After out-of-state political travel, DeSantis set to give FL’s State of the State address Tuesday
Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers his State of the State speech before a joint session of the Florida Legislature on March 2, 2021. Source: Screenshot/Florida Channel
Gov. Ron DeSantis presaged the “State of the State” speech he’s scheduled to deliver Tuesday with a series of what sure looked like presidential campaign speeches in the big states of California and Texas over the weekend, one of which included a veiled swipe at Donald Trump.
The governor never mentioned Trump by name — the former president was at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend while DeSantis didn’t attend. But the contrast between DeSantis’ tight ship of an administration and Trump’s — rife with infighting and targeted leaking — was blatant.
“In four years, you didn’t see our administration leaking like a sieve, you didn’t see a lot of drama or palace intrigue. What you saw was surgical precision execution, day after day after day. And, because we did that, we beat the left, day after day after day,” DeSantis said Sunday during an address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Callf.
Earlier, the presumptive presidential candidate addressed county GOP fundraising dinners in Houston and Dallas, exposing his candidacy to local party activists, as reported by the Texas Tribune, a Phoenix partner through the nonprofit States Newsroom network.
Although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is also considered a possible presidential contender, DeSantis was gracious to his host state.
“They know you don’t mess with Texas — and you don’t tread on Florida,” DeSantis said. “I really believe if it hasn’t been for Texas and Florida playing the role we have in this country in recent history, our entire country would be one big woke, neo-Marxist Dumpster fire,” the Tribune reported.
DeSantis is off to Iowa on Friday, where the Democratic and GOP caucuses have traditionally opened the presidential nominee selection process. This year, the Democrats have decided to bestow that honor on South Carolina, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire. The Republicans plan to continue in Iowa, followed by New Hampshire.
Governors traditionally deliver State of the State speeches on the opening day of the annual legislative session, to spell out what they hope to see accomplished. DeSantis is already on record behind sweeping tort and libel reforms, abortion restrictions, and additional attacks on LGBTQ people in the schools and health care.
In Tallahassee, asked for a preview of what to expect Tuesday, gubernatorial press secretary Bryan Griffin pointed to DeSantis proposed $114.8 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins in July.
In an email, Griffin also mentioned DeSantis’ “legislative proposals on tax relief, ESG prohibitions, counteracting the influence of the CCP, preventing medical authoritarianism, reducing the costs of medications, conserving Florida’ natural resources, higher education reforms, infrastructure, law and order measures, pushing back on Big Tech abuses, holding the media accountable, protecting Florida from Biden’s failed immigration policies, and tort reform.”
At the Reagan Library, DeSantis brought an appreciative crowd up to date on steps he has already taken to combat “woke ideologies” — which essentially means efforts to promote social justice — judging by a video reviewed by the Phoenix.
“It’s ideology run amok. That’s why the quality of life has declined in places like San Francisco and New York City and Philadelphia and Chicago. It’s all rooted in that. And that woke ideology rejects the core, foundational principles that have made this country great. So, in Florida, we say very clearly, we will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Our state is where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis noted in Simi Valley that he won election in 2018 by 30,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast but won reelection last year by more than 1.5 million votes.
“I may have earned 50% of the vote [in 2018] but I earned 100% of the executive power and I intend to use it to advance the best interests of Florida and advance our common agenda,” he said he told counselors at the time.
“A leader is not captive to polls. A leader will help shape and lead the public’s opinion. If they see you put out a vision, they see you execute on that vision and produce good results, the people will follow. And I made that bet that those 32,000 votes, if I was bold I wouldn’t get fewer votes. I’d end up expanding my base of support.”
‘Sacred fire of liberty’
“Boldness is something that voters reward. If they see you out there willing to lead, if they see you and they know where you stand. And people in Florida, probably even my toughest critics, would acknowledge: If I tell you I’m going to do something, I do it. I don’t waffle. I get it done.”
Desantis attempted to wrap himself in “the Gipper’s” mantle, comparing conditions now to the ones that prevailed during the 1970s, the era of “stagflation,” when people didn’t believe things would ever get better and were resigned to continuing stalemate with the Soviet Union.
In his telling, Reagan turned the nation around and put the Soviet Union back on its heels. He cast himself in a similar role.
“We must embrace the founding creed of our country, that our rights come not from the courtesy of the state but from the hand of the Almighty. We must reject, as President Reagan did, the idea that self-government can be subcontracted out to a technocratic elite in a far-distant capital or even a place like Davos, Switzerland,” Desantis said.
That means preserving “the sacred fire of liberty” — which, he said, burned at the nation’s founding, at Gettysburg, and when “a merry band of brothers” stormed Normandy on D-Day.
“And it’s a fire that burned when President Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall and said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’” DeSantis said.
“I would not be standing at this podium today if it was not for President Reagan” he said.
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