By Carl Golden
It’s time for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to retreat to his executive suite in Tallahassee, take a deep breath and end his war with the Disney Corp.
DeSantis is on an utterly pointless crusade, revealing a petty, petulant personality motivated by revenge and a pathological need to prove he is correct. It can’t even be disguised as a matter of principle when it’s so clearly ego run amok.
While he is not yet an announced candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, DeSantis is the closest competitor to Donald Trump. But while the former president is tramping around the country raising money and collecting endorsements, DeSantis is locked in a wrestling match with a cartoon mouse wearing short pants.
Adding to the humiliation, the mouse is winning.
DeSantis’ preoccupation with finding ways to punish Disney stems from the company’s opposition to a Florida law banning teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in public school grades K-12. The legislation was quickly named the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Enraged at this display of corporate criticism, DeSantis struck back, winning legislative approval revoking Disney’s special tax status, only to be outmaneuvered when the corporation discovered a loophole to retain its status.
Unable to accept being challenged successfully, DeSantis threatened to develop land adjacent to Disney World, suggesting it could be used for warehouses, a competing park or even a prison.
Politically, DeSantis’ actions accomplish nothing. Those who agree with the legislation will continue to do so, as will those in opposition. His continued relentless obsession with conquering Disney has taken an embarrassing and counterproductive turn.
DeSantis has launched a jihad against a company that employs 75,000 people – the largest single site employer in the world – draws a global leading 60 million visitors annually, contributes $73 billion to the state’s economy and produces $6 billion in tax revenue.
He has used the power and authority of government to damage a private business merely because its leadership opposed a public policy.
It is precisely the type of action that Republicans and conservatives have repeatedly criticized their liberal opposition for embracing, warning darkly of government overreach and control of the private sector.
There is a case to be made that Disney should have remained above the fray and allowed the political and legal process to play out. The company’s decision may have cost it financially but like most private businesses, it was willing to allow the market to decide if it had made a wise decision.
The DeSantis unofficial campaign has faltered as his stepped-up activities and public appearances have drawn more intense media scrutiny.
Several members of Congress from Florida have endorsed Trump’s candidacy, implying that DeSantis is either not yet up the demands of a national candidacy and should wait until 2028 or that he is not qualified by experience, intellect or temperament and never will be.
He has failed to gain ground on Trump despite the staggering political baggage shouldered by the former president – a criminal indictment and three ongoing Federal or state investigations into criminal behavior on his part. Not to mention surviving two impeachment proceedings, politically motivated though they may have been.
DeSantis has been unable thus far to peel off any significant portion of Trump’s fervent base of support, while the former president has used his social media platform and millions in spending by independent groups to attack him and his record as Florida’s governor.
The feud with Disney is a continuous self-inflicted wound and it is time for DeSantis to reappraise his position with an eye toward ending it on as reasonable and positive a face-saving note as possible. Those advising him to continue the fight are doing him and his potential campaign a serious and potentially fatal disservice.
As for Disney executives, they should spend their time devising a way to avoid parents being forced to drain their children’s college savings account to finance a four-day vacation at the Magic Kingdom.
Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst with the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He served as press secretary for New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean (1982-1990) and as communications director for New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman (1994-1997). His commentary appears on editorial pages of newspapers in New Jersey and Philadelphia as well as on news websites. Distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
It’s time for Disney to shut Desantis down. 1st amendment rights have been violated and severe damage has been done. Desantis needs to go before he destroys the entire state.
Florida Voter says
I’m waiting for Disney to dramatically increase their political contributions to support candidates against DeSantis and his GOP legislature. DeSantis (and his legislature) is trying to shut down Disney, so they should try to shut down DeSantis. Nothing revenge motivated; he is just bad for business.
mare rosenquist says
yes he should stay OUT he does a lot of stupid things he has to learn a lot more before he try to run for President he is immature in many of his things he is doing
we don’t like it he is not ready clean up Florida first
Like gun gun control he made a grave mistake in the ruling the way he did
correct it soon before more life is lost
I was surprised that opinion pieces like this with such a left wing bias would be taken seriously.
Agreed. I think Ron is doing an excellent job as does everyone I know. The “News” media is so biased, there’s really no source that you can trust any longer. It’s always someone’s opinion. Black Rock, Vanguard, and State Street control the message that is purveyed through not only the media, but through employers. All of this left wing crap is pushed on every person whether they want to hear it or not. You can lose your job if you don’t agree with it. This certainly isn’t the America our forefather’s envisioned. Disney shouldn’t be pushing it’s opinion around, ESPECIALLY when it’s a biased opinion that was completely wrong. They made it out (just like the media) that this bill meant to protect our children in school from all of this left wing gender nonsense, and made it out to be something that takes away rights from these lunatic gender confused people. It did not do that whatsoever, but even if it did, no company should be wading into political waters. Whether its legal for them to do so or not. In my opinion, it should NOT be legal for companies to weigh in on politics nor should they be allowed to donate to campaigns. Companies have far more money than the voters have at their disposal, and they can easily tip the scales.
Anyway, sorry to see such a leftwing take on this in a Flagler publication. Too many liberals moving down South to get away from the Liberalism they profess to enjoy so much. It’s funny how that works isn’t it? New York and California are the bastions of liberalism, yet people can’t get away from them fast enough. They come to places like Florida where everything is great (because it’s NOT run by liberals), then they vote in a bunch of liberals to ruin it.
Were you born with all this pent up hate or did you have to spend years on your knees in front of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch to become so incipiently devoid of human compassion, spewing lies and hatred? It is truly a good thing that TFG came into your life and empowered you to vent your angst lest you were to, like a dying star, implode upon yourself. Yes, you are much better off now that you can, like a burst boil, spew your poisonous puss to infect the world. Thank you for exposing yourself as a true spawn of Satan and forcing me to add one more name to the list of people who can kiss my butt.
Ross: “Corporations are people, my friend.” — Republican Senator Mitt Romney.
The “America our forefather’s (sic) envisioned” was firmly rooted in the bloody soil of human chattel slavery. I doubt even as staunch a conservative as yourself supports slavery, at least after Ron uses vouchers to resegregate the schools.
@ross. . . You obviously don’t know what in the %^&* you are talking about! Please do yourself and the rest of us a great favor and take your brains back from FOX. Get your news from “factual” sources like AP NEWS, PBS, or BBC.
“You” do not own MY “home” state of Florida! My ancestors came to that region of the US in the 1600’s! I was born and raised in Jacksonville! As a college educated, open minded, well traveled, retired computer systems and placement professional, I fully support award winning Flaglerlive. A “factual” media outlet which was developed solely by, and is owned by the current progressive, positive, forward thinking editor, who has a huge intellect and big wide “world and historic view”.
The reason people who are retired move to Florida is because the climate is good, there is no state income tax and the cost of living is cheap. . . that is it! They are certainly not moving to Florida for their “career development”. . . LOL!
In addition to that, unfortunately the reality is that it is the brainwashed, fear and hate filled Republicans who are taking over Florida, not the liberals! Get educated and learn who the governor and state legislature is, for Pete’s sake!
Since everyone you know thinks DeSantis is doing a great job, I’d hazard a guess that your socialization effort doesn’t reach out beyond those that agree with your position. That’s a shame because by hearing opposing views and the facts that support those views is important to making reasonable decisions in life.
Although you think Disney should not be able to push their opinion because its ” biased opinion”, can you tell me any opinion that isn’t biased? Isn’t that the essence of an opinion? And they shouldn’t “wade into political waters…Whether its legal or not” is an interesting opinion in itself! I think it’s still legal in Florida (not sure though) to have an opinion on politics! And I like your reference to the money companies have vs. voters! I whole-heartedly agree with you. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have all this PAC money in politics? I hope that’s not a liberal opinion….
I object to your reference “…rights from these lunatic gender confused people”. I don’t think you really understand that there are people in the world who are gay or transgender, not by choice, but by birth. And I think God would want us to treat all his creatures the same way and not discriminate because they are “different”.
And do you think Florida is “great (because it’s NOT run by liberals)…”? I guess you’re fine with the governor hiding his travel schedule and who is paying for it. Maybe you buy that it’s for his security. I think he could be just as secure if he released this information after the trip. I think the people of Florida deserve to know where their governor has gone, who paid for it and how much time he’s spending on governing this state. I also guess you’re fine with offering school vouchers to anyone and everyone for private schools at the expense of the public school system. I guess you’re fine with passing legislation making it virtually impossible for counties and cities to regulate home rentals because as Travis Houston said – “we don’t want to interfere with business”. I guess you’re fine with increase the size of DeSantis’ private army. Why the State Police and local sheriffs need that “assistance” is beyond me but DeSantis knows best! I guess you’re happy with creating an election police force to rid Florida of cheating voters. So far I think they’ve found less than 20 and many of them voted because the state or county authorized them to do so and then backtracked. I could go on but it’s pointless. We need government accountability and it doesn’t matter whether there’s a Republican or Democratic administration. All of them need to be scrutinized constantly.
@ tony. . . And, I’m surprised that you are surprised. Tune into something other than FOX if you want to get in touch with the majority of us. . . try AP NEWS, PBS or even the BBC for “factual news”.
john stove says
Dumbsantis has no clue how to run a state let alone a country. How about taking time to travel to South Florida to see the recent flooding and talking to those communities instead?
Next biggest loser after Trump.
The man is nothing but an egotistical bully!! One would think that he should attempt to resolve issues that are important to the State he is supposed to be representing instead of wasting our money on frivolous stupidity!. He tells everyone he wants the people of Florida to be “free”; yet, he continually takes away the rights of his own citizens because he doesn’t agree with their cause, or worse, is just completely out of touch with the concerns of voters. If you disagree with his “ideology”, he goes after you! Freedom? What Freedom? Banning of books, Abortion issues, out of control rents, high homeowners insurance, etc. He can’t resolve issues like these at “home”, imagine what he would be like trying to resolve issues as a President. Just wish this loser would disappear!
I normally try to place quotes from other news sources in either an edited fashion, or just mentioning ‘another news paper’ – but this one is too important to launder :
here’s the leader – and it basically says it all
Florida GOP set to remove hurdle to DeSantis White House bid
Fascist Ron at it again.
As silly and miscalculated as this feud is, I’m glad all happened as it might serve as a outreach program to those who have not already formulated an opinion about Ron DeSantis’s character and motives.
I’m starting to like the chances for a mouse with short pants as our next Governor!
Quite the conundrum…
How does a human caricature like DeSatan fight Disney?
While DeSantis and his wife are traveling around the world on Florida taxpayers dime, he is having his Boys Club change the law in Florida that he doesn’t have to resign to run for another office. He just has his minions doing his work, he sure is right out of Trump’s playbook.
Also while he is traveling his hand pick Disney Board are trying to figure out more ways to attack Disney.
And, while he is away on taxpayers vacation he has yet to visit Ft. Lauderdale or address any issues in the State of Florida that needs to be addressed as a Governor of a state. He is failing to do his own job as Governor of Florida but now wants to be President of the US and that is all he is concentrating on.
Not a good candidate for anything. He needs to work on another profession.
Why complain? Millions voted for him and this is what we got. I didn’t vote for him and I will not vote for him in the future. He is showing us his communistic ways. As a person in his position, he should know people will not always agree with him. He is fighting per haps the biggest cash cow in the state, I can only imagine what will happen if become the President. He is very immature. A very immature white person. Just love it when whitey show their immaturity.
The comments here are not published if the liberal editor doesn’t like them. Found that out by leaving one.
FLGuy: Not so. I’ve been reading these comments for some time now, and have seen some far right stuff. I see yours is here now.
I will admit they print a lot of common sense articles.
OK then FLGuy. . . it’s quite simple. . . go start your own media outlet. Work 50+ hours a week for 20 years to build an award winning factual news web site known for its extraordinary investigative journalism and credibility, and you too can decide not to publish unacceptable comments!
Disney is now suing DeSantis. . . let’s see how the courts view this whole debacle. BTW. . . your hard earned tax dollars will be paying for the DeSantis defense! How do you like that DeSantis voters?
Heck people, let him keep on keeping on. He’s losing votes every time he messed with Disney. Here’s the plan he, becomes a canidate and loses the Presidency. But ! not sure if this was even in Flager LIve.
April 23 , 2023. ” Ron DeSantis could run for president without resigning his post as governor of Florida, according to an election bill amendment filed Tuesday by a Republican state senator.
The amendment to the elections bill, SB7050, would clarify qualification requirements for political offices and exempt “Persons seeking the office of President or Vice President of the United States” from state rules that require political office holders to resign their current position in order to qualify as a candidate for another office.
The current Fla Law states ” Florida law currently states that “No officer may qualify as a candidate for another state, district, county, or municipal public office if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other without resigning from the office he or she presently holds.”
The office holder’s “resignation is irrevocable,” the law states, and it “must be submitted at least 10 days prior to the first day of qualifying for the office he or she intends to seek.” So DeStanis buds want him in both places at once.
Dave Roskins says
Ron DeSantis Is in a War With Disney He Cannot Win……..buwahahahahahahahahahahah, that’s what you think.
DeSantis is immature, unprofessional and a very poor business person. So, him running for President of the USA is going to show him how unpopular he really is.
He is making a complete fool of himself and now billion dollar donors are jumping ship.
A little man who is going to see how the real world works because he sure didn’t learn much in his ivy league schools.
I agree with this story, mostly. Disney exists, as does every corporation, to make money. The Supreme Court, in Citizens United, decided that corporations have First Amendment rights, including the right of free speech. Disney utilized those rights last year and DeSantis went crazy. In a battle such as this, any competent lawyer will tell his client to SHUT UP. Apparently, DeSantis and his appointees either didn’t listen to their lawyers or they don’t have competent lawyers. DeSantis graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, in 2005. Which seems really incongruous in light of his complete failure to understand the most basic legal concepts.
I disagree with: “As for Disney executives, they should spend their time devising a way to avoid parents being forced to drain their children’s college savings account to finance a four-day vacation at the Magic Kingdom.”
Disney continues to do what the Disney does best. It separates parents from their money. If it drains the children’s college fund, well using DeSantis as an example, that may not really be a great loss.