For those of you who prefer to read my essays instead of watching or listening to my video and/or audio commentaries, below is my assessment of Ron DeSantis’s presidential announcement.
Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign exploded in spectacular fashion on the Twitter Spaces launch pad, which was ludicrously curated for him by aggrieved tech billionaires David Sacks and Elon Musk.
It was the worst presidential announcement event — ever. More than that, it was the most bizarre. David Sacks was described by Kara Swisher as the “junior varsity” moderator. Certainly, his opening list of grievances could be characterized as a junior varsity “Unabomber manifesto.” His repeated false claims that the Twitter Spaces debacle was the largest online gathering in history seem to suggest that Sacks is trying to become for announcements what Sean Spicer is for inaugurations.
Listening to DeSantis, I was reminded of the plot from the “Young Pope,” starring Jude Law. Law’s character is a young extremist who doesn’t wish to be seen in public. He believes it will enhance the mystery. Maybe that is DeSantis’s grand design. We will only hear his voice through Twitter Spaces should he become president, though occasionally, we will get to see his back as well — when he releases a video.
Why do Ron and Casey DeSantis think there is a dramatic effect created by filming “Meatball” from behind in his launch video? Clearly, they believe it is a powerful posture, but in real life it’s just weird — though perfectly befitting a man with other strange proclivities, which include eating pudding with his fingers and wearing odd costumes during storm damage tours. Should Ron DeSantis be able to popularize the white rubber boot for a new generation the way that Twiggy did in the 1960s no one will ever be able to say that his campaign came to nothing.
I’ll be honest, my mind wandered during the event, particularly as DeSantis read his stump speech sitting next to Musk and Sacks in Twitter headquarters. I was overwhelmed by an intrusive thought that placed me in the middle of the ocean on a boat with Sacks, Musk and DeSantis surrounded by hungry sharks. It was an easy choice. I jumped in.
While waiting for the propaganda hour to launch, there was some time to think about the grotesque spectacle of a presidential candidate appearing with the richest man in the world as his supplicant. The dangling puppet strings clearly visible even through the distant sounds and static of Twitter Spaces. Unseemly doesn’t begin to describe it. The sideshow of Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), an extremist congressman, paying homage to Musk, as well as appearances by a pack of other curated voices who also venerated Musk further diminished and defenestrated DeSantis.
The United States government is not a “regime,” despite the promiscuous use of the term by DeSantis, Musk and Sacks. It’s a code word for every political extremist in America, and it has great potency within the far-right white supremacist movement with which Musk routinely flirts. The use of the term is a marker of American fascism. It proposes that the US government is illegal, illegitimate and immoral. That’s quite a claim to make in a country that came into existence through violent revolution against a king.
The United States is the oldest constitutional republic in the world. It’s system of government and constitution are works of genius as evidenced by their endurance. The legitimacy of the government and the exercise of power comes from the consent of the people. We are a government of the people, for the people, by the people. Listening to two entitled, powerful, privileged billionaires host a presidential candidate to slander the American republic is nauseating. Truly.
What the Twitter Spaces debacle demonstrated is that Ron DeSantis isn’t a contender, but rather a clown. His $200 million in campaign cash isn’t enough to overcome his narrative of pugilistic incompetence, weirdness and disdain for people.
American politics has been broken for a long time, but there has never been an event that was as simultaneously strange, obnoxious, jarring and ineffective as the Elon Musk, Ron DeSantis and David Sacks trio confab.
Ron DeSantis has imploded. It’s already over.
By the way, has anyone else seen these new pictures of Titanic?
These photos were taken last week. It appears that the wreck of the DeSantis is headed her way — though I suspect into even deeper water.
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First - do not ever stop writing essays in favor of doing podcasts. There are some of us out there who much prefer the written word. And you are a spectacularly good writer: incisive, courageous and wildly funny at times. I enjoy lingering over the words, rereading them, giggling at some. A podcast simply doesn't offer the same pleasures in the same way. I am so gratefulnthat you are offering us your thoughts at this uniquely harrowing - and sinister- time in American politics. While dark quite often, your essays actually give me hope. Write on big man!
Thank you for indulging those of us who like to read your essays. 😁