Midterm elections are just weeks away. When faced with the daunting challenge of trying to oust a popular state governor who has garnered national attention by always seeming to make the right moves while epically trolling his critics, what’s a partisan to do but hope for a catastrophic natural disaster like Hurricane Ian to demolish said governor’s re-election chances?
Most left-leaning media outlets have been somewhat measured in their reporting of the hurricane’s progress and how the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has been handling the crisis – now a clear and present danger since Ian, a category four storm, slammed into Florida’s west coast mid-afternoon on Sept. 28. Still, it wasn’t difficult to discern an underlying current of anticipation on the political left – anticipation that this monster hurricane would devastate DeSantis, if not his state.
DeSantis Faces the Hurricane Ian Test?
“DeSantis faces the true test of any Florida governor,” read a Sept. 27 Politico headline. “Gov. Ron DeSantis spent his first term becoming one of the most influential Republicans in the country — a likely 2024 frontrunner who’s already shaping his party’s national agenda,” wrote Matt Dixon, Politico’s own Florida Man. “But DeSantis still hasn’t faced one of the toughest challenges a Florida leader can encounter: a major hurricane.”
“Hurricane Ian Could Stall Ron Desantis’ [sic] 2024 Momentum,” says Time magazine. “DeSantis faces leadership test as Hurricane Ian comes bearing down on Florida,” CNN told us on Sept. 28 and, from The Hill, “Hurricane Ian roils Florida governor’s race.”
Again, it should be noted that each of these articles avoided direct criticism of what DeSantis has been doing to prepare his state for the ravages of the storm. Nevertheless, the common narrative was clear; if the hurricane wreaks havoc in the Sunshine State – if there are prolonged power outages, widespread destruction, and/or significant loss of life – then the governor will have to shoulder the blame and his chances of another term in office will be swept out into the Atlantic along with Ian. Not that this is by any means certain, but that’s the hope – that the monstrous storm will break the fast-rising GOP star.
It’s a Trap!
Are left-wing journalists rooting for death and chaos to end DeSantis’ governorship? It would be unfair – inappropriate, even – to suggest that they are. Nothing in any of the reports mentioned here indicated as much. It is more of a setup. As the Star Wars franchise character, Admiral Ackbar, famously said, it’s a trap! The left is preparing the ground for a spirited orgy of Monday morning quarterbacking – which, conveniently, will begin on Monday morning, October 3. After all, the destruction is inevitable because, well, Hurricane Ian was a 500-mile-wide cone of fury packing 155 mph winds when it made landfall. If those winds were just two mph stronger, Ian would have been a category five. And, let’s be honest, if only one small house was flattened by the storm, a headline somewhere would read: “A Florida Family Lost Their Home Because DeSantis Bungled His Hurricane Response.”
At a Sept. 27 press briefing with DeSantis, one journalist suggested that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell “had acknowledged concerns of Florida’s – as it was said – lax response to this storm, so far…” No news outlets had reported the alleged concerns, and Criswell, at a separate press briefing, had described the cooperation between her agency and Florida authorities as “excellent.” The FEMA administrator was in fact speculating that some areas of central Florida might be under-prepared because they had not experienced a major hit for some time. Certain DeSantis critics decided to take her comment out of context. The governor was having none of it and cut the reporter off:
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Give me a break. That is nonsense. Stop politicizing, okay? Stop it. We declared a state of emergency when this thing wasn’t even formed. We’ve had people in here – you’ve had counties doing – they’ve done a lot of hard work. And honestly, you’re trying to attack me, I get, but you’re attacking these other people who’ve worked very hard. And so that’s just totally false. I don’t think we’ve ever – certainly since I’ve been governor – declared a state emergency this early.”
DeSantis, considered by many to be a strong potential 2024 presidential candidate, is being railroaded in advance. He and his administration are the pins, and the leftist media are about to go bowling. They are praying DeSantis will hit a foul ball, hoping he’ll throw into the endzone, and Hurricane Ian will pick him off. They are anticipating an own goal or perhaps a desperate move that will earn the governor a red card. That’s about all the mixed sports metaphors it is appropriate to fit in one paragraph – perhaps too many. This is a sport, after all, between the media and their favorite boogeymen such as DeSantis and former President Donald Trump.
Only, right now, lives, livelihoods, property, and the essentials of survival are on the line for the people of Florida, and so – like his politics or not – DeSantis was correct when he recently addressed his communications with Joe Biden: “We don’t have time for pettiness.”
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