LGBT-Q/Disney/immigrant” stance, depending on the flavor of the day. Hence the current situation, with a Weekend at Bernie’s title character playing the part of a President.
Being an expert witness to a politician’s memoirs is a horrible job.
“Today, DeSantis lives in the governor’s mansion and holds no property after selling his Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home in March 2019 for $460,000, according to The Associated Press. The DeSantises placed the earnings from the house into the USAA account. ”
So, with $500K sheltered from capital gains (married couple), looks like Gov. Desantis had no taxable capital gain from the sale of the Ponte Vedra Beach residence.
” Gov. Ron DeSantis effectively lost $232,000 by selling his Ponte Vedra home a year before the pandemic caused housing prices to surge… first bought the home in Ponte Vedra Beach in 2009 for $307,500 and took out a mortgage for $314,111…He estimated his net worth at $348,832 — including about $164,000 that he and his wife profited when they sold the home for $460,000. It’s now worth an estimated $692,000…”
For a particularly intelligent and informative version of this genre, you might check out Bibi Netanyahu’s recent autobiography — his growing up in Israel and the US, his formation under the tutelage of his father the great historian Benzion Netanyahu and his older brother Yoni killed leading the raid at Entebbe, his time at MIT, service as a commando, the highlight of which was leading the unit that freed the hijacked Sabena passengers, and personal and political life, including the unhelpful meddling of Clinton and Obama in Israeli politics and elections. It is the story that most politicians could only dream of — or fabricate.
The hysteria around politicians being able to appoint judges in Israel (as is done in many other countries, including the U.S.) is kind of interesting. Netanyahu is described as a tyrant, but the Israelis who are protesting don’t say if they’re going to request asylum in Syria or if instead they will choose Lebanon.
I remember the Tampa news reporting back in about 2008, after Charlie Crist got elected FL Governor, that his net worth was about $100K. Crist would have been about 52 y/o at the time (and he was a Republican).
Fun fact – according to Wikipedia, “In 2022, while running for governor again, Crist said he was engaged to a woman he met in 2017, who is a mother of six children and a medical sonographer.”
DeSantis does not appear to be any more conservative than about ten other Republican governors. And yet DeSantis is the most hated Republican, after Trump. Does this book explain why?
Roger: Ron has a theory that he is being punished for his coronaheresy. He committed the crime of “doing his own research” (i.e., doubting Science) by reviewing numbers from around the world, including Sweden (the worst of the worst!), and implementing a COVID-19 policy that was contrary to Fauci and the CDC.
It is interesting to see how effective the media is. My Boston friend was convinced that Ron DeSantis was a key ally of Big Sugar’s slavery operation. The book makes it clear, and this is backed up by Florida newspapers, that DeSantis is the worst enemy that Big Sugar has ever had. Big Sugar backed his primary opponent in 2018. Ron D has consistently worked against Big Sugar’s critical water interests to the point that he was endorsed by the Everglades Trust against his righteous abortion care-loving Democrat opponent in 2022. https://evergladestrust.org/everglades-trust-endorses-ron-desantis-he-has-delivered/
What’s his take on the Ukraine conflict ?
The arms and pharma lobby are never letting him win. They made 1 mistake with orange man , not gonna repeat .
It’s gonna be xiden and KH again.
Anon: I think Ron DeSantis is also a heretic against our Ukraine policy, though he doesn’t write about Ukraine in the book. He does explicitly come out against nation-building in Arab/Muslim countries.
It was just as obvious that we would not succeed in establishing a pro-American, Western-style democracy in Iraq. This was simply outside the capability of any military force to achieve. The cultural differences were too vast for Iraq to embrace Madisonian constitutionalism. In fact, the Iraqis considered “freedom” to be submission to sharia law, not the enactment of a liberal democracy. As I saw firsthand the folly of using the military to socially engineer a foreign society, …
Bush sketched out a view for American foreign policy that constituted Wilsonianism on steroids. “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands,” Bush declared. “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” I remember being stunned. Does the survival of American liberty depend on whether liberty succeeds in Djibouti? Are we going to try to impose democracy in societies where most people are hostile to US interests? What would the cost in American blood and treasure be if we ended tyranny in our world? Is it possible to end tyranny in our world? This messianic impulse—that the US had both the right and the obligation to promote democracy, by force, if necessary, around the world—was grounded in Wilsonian moralism, not in a clear-eyed view of American interests. Policy resting on such an impulse was as undesirable as it was unsustainable.
The Founders would not have thought of forcibly removing a dictator and then having a society governed by the mere whims of the majority as “liberty.” They knew that liberty could be squelched by a runaway majority just as easily as it could be by a single tyrant. The Founders revolted against George III, so they had immense credibility when it came to standing up to autocrats. They also understood that a free society required a constitutional structure that would rest on the consent of the people but would not descend into the tyranny of the majority.
The mere ability to exercise the franchise was necessary but far from sufficient to maintain a society that protected liberty. The hallmarks of Madisonian constitutionalism—the separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, and a bill of rights—represented structural safeguards against concentrated power, be it in a single executive or a legislative majority. This science of politics was not imposed from on high but represented the logical outgrowth of the intellectual, religious, and cultural trends of the time. The great achievement of the Founding Fathers was to create a framework within which a free society could endure and flourish. It is a fool’s errand to think that the US can simply impose such a framework on foreign societies, especially those that lack our cultural affinity for liberty. In Iraq, the US achieved success after success on the battlefield. Such successes were considerably more elusive when it came to establishing a functioning, pro-American, democratic society.
I don’t think Ron D is as hostile to our war in Ukraine as he is to our nation-building attempts. Ukrainians do not yearn to be governed by sharia. But I think Ron is wary of jumping on the war wagon when the war is going the way we want it to and Americans aren’t being directly killed (but maybe some are indirectly killed as money and resources are diverted from domestic matters). In response to all of the folks who opened their checkbooks and added Ukrainian flags to their Twitter accounts after the first wave of Ukrainian victories, Ron D seems to be asking “What if that changes?”
Probably Ron’s position regarding Ukraine will also hurt him. Americans seem to have short memories. We’ve forgotten the failures of nearly all of our modern military adventures (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc.). Joe Biden is not only a wartime president, but he’s a winning wartime president.
Hey Florida-fanboy-Phil, seeing as you’re reporting on your state’s exalted leader, did you register your blog with the state as required by proposed law? Go Gators!
SS: By “proposed law” do you mean a bill that was introduced by a single legislator (out of 160) and that has attracted no co-sponsors? https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2023/1316
Why not ask Maskachusetts residents if they have already filed to collect their $100 per person Science-compliance tax credit. “Therefore, this legislation authorizes a COVID-19 Vaccination Tax Credit (VTC), of at least $100, to each individual, who attaches to their Massachusetts Individual Income Tax, the Medical Documentation, of having received the available, and required doses, of approved COVID-19 vaccines”. (I think you need all boosters to get the $100.) The $100 tax credit bill is sponsored by a single person:
If Brandon drags out his favorite conflicts until 2024, perhaps Trump has better chances than DeSantis. Brandon wants to get reelected as a wartime president, and many Republican politicians are helping him by talking up the tensions. Trump is better in that environment.
Worst of all is Lindsay Graham, whose rhetoric is perfect for the Democrats (they will be perceived as prudent in comparison while keeping the conflicts going by slowly boiling the frog).
Trump needs a top team without nepotism and clearly communicated policies for inflation and infrastructure (including housing).
“perhaps Trump has better chances than DeSantis”
How will Trump’s impending arrest on Tuesday affect his chances?
“Donald Trump claimed on Saturday that his arrest is imminent and issued an extraordinary call for his supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president.”
If orange man actually gets arrested , that would be the best thing for his campaign. And would skyrocket his chances next year.
But demorats aren’t probably that stupid .
I’m voting for Ron because I like chubby presidents. Americans are too fat phobic. Trump was a healthy 240, but the last truly great president was Taft, who was over 300 pounds.
My favorite president is Calvin Coolidge and he was slender!
Ron needs to learn something about eye contact if he is to campaign nationally. He also would look better battling worthy opponents rather than college kids and social justice types. Oh, and lose the high heeled boots.
I was born in Florida, came back to retire, and live in one of the reddest districts. I just don’t understand all these otherwise reasonable neighbors who vote contrary to their own interests.
OTOH, the Democrats seldom have an attractive alternative. Where are all the rational people?
Donald: Since it is a proven fact that Republicans vote against their own interests, shouldn’t there be at least a warning on every ballot, like on a cigarette pack, that a Republican victory will be harmful to almost everyone? Or maybe a two-factor authentication protocol should be used if anyone wants to vote for a Republican candidate. Your neighbors who vote contrary to their interests could do a preliminary marking of their ballots. Then the ballots could be reviewed by a nonpartisan journalist or League of Women Voters official who would determine, perhaps based on Zillow estimate of home values for each voter, whether the votes should be finalized (only for those votes that the nonpartisan election monitor decides aren’t against the voters’ interests).
@Phil. A better system would be for every ballot to default to Democrat. The only way to change the default would be to wait in line, hopefully in the rain, and change it in person. This would be accomplished by showing at least two sources of government issued ID.