Dem 50
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Do You Want to Have a Beer with Ron DeSantis?

Many pundits, not to mention The New York Post, see Ron DeSantis as DeFUTURE. He is young, looks good on television (if you mute it), and owns the libs like no one else. Nevertheless, Mark Leibovich has written a piece in The Atlantic that points out that while DeSantis is flying high with people who don't know him at all, among people who know him well, his future is more DeBATABLE.

One thing that shouldn't matter in a presidential race, but does, is personality. People want to vote for someone they could have a beer with. In that department, DeSantis is the second coming of Mitt Romney (or, worse yet, Al Gore), not of George W. Bush. A presidential candidate can hide his personality only so much. At some point, it comes out. Barbara Comstock, who served in the House with DeSantis, says: "He was standoffish in general." Media consultant Rick Wilson says he is "a strange no-eye-contact oddball." Tallahassee lobbyist Mac Stipanovich says: "I'd rather have teeth pulled without anesthetic than be on a boat with Ron DeSantis." He also said DeSantis is "dour and doesn't improvise particularly well." In short, he's not a fun guy. Being mean and venal and owning the libs will get you only so far with college-educated suburban women. Maybe not far enough.

Then there is the little matter of the primary against Donald Trump. Merely owning the libs won't do the job there at all because Donald Tump has perfected that. Trump has a kind of feral charisma that DeSantis lacks. Being really nasty but not coming over as really nasty is something Trump excels at. DeSantis, not so much. When he is nasty, he looks and feels nasty. How is that going to go over with Republican primary voters? In a debate, the ability to think fast on your feet is important. Trump has had plenty of practice and is good at it. DeSantis is not and this is not something you can easily learn.

None of this is to say that DeSantis couldn't beat Trump and then Joe Biden, but the current euphoria among some Republicans that he is their savior may be short-lived when DeSantis actually launches his campaign and Trump launches missile after missile in his direction. The longer the campaign goes on, the more time DeSantis has to fumble. But he knows this and probably won't announce for at least 6 months, shortening the campaign by a lot. He can raise money from billionaires instantly, so there is no need to launch early just to raise money. He already has a campaign team in place so that won't take too much time, although he will need more people with experience outside Florida. And remember that candidates who looked good before it all started, like Beto O'Rourke and Rudy Giuliani, often collapse when it actually starts. DeSantis might just be added to that collection in the end. (V)

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