On Friday, at the Latin Builders Association, DeSantis made patronizing and insulting remarks about Canada and Australia. DeSantis claims, as he often does he is giving inspiration to those who feel trapped by COVID mitigation efforts in locales with responsible leaders. This is certainly true as DeSantis national following can be attributed to his shameless self-promotion regarding the regressive views he had on fighting this deadly virus.
I’ll leave the Canadian remarks aside because quite frankly, I am not in the business of defending Justin Trudeau who has nine lives as Canadian Prime Minister and DeSantis might be motivated to attract more conservative Canadian tourists to Florida.
But why is DeSantis continuously attacking Australia which by the way is led by a Prime Minister in Scott Morrison who is probably as or more conservative than DeSantis on a traditional ideological scale(I should point out though Morrison and his government have been slower on promoting vaccines than many Republicans here, favoring lockdowns over vaxxing until recently) ?
The answer is simple – DeSantis who is the leader now of the national GOP is attacking Australia for two reasons . One is simple COVID denialism of which DeSantis specializes and second is attacking the new AUKUS alliance, the signature achievement of the Biden Administration’s foreign policy efforts.
Australia is led by Morrison, whose surprising election victory in 2019, devastated left forces across the globe who saw Morrison’s upset as a potential harbinger for the upcoming UK and US elections. Morrison was the toast of western Anglozone conservatives until COVID struck in March 2020 – something he took far more seriously than his conservative brethren in the US and UK.
I am not going to pretend like Morrison’s cabinet’s COVID defense efforts dubbed “fortress Australia” didn’t have some onerous features. But as I always like to say, freedom without responsibility isn’t freedom, and the efforts of DeSantis to undermine Australia publicly is a defense mechanism because Florida’s response has been so badly flawed.
For those who don’t know, Florida has recorded 43 times the number of COVID deaths as Australia, and accounting for Australia’s larger popular (26 million vs Florida’s 22 million), per capita deaths from COVID are about 51 times higher in Florida.
So while Australians may have lost some basic freedoms like the freedom of movement during COVID’s spread, they haven’t lost their lives or the lives of their loved ones in anywhere near the numbers that Florida has.
I am not getting into the lockdown v freedom argument today (because we still don’t know how badly Australia or Florida’s economy will be hurt long-term) on this matter, but want to point out DeSantis constant talk of “freedom” has had a serious human toll when compared to places that actually did lockdown. Oh and by the way, Florida now has more deaths from COVID-19 than New York, which was devastated in the initial phase of COVID and at one point in May 2020 had about 20 times as many COVID deaths as Florida.
But DeSantis has another motivation in constantly attacking Australia. He wants to make it appear like President Biden has joined in a strategic alliance with a totalitarian state. His goal is to undermine the morality of Biden’s foreign policy which is aimed at containing China. In this regard, DeSantis is undermining US policy, *potentially* giving unconscious aid and comfort to our enemies, and setting himself up for a 2024 Presidential run.
It’s all dirty, shady, inappropriate stuff. DeSantis’ sole motivation is politics and self-promotion even if it means justifying death and undermining the foreign policy of the United States.