DeSantis got it right.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media at a coronavirus vaccination site at Lakewood Ranch Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Last year, as the shock of shutting down the American economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic was setting in, and the enormous implications of that unprecedented action were first being considered, I wrote in this space the following:

Appropriate policy occupies some hard-to-determine spot on a continuum between extremes of taking no special action whatsoever, or shutting down all industry, commerce and interpersonal transactions. Business as usual on the one hand, total stop on the other.”

It quickly became clear that where you placed yourself on that continuum said a lot about your politics. Generally speaking, those on the left were pushing shutdown, those on the right were pushing business as usual at the soonest possible date.

A week later, I posed this question:

…having imagined the mortality attendant to a runaway coronavirus pandemic, have our policy leaders taken the time to also imagine the mortality attendant to a shutdown of the American economy?”

One such policymaker did so imagine. It was Florida governor Ron DeSantis. In September, as the “two-weeks-to-flatten-the-curve” shutdown was stretching into week 28, DeSantis stood up to the fear of political decapitation and became the first governor in the nation to start opening his state back up.

In a move that was scathingly criticized, DeSantis reopened restaurants at full capacity and stripped local jurisdictions of the authority to issue fines for not wearing a mask.

The Twitterverse exploded. The talking heads on the lefty cable shows were aghast. “DeSantis has made a ‘grand bargain’ with death,” shrieked the editorial page of USA Today.

None of those hurling invective at DeSantis ever took the time to point out that unlike his counterparts in New York, Michigan and other states, DeSantis was taking a very calibrated approach. He actually did follow the science. He avoided the appalling death toll that New York experienced as a result of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to shove COVID-positive patients into nursing homes. His Seniors First vaccine rollout into retail stores serves an example for the rest of the country.

The criticism leveled at DeSantis was driven by emotion and hyper-partisan politics. There was no data.

There is now.

And according to that data, DeSantis’s ‘grand bargain’ turned out rather well. Florida did better in every measure of per capita illness, hospitalization and mortality than California, New York and New Jersey; all three of which remain largely locked down. Especially California.

California’s unemployment rate today stands at 9.3 percent compared to just 5.1 percent in Florida. Kids in California still aren’t back in school. Florida school kids went back at the start of the semester last fall. The Florida economy is booming and people are coming. California is in the doldrums and people are leaving.

Nobody got it completely right on COVID. But Ron DeSantis, a Republican whose place on that policy continuum invited incoming fire, came closer to getting it right than any governor in the country. If, as they say, good policy is good politics, DeSantis’s political future looks very bright indeed.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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17 Responses

  1. C M Solomon says:

    The brilliance of the founding of our Republic was to create multiple State laboratories of innovation, invention, and common sense to DISCOVER societal solutions that would far exceed the “one size fits all” dictates of a bunch of egomaniacal imbeciles in federal bureaucracies that NEVER had to prove their bona fides in order to rise to power of global influence in spite of their pathetic or nonexistent accomplishments. Most successful individuals or organizations have a good mix of humility and willingness to work hard while taking responsibility and ACCOUNTABILITY for their actions that affect others such as we should have learned in 2nd grade: the Golden Rule.

  2. Ron Eagleman says:

    If your forecast for Governor DeSantis’ political future is anything like your two prophetic essays in March and April of last year, he is indeed ready for national prime time. Who knows what can happen by 2024, but he definitely has demonstrated executive competence much beyond what we see happening in the blue states. If former president Trump decides to run, DeSantis could be an excellent choice for a vice-presidential candidate, as Pence cashed in a lot of his Trump loyalty stocks. I haven’t heard too much about the fallout, but I cannot imagine that the MAGA people are overjoyed with him. Even though DeSantis seems ready for national “prime time”, you can already hear the propaganda machines warming up for “slime time”! He and his family may decide that they really do not need the grief.

  3. Richard Anderson says:

    Outstanding column Mr. Gleiser! Yes, Governor DeSantis has GOVERNED Florida like a true leader.. with vision, finesse, and facts. He’s tough, and he’s acted smartly, but NOT without regard for “The People” and the documents we as Americans, other than the Bible, most cherish.. The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution.

    More and more Americans are beginning to see very quickly that “Democrat ruled*” –*i.e. even though they should be governing– blue states such as California, New York,, act more like imperial dictators with absolute authority ruling over their respective States’ citizens regarding covid* [*i.e. the CCP communist-China caused corona virus] with asinine and unconstitutional regulations which have been a direct attack upon our FREEDOM and LIBERTY as AMERICANS.

    In fact, Democrats have more in common with the communist party leadership in CCP China and its inherent vices– totalitarian control, wokeism, political correctness, atheism, collectivism, and the absolute power of “the state” –than they do with everyday Americans!! The idea of, or even the thought of voting democrat, personally, to me, is ANATHEMA if not HERESY as an American who loves my country.

    I say, vote for government “Of, By, and For The People,” vote conservative Republican in 2022 and 2024 with Trump in for another term in 2024 as the standard-bearer of our Republic. And DeSantis would make an excellent VP as would Gov. Noem.

    • Richard Anderson says:

      Note: In regards to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, according to news reports, she appears to be be backing away from her just recent enthusiasm for a bill in her state which would prohibit biological males from competing in women’s sports.

      If this indeed proves out to be true, that she is in fact “crawfishing” on this issue which conservatives across America support, then she should NOT be considered a viable VP running mate or candidate for any national office. Our nation’s young women MUST be protected from this unwarranted abuse of being forced to accommodate “men who think they are women” in our schools and universities in competitive sports or other activities.

  4. Michael Reagan says:

    Gotta give the Dems credit for one thing; they did tell us what they were going to do after they stole the election. So far they are true to their destructive words.

    Florida and Texas are the next targets for sure. If HB 1 passes and this voter free for all is passed, Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott, as well as our States are toast. No matter how many of us turn out to vote against this insanity. Miraculously overnight a significant lead will evaporate, just like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Ross Perot got it wrong about that “Giant Sucking Sound” for NAFTA……it is our election system being sucked down the rabbit hole.

    • John G. says:

      It’s your lucky day Mike. It seems as though Sidney Powell may no longer be in possession of her evidence of voter fraud. Maybe the Kraken ate it, but regardless you have a prime opportunity to present your incriminating information. I’m certain she would appreciate your assistance given that she is facing a multi billion dollar lawsuit.

      • Michael Reagan says:

        South Texas voter fraud and now Ohio voter fraud; did you NOT see the news stories. I am quiet certain if the States I named had bothered to follow up and do a thorough investigation; which they chose to ignore completely, more fraud would have been exposed. AND Sir, do you cast out the thousands of people who came forward with evidence? People who put themselves and their families on the line to this insidious cancel culture?!!!! Respectfully, either you are not reading or you do not have your eyes open. NEVER mind how we ALL watched as hundreds of thousands of votes disappeared in the fog of night. Seriously, how does that happen? NO ONE HAS GIVEN A PLAUSIBLE explanation of that factoid.

    • C M Solomon says:

      Michael, you are correct! It is a sad ending to the greatest Nation ever founded on Godly principles. Let’s not pretend that the country is still under Constitutional Law. The National Theft by the Commiecrats was successful in the last illegally conducted election. The country has been conquered by tyrannical Chinese Communist sympathizers that have staked out Fortress Beijing on the Potomac (the former Washington, DC) as our new dictatorial Commiecrat ruled Capital. There has been no formal admission that the Constitution has been abandoned, but the stench of evidence is abundant as the Tyrants move at lightening speed to eradicate ALL traditional American Liberties and moral conduct that had successfully led us in the last 245 years as a country based on God-given Rights and Constitutional rules of behavior.

      A radical purge is underway of all vestiges of our traditional American heritage at ALL levels of government both national and local at agencies dependent on Federal funding including Military and other branches of government while our borders have become open gateways to international criminals by design. Last year the DOJ and Courts became silent partners of the radical Cancel culture exhibited by the riots of BLM and Antifa that plagued the nation as they quivered in fear that they would be targeted next. Hence, the capitulation was directly caused by cowards in high office that cared more about their own survival rather than the Constitution itself that they were sworn to defend. The intimidation tactics of the radical Left worked! What is really frightening is that the leadership of the Military is also cooperating with this Communist takeover as they push the White Supremacy and Critical Race Theory ideology throughout the ranks. Any Conservative Trump supporter in the Military is already being suspected as a political heretic and must be re-educated or removed from service.

      Unless the Red States refuse to accept the rulers of this true Enemy of the people, we have little hope. How can a few thousand Radical Communistic cooperating bureaucrats at the highest levels of our Federal and State governments bring this country down when millions of Patriotic Americans could surround every State Capital and every Media headquarters and particularly Washington, DC with tens of thousands of (peaceful but LOUD) coordinated bull horns at each location, demanding their country back as Joshua warned Jericho! Let the silent be silent NO MORE! We have the numbers, and the Leftists know that we have the Constitutional authority to arrest them for treason. That is why they have erected a protective barrier around OUR former Capital. Deep down they are frightened cowards, hiding behind that barrier and we should never accept their Tyranny! Our show of VERBAL force can not possibly do any harm but it may awaken the rest of the Nation. Anyone else have any ideas?

    • Ron Eagleman says:

      You are so right Michael! If the conservative talking heads continue to predict a Republican landslide and control of both houses of the legislature in 2022, they are just whistling through the graveyard. Has anything been done to change the voting process used in 2020? These same wizards told us not to worry, as Georgia would be our firewall to limit the damage of the Biden/Pelosi demolition duo. How did that work out? Georgia only added the human wrecking ball Schumer to the team! Now, we are relying on Sens Manchin and Sinema to make sure that HR-1 never codifies the “Giant Sucking Sound” to which you refer. Why do we see such blatant “in your face” policies being proposed, as well as the “eye pokes” by Biden’s executive orders? They certainly do not seem to be concerned about the next election; Perhaps they feel confident that they have finally discovered the sure-fire formula for a one-party government?

  5. Dr. R. Paul Cochran says:

    What you fail to mention, sir, is that Florida now has the 3rd highest cases in the US as of 3/24…what happened to that data? Lost or just misplaced or never existed like the Playbook for a Pandemic in the US?

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      Yes, sir. But what you fail to mention is that Florida ranks 28th on a per capita basis, which is the only meaningful way to compare the states.

      • Ron Eagleman says:

        Yes Mr. Cochran…oops DR Cochran, we do not want to forget that DR Cochran is a DR. Of what, who knows? I am not sure how you defended your dissertation, but surely you were expected to utilize biostatistics in your conclusions?

      • Dr. R. Paul Cochran says:

        You are incorrect. Infectious diseased is not based solely on per capita. There are different variables such as median age, income, access to health care as well as the rules that apply to a particular state; i.e., the blasted spring breakers in Florida this last week. The feds had to step in to stop that ridiculous crap and if you would keep up with stats, you would know that.

    • Michael Reagan says:

      Look up the October 2019 World Economic Form meeting. There is proof of a “war gaming” of a global pandemic. Covid19 was not specifically mentioned as “the” vector; but that strategizing was real. So to say, “the Playbook for a Pandemic in the US” did not exist is flat our wrong. I watched the dang meeting and read the notes. IT IS REAL did it ever happen!

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