Mr. DeSantis Goes to Utah

Well, gentle readers, I am pleased to announce that I made it through the Utah GOP convention unscathed. Bored at times, but unscathed. Yes, there were protestors, but by the time things adjourned, their presence had been reduced to three people twirling trans-flags and streamers. But they looked like they were at least having fun.


It has been said by some of the more famous talking heads that Romney is popular in Utah. These are people who have obviously never spent a great deal of time in Utah. Not only was Pierre Delecto once again absent from the convention, but this sign also greeted everyone who graced the convention gates:

I made a point of saying hi to the people manning the table. And they had donuts. Of course, there was a hot debate over a resolution on the state flag, party leadership elections were held, and some bylaws and policy changes needed to be decided. But to be honest, everyone was there for one reason and one reason only: to see Ron DeSantis. This was evidenced by the fact that the lines for the restrooms and snack bar went down the hall and ’round the corner the minute the man left the stage.

And DeSantis delivered.

He did not give a stump speech per se. Those are coming later. It was more of a rallying cry. A recounting of what he and his administration did in Florida, and what could be possible for the rest of the nation. And he had some words for the RINOS as well.

I won’t give you the whole speech, since I ran out of space on my phone and I missed recording a few things while I cleared some files, but here are some highlights:

Throughout our country, we’re engaged in a battle to preserve the cause of liberty.

If you think — if you look at what’s happened over the last few years, I don’t think anybody could have lived through this experience where we saw churches forcibly shuttered in states that allow liquor stores and strip clubs to operate. Where we saw people’s freedoms come under attack like never before. Freedom is fragile. Freedom can be squandered. We are proud of earning the moniker of “The Free State of Florida, but this was not something that was preordained. And we came very close to taking a much different path.

I was told, “Listen, don’t rock the boat. Keep your head down. You may not want to make waves going in there because you may upset this political balance that we have in the state of Florida, and if you make some wrong moves, you’ll upset in the favor of the Democrats, and then you’ll tip the state to them.” And I understood that, and honestly it was not crazy advice. But I rejected that advice. My view was that I may have earned half the vote, but that entitled me to wield 100% of the executive power, and I intended to use that authority to advance conservative policies. We would do that by governing on the basis of conviction, not putting our finger in the wind and trying to get ahead wherever public opinion may be blowing.

We have never taken a single poll about any issue, about telling me what to do as governor. I don’t think you govern by polls. A leader is not captive to what a poll may say. A leader gets ahead of public opinion. A leader sets out a vision, executes the vision, and delivers the results. And guess what? If you do that, people follow you and they have your back.

You can have the best ideas in the world as an executive, you can make the best decisions in the world and you can have a great policy agenda, but if you don’t have a cadre of people in your administration who share that agenda and are going to put the interests of the state and the community ahead of whatever personal agenda or personal interest they’re bringing, then none of it is going to amount to very much because those are the folks that have to carry out the vision. And so we told people, “If you’re bringing anything else to this job other than the best interests of the people of Florida, and to satisfy the promises we made to them, then pack your bags right now.”


On why Florida has accomplished so much under his watch:

I said, “I’m not going to be like some of these Republicans — they get into office, and they’re like potted plants. They don’t do anything. They wait for all this stuff to happen. Some of them don’t like making decisions because as a leader, any time you make a decision, there’s going to be people that like it and there’s going to be some people that don’t. So one way not to alienate anyone is just not to do anything. But that’s not leadership… I made the judgment, “We are going on offense. I am going to be leading into issues. I am not going to wait for issues to come to me. I’m not going to let the Left define the terms of the debate. I’m not going to let the media determine the narrative. We are going to create it. And too many Republicans are worried that if you stand strong, the Left will attack you, the media will attack you. Of course they’re going to attack you. If they’re not attacking me, I must not be doing my job right. Don’t worry about what they say.

On how he handled the COVID-19 issue:

I made the judgment (that) leaders take the bull by the horns and make the decisions for themselves. They don’t subcontract out their leadership to help bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci. We made sure to do what we thought was right. And when we were doing that, a lot of those decisions were very, very lonely. No governor in this country was attacked more relentlessly during then — actually, during now, too — but certainly during then than me.

I had a lot of supporters and friends say, “Man, they are just killing you. I know you think you are doing the right thing, but you need to maybe trim your sails a little bit, here, because politically, you may not be able to recover if they keep filleting you like this.” And my view is that a leader is going to put the interests of the people he represents above his own political interests. You’ve got to be more concerned with saving the jobs of the people you represent than in protecting your own job. So I was totally willing to let the chips fall where they may, knowing that we did the right thing. And in hindsight, now people look back and most of the people that opposed what we were doing? They’ve got businesses open, kids in school, the whole nine yards.

We stood strong and Florida is better as a result of our leadership at that time.


On what he has accomplished in his second term:

We enacted a 50% reduction in tolls for Florida commuters throughout our state. We’ve enacted universal education savings accounts so that we will remain number one in school choice across the country. We’ve stood for life by enacting the Heartbeat Bill in the state of Florida. We have stood for the Second Amendment by enacting Constitutional Carry. We have formally stripped Disney of its self-governing status. And we fortified our newly- instituted statewide Office of Elections Crimes and Election Fraud so that we can hold people who violate our election laws accountable for their crimes.

And over the next three or four weeks, as our legislature is still in session, they will enact legislation that I will sign to do the following: we are going to kneecap ESG in the state of Florida. We’re leading in a group of 18 states that are pushing back, so we’re not the only one. We are also going to be the first state in the country to eliminate DEI from our public universities. We are going to prohibit land purchases by entities related to or controlled by the CCP. We are going to prohibit in the state of Florida the implementation of any central bank digital currency. We’re going to enact the largest tax relief in the state of Florida, which is going to include a permanent sales tax exclusion on all baby items so newborns come, parents won’t have to pay tax on cribs, strollers, clothes, wipes, diapers, none of it. Raise your kids tax-free. We are going to protect Floridians against Biden’s border crisis and illegal immigration.

And while we’ve already done this through our medical boards, and it’s sad that we have to do this, and I know Utah has had to do, we are going to prohibit, for minors, gender surgery and puberty blockers. We’re going to take the protections that we enacted for so many people during COVID such as you should not lose your job based on your choice about whether to take an mRNA shot. Schoolchildren cannot be mandated to take the COVID jab, and you can never have these things imposed on you. So we are making all of those protections permanent, we are expanding them, and so we will have the strongest protections for medical freedoms anywhere in the country.


In a move sure to aggravate Leftists from one dysfunctional coast to another and send Randi Weingarten into apoplexy, DeSantis added, “We are going to enact the largest [increase] in teachers’ salaries in the history of Florida, but we’re going to do it in a way that the money only goes to the teachers, not to the unions.”

On crime, he stated, “We going to take these people who are dealing fentanyl to our youth, and we are going to treat them like the murderers that they are.”

The takeaway was that, in DeSantis’ words, “Leadership matters, and being bold gets rewarded. When it comes to vision, when it comes to principles, when it comes to policies, the people of Utah, of Florida, and I believe of the United States, they side with us against the radical Left.”

Related: Trump Sides With Disney in Its War With DeSantis

He noted that Florida has millions more people than New York, yet New York has twice the budget of the Sunshine State. But it lags behind Florida in most areas. DeSantis also decried the lack of fiscal responsibility in D.C., and the loss of domestic energy production. He pointed out that law and order work, and that allowing rioting and disorder destroys communities. He noted the cities that have been gripped with chaos while citing a 50-year-low crime rate in Florida. He added that local legislation was passed in Florida prohibiting local government from defunding police. He recounted how he dispatched the National Guard and local law enforcement during the BLM riots to send the message that cities would not be burnt down. The state is also enacting anti-rioting legislation that was criticized by the U.N. He said that the state rejects progressive Soros-funded prosecutors who refuse to enforce the laws they don’t like and use their office to advance an agenda. He talked about one such prosecutor in Tampa whom he removed from office.


There was much more, but DeSantis concluded by recalling the memories of those who sacrificed for our country, stating, “We are called merely upon to be on our guard, we are called to stand firm, we are called to be courageous, and we are called to be strong. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the state of Florida, but I can tell you this: I’ve only begun to fight.”

The punchline was that there was one reporter/personality who was on hand, stationed just below the camera stand. I could tell this from my vantage point because she had perfectly-coiffed hair and the standard-issue television pantsuit. And every so often I would look over to see her scowling and tapping out messages on her phone. She may have been non-plussed by it all, but the crowd was electrified. Not so much because of DeSantis’ soaring rhetorical skills; it was not the most dramatic speech ever delivered in the English language. Of the two, Trump is the showman. Rather, the crowd was excited by the story that DeSantis told. It was the substance, not the style that mattered.


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