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DeSantis Blows His Lid

Well, that didn't take long. Yesterday, we had an item on the commencement of Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R-FL) presidential campaign. And in it, we wrote:

Once DeSantis starts to do retail campaigning, he is going to have reporters come up to him and ask questions. How he handles this could be critical. He may not want to answer pointed questions, but what should he do? If he is evasive, a decent reporter will ask follow-up questions until the Governor answers the first question. If he gets frustrated and tells the reporter to buzz off, the reporter is going to write a story saying that DeSantis is an obnoxious jerk—or worse. If this happens for a couple of months, his image nationally will become that of an obnoxious jerk. He will fail the "beer test" and it will be all downhill from there. His advisers have undoubtedly told him this many times, but changing your personality from an obnoxious jerk to a hail fellow, well met is tough. They don't teach that at Yale or Harvard.

That post went live around 6:00 a.m. ET.

Meanwhile, around 9:00 a.m. ET, DeSantis was delivering his stump speech to a crowd of about 100 people at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Laconia, NH. Voters in New Hampshire are accustomed to being able to ask questions of wannabe presidents, but apparently nobody briefed the Governor on that, since he did not have a Q&A after the speech. As he moved through the crowd, DeSantis did talk to some people, which he apparently felt was good enough. He was eventually approached by Steve Peoples of The Associated Press, who wondered why DeSantis didn't take questions from the crowd. The candidate did not like that, and responded angrily. You can watch for yourself, if you wish:

In case you don't care to watch, DeSantis' response was: "People are coming up to me, talking to me. What are you talking about? Are you blind? Are you blind? People are coming up to me, talking to me whatever they want to talk to me about."

We'll start by noting that "Are you blind?," used in an insulting manner like that, is not really appropriate 21st-century language, as it is considered ableist. DeSantis presumably doesn't care too much about things like that, since that's "wokeness." However, it's not up to him to decide what voters should and should not care about, and there are definitely voters who will find this offensive. If the Governor can't self-police his language, even if he's personally convinced that doing so is stupid, he's setting himself up for a "macaca" moment one of these days.

Moving on, the big story here is DeSantis' borderline temper tantrum. Again, whether he likes it or not, taking questions from the audience is part of the game in New Hampshire. And so, when he decides to play by his own rules, it's entirely fair for a reporter to ask why (and, implicitly, whether this will be the practice going forward). After all, if there won't be Q&A sessions at DeSantis events, some voters might not want to attend. For the Governor to respond angrily, with so little provocation, when he's basically in his first day of campaigning, and he already has a reputation for being ill-tempered and having poor people skills? Wow. Our prediction was barely even 3 hours old before it came to pass.

A leopard can't change its spots, as the old aphorism goes. When Donald Trump ran for president the first time, there was much written, including by us, about when Trump v1.0 would be refined into Trump v2.0. It never happened, of course, and what you saw that day on the escalator was what you got for the rest of the campaign (and for the duration of his presidency). It looks more and more like DeSantis v1.0 is all the world is going to get. And, judging from the polls, DeSantis v1.0 is considerably less electable than Trump v1.0. (Z)

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