Governor DeSantis is handling the post Ian aftermath pretty well in terms of getting relief to areas that need it. But a key thing that is making the public image of this messy is that his core supporters and those he has surrounded himself are constantly so combative & so paranoid. The goal of the DeSantis team has always been to marginalize any critics, be they the media, activists or even job-providers in the state.
Now they are showing their(rightful) insecurity about pre-storm preparations and messaging. This is leading to an inquest of the botched evacuations that is proving a bigger story than the Governor’s solid handling of the aftermath. And unlike in the past, the DeSantis team is ill-equipped to handle the growing backlash.
DeSantis’ predecessor, fellow GOPer Rick Scott had seasoned professional people around him- ideological, yes, but pros at what they did. Whereas Ron DeSantis does not.
The governor has surrounded himself yes-people, advisors with limited institutional knowledge, ideological zealots from out-of-state and performative artists. Relationships with the legacy media have not been properly fostered, and often times the media has been barred from the governor’s events and publicly branded as enemies.
Perhaps it never mattered before because DeSantis was always on the offensive, taking on “woke” corporations like Disney, “groomers,” “pointy-headed elites,” and immigrants. DeSantis’ ‘team has used the alt-right media to spin and throw opponents on the defensive effectively. He always had the legacy media and his political opponents reacting to him. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
In Ian, DeSantis faces a natural disaster of epic proportions where he cannot script every move in advance or throw out the legacy press as he has so often in the past. So now the Governor has rapidly lost control of the narrative and his team’s response is the usual – plant stories in the alt-right press and attack opponents on Twitter. Unfortunately, as the stakes get higher, this won’t work – when DeSantis runs for President in 2024, he’s shown a vulnerability that both the media and Presidents Trump and Biden (should DeSantis be nominated by the GOP) can seize upon.
“Not ready for prime time,” is a catchy phrase and it doesn’t always make sense- but in this case it does.
Property Insurance is emerging in the post-Ian world as THE issue campaigns in Florida could be decided on next month. We got a preview of that from, Brandon Peters, the Democratic nominee in State House District 22, one of the swingiest seats in the state. Peters said in a statement:
“My opponent and his allies in the Legislature have created a situation where recovering from this disaster will require extraordinary measures. Instead of providing a real solution to the property insurance crisis, my opponent voted to approve a law that did not reduce premiums and has now left all Floridians with billions in loss exposure. They poured $2B worth of taxpayer money into an insurance lobbyist-backed scheme that has done absolutely nothing to solve the underlying problem, ” said Peters, Democratic Nominee for Florida House District 22.
“Our state law requires nearly every insurance policy owner in Florida to pick up the tab when a catastrophic hurricane generates losses so enormous that insurers cannot pay them. My opponent has served for six years in the Florida Legislature, and he has done nothing to remedy this. Floridians demand real solutions to their problems and not platitudes from elected officials bought and paid for by the Insurance Lobby.”
Incumbent GOPers should be preparing for an especially hard backlash in a few weeks when Ian victims struggle in dealing with their claims from the storm. The timing of that backlash, could very well take place before Election Day.
DeSantis’ defensive posture on evacuations has led to him talking too much. He said this on Monday,
“This has been handled ad nauseum. Lee County has explained what they did,” DeSantis said. “I followed not just the NHC track, the Euro model, the ICON model, the GFS — most of you probably don’t even know what those are.”Governor Ron DeSantis, October 3, 2022
Well, our Kartik Krishnaiyer who shares the Governor’s love for the GFS, Euro and ICON models (and that of UKMET also) informs the world that every run of the Euro model from Friday September 23 onward kept open a strong possibility of a direct southwest Florida landfall. So DeSantis in chiding the media for knowing less than him, has actually confirmed he should have pushed local officials to act sooner. Sometimes less is more, isn’t it?