Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is retooling his campaign to go leaner and meaner, although, thinking on it, did he have a choice?
This is a candidate who started off fat and happy.
His poll numbers were good, some even eclipsing Trump, he had the Murdochs and the Kochs behind him, and he had money, a lot of money.
Impressed with where he stood relative to the others, DeSantis hired a huge campaign staff that he is now shedding quickly while making many other just awful self-inflicted mistakes, according to a report in The New York Times.
This was all in an attempt to rebrand himself — and now his latest hits seem to do nothing but reinforce his brand.
For example, he wants to be the leaner and meaner Ron DeSantis, the one who doesn’t rack up a $297,000 bill at the Four Seasons…the Miami one, not the Rudy one.
According to the Times report:
“Now, his advisers are promising to reorient the DeSantis candidacy as an ‘insurgent’ run and remake it into a ‘leaner-meaner’ operation, days after the first public glimpse into his political finances showed unsustainable levels of spending — including a taste for private planes — and a fund-raising operation that was alarmingly dependent on its biggest contributors and that did not meet its expectations.”
The report notes that putting out an ad — one that was created by the DeSantis team and then handed off to a reporter as if it were independent, an ad that was both homophobic and then hilariously laughed off as homoerotic by Pete Buttigieg — is one of those “own goals” that DeSantis scores so easily.
Now a new big “own goal,” one that could perhaps drive him out of the race.
“Funding” means nothing when your campaign is associated with Nazi symbols.
It would seem that the DeSantis campaign either found another “unnecessary” issue or believes this will help with the “meaner” thing. It is at the end, and you will not miss it:
— Luke Thompson (@ltthompso) July 23, 2023
In response to The New York Times piece, the DeSantis campaign showed us what “leaner and meaner” means (It does not address the Nazi video, though, since it is very new).
Leaner and meaner means whining and lying. From the report:
“The media and D.C. elites have already picked their candidates — Joe Biden and Donald Trump,” Mr. Romeo said. “Ron DeSantis has never been the favorite or the darling of the establishment, and he has won because of it every time.”
Red Alert: Now we’re being played. Leaner and meaner doesn’t include being dumber.
It doesn’t get much more establishment than a segment on Fox News with Brian Kilmeade playing catch with DeSantis.
lol Brian Kimeade and Ron DeSantis play catch while Kilmeade conducts an interview pic.twitter.com/ZN5oGworgl
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 13, 2023
DeSantis was — and is — trying to remain the candidate of the corporate media and the big boys.
After all, the Times’ next paragraph says that DeSantis headed off to the Hamptons and then decided to get to the mountains to beat the Florida heat. According to the report:
“[DeSantis went to] Park City, Utah, to see donors. Records show the DeSantis campaign made an $87,000 reservation at the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah for a retreat where donors were invited to cocktails on the deck on Saturday followed by an ‘investor appreciation dinner.’”
Having been to the Stein Eriksen Lodge, I assure you the dinner was excellent but not lean. Nor mean, for that matter.
The New York Times report seems to be centered around the fact that the DeSantis campaign has fired roughly a dozen people, and a few dozen more may be coming. That is “leaner” in a certain sense.
As for “meaner”?
Claiming that you have never been the “establishment candidate” on the same weekend that your campaign was in the Hamptons and Park City, well, that sounds awfully “nice.”
Nazi symbols are not “mean.” They are disgusting enough to be disqualifying, and we’ll see how that plays out over the next few days.
If a guy has gotta get mean, he can’t do “Nazi.”
But it’s awfully “nice” surrounding himself in super sweet environments.
Nice try, Ron, but it’s not fooling us.
This column is based largely on reporting by Maggie Haberman and Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @JasonMiciak
Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece reflecting the opinion of the author alone