Gov. Ron DeSantis parlayed his Transparency in Technology legislation into a second straight blitz of prime-time media hits Wednesday.
And in the bargain, he ended up addressing “speculation” about a potential presidential campaign in 2024 and getting a platform to discuss a leadership vacuum in the GOP.
The Governor, who rehearsed a short version of his swashbuckling arguments against the hegemony of the “Big Tech Cartel” with Tucker Carlson on Fox News the night before, got platforms on national radio and Newsmax, with a nightcap with Laura Ingraham on the Fox News Channel.
The Newsmax spot offered the most expansive view of the Governor’s political vision. It allowed DeSantis to posit the TIT bill into a prototype for other states and other leaders and to put himself over in the bargain.
DeSantis said when asked about 2024 that he’s “thinking about governing Florida and running for reelection in 2022,” before adding that “a lot of the speculation just goes back to what [host Greg Kelly was] saying, like people see me out here leading, and they like to see that in the Republican Party because, quite frankly, we need more Republicans to show some backbone.”
Indeed, the segment offered DeSantis a unique opportunity to posture as a politician willing to make the tough decisions that others, even members of the Republican Party, shy away from.
“You’ve just got to lead. And until someone leads, no one does it. Florida has been leading on a lot of things over the last couple of years. We’re leading again,” the Governor said.
But he wasn’t done.
“It’s about when you get elected, are you going to get elected and then do the things you said you would do, and then as new issues arrive, exercise leadership. That’s what people in Florida want to see, ” DeSantis added.
“You don’t have to put your finger in the wind. I’ve not taken a poll since I’ve been Governor. I don’t need to. I’ve got to do what’s right. I’ve got to do what the folks expect me to,” DeSantis said. “Too many politicians, they get elected and then they think their sole job is just to continue to get elected. When actually you get elected to do things.”
DeSantis also offered a defense of a confrontation from weeks back with a CNN reporter, saying it was evidence that he wouldn’t compromise to a media apparatus hostile to him.
“Nobody should have any illusions about the agenda with a lot of these people. What I see, particularly in Washington: Some of these elected Republicans, they do somersaults to try to please these very left-wing journalists, these outfits. Understand they don’t want Republicans to do well. They don’t want Republicans to win elections. So stop playing their games,” DeSantis said.
And the tech crackdown bill has to be seen in that context of partisan warfare.
The Florida Governor frames it as an assault against Big Tech, which he described Wednesday on national radio to Mark Levin as an “arm of the ruling class, arm of the Joe Biden administration.”
For DeSantis, who ignored a reporter’s question about whether the election was “stolen” just this week, it’s clear that whatever happens with Donald Trump, he has at least two years and maybe more to set up as a conservative counterpoint to a left-of-center administration. And this anti-tech legislation is another front in a multi-theater war.