Gov. Ron DeSantis let delegates to Florida’s Boys State convention in on what he sees as the secret of his success in office: He determined from the first to fully understand the extent and limits of his powers to enact his agenda, he said, and to take no notice of public opinion polls.
During an address Tuesday, DeSantis said those two decisions have allowed him to succeed in the Governor’s Mansion.
Boys State — and the separate Girls State — brings young people to Tallahassee where they conduct mock elections for state and local office and run legislative sessions. The American Legion sponsors the events.
“I had my transition folks give me a list of all the powers of the governor. The constitutional powers, statutory powers, customary powers. What can I do on my own? What did I need the Legislature for? … What would the courts have to check? Just really get a good idea.” he said.
“And I knew most of it, but just every little nook and cranny I wanted to know. And then, when you’re trying to pursue an agenda, you’ve got to be cognizant of where all these pressure points are within the system.
“And so, I’m trying to do something with, you know, school funding, well I can’t do that on my own; I need to get the Legislature on board for that. If I’m doing something with, like, an appointment, well, I may be able to do that on my own. There may be other things I can do on my own.
“So, we had a kind of a good sense of how we needed to advance the agenda through the various wickets and constraints to be able to actually deliver on our promises. And we were able to do that.”
As for polling, DeSantis claimed, “I’m not going to be one of these politicians that just has the finger in the wind, that’s so worried about kinda this or that. You gotta do what’s right.”
“And you know, responding to polls is being a follower. That’s not being a leader. A leader will set out a vision, will execute on that vision, and then, when the results are positive, you know what? People will be with you when you do that.
“So, I could take a poll of this room on whatever issue — that’s just a static analysis. That doesn’t even tell me what I need to know. What I need to know is that, if I embark on an initiative, and I explain what I’m doing and I’m successful in doing it, then what would the results be in the room.
“I think too many politicians, they get paralyzed with these polls and they’re so concerned about every little thing in a news cycle. That’s not the way I think a leader operates. A leader needs to understand where true north is.”
DeSantis, a U.S. Navy veteran, asked the kids whether they’d seen “Top Gun: Maverick,” which shows an aircraft carrier on a mission to bomb a nuclear site in an unnamed hostile country.
“The seas are not always calm. There’s choppy seas. There’s a lot of things that happen, you know, on the voyage. But if you have that rudder set and you know where you’re going, that’s ultimately the important thing, is whether you get to that ultimate destination.
“So, whenever there’s something in the news cycle or, you know, a phony controversy or whatever, just don’t even indulge in that. There’s no worry. So, we always keep focused on what we’re here to do and the things that actually matter to people, and we’re not going to let little blips in public opinion” — he trailed off.
He acknowledged drawing criticism over, for example, his decision last year to order in-class instruction in the public schools notwithstanding COVID but said he believes that choice has been vindicated.
“None of this is cost-free. But if people aren’t willing to stand up and take those arrows and pay the price to be able to do what’s right, then we don’t have much of a future,” DeSantis said.
“What people appreciate — if they see you standing up on the wall for them, they see you taking incoming and you stand your ground and you support them, they will have your back. I mean, these folks will walk over broken glass to say thank you and to support you if you’re standing up for them.”
–Michael Moline, Florida Phoenix
Merrill S Shapiro says
Here’s something not the least bit phony. We now stand with 75,096 Floridians who died from complications related to Covid. All on DeSantis’ watch. His positions on vaccinations, on masks, on in-school instruction have all contributed to this horrendously high number. These deaths should follow him wherever he may choose to go. We the People, the voters, must hold him accountable.
Florida isn’t even close to the top of covid deaths as a proportion of the state population (it’s somewhere in the middle, and that’s not even considering the fact that this state has a much more elderly and vulnerable population than most other states). Other states that had much more draconian, yet obviously ineffective, covid mitigation measures were higher. The attempt to pin blame for covid deaths on Desantis is phony and the voters will see that.
Norris: I don’t listen to politicians, I listen to Mayo Clinic. Maybe DeSantis should too.
Deborah Coffey says
“He acknowledged drawing criticism over, for example, his decision last year to order in-class instruction in the public schools notwithstanding COVID but said he believes that choice has been vindicated.
“None of this is cost-free. But if people aren’t willing to stand up and take those arrows and pay the price to be able to do what’s right, then we don’t have much of a future,” DeSantis said.”
But, DeSantis didn’t pay the cost! The families of the school kids that died from Covid did. He calls that doing what’s right?
Please tell me how many kids died of Covid in Florida?
@Give desantis a banana, it can monkey up anything you show it
and speak like a Valley Girl as it does so. All the time.
This thin skinned goon played baseball through Yale and Harvard: learned wardroom table manners, and how to commit war crimes in its first government employment, and parlayed that into elected member of Congress /pet monkey on Murdoch’s noise machine. Cardinal of floriduh already, it won’t rest til it becomes the last elected president of ‘merica.
And so it goes.
Are you a veteran? Did you serve your country? If not I suggest you shut up. If you did , I respect your opinion.
@Not that you deserve a reply
I am an Honorably Discharged vet, enlisted – not drafted – 1970, receive healthcare from VA (excellent, BTW): B.A. Criminal Justice, UCF, and receive high risk retirement from FRS for years of service in FL.
For all who humble boast about what they used to be — consider this:
us law enforcement deaths per 100000
being a woman in US: 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births
Ya know he did indeed serve… and on a real ship no less.
Not like his admiral, Donald J. Trump of the Star Ship Enterprise.
DeSantis betrayed his fellow sailors when he blocked the erection of a memorial to the murdered crewmen of the USS Liberty. Your tribute to his military service rings hollow. Hell, Benedict Arnold rendered greater service to America.
DeSantis says in this article that paying attention to polls is being a follower, not a leader. Desantis is not only a FOLLOWER of Trump but has made himself of to BE LIKE Trump in most every way. He’s attached to the guy, that’s much worse than a follower because DeSantis will do what Trump tells him to.
He says he scrutinized every bit of power a governor has, and intends to use all of it to his benefit. People can’t seem to see the writing on the wall, if elected, what Florida, and, maybe the country will become, with his authoritarian and dictatorial personality. It’s Trump all over again—wake up before it’s too late! Listen and read about the two other candidates running for governor and keep an open mind as to how you want your state/county to be run in the future .
The 300,000+ people who have moved to this state since Desantis was elected governor probably don’t feel the same way you do.
Well, they can always go home.
That’s RICH, coming from the state’s leading magial maker of phony controversies!
Does he need to look?
What kind of leader doesn’t look at polls?
The orange crops aren’t likely to recover very much, but there might be a future in bananas.
I had my transition folks give me a list of all the powers of the governor. The constitutional powers, statutory powers, customary powers. What can I do on my own? What did I need the Legislature for? … What would the courts have to check? Just really get a good idea. So I went after Mickey ’cause the damned little rat didn’t agree with me. Trump taught me that one.