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Trump Launches Leftist Attack Against DeSantis
Most of Trump's attack on DeSantis sounded very...Democratic. Accusing Republicans of wanting to cut, or completely eliminate, Medicare and Social Security? That could have come from the Democratic attack machine any time in the last 50 years. In fact, Trump's attack resembled, in spirit at least, President Joe Biden's taunting of Republicans at the State of the Union address on Feb. 7, when he accused the GOP of seeking to kill Medicare and Social Security

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Guy Benson

March 02, 2023 10:01 AM

Trump Launches Leftist Attack Against DeSantis

We’ve been following the emerging alliance among the Democratic Party, Donald Trump, the news media, and leftist groups like the Lincoln Project — all of whom have shared goals, at least for the moment: Namely, beating back Ron DeSantis’ potential presidential ambitions, and ensuring Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024.  They have different reasons for preferring the latter scenario, of course.  They’ve tossed around disparaging nicknames, poked fun at the Florida governor’s height, and preposterously pretended that DeSantis was a ‘lockdown’ leader during COVID.  They’re throwing everything up against the wall.  For his part, DeSantis is out with a new bestselling book, and is embarking on a book tour that will take him to some intriguing places, like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and likely South Carolina, per the New York Times.  His team is also putting out videos like this, which have all the energy of a presidential announcement, just without the actual announcement:

Let’s face it, if the Florida governor is not planning to run for president, he’s certainly going out of his way to create a lot of misdirection.  The scuttlebutt is that he’s preparing to launch a national campaign in May or June.  We’ll see if or how that pans out.  One person who’s obviously anticipating DeSantis jumping in is Trump, whose lead atop the GOP primary field has expanded over the last few weeks.  He lobs near-daily broadsides against DeSantis on his ‘Truth’ social media platform, which is target has thus far ignored. His latest attack is against DeSantis’ fiscally conservative record, and more broadly against basic math.  For years, Republicans were the only party that was even somewhat willing to discuss the fiscal dilemma of Social Security and Medicare’s impending insolvency.  Conservatives crafted policy solutions that would ameliorate those problems while exempting all current or soon-to-be seniors from any changes.  The Left responded with deranged demagoguery, outrageously accusing conservatives of trying to kill seniors, while remaining entirely unresponsive to the actual policy challenge itself.  

One memorable attack along these lines was a television ad depicting Paul Ryan throwing an elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff.  Trump, leaning into economic populism, ignoring the actual problem (remember when he confidently promised he’d eliminate the national debt as president?), and exploiting Ryan’s newfound ‘RINO’ status, is directly recycling the Left’s ‘grandma/wheelchair’ smear to hit DeSantis:

Most of Trump’s attack on DeSantis sounded very…Democratic. Accusing Republicans of wanting to cut, or completely eliminate, Medicare and Social Security? That could have come from the Democratic attack machine any time in the last 50 years. In fact, Trump’s attack resembled, in spirit at least, President Joe Biden’s taunting of Republicans at the State of the Union address on Feb. 7, when he accused the GOP of seeking to kill Medicare and Social Security…the wheelchair-off-the-cliff ad is widely remembered as an example of the insane extremism of Democratic accusations against Republicans. And now a Republican former president, running for the White House again, has adopted it. It’s an extraordinary development in GOP politics. It is an unfortunate economic and demographic fact that, if left on their current courses, Medicare and Social Security will both go broke in the coming decade — Medicare in about 2030, depending on events, and Social Security in about 2035. Something has to be done to ensure their solvency.

Republicans have been the only party responsible enough, or reckless enough, to suggest reforms that would lengthen the life of both programs. For their efforts, they have faced relentless attacks from Democrats. It’s a truism in Washington that the government does not really address problems until they become crises. That’s just the way things work. Some Republicans, such as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), have realized that is true of Medicare and Social Security and have backed away from advocating reforms until Democrats, someday, agree that the situation is serious enough to take action…why trash those Republicans who stuck their necks out to advocate reform in the past?

To answer York’s last question, it’s because Trump is willing to use absolutely anything to bludgeon someone he views as a threat, and he doesn’t care if he’s seizing on a left-wing hatchet job to do it. It’s not about policy or ideas. It’s about Trump. That’s the reality. Some people see this as a positive feature of his ruthless ambition. Others see it as an ugly and unfair low-blow that only helps the Left amplify its reckless lies. Regardless, it is a fact of political life.  Meanwhile, DeSantis is busy governing, defending a new law stripping Disney of its ‘corporate kingdom’ and numerous special privileges.  Some conservatives have argued that this is governmental overreach, exacting retribution against a corporation over a political disagreement, thus setting a bad precedent that will be abused by the other side.  I’m very sympathetic to these concerns myself.  In the Wall Street Journal, DeSantis offers a full-throated defense of his decision:

Disney’s special arrangement, which dates to 1967, was an indefensible example of corporate welfare. It provided the company with favorable tax treatment, including the ability to assess its own property valuations and to enjoy the benefits of regional infrastructure improvements without paying taxes toward the projects. It exempted Disney from Florida’s building and fire-prevention codes. It even allowed Disney to build a nuclear power plant and to use eminent domain to seize private property outside the district’s boundaries. While special districts are common in Florida, Disney’s deal was conspicuous in the massive benefits it conferred. Disney’s self-governing status endured because the company’s unrivaled political power in Florida made its arrangement virtually untouchable. For more than 50 years, the state of Florida put Disney on a pedestal. That all changed last year, when left-wing activists working at the company’s headquarters in Burbank, Calif., pressured Disney to oppose Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act. The legislation bans classroom instruction on sexuality and gender ideology in kindergarten through third grade and requires that sex instruction in other grades be age-appropriate. Disney executives were seen on videos boasting about the company’s plans to inject sexuality into its programming for children…

…The regrettable upshot of the woke ascendancy is that publicly traded corporations have become combatants in battles over American politics and culture, almost invariably siding with leftist causes…In this environment, old-guard corporate Republicanism isn’t up to the task at hand. For decades, GOP elected officials have campaigned on free-market principles but governed as corporatists—supporting subsidies, tax breaks and legislative carve-outs to confer special benefits on entrenched corporate interests. But policies that benefit corporate America don’t necessarily serve the interests of America’s people and economy. When corporations try to use their economic power to advance a woke agenda, they become political, and not merely economic, actors. In such an environment, reflexively deferring to big business effectively surrenders the political battlefield to the militant left. Having private companies wield de facto public power isn’t in the best interests of most Americans. Woke ideology is a form of cultural Marxism. Leaders must stand up and fight back when big corporations make the mistake, as Disney did, of using their economic might to advance a political agenda. We are making Florida the state where the economy flourishes because we are the state where woke goes to die.

Agree or disagree, this explains his thinking. The full op/ed is available here. I’ll leave you with another aggressively woke corporation sleeping in the bed it’s helped make for itself, in a very different sort of jurisdiction: