Disney episode shows DeSantis has no idea about the traditional GOP or American conservatism

Traditional conservatives DO NOT use the power of government to be punitive against private corporations. And more recent GOPers, while abandoning economic conservatism have embraced the concept of free speech. The DeSantis-Disney war (let’s stop calling it a feud, it’s escalated well beyond that) is about two very basic things-

  • Curtailing free speech and political opposition
  • Using the power of the state to crush private business

Of course this sounds more like a page out of Chairman Mao’s little red book than anything “conservative” or “GOP,” in the United States.

DeSantis’ team is doubling down on this insanity. And what’s worse is he’s taking the GOPers too weak-willed to stand up to him along for the ride. Some like Nikki Haley, actually spoke out, trying to split the difference but any nuance or perspective slightly different is a no-go zone in the increasing despotism of DeSantis world.

This quote from last week, attributed to the combative Erin Perrine, late of the 2020 Trump reelection effort and now a DeSantis-aligned PAC flak stuck out for me-

2023, is indeed a strange time, Erin. Very strange. Because the status of what Disney had in Florida (whether you agree or disagree with it) is a traditional GOP talking point and philosophy. For years, GOPers pushed the idea of Empowerment Zones or Enterprise Zones to attract business. An Enterprise Zone was generally in a lower-income or blighted urban area and ended up being a failure in most cases, in my opinion.

But they were consistent with conservative philosophy and with what Disney had in Florida – even though the Disney carve-out was bipartisan in nature, initiated by a GOP Governor but a Democratic legislature and reaffirmed through the years by leaders in both parties, it was often cited as THE model for the right’s economic investment theories and that of conservative think-tanks in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

The idea’s most vocal proponent, Jack Kemp, passed away before many of these areas were deemed a failure. But they failed for a variety of reasons, and the Disney arrangement ended up saving taxpayers money in the long-run and as I have pointed out previously, helped preserve the areas within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, benefiting Everglades restoration.

DeSantis economic philosophy conflicts directly with historic conservatism. During his first term, DeSantis pushed out more than $1billion in tax increases on consumers. While much of this done to offset DeSantis “pay-to-play” governing philosophy which did lead to about $5 bn in tax cuts for targeted business per various analysis (including tax cuts for Disney, a DeSantis ally at the time), the actual tax burden on Florida’s working class went up – and contributed to the cost of living crisis Florida is currently in the middle of.

This cost-of-living crisis which could be considered a bi-product of years of GOP rule, has happened under the watch of DeSantis, rather than Rick Scott or Jeb Bush (outside of external factors), because the Governor mixes an unhealthy pay-to-play governing idea with a disinterest in investment that targets Florida’s poorest or core urban areas. His approach is that of a dis-enlightened despot who hasn’t the time nor the interest in actually governing, which creates an uneven ideology based around performance art, campaign donors and a need to crush any dissent.


  1. Thank you for the sanity of this article. It appears that 99.9% of the 2023 Legislative session was focused on hurting Floridians and Walt Disney World. Every homeowner, working Floridian, and parent found their lives negatively affected by the STUPIDITY of DeSantis’ lapdogs. Insurance is unaffordable; education is going to be indoctrination rather than creative thinking; teachers, professors, and other instructors will lose their tenured status, be unable to speak the truth in a classroom, and will be unable to help LGBTQ+ students who need someone to talk to. Walt Disney World has the assets to fight DeSantis. DeSantis has OUR tax $$$ to spend in a fight against OUR best interests. Dear Lord, Florida is being run by a fascist dictator.


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