Monday, February 19, 2024

'We told you so!' DeSantis called out for backtracking on book banning legislation he initially supported.

Florida governor and former presidential candidate Ron DeSantis

Presidential elections are generally a pain in the ass, but one of the sweetest rewards is when a wannabe candidate's campaign explodes in his face and reveals that he is nothing more than undeserved hype. With that in mind, I give you Florida governor Ron DeSantis. It has been a special delight to watch his campaign implode as it is revealed that his "culture warrior" schtick is nothing more than a sad covering for a man who has zero personality.

 Last week was another indication.

From Talking Points Media:

Back in Florida after a humiliating run against Donald Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to do some clean up. 

 The Florida governor spent the first half of his second term signing legislation into law that would, essentially, help him run for president. His state became the breeding ground for Republicans’ manufactured culture wars as his GOP-dominated state legislature passed anti-“woke,” anti-LBGTQ, anti-“DEI” and pro-“family values” legislation into law left and right. It was widely speculated that DeSantis was using his own state to showcase policy that he hoped would resonate with Trump voters ahead of his announced 2024 bid. 

 We all know how that scheme ended. 

 So, back in Florida, after mortifying himself and dashing his own hopes of being likable on a national stage, DeSantis appears to be doing some damage control on some of the far-right legislation he signed into law. At a press conference in Orlando on Thursday the Republican governor acknowledged that his whole book banning thing had gotten a little out of control. Not because the policy itself is too extreme, of course. He blamed teachers, school administrators and “the news media” for whipping up a frenzy (he called it a “hoax”) and “activists” for trying to score political points by proposing bans on too many books. 

 “Lets’ not let people try to hijack the process,” DeSantis during the news conference Thursday. “With objecting — if you go to a school board meeting objecting. If you have a kid in school, okay. But if you’re somebody who doesn’t have a kid in school and you’re gonna object to 100 books? No, I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he continued, appearing to support a new bill that’s been proposed in the Florida state House that seeks to prevent people who don’t have children enrolled in a school district from filing complaints against a school district’s book material. 

 DeSantis is supporting legislation which would put limits and monetary fees on people challenging books, but his retreat from his original position and attempt to blame others for it isn't going unchallenged:

"This is literally one of the main things that I and many others complained about all throughout 2021-22 when right-wing activists, led by Moms for Liberty, Libs of TikTok, and others who had no children in the public school systems, were besieging schools and school board meetings, causing absolute chaos. We complained that the wording of this statute would lead to exactly what DeSantis is now complaining about. But back then, he was a culture warrior building his brand to run for president. Not only did he not want to hear it, he encouraged these people. He employed these people." - Ron Filipkowski, MeidasTouch Network 

"In an indirect way, DeSantis recognized his policies have gotten out hand. He touted a bill going through the 2024 legislative session to curb challenges from people who don’t have children at the school where they are lodging their objections. Yet, after signing laws that left local school officials scrambling to figure out what they meant, DeSantis now wants to scapegoat them. He said he’s directed the Florida Department of Education to craft rules to hold educators accountable if they go beyond what state law requires them to do. It is the state that should be held accountable, but don’t expect that from the governor." - Miami Herald Editorial Board

 “Governor DeSantis’ denial that Florida is banning books, and his shifting blame to local school boards and Floridians, is a blatant attempt to avoid responsibility for the significant and ongoing harm caused by statutes that he championed. But there is one thing we can agree on: book banning has gone too far, and limiting challenges is a good first step toward protecting Florida’s libraries.” - Katie Blankenship, director of PEN America’s Florida office