We Need to Talk About Mark Levin's Interview With Ron DeSantis

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

On Sunday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared on “Life, Liberty, and Levin” on Fox News, purportedly to promote his new book, The Courage to Be Free, which comes out this week.


While DeSantis has not yet declared that he’s running for president, he certainly sounded like a man who’s making the case for his candidacy. Or, if not, he’s making a case for conservatism as the path to American success and prosperity— the subtitle of the book is “Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.”

As my colleague Stephen Green pointed out earlier today:

DeSantis isn’t traveling to early presidential primary states like Iowa or New Hamphire, at least not yet. Instead, his most recent tour was through three struggling Deep Blue cities to tout what he’s done differently in Florida… DeSantis is calmly but quite publicly holding up his state as a model for the nation, just like a governor running for president would do. Except that he has yet to announce that he’s running. He hasn’t even formed one of those exploratory committees that allows a not-yet candidate to fundraise.

I don’t see how it’s a bad thing for DeSantis to wait to announce—if he does indeed plan to run. Does anyone really think the primary season is too short and needs to be lengthened? The 2016 primary seemed like it would never end—and the personal attacks and circular firing squad did nothing to help spread the message about the benefits of conservatism.

We’re still more than a year out from the primaries. What’s the rush? If DeSantis can run a soft campaign, while continuing to notch more conservative wins on his Florida belt, he can stay above the fray and avoid some of the pitfalls that early announcers often run into, including candidate fatigue. Remember how sick to death we all were of hearing from the 2016 candidates, many of whom we previously liked? For what that’s worth, a lot of formerly vociferous Trump supporters are sick of his bellyaching on social media day and night and his silly attacks on DeSantis, who is one of the few Republicans actually getting anything meaningful done.


That kind of thing sells well on Truth Social, which has pretty much evolved into a Trump fan club, but to people outside that bubble, it comes across as petty and kind of pathetic, a far cry from the Donald Trump we got to know in 2016. He really needs some new material.

Whether or not DeSantis decides to run for president, he’s demonstrated over and over again that it’s possible to stand up to the woke mob and The Swamp and win. He stood up to Disney and won—depriving the woke company of its special tax breaks and self-governing authority. He noted in the interview that on his first day in office, he sat down and read what authority the governor had and then went to work. He fired a George Soros-backed DA when he refused to enforce the law; remade a failing Florida university in the image of Hillsdale College; went after venues hosting perverts performing drag shows with little kids in the audience; and banned sexually explicit materials in the classrooms of children in grades K-2. He was one of the first governors to re-open his state during the covid pandemic and he ordered children and teachers back into their classrooms. He also refused to force vaccine mandates. Unlike Trump, who stood mutely next to Dr. Fauci while he stood at the podium and spewed his lies about the origins of the covid virus, masking, and the vaccine, DeSantis did his research and decided for himself what was best for his state.

And those are just some of the highlights.

The Left’s responses to some of DeSantis’s moves have been as hysterical as you’d expect, but it hasn’t deterred him in the least. He’s continued his march through the institutions in his effort to protect the voters in his state and restore some much-needed sanity.


Related: Is Ron DeSantis Running for President Without Running for President?

There’s been an effort by some to portray DeSantis as a Swamp creature, beholden to Paul Ryan (who?) or something, but that’s laughable on its face. This guy is fighting the liberals and WINNING. Who cares if he ran into Kevin McCarthy in a men’s room once, or whatever it is the Twitter bots are saying this week? All I care about is winning and taking back the country. If the GOP elites want to pour money into his campaign, let them. You can’t win the presidency without money. There’s more than enough proof to indicate that DeSantis is his own man and not beholden to special interests.

DeSantis addressed those claims in a roundabout way during the interview. He talked about how he walked into Yale on his first day of classes wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops and realized that he was a “fish out of water” among the elites on campus. While he admits that he wasn’t a hardcore ideological conservative when he began at Yale, he did have what he called “rust-belt values,” owing to his mother hailing from the Youngstown, Ohio, area. The more he sat through classes at the elite university, the more conservative he became.

“Listen, how many people that you know go up to Washington, they say they’re gonna do these things, and then The Swamp co-ops them, and they end up not following principles? Look at me. I got through Yale and Harvard and came out more conservative than when I went in. The Swamp’s gonna have nothing on that.”


“I always told myself none of this [what was taught at Yale] will fly in the real world because you get out there, this is all just pie-in-the-sky stuff… I think what we see with a lot of the woke ideology and all these institutions in society, this is a reflection of what a lot of universities have produced over the last generation and so we’re reaping a lot of what was sowed in those classrooms.”

My Townhall colleague Kurt Schlichter has a great column this week saying that Republicans from blue states are tougher—”based” was the word he used—than those in red states because they’ve had to fight more. The same could be true of DeSantis’s political evolution while he was at Yale.

Noticeably absent from the interview was any mention of Trump’s recent attacks on DeSantis. Levin mentioned that the book, which DeSantis actually wrote himself, doesn’t contain any of the gossip or attacks on other politicians that tend to be a staple in political books. Instead, it focuses on DeSantis’s biography and his policies and principles.

“It’s like if you and I would have had a private conversation three years ago, why should I regurgitate that and put that out there when you were talking to me in confidence?” the governor explained. “And so I try to focus on the policies. What does it mean to be a leader in this day and age because, as you know, Mark, when you’re standing for our values, you come under assault in American society.”


“If you’re standing for the right things, you’re going to have to show courage under fire if you ultimately want to bring this stuff in for a landing, and so we had to do that so many different times. And I just felt that’s something that people are gonna be more interested in than any kind of dishing about private conversations I may have had with somebody.”

You can watch part of the interview here:



Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member