Governor Ron DeSantis provides Florida with a teachable moment
Excerpt: It was a moment lost on Election Night.
As newly elected Gov. Ron DeSantis faced a blockade of TV cameras in Orlando, he told reporters that he had been misunderstood, or “unfairly demagogued,” by political rivals and the media.
At the end of a bitter campaign in which he cast himself as an uncompromising conservative who reveled in his support from President Donald Trump, DeSantis said he was eager to move on and work with those who had tried to defeat him.
Three months later, his short time in office has already shattered assumptions that he would govern exclusively from the right. He has drawn unexpected praise from Republicans and Democrats.
“He’s taken a very pragmatic course,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “I say this as a Democrat and as a mayor: I’ve been really pleased and pleasantly surprised by the course and the decisions he’s made.” He added that until DeSantis took office, he was “an unknown quantity.”
Bottom Line: But here’s the thing. He wasn’t an unknown quantity. And while I’ve been surprised, impressed, with the speed and effectiveness with which he’s carried out his agenda, I’m not surprised with the agenda. I’ve taken the opportunity on several occasions to point out Ron DeSantis’s actual record and background.
Here’s an excerpt from my story “Ron DeSantis as Florida’s Governor” from November 9th: if you want to have clearer picture of the overall mold of Ron DeSantis – we can look directly to his voting record as a guide. After all, actions speak louder than words. Here’s the scorecard:
- His voting record was 4% more conservative than the average Republican
For perspective his record is slightly less conservative than Mario Diaz-Balart and...
- He had the 151st most conservative voting record in the US House
Meaning that while he’s more conservative than not – he's far from being a hard-right ideologue as he’s often been portrayed in media.
And on January 8th in my story “Ron DeSantis on Day 1 is vastly different than Rick Scott”: Ron DeSantis’s voting record in congress ranked him as a conservative pragmatist. His initial foray and cabinet selections seem to resemble more of the same. The huge difference between Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis is background. Like Rick Scott, Ron’s background includes military service. That’s about the end of the similarities. Rick, of course, became a prominent CEO in the hospital industry. Being a political outsider, he largely surrounded himself with outsiders.
While being the non-establishment Republican in the race, Ron still comes to the position as a former congressman with an impressive legal background. The nature of legislating effectively includes compromise and collaboration because you’re but one of 535 in congress. Ron seems to reflect those qualities as he’s extending olive branches, appears ready to delegate more tasks to his cabinet, which consists of more experienced Florida politicos than Scott’s administration featured.
The teachable moment is this. How often are assumptions made about people and issues rather than thoughtful consideration of them? We’d all better served to take a page from Dr. King and apply it life generally. If we judged people/issues based on content and validity rather than assumptions often perpetuated in news media – we'd be less surprised, more informed and more considerate of what we perceive to be different. Assumptions close minds. Facts and information only matter when you’re open to them.