Commentary

Some compassion, please, for Anthony Sabatini, ‘the worst person in the Florida Legislature’

March 15, 2021 7:00 am

Republican Anthony Sabatini won his reelection campaign last fall against Democrat Stephanie Dukes in House District 32. Credit: @AnthonySabatini Facebook page

Pity Rep. Anthony Sabatini. He’s like an over-stimulated chihuahua at a crowded party, yapping for attention and never getting enough.

Now he says he’s running for Congress to make America more greater again, again. Give him a Milk-bone, poor little fellow.

Sabatini began his IED of a political career in 2016 as a member of the City Council of Eustis (motto: “Culture, Opportunity, Vitality”), inviting homeless Confederate monuments, cruelly ripped from plinths across the South, to relocate to the town, “where we will gladly accept and proudly display our nation’s history.”

Can I get a Rebel Yell?

Sabatini once appeared in blackface, but it was OK because it happened in high school and he had a black friend, and, hey, it was just a “prank.”

Obviously, he was destined for great things here in the Sunshine State.

Eustis proved too small a canvas for such an ambitious political artiste, however, and soon young Anthony found himself in the Florida House, a perfect representative for Lake County, with its proud history of Klan activity, lynching, corruption, and even a sprinkling of Republican voter fraud.

Once in the Legislature, he busied himself tweeting threats about AR-15s blossoming in every corner of Lake County should Black Lives Matter protesters show up there; suing (he is a lawyer) various counties and municipalities over mask mandates during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (losing every one); sponsoring a bill to declare Nov. 7  “Victims of Communism Day;” sponsoring another bill to stop the gubmint forcing anyone to get vaccinated (because you have a God-given right to go around infecting people!); and fighting to rename U.S. Highway 27 for his MAGA man-crush, Donald J. Trump — which will never happen.

In other words, he’s been completely useless.

Nevertheless, the Dilbert Principle of promoting people beyond their competence applies in politics, too.

Maybe especially in politics. The man the Orlando Sentinel once called “the worst person in the Florida Legislature” (and remember, y’all, there’s hell of a lot of competition) kicked off his bid by lying, assuring incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster that he would not run against him, then filing the paperwork to run against him.

Sabatini shrugged off the lie by saying that, since the state Republicans might move the lines around, gerrymandering districts represented by Democrats out of existence, or performing other electoral gris-gris, he might not be running against Webster after all, but whatever: Who cares about that old guy, right?

How hard can it be to get elected to Congress, anyway? Matt Gaetz invited a white nationalist Holocaust denier to the State of the Union, opposed a human trafficking bill, and was accused by a fellow Republican of starting a game in the Florida House where the young gents got “points” for having sex with aides, interns, lobbyists, and married members, among other tool-ish antics, and he won three elections!

All you have to do is:

  1. Be all-in for capitalist Jesus.
  2. Support the pre-born.
  3. Tell the post-born to get a damn job.
  4. Love guns, never leaving a barrel unlicked.
  5. Say “Merry Christmas” in a threatening manner.
  6. Appear on Fox, Newsmax, and OANN to float dark conspiracy theories about George Soros, Hilary Clinton, Beau Biden, and Oprah.
  7. Shout. Holler. Preferably while jumping up and down and pointing.

Sabatini announced his candidacy last week, standing before an aggressively white crowd at JB Boondock’s (home of the $7.99 fried green beans!) his parents’ restaurant on Little Lake Harris, attacking the “spineless and corrupt Republican establishment” which has, he said, “turned its back on President Trump and refuses to fight for our America First agenda!”

“The winds have never blown harder politically in our country,” he proclaimed. “We need elected officials who, when the wind blows, they don’t go where the wind blows.”

Yes, and by the Receding Hairline of Jupiter, Anthony Sabatini intends to blow his own wind!

Just think of it: Anthony Sabatini in Washington hanging with the Trumpublican Brain Trust, setting off the metal detectors with Colorado Congresswoman and Sarah Palin-wannabee Lauren Boebert, joining with Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene to fight the transgender takeover of middle school badminton, and holding primal-scream sessions with Rep. Jim “Gym” Jordan of Ohio, reassuring each other that Joe Biden really lost the election.

Think of the cable news time they’ll get!

The only way to make it more perfect would be if Kyle Rittenhouse took up Sabatini’s invitation to run for the House of Representatives, too.

You remember Kyle Rittenhouse, the pasty youth who killed two people “protecting” white people’s property from protesters marching against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August? He’s out on bail, last seen in a Wisconsin bar, hanging with some Proud Boys, downing a few brewskis, flashing a “white power” sign.

Fine young American. Just like Anthony Sabatini.

Maybe they could start a band. Or a reality TV show. It’s not like these Trumpy publicity harlots have any intention of serving their constituents or anything.

They’ll just keep barking ever louder till they’re hoarse or the cameras go dark.

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Diane Roberts
Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is an 8th-generation Floridian, born and bred in Tallahassee, which probably explains her unhealthy fascination with Florida politics. Educated at Florida State University and Oxford University in England, she has been writing for newspapers since 1983, when she began producing columns on the legislature for the Florida Flambeau. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Oxford American, and Flamingo. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the St. Petersburg Times–back when that was the Tampa Bay Times’s name–and a long-time columnist for the paper in both its iterations. She was a commentator on NPR for 22 years and continues to contribute radio essays and opinion pieces to the BBC. Roberts is also the author of four books, most recently Dream State, an historical memoir of her Florida family, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America. She lives in Tallahassee, except for the times she runs off to Great Britain, desperate for a different government to satirize.

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