DeSantis and Disney

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The Florida governor is riding high.
‘So there’s a new Sheriff in town and that’s the way it’s going to be,’ he said the other day.
He’s taken on Disney and their ‘Reedy Creek Improvement District’, a legal authority granted to the entertainment company in the 1960s so they could set up a futuristic city in the Orlando area - Epcot - which never materialized and the project became instead another theme park.
Disney World packs a lot of punch and the special district status may grant financial advantages that lessen competition.
On those grounds alone those privileges could be challenged, but DeSantis’ tiff with the organization is about hitting back because Disney came out against a Florida law passed in March 2022, the ‘Parental Rights in Education Act’, which barred ‘classroom instruction … on sexual orientation or gender identity’ from kindergarten through the 3rd grade, while prohibiting also such instruction at any grade level if done ‘in a manner that is not age or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.’
The LGBTQ+ community, which is fighting against prejudice and for societal inclusion nationwide, justifiably saw it as a violation of free speech and have been critical of the law.
They are right.
Sexual orientation is largely established before we start primary school. Discussion of the differences others show allows for the development of tolerance and respect and so prevents prejudice with all its lasting damage.
The strong pushing for the passing of the law tells me such parents are not trusting themselves or their children.
But this is a pyrrhic victory for DeSantis. It exposes his own prejudices and it will carry through into the presidential race. We’ll see more as the campaign unfolds.
Disney was right in opposing passage of the law. They had to answer to their workers who have a broader perspective than the Florida governor and made their case clear.
Meanwhile, Disney will have to contend with their restricted governing powers. The district they had controlled will now be renamed ‘The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’ which will be subject to more state control and its board members will be appointed by DeSantis instead of the company.
Perhaps there will be more competition, but judging by Disney’s success, whoever has been part of that enterprise was doing a good job.
There are still options for Disney. If profoundly dissatisfied, they can pull out and move to an adjoining state where they could get a better deal. I’m sure it’s crossed the minds of their executives.
I don’t see Florida as the showcase state it is being made out to be.
Their demographics are skewed by an excess of retirees. Like Texas, it doesn’t have state taxes. But are those signs of being an outstanding state? No.
And regarding Covid: the battle against the virus was won by scientists, not by politicians.
So ride on, Sheriff DeSantis. You might be looking at a long stay in that saddle. Which will give you time to gallop on down to Mar-A-Lago and discuss with Trump all that could have been if either of you had been more inclusive as leaders.

The Republican Senator

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He’s in his office, in Washington D.C., thinking about his circumstances.
He’s not pleased.
The congressional hearings investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6th are still going on. He wishes they would go away, but there they are, day after day.
Secretly – he hasn’t said a word about it to anyone – he wishes he’d had the guts that Liz Cheney has shown, taking a leading role in investigating Donald Trump’s part in the attack.
She is doing what she thinks needs to be done, not what her constituency wants her to do.
That’s the hard part, he thinks to himself. Going against your constituency.
‘It takes a certain kind of courage.’
‘The congressional investigation has uncovered enough, as if the facts themselves, as reported by the press at the time of the event, hadn’t been sufficient.’
‘Donald Trump had incited the crowd to march on the Capitol with the intention of disrupting the counting of the electoral ballots. Clearly an assault on democracy.’
Yet there he is, as Senator, sitting in his office, unable to say so.
A pang of shame fills him for a moment.
If he spoke out against Trump he’d face harsh criticism from his constituency. They would demand that he resign. And then, what would he do with his life?
All the attention he gets now would be gone.
No more ‘Senator, tell us about this, Senator, tell us about that…’ No more reporters chasing after him, photographers clicking their cameras, newspapers quoting him, lobbyists wanting his approval, trips here or there to investigate this or that, meetings with foreign leaders… and worst of all… losing the possibility of being picked for secretary of state or… dream of dreams… as a running mate for the presidency.
All he needs to do to keep those possibilities alive is to not criticize Trump.
All he needs is to simply keep lying to himself, repeating that on January 6th, Trump didn’t really incite his followers to march on capitol hill to disrupt the electoral ballot counting… that what he really was doing was asking his supporters to remind the ballot counters of their sacred duty to the country. Remind them to do the patriotic thing. But then things got out of hand.
‘But you cannot hang that on Trump,’ he repeats to himself.
‘The president would never, ever, try to disrupt the democratic process. Far from it, instead, Trump would offer his life to defend it. Because that’s who he is.’
The senator takes a deep breath. ‘It will blow over. I just have to wait it out. We all have to.’
‘I just don’t think I could live without all that attention I get every day.’
‘I’ll admit, it’s a little sad… to have become such attention junkie. But I would get very depressed if I didn’t have it. In a way, though, to have become so dependent on the opinions of my constituency is unsettling… I’m their mouthpiece.’
The thought of Liz Cheney comes to him again. ‘How can she do it? Surely, she won’t be reelected. So what will she do with her life?’
‘Hmm. Maybe, because of her willingness to disagree, she’ll get some nice offers to be a board member with some big companies. She’d get stock options and so forth. And she’d have that pride, that lasting satisfaction, that she’s made a name for herself. People might revile her, but they will remember her for her guts. That’s a nice way to be remembered.’
The Senator leans forward, rubs his face.
‘All is not lost. I could still change my mind.’
‘What makes matters worse is that I don’t think Trump will win the Republican nomination. There will be a big rift in the party and DeSantis will be chosen to run in 2024. But we won’t win the presidency, unless Biden screws up… but so far, unbelievably, he’s holding up.’
‘I don’t think we’ll win the presidency because Biden’s done a good job on the war in Ukraine… and I don’t think we’ll go into a recession… and if we do, it will be mild.’
The Senator stands up and goes to the window where he stands looking out.
‘But what if… I changed my mind and… came out in support of Liz Cheney?’
He smiles.
‘The phone wouldn’t stop ringing and right away Trump would endorse someone to run against me this Fall.’
He laughs.
‘My family would be all upset… but I’d explain and they’d settle down. I’d tell them that I have to do it for myself… for my self-respect. I’d figure out something to do with my time. It’s not like I haven’t earned a decent living before. And if, later on, I’d want to return to Washington, I’m sure I can find a job as a lobbyist.’
‘But do I have it in me to go against the pack?’
He looks out, a determined expression now coming to his face.
‘Deep inside, we’d all want to be like Liz Cheney… and maybe… just maybe… I’m due for a good fight in my life.’, apple podcasts

Trump’s Lament

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He riled up Republicans in 2016 with a promise of remaking their world.
But he couldn’t deliver.
He had overpromised.
Rather than speak to his supporters and tone down their expectations, he kept up with the unrealistic notions.
Tweeting was a way of avoiding the reflection necessary to engage in a dialogue with the opposition. But he couldn’t muster the political courage.
So he tweeted some more. Maybe he reasoned that keeping his followers entertained would suffice. It didn’t.
The famous Wall was a distraction. It never got built, but there are patches of it, here and there, like relics in a battlefield.
Make America Great Again was a bust
In this age of growing interdependence you need allies. But he couldn’t muster the discipline and forethought.
Still he kept stirring up partisanship, fostering divisions amongst Americans and eluding the dialogue that sits at the center of any attempt to build bridges amongst ourselves.
In foreign policy he could not stand up to Putin. He could not say to the Russian dictator ‘do not meddle in our elections.’
And so Trump’s character flaws mounted and mounted.
There was that one time when a female staffer in his administration had quit and then criticized him. He answered by calling her ‘a dog’.
And then, to crown his history of misjudgments, he incites a crowd to march on Capitol Hill on January 6th. Testimony emerged during the congressional hearings on the matter that he wanted to personally lead the assault on the capitol, to disrupt the electoral ballot counting.
His own staff had urged him to not proceed with his intentions. He even tried to coerce his vehicle’s driver to take him there. But the man objected.
In the end, he had to accept that his administration had been a failure. But it’s been rough getting there.
He may have started to accept reality but a side of his still fights it.
Most painful of all was that he had a chance to make a difference but he botched it.
He has trouble living with that.
In the face of events, sane Republicans recognize what a disaster Trump has been for the party. But it will take time to process. They are now looking in the mirror and acknowledging that they did elect him and cheered him on. Eventually, those sane Republicans will find their truth and Trump will not get the nomination for president he still hopes for.
His time has passed and he has to live with his lament, the opportunity to lead that was botched and botched badly, because he dared not think of all Americans.
Sadly, he will go down as the worst Republican president ever.
He knows it and it hurts.
Sane Republicans’ reckoning with themselves will require time, time to relearn to trust their judgment, which is why I believe they will not win the next presidential election.
If Biden chooses not to run, that election will belong to a woman, and the woman will be from the democratic party.
Maybe it will be Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar or Cortez Masto, or another person yet to emerge.
And history will move us on.

Oscar Valdes,,, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

The Further Decline of The Republican Party

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It wasn’t enough to not rise in criticism of Mr Trump’s claim that the presidential election was ‘rigged and stolen from us.’

Not enough for Republicans not to denounce his encouragement of the assault on the Capitol on January 6th.

Republican legislators had to improve on their dismal record and now have voted Liz Cheney out of her 3rdposition in the Republican hierarchy in the House because she would not accept Trump’s statements.

Liz Cheney would not consent to slavish obedience to Mr Trump. She may not even retain her seat in the upcoming mid term elections in Wyoming, which she represents.

I find it absurdly fascinating, that the former president still casts a spell over so many legislators.

Absurdly fascinating that the task of educating Republican voters has been deferred, and that bowing to an out of office failed politician is still considered lofty.


For a brief moment, I thought Republicans would come to their senses. 

I was mistaken. 

There is, though, a movement building by a rebellious party faction that is saying enough is enough. They are saying that there should be no further tolerance for Mr Trump’s influence on the party.

But will it gather strength?

I think it has a chance.

I do because there is a segment of Republican voters who are not blinded by Mr Trump’s antics. Men and women who are able to see clearly who Mr Trump is. Now ensconced in his Mar-A-Lago retreat, he continues to nurture dreams of a comeback.

But it is pure denial. Pure fantasy.

The former president botched the nation’s handling of Covid, alienated our allies, failed to stand up against racism in the land, stirred anti immigrant sentiment.

The task ahead for the enlightened resistance against his influence is clear. Those who refuse to see him for who he is are in need of urgent reeducation.

A democrat can’t do it.

But a clear eyed Republican can.

The party has those in their ranks. They are now willing to move to center stage and defy the wrath of those who have been blinded by Mr Trump, and then firmly confront the crisis of identity the party is facing. 

The majority who elected him in 2016 thought they had found themselves a prize. Instead, they got one of the least insightful presidents that have ever been elected.

It is time to acknowledge the mistake and move forward.

Sadly, there is also a chance, that such acknowledgement will not happen.

And then Democrats will find it easier to win the upcoming mid term elections. Then the next presidential contest. And the one that follows.

Truth that lays bare before our eyes, sometimes cannot be seen. 

Remember the tale about the emperor without clothes?

Oscar Valdes.