Five most bullsh*t parts of Ron DeSantis’ campaign kickoff


On Monday, Congressman Ron DeSantis made it official — launching his long-expected bid for Florida governor.

Taking to a Boca Raton stage as the late Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” played, the North Florida Republican claimed he was the only “principled conservative” and an outsider in the race — a direct knock on both his current competitor, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, as well as potential Republican rival, House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

And DeSantis’ no-surprise announcement came with a generous helping of what can only be called … bullshit.

That said, here are the top five bullshit parts of DeSantis’ kickoff:

— Boca Raton?

DeSantis grew up in Pinellas County. He currently represents Florida’s 6th Congressional District, which includes all or parts of Flagler and Volusia St. Johns and Lake counties.

So why Boca Raton, next to his pal Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago luxury resort?

To put it bluntly: Conservative Republican Jewish voters.

“DeSantis said after his speech that he chose Boca Raton, in part, because of his support in the Jewish community,” the Miami Herald wrote. “The congressman was among the advisers who pushed Trump to announce the U.S. would move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.”

That is a significant part of his appeal, as a conservative and staunch supporter of Isreal, which is an issue that could play nationally, but not as well for Florida’s statewide race.

Boca is also home to one of DeSantis biggest contributors — Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who also gave $250,000 to the Fund for Florida’s Future, DeSantis’ committee.

So, the choice had little to do with Florida, its people’s problems and concerns for the future. Just pandering to his base, several of whom are billionaires.

Which leads to No. 2 …

— Florida, Florida, Florida.

As our Jacksonville reporter A.G. Gancarski noted on his Twitter feed: “Not sure if DeSantis is ready to be Governor, but he’s definitely on track to host a show on Fox News after the first part of this speech. Still no Florida issue discussion.”

How does one launch a campaign for Florida’s governor, and not talk about the state he hopes to lead — until the end?

And when he did get around to talk about Florida matters, DeSantis quickly hit all the marks, although many talking points were uninspired and generic: improved education; preparing students for “college and citizenship,” the opioid epidemic, etc.

About Enterprise Florida, money for charter schools or any other Florida-centric hot-button issues — nada.

Inexplicably, he also touched on a “renewed focus on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” Not exactly appealing to the average Floridian, especially after eight years of Rick Scott‘s mantra: “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

— Outside, looking in.

DeSantis is a three-term congressman from the Palm Coast — claiming to be a political “outsider.”

That could be a problem.

As if Tallahassee — or any other statehouse, for that matter — was a completely different animal than Capitol Hill.

As the Geico commercial says: “That’s not how it works; that’s not how any of this works.”

Paging Ron DeSantis.

Prior to taking office, term-limited Gov. Scott had pretty much zero political experience. Before 2010, he was a health care executive few voters knew. But that lack of Tallahassee experience became a big part of Scott’s appeal, particularly (at the time) to Tea Party Republicans.

Combined with a healthy fundraising prowess, that narrative propelled Scott to the Governor’s Mansion, twice.

In 2018, a sitting Congressman (educated at Yale and Harvard) claiming to be a political outsider is offering simple, blatant bullshit.

Democrat Gwen Graham, who only served a single term in Congress, doesn’t even attempt to fly the outsider banner.

DeSantis has three terms under his belt. Stop calling yourself “outsider.”

— It’s all about Trump.

If one person is behind DeSantis’ gubernatorial aspirations, it’s Trump.

During the announcement, the audience did learn something new — that DeSantis had a better batting average during his time at Yale than former President George H.W. Bush.

But everyone was already aware of the most important aspect of the DeSantis campaign: Trump believes he’s the best choice for Florida Governor.

We all saw the tweet: “Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!”

And, as if ringing a dinner bell, Trump’s tweet had billionaires come running. Voilà, we now have DeSantis for Governor.

However, in 2018, a Trump endorsement might turn out to be something of a double-edged sword — especially if the dreaded “blue wave” of Democratic backlash materializes. Just ask Alabama U.S. Senator, err, Roy Moore.

November just may prove what Republican operative Rick Wilson famously quipped: “Everything Trump touches dies.”

What’s more, introducing DeSantis’ speech was Jeniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s only member of Congress, who suggested he might have the support of Florida’s Puerto Rican community, which has now grown past 1 million after migration from Hurricane Maria.


With simmering anger about Trump’s Puerto Rico response, and a general animus against the president from women and minorities, touting both the president’s backing and the Puerto Rican vote simultaneously is wishful thinking, at best.

— Baby shaking?

And to finish, this gem, although we admit its a stretch.

As the Miami Herald noted: “’We Republicans, we can’t have the insiders pick the candidate in 2018,’ said DeSantis, who came to the stage holding his 14-month-old daughter, Madison. ‘We need someone who’s going to follow Rick Scott’s legacy and shake things up [emphasis mine].”

Was it really wise for DeSantis to talk about “shaking things up” while holding a toddler?

Most will agree that babies and shaking don’t mix. By now, that should be obvious to almost everyone, even in Florida.

So, holding a baby one minute and saying you’ll shake things up the next is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected].


  • Travis Coker

    January 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Could you possibly be any more in the bag for ANY democrat? For quotes in your story… you quote another reporter (and his tweets) much more than the candidate of whom the story is supposed to be about? Bush League…. And you rip the republican candidate about raising money… that’s a fresh position for a democrat writer. Go back to the nightclub reviews.

  • Dan Martin

    January 30, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Adam is a better man by far. He is a real person who represents real people. Go Adam

  • Andrew Nappi

    January 30, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Both DeSantis and Putnam have abysmal congressional voting records when compared to the Constitution. Both are neocon warmongering pro empire building supporters of the welfare warfare state.
    The real republican outsider is the Republican Liberty Caucus Florida chairman, Bob White. DeSantis is a veritable carpet bagger with his elitist backers. Stsy in DC Ron, get yourself a gig kissing Hannity’s ass. You got what it takes!

  • Ollie

    January 31, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    He’s a hologram. Invented out of whole cloth by Mike Hightower et all.

Comments are closed.


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