On The Ronald-Donald Squabble

VENGEANCE is not Donald Trump’s but God’s and His alone. The sobriquet unveiled for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a weekend rally in Pennsylvania highlighted the most concerning of the bugs in Trump 2.0. “Ron DeSanctimonious”? The slight was surprising in three ways. First, it was the obvious tell of a man with a weaker hand. The former President has grown accustomed to hero worship but the lengthy star turn that began for DeSantis during the summer and fall of 2020 has shown no sign of abating. Taking on the then swaggering covidian establishment, he held his nerve over the course of months and became the vindicated – and indisputable – national leader of an anti-lockdown, anti-mandates push. Trump, by contrast, was left holding all the political shares in Operation Warp Speed – which are worth nothing in Republican markets.

But DeSantis was only warming up. He subsequently banned the trans-mutilation of children, sent a Soros prosecutor packing, masterminded the Migrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard (they will live long in political folklore), posted a record $21.8 billion budget surplus and oversaw an impeccable response to Hurricane Ian. Meanwhile, Trump’s house was raided. That may be an unjust infamy but it isn’t an achievement. Second, for the man whose nicknames for his enemies have their own Wikipedia page, this one was obtuse and not very funny. Third, denigrating the GOP’s best and fairest four days from a historic election could be seen as proof that Trump really is – as his many detractors claim – only interested in himself but never the team.

Various explanations have been proffered for this odd Batman v. Superman moment on the hustings. According to one theory emanating from loyalists, Trump was tuning up DeSantis for casting himself as an American saviour in an ill-considered commercial that re-worked celebrated broadcaster Paul Harvey’s 1978 So God Made a Farmer speech. It’s unlikely the ad offended Trump’s religious sensibilities so much as it challenged his status as the one true deliverer. He himself uses Sam & Dave’s 1966 soul classic Hold On, I’m Coming as a closer on the campaign trail. There is also chatter – some of it already debunked – that the cash-modest DeSantis is aligning himself, sub rosa, with the Bush family and other potentially useful allies like Paul Ryan. On Sunday in Miami, Trump swapped nasty mockery for condescension, endorsing his rival like an old emperor bestowing grace and favour on a subordinate king. This clash will start afresh when and if both titans run in 2024. It is, after all, possible that DeSantis, 44, will decide to serve his second (and constitutionally last) term as Governor of Florida.

Ron DeSantis is Donald Trump with brains and without the drama.”
The Financial Times

In the event of a one-on-one derby, however – for it’s hard to see other wannabes getting enough oxygen to thrive – only two questions matter. Are there any substantive policy differences between DeSantis and Trump; and is avenging the latter for the unprecedented criminality that sabotaged his Administration worth any price? On the biggest crisis of our times – the wilfuly knotted mess of energy, ‘climate change’ and inflation – the duo is committed to fossil fuel exploration, production and delivery. Neither is a warming cultist. DeSantis has pointedly described himself as a Theodore Roosevelt conservationist. While there’s no way of knowing how much fiscal authority either would have over Congress as President, neither subscribes to anything like the Keynesian terrorism of Joe Biden’s IRA – the ludicrously named Inflation Reduction Act. On the cultural counter-revolution, Trump’s role in forever terminating Roe vs. Wade cannot be topped but the Governor’s demolition of pandemic fascism and his bans on transgender Mengele-ism and critical race theory in schools come close. Nothing separates them policy-wise.

That just leaves the true value of revenge. The Russia Hoax, the phony impeachments, the criminal collusion of the ‘intelligence community,’ the FBI, Big Tech and old media – plus an orchestrated murder rampage and myriad other lies and calumnies – constitute the biggest political crime wave in American history. If Republicans nominate him again solely to get even, however, they may end up being flanked in 2024 by wised-up opponents choosing a candidate whose (media-sold) appeal and freshness could make Trump look and sound like a broken 77 year-old record. Two years is a very long time in politics for a septuagenarian. If unsentimental realpolitik is far more dependable than the desire to settle scores – and it is – the torch should be passed to Governor DeSantis. Let nobody ever lament that Trump prevailed faute de mieux. It can be argued that a moral reckoning is not revenge; that reckonings in the history of nations re-balance and heal; even that Trump the victim now transcends Trump the man. I respect this view but I have every confidence a President DeSantis would be reckoning enough and rejuvenation to boot.

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34 Responses to On The Ronald-Donald Squabble

  1. Jannie says:

    Trump deserves the nomination, but as you say is “avenging the latter for the unprecedented criminality that sabotaged his Administration worth any price?” Hopefully Trump wont nominate, and supports deSantis, which would make it hard for the Dems. Avenging the sabotage of Trump would look much better if done by a third party. But if Trump does throw his hat in the ring, deSantis should bow out. de Santis would win much kudos for that and he is young enough to keep for a few years.

    If they have a contest for the nomination it will turn out bad for both. One of Trumps weaknesses (sometimes a strength) is his combative and personalised attack style. He just wont be able to contest in a gentlemanly Queensberry rules style, and he will hurt deSantis and himself.

  2. Petros says:

    Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse has been very critical of DeSantis for some time. He keeps pointing out how he is funded by big Wall Street money, unlike Trump who gets the everyman support. I think we need both of them heavily involved at some level.

  3. Buccaneer says:

    If De Santis gets the role, he would be well advised to appoint Trumpto a special ministry to publicly ‘drain the swamp’ it would give trump his opportunity to square the ledger and have the added benefit of drawing all the media fire away from the other important work that needs to be done.

  4. Entropy says:

    I agree with all of this.

    Also by 2024, the electorate will be well and truly sick of geriatric Presidents. trump would do better anointing deSantis and giving him all the support he can.

  5. Entropy says:

    DeSantis could appoint Trump secretary of Justice.

  6. Entropy says:

    Meanwhile Trumpie votes for deSantis in election

  7. Eyrie says:

    De Santis is a professional pollie with backers. Owned. Enough said.

  8. Chris M says:

    It was a reference to Ron’s self-aggrandising advert.

    Ron is the party candidate, Donald is the man – he is owned by no-one.

  9. Charles says:

    Ron De Santis’s widespread popularity only lasts until he is nominated as the Republican candidate, from that point on he becomes Hitler. Dealing with that is a lot more difficult than defending a spot as Florida governor.

    Trump should get his return to the top job, he has well and truly earnt it, De Santis can follow in 2028 and have his 8 years, that would be the perfect outcome.

  10. Yank says:

    It seems likely that the GOP will try to shift from Trump. He is now a serious liability. But it won’t be easy as his followers are embedded. Unfortunately it seems we will go through a very destructive period that will take quite a long time to stabilise. But I guess that’s what people like CL aim for.

  11. Buccaneer says:

    Trump has always been a liability, but that is basically the meme that lefties use for all right leaders so its lost it’s bite.

    The problem for dems is that they campaigned on bringing back insanity but gave us the joe biden clown and corruption show. They could have picked a literal donkey and given themselves a better chance. Now they’ve set it up so people will look back at the Trump years and say, maybe that wasn’t so bad.

    My suspicion is that try as they might, they won’t be able to vote harvest their way out of this one.

  12. Petros says:

    Yes Yank. Biden has been such a unifier. /sarc

  13. bollux says:

    Whom ever wins, there has to be retribution. Without it these criminals of the Left will never stop. Without penalty there is no reason for them to stop. They need to be extinguished. I can’t say that loud enough.

  14. Roger W says:

    Unfortunately it seems we will go through a very destructive period that will take quite a long time to stabilise.
    Well, yes, good you realize the terrible results of Biden and his acolytes. The Dems have inflicted unmeasurable damage on not just the USA but the world since they refused to accept the loss of Hilary in 2016.

  15. John of Mel says:

    Just the FT’s “endorsement” of DeSantis over Trump should ring all alarm bells possible.
    Ron is the establishment’s alternative to Trump. Majority of his funds come from Wall Street and RINO PACs.
    Without draining the swamp, there is no moving forward for the US. And Ron is not the man for this job (even if you believe he will be inclined to do it). Trump should finish it. He uncovered it for all to see, now he needs to pull the drain plugs.

  16. C.L. says:

    Ron is the establishment’s alternative to Trump.

    I’m seeing this notion suddenly pop up in various places. Despite everything DeSantis has achieved for conservative causes, he is now The Enemy.

    If the GOP establishment now considers Ron DeSantis its candidate, it’s hard not to see that as a generational shift to the right. I can’t see any upside for RINOs if the Governor of Florida succeeds nationally.

  17. Entropy says:

    Agree, I don’t see deSantis as The Swamp’s candidate. The ROP Establishment may end up having to accept deSantis, even if it is just because he isn’t Trump, but his political positions aren’t those of a Washington insider.

  18. Terry says:

    ‘Trump should get his return to the top job, he has well and truly earnt it, De Santis can follow in 2028 and have his 8 years, that would be the perfect outcome.’


  19. John of Mel says:

    What his donors value, as expressed by one of his biggest ones,
    is not the culture war – they don’t care much about that (sort of like a side-show for the proles). It’s the corporate control of America and killing off the populist MAGA movement:

    While he’s supporting one of this cycle’s biggest culture warriors in DeSantis, Griffin said most hot-button issues — abortion rights, battles over sex education and LGBTQ rights — don’t define his interests. He wants to improve the diversity of the GOP and blunt the vein of populism that has complicated the party’s relationship with the corporate world — two things he’s consulted with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about.

    Trump was fighting against this control, tried to give power back to the people, that’s why they (Dems, RINOs, Wall Street) wanted to get rid of him so badly. Billions were at stake.

    I’m seeing this notion suddenly pop up in various places

    The notion started to pop-up when people like Paul Ryan, Bush started promoting Ron as the only viable candidate for 2024. When after the raid on Trump’s residence, DeSantis kept quiet for a few days (it’s not possible he wasn’t informed by the FBI about the coming raid) and only tweeted some platitudes from his personal account in the aftermath of the event. AFAIR, he didn’t even mention Trump’s name in his tweet.
    He refused to answer during the debate with Crist whether he’ll finish his four years long term as the Governor if he wins the election.
    He is, most likely, running in 2024, but hasn’t announced it yet.

  20. C.L. says:

    Trump would be 80 mid-way through his term.
    It’s time to move on.

  21. Tel says:

    It really isn’t going to be possible for a President Ron DeSantis to start rebuilding America … you can’t rebuild on broken foundations.

    Trump hasn’t even finished bulldozing the block level yet.

  22. C.L. says:

    The problem is, a single President in one (or even two) terms cannot drain the Swamp and raze the Blob. Doing so would require – depending on how fervent your interlocutor – the disbanding of the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security and the mass sacking of many tens of thousands of state functionaries. The Paulite libertarians want the Fed disbanded too. Revolutionary change would require the complete evisceration of the military-industrial complex and the ground-up rebuilding of the DoJ. All of the feeder institutions that sustain the Swamp would also have to be reformed: that means all of the universities.

    It is silly to pretend one man can do all of these things in four years.

  23. Rightwingnutjob says:

    I’d like to now what drain the swamp means. Trump did nothing about lobbying or electoral funding rorts. He did nothing about waste in administration. In fact it is hard to identify anything he did that in any way addressed the concentration of money influence in Washington. I suspect that one thing he did, which is to try to stack the Supreme Court with his choices, will come back as a major negative since the abortion decision. The intrusion of religious preferences into people’s homes and lives will not sit well, nor will his efforts to undo the electoral system and cheat the ballot box. Especially if his friends follow through on their current efforts to challenge valid votes all over.

  24. Buccaneer says:

    I find it incredibly entertaining to see lefties squeal about abortion. They had control of all three houses of government and still expected the supreme court to do their job for them. The fact was roe v wade was poor law, SCOTUS did them a favour by overturning when they had the chance to create and pass actual law. They didn’t, they just played lame politics.

    Stop blaming scotus or trump for the failure of dems.

    Oh and Trump didn’t drain the swamp, he exposed it, and I don’t think anyone realised how deep it runs. We do now.

  25. Terry says:

    ‘…drain the swamp, he exposed it…’

    That’s the same thing, but it isn’t the whole job.
    Once exposed (by draining the swamp) there’s a job to be done eliminating the putrid creatures that dwell there before they refill the place with their toxic sludge (apparently Henry Cavill is available, should get him onto it).

    Tel makes a good point…

    It really isn’t going to be possible for a President Ron DeSantis to start rebuilding America … you can’t rebuild on broken foundations.

    Trump for 2024 to finish the demo.
    De Santis 2028 & 32 to complete the re-build.

  26. Rightwingnutjob says:

    Bucc: I’d like to see evidence that Trump actually did anything of the kind. If he did, it is not evident in any action. Rather, it seems to me, he has built a new base for the Democrats.
    Anyhow, I revert here to Whitman:

    “If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,

    ‘Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,

    Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,

    Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor Mississippi’s stream:

    —This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,

    (The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the quadriennial choosing,)

    The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia, California,

    The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,

    The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,

    Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the peaceful choice of all,

    Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:

    —Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart pants, life glows:

    These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,

    Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.”

  27. Buccaneer says:

    Perhaps read more widely wingnutjob. You have proven an incurious troll, why would anyone here bother trying to provide any evidence for you, it’s not like you’ve backed up a single one of your inane assertions with evidence yourself..

  28. Boambee John says:


    If Trump was business as usual, why (apart from not being in power) were the DemonRats and DC bureaucrats so hysterical about him?

  29. Old School Conservative says:

    Trump has always been a liability

    There was this one time, when the liability became the President………
    Some negative.

  30. Yank says:

    According to my GOP family the sentiment around the midterms is likely to spring surprises for some people. That unrepresentative sample suggests that President Trump might well be less than an asset politically. I guess we will see soon enough.

  31. Buccaneer says:

    The problem with trump is many of his assets are also liabilities. For example, he always fights to the bitter end, but that also results in him never admitting he’s wrong. What makes him not easy to pigeonhole is that he is not afraid to change course or policy at the drop of a hat.

  32. Rosie says:

    I agree CL.
    It’s just too old for the level of responsibility.
    Look at Biden.
    Trump took a lot of crap but he isn’t owed another four years.

  33. Boxcar says:

    I support the next “thing”.
    It’s more than a little sad that so many fell for the latest propaganda

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