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One-Trick Pony Ron DeSantis Continues to Perform His One Trick

As the old saying goes, in politics you got to dance with them what brung ya. Ron DeSantis has clearly taken this to heart, because despite all evidence that his crusade against wokeness isn't working, he's definitely sticking with it.

To start, at DeSantis' instigation, the state of Florida rejected AP standards for Black history because they had a faint whiff of Critical Race Theory, and because they risked giving white people the sads. Now, the Florida Board of "Education" has put the finishing touches on an alternate set of standards. There is certainly plenty of stuff in there that belongs, like African-American folklore, the Buffalo Soldiers and Martin Luther King Jr. On the other hand, the standards also require that students learn that:

Here's hoping the Board can now get to work on their next project, so they can create a unit covering the physical fitness benefits that Native Americans enjoyed thanks to long-distance walks from Florida to Oklahoma.

Moving along, many readers will be familiar with the current controversy involving country singer Jason Aldean. As a sidebar, Aldean is in the running for the title of World's Biggest Poseur, since he sings about small-town life, and since he wears his costume of cowboy hat/boots/jeans/etc., despite the fact that he grew up in the suburbs and has undoubtedly never done a day's worth of manual labor, much less manual labor on a working ranch. In any case, Aldean has a new song that includes these lyrics:

Cuss out a cop, spit in his face
Stomp on the flag and light it up
Yeah, ya think you're tough
Well, try that in a small town
See how far ya make it down the road
Around here, we take care of our own
You cross that line, it won't take long
For you to find out, I recommend you don't
Try that in a small town

The fake tough guy act is a nice complement to being the World's Biggest Poseur. And if the lyrics aren't enough (and yes, before you ask, he's an outspoken Trumper), the music video for the single features Aldean singing in front of a courthouse that was the site of more than one lynching. The whole thing is problematic enough that CMT (nee Country Music Television) yanked the video from their lineup.

What does this have to do with DeSantis? Well, it would seem he likes songs that broadly encourage violence, and that more subtly encourage lynching. So, he is "outraged" that people are outraged over the Aldean song/video, and that the video has been pulled by CMT. Unfortunately for him, CMT is owned by Paramount, so there's no amusement park subsidiary for him to punish. However, he did go onto Fox and launch into a rant:

We're off the rocker here in the United States with a lot of this stuff, with cancel culture, with big tech censorship, with a lot of stuff that the federal government's doing, policing so-called misinformation. We need to get back on kilter and start having a free society again and embracing truth. So I think it's part and parcel of a lot of the nonsense we've seen over the last many years...

It's a little odd to refer to that song as "truth," but then you look at the new Black history standards, and it all starts to fall into place.

And we're not done. It's all well and good to lash out at Black people, but the Governor just can't feel his day is complete until he's also done battle with LGBTQ wokeness. Now that pride month is over, there aren't a lot of great targets for him, but you don't get to be Governor without having some creativity. So, he's renewed his crusade against Bud Light. Specifically, DeSantis says that by signing up a trans influencer as a spokesperson, AB InBev (producer of Budweiser products) might have "breached legal duties owed to its shareholders." Since Florida's pension fund holds 682,000 shares of AB InBev stock, DeSantis says he wants the state's pension fund manager to file suit. We don't know if the pension fund manager (whose name is Ashbel C. Williams) can be fired by the Governor, but probably not. And if we're right, then the pension fund manager isn't going to spend 2 minutes considering this suggestion, since he'd be laughed out of court if he tried it.

We have made clear that we just don't get DeSantis' thinking. Poll after poll after poll shows that voters, even Republican voters, don't care about anti-wokeness, and largely don't even know what it means. They like someone who "owns the libs," yes, but it's not the same thing. Donald Trump gets it, and he's not even all that smart. At the same time, poll after poll shows that DeSantis is no threat to the former president, and that the gap is growing. It would seem to be time for a course correction, as opposed to time to double down.

That said, one person who likes what he's seeing is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). He's allegedly super-smart, and unlike us, he's won multiple U.S. Senate elections. So maybe his opinion is worth paying attention to? We guess? Certainly, the Senator is building his 2024 campaign around DeSantis-style anti-wokeness. The Governor and the Senator have both targeted some of the same entities, like Disney and Bud Light. However, sometimes they diverge. At the moment, Cruz's particular bugaboo is... Barbie.

Note that we put the name in italics, because Cruz's issue is not with the character, per se, but with the movie about the character that was released in theaters this week. At some point in the movie, after the doll comes to life, she draws a child-like map:

Barbie in front of a map; 
next to a crudely drawn Asia is a dashed line

If you don't already know what the problem is, take a look at Asia on the map. See the dashed line to its right? Well, that nominally mimics Chinese territorial claims. Ipso facto, Barbie is a sleeper agent for the Chinese, communism, etc.

Cruz is not the only Republican kvetching about Barbie right now. However, at this point, the Senator has a particularly long and loud history of railing against fictional children's characters. He slammed Big Bird and Elmo (because they got their COVID vaccines), Mickey Mouse and Pluto (he speculated that Disney would soon produce a film with them "going at it"), and the characters of Toy Story (some of them are apparently lesbians).

We shall see if a strategy that is clearly not working for DeSantis ends up serving Cruz well. All we know for sure is that we'd have a harder time coming up with a way to seem out of touch than to spend a disproportionate amount of one's time talking about children's toys. Meanwhile, Cruz won reelection by a fairly narrow margin in 2018 (2.6%), Texas is trending bluer, and Rep. Collin Allred (D-TX) appears to be a stouter opponent than Beto O'Rourke was. (Z)

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