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DeSantis Has Labored Mightily … But Only Brought Forth a Mouse

DeSantis Has Labored Mightily … But Only Brought Forth a Mouse

There is no doubt that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has hit a political headwind in his move toward a presidential campaign.

His drop in the polls is not solely due to a few political missteps.  Trump is picking up support because he is being increasingly seen as a victim of prosecutorial excesses and abuse.  His many court cases have the stench of politics – and a lot of Republicans do not like it.

Part of DeSantis’ decline is from the pitch and yawl of politics over time.  Polling numbers constantly change over time.  It would be virtually impossible for a candidate to sustain a lead over a year and a half – especially with Democrats and other GOP presidential contenders taking pot shots at DeSantis.  Based on history, there seems to be no advantage in being an early frontrunner.

But … then there are the DeSantis missteps.

Allow me to preference my further comments by saying that I am a strict constitutional conservative.  I believe the people should have the greatest voice and impact on policy – not the government.

I previously criticized DeSantis for interfering in school board actions.  He was elected to set broad educational policies.  That means his legislation to prevent the sexualizing of early public school education is a good and proper move.  But I do not agree with micro-managing administrative issues at the local level that do not necessarily violate the broader policies.  

Local officials are elected by the people.  We should presume that they represent the collective view of the people who elected them.  If not, it is up to the voters to remove them in the next election.  That is why I pushed back on the Republican members of the Tennessee House for removing two members over actions that warranted nothing more than censure – and the banning of transgender member Zooey Zephyr of the Montana House for saying things that were clearly inappropriate in a civil forum.  It is why I would not boot Congressman George Santos for his inexplicable lies during the campaign.  Such actions disenfranchise the voters.

I applaud DeSantis for supporting a 6-week ban on abortion.  That puts Florida more closely aligned with the view of the people.  Oh yeah!  I know leftwingers keep parroting the poll numbers that show 60 percent of Americans support abortion – but they omit that MOST Americans oppose abortions in later months – as high as 70 percent in the third trimester.

I believe DeSantis was right to amend the special status the Disney Company enjoyed under Florida law – essentially making a private corporation an autonomous zone.  That kind of legislation is not a good idea … period.

Where DeSantis went off the conservative rails was in seemingly – or really – going after Disney for taking a position against the proposal to protect young students from sexualized content and even gender determination.  Disney was wrong on the issue, and politically tone-deaf in taking it up.  BUT … that is their right.

Businesses lobby.  Corporations are constitutionally considered to be “people” … “citizens.”  That means a right to free speech.  They also have responsibilities to employees and fiduciary responsibilities to stockholders.  They should not do things – or say things – that damage their businesses and violate their responsibilities – things that offend their customers.    But … if they do, it is NOT up to the government to intervene or punish them.  That is up to their stockholders and customers.  

We had recently seen a good example when Anheuser Busch featured a transgender influencer on the Bud Lite cans.  AB ran across the grain of public sentiment, and customers responded.  AG had an organic $6 billion drop in valuation and a 17 percent decline in sales – picked up by Coors and others.  I say “organic” because it was not the result of a formal boycott – which I generally oppose.

DeSantis should have let the people speak with their feet and their money.  Disney has suffered from a decline in ticket sales as reaction to woke policies.  DeSantis can – and should – speak out against Disney. He can be the counterpoint to their lobbying positions – but not use legislation as a cudgel.

The power of the people not only rests in their votes – but in their purses and their shoes.  We need to respect that power – not thwart it or circumvent it with oppressive government power.  

DeSantis is not yet an official candidate for President.  He is in the evolving mode.  What he needs to work on is HIS message – and how to best get it across to the American people.   Regardless of his current standing, it is way too early to suggest that his dip in the polls is anything more than a fleeting reality – to be relegated to insignificance by future events. 

DeSantis remains the leading potential candidate to take on President Trump.  Unless DeSantis flounders badly – or does not throw his hat in the ring – the 2024 GOP contest is a two-man race.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Frank stetson

    Oh, come on man, what a bit of malarkey.

    DeSantis has these sites all over Florida, but yet he chooses to pick on Disney. Revenge and retribution politics is the Republican way as of late. This is just another example.

    Disney took wasted swamp land and turned it into a tourist Mecca, making Orlando a place to go. Even if you thought they should lose their granted, benefits, why Disney alone and why do it this way.

    Even his own memoir, DeSantis points out he is doing this for retribution and singling it out Disney for what they said. He wrote it. That looks real bad for his case.

    But more important, why would you shit where you eat. Disney is the largest employer in Florida, so why would you do this cold turkey? In bright lights. For attention. Even if you think it’s the right thing, this is the wrong way to do it.

    IMO, this one move pretty much ends DeSantis run for the presidency. Even if he knocks Trump off, he probably could not garner anymore votes than trumps base. Even independents would show on the guy. And FL alone is not enough swing.

    Meanwhile, why would any business look to invest in Florida. It has a tempestuous, mercurial, governor, who seems to do things on a whim and a whimsy, based on conservative fashionable trends for his base. There are not many businesses that are run by Maga rats, and the pillow guy will be broke soon.

    Why would any business support this guy nationally? What’s good for Florida is not necessarily good for the nation. Especially according to business.

    So, Disney stock continues to rise, Friday was a very, very good day for me, still have not grow given, but getting closer, and DeSantis continues to fall.

    The wings of Icarus are melting, he has flown too close to the sun.

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … You having reading comprehension problems. You call the commentary malarky even though i am tending to agree with you that taking on Disney was not the best move in the world. You are the victim of you own obsessive need to criticize. I should write responses praising you to high heaven so that you can tell me how wrong i am LOL. Despite your desire to see DeSantis fall, he remains a very popular governor in Florida — mostly doing what the people like. There is a reason he was so successful in the recent election. And he is bringing in a lot of money for voters AND business folks. Too early to write the political obituary. Until some other candidate passes him, I suspect DeSantis will be the GOP nominee. And that means bye-bye Biden.

      • Frank stetson

        You should take your own advice, Larry. Apparently, when you read about DeSantis, you read with the Santa says. The man, regular lies, shift facts, and mixes metaphors. While Florida has indeed increased his GDP under DeSantis, he dropped in his first year. Of course, he blames Covid. But that would’ve been premature.

        Under DeSantis, Florida ranks, very low, amongst all US states in healthcare, elder care, and school funding. In other words, the middle does well, but hopefully you don’t find yourself at either end of the age of spectrum.

        The education part makes perfect sense, given that Florida has some of the lowest teacher salaries around. Florida also has some of the worst unemployment benefits in the nation.

        You are on Disney is getting a great deal, but in truth, Honda, DeSantis, hardly any Florida business pays taxes.

        His Covid response was also told it is great, but in reality was not so great at all. The death toll is staggering even as an DeSantis change the method of the distal count in order to look better.

        Over the coming months, as the media digs him to the well handled, and totally on transparent, DeSantis, more of the truth will come out.

        • shakey

          Frank – I don’t know what FLORIDA you live in but the one I live in LOVES DeSantis. Your take on the GDP – dismissing the effects of WUHAN is a joke. DeSantis had the economy OPENING-UP faster than else where which helped keep the damage to a minimal. Your understanding of the WUHAN mortality is also a joke; you must believe Rebekah Jones’ lies – which have been PROVEN to be false.Your comment on tax breaks for corps and individuals is spot on, however DISNEY was operating as it’s own – pardon the pun KINGDOM. That was long overdue to be eliminated and when they decided to enter politics – they got what they deserve. And finally – if/when DeSantis runs and is vetted – my guess is that MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT his policies than don’t. He’s a WINNER!

          • frank stetson

            I live in NJ a state that is no place for old men. You live in FL, a state where the Larry’s go to die. Very different environments. No doubt FL is growing in population and economically but does that mean success and future success? FL is a service economy State, you produce little in terms of hard goods. Some agro. Your salaries are low, your protections are non existent , but COL is low too. It’s a better place than NJ to be poor.

            It will take me some time to funnel through the financials, but lets start with a winner: EDUCATION.

            For education, here Florida is an anomaly in that they don’t spend much money but are rated pretty well. Here’s a link lambasting them, but in my research, the results are really good so perhaps the country can learn something here.


            Think they rate about 17th in State ranking; NJ is always one or two but we pay at the number 6 level and FL pays shit. So this may actually be a positive we all can learn from OR just too many people without kids paying taxes.


            That’s a shining light for FL and DeSantis but I will take NJ at number 1 or 2 anyday.

          • frank stetson

            Next up is healthcare in general, and covid specifically, and here, FL and DeSantis suck. If you think different, look again. You have been desensitized by DeSantis lies.

            Try THIS;

            For healthcare, FL is known for open early touting it’s faster comeback. Along the way, Desantis has played with the numbers, has a surgeon general who is a nut job and is killing folks softly.

            As of 2022, they ranked 32nd; NJ with it’s early on death toll: 18th. That’s just terrible considering most in FL are there for their health and not so much so in NJ… For covid specifically, 25th. NJ – 18th. For full ICUs, one of the worst in the nation. For death toll per 100K, 34th, NJ – 26th. Think about that. NJ got the early sneak attack and got slammed, FL got lucky, was late to face covid and still beat us out on death during covid. Amazing. More amazing is they are deep in the lower half for overdoses during covid. I thought they were older down there, how does that happen?

            Other health vectors, and you can read the link for background:

            Access and affordability – 47th
            Uninsured rate – 47th

            Basically, using seven health vectors, FL is average in 2 and sucks pondwater in 5. That’s what DeSantis brings you. Death.

            Here’s the link: **

            You can poo poo this, call me and the link liars, but I promise you, if you look, you can find more. And more.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … No matter how you try to spin with your selective and dubious data, you cannot deny that a lot more folks are leaving NJ for Florida — and no flow north. And they are not just leaving in retirement. They are workers and employers. And that trend also includes New York and Chicago. Florida east coast is little New York/New Jersey — and the west coast is Little Chicago. That sort of crushes your argument. Like a good left-winger, you look at information and form opinions in a theoretical world. Florida does not fit your theory. Parents love out schools and the health care is outstanding. In Illinois I paid $100 per month for my Medicare advantage plan. In Florida, the same play has 0 premium. I am a short drive from some of the best hospitals in America — the Cleveland Clinic, Boca Region, Delray Regional. There are walk in clinics everywhere. I did not come here to die, but to live a better life than I could live in Chicago. You not only live in your little liberal bubble, but it is fogged over. You are not seeing the real world.

          • Frank stetson

            You seem very hostile and defensive, are you getting
            enough bran? I don’t know why you have to fight when it’s just a discussion about relative economic and life in Florida. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate just to put counter facts on the table if you have them. I just don’t understand your hostile aggression.

            Like I said, you can poo, poo the data, you can call the links, and myself liars, at least I gave you links. And facts. You provided hot air.

            I have no doubt that Florida has some fine hospitals and other medical facilities and some great practitioners.

            I also said Florida is growing in population, more service workers on their way every day, and some of them are even raising the wages with higher skills. However, you quote that people are fleeing New Jersey, no doubt you’re using the mighty Maytag survey. They don’t even survey any other movers, but the story runs once a year and idiots pick it up and run with it. Nice run. Just another anecdote on steroids. If you were actually smart enough to actually look up New Jersey population, you would find that three years ago we grew by 4%, two years ago we drop by about .05% and I think last year we may have dropped by .07% . Facts are our friends, shove it old man.

            The only fact you brought to bear, was your own personal anecdote on your own personal healthcare. My sources have the foundation of AARP as well as other renowned sources. You have, yourself.

            BUSTED for lack of facts and sourcing.

            I suggest that in the future, if you want to come at me, old man, come at me with facts, not personal attitudes, and fond memories. Better yet, let’s just avoid the hostile attitude and have a pleasant discussion based on facts.

            There was no lift to spin and anything I did. You are paranoid. Better yet, skip the response all together. This, I was not even directed to you.

          • Frank stetson

            Hello Larry, I just looked up Florida’s healthcare prices using Forbes who says they were in the bottom 10 for pricing. As in very high prices. You Musta got lucky with your Medicare. Matter fact, under DeSantis, most of Florida’s results are meh at best., as I had noted earlier, public education is one shining light for Florida. However, I sort of misspoke in that Florida ranks about 13th and education, but the shining light is that they are second from the bottom in terms of public school spending per student. In other words, somehow these cheap bastards get some pretty good results in this that other state should try to figure out why.

            But no, Larry, based on results, DeSantis and Florida are meh. Plus, his Covid death toll is pretty damn high. You get what you pay for. That does not stop people from pouring in. Chances are those good times will crash at some point since there is no foundation in Florida. Only sand.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson …. First. As a state with a very high percentage of senior, it will have a relatively high death rate from almost anything — including COVID. And there is still a lot of controversy over the COVID deaths — from or with, or not even connected. there are people in the death counts who have not indications of even having COVID. The only died during the Pandemic. Most Floridians are happy with DeSantis handling of COVID — not getting crazy with shutdowns and school closings. I think he struck the right balance between the two issues — minimizing deaths without destroying the wellbeing of the living … the kids.

            As a long time consultant in education at all levels, you hit on a basic truth. There is no correlation between money and quality education. in fact, it is arguably an inverse correlation. That is why the mantra from the left and the unions about more money is wrong. It is more about the benefits to the Democrats and unions in terms of political power. It is not about the kids. The most failing school systems are among the best funded.

          • Frank stetson

            Larry. What’s the check sum on your latest response here.

            First, you just cant admit that you were totally wrong on the cost of Florida healthcare for individuals with your stupid anecdote. How very Trumpian of you.

            Then, you feel that the premature death of so many Floridians during Covid is OK because they were old anyway. How human of you. Whether you’re old or young, dying prematurely, is never as good as dying when it’s your time.

            Then you prove that correlation is causation due to the fact that Florida spends very little on education, and is one of the worst in the nation, but yet ends up at number 13 in terms of public school ranking. How unscientific of you. Perhaps I could make the same statement that it’s just because there’s so many old people.

            Pretty piss poor response, Larry. Florida still has one of the highest individual costs for healthcare in the nation. In New Jersey, were many old people died in nursing homes at the beginning of Covid when we didn’t know any better, unlike Florida that had a real heads up, and still killed them with incompetence like no tomorrow, we are suing the fuck out of the governor. Floridians, instead love DeSantis, who killed them. If you look at the AARP website, you will see that Florida senior centers have a very low rate of vaccination, not for the patients, but for the workers. Thus, when the breakthroughs started occurring, folks in these places died prematurely, because of what DeSantis did not do for them.

            He is a paper Tiger and I cannot wait till he decides to run.

          • larry Horist

            Frank Stetson … You base a lot of you response on a HUGE assumption. That all those folks in the COVID statistics who died with…. from … or not having COVID … died prematurely. By you definition, everyone dies prematurely. They would have lived longer if something did not kill them. I not the disproportionate number of old folks in Florida because we are not dying prematurely. I have already surpassed the live expectancy of a male American. I cannot die prematurely. Did you know that the death rate among retirees is higher than the death rate among workers? When you understand that, you will understand my point.

          • frank stetson

            Larry Horist: you just can’t admit you were totally wrong on FL health costs. How Trumpian.

            As to the rest. DeSantis did a great job on the initial senior vaccinations. Everything else he failed them. The biggest failure is that FL nursing home staff has a very high level of up-to-date vaccinated workers, 23%. For residents and workers, FL ranks 5th from the bottom of all states. Thus, when breakthroughs occurred, the staff brought the disease to the elderly and low n behold, FL’s death rate was terrible.

            NJ initially sucked on this, as you know, but the difference is WE are suing Murphy left and right. You are accepting of DeSantis with all sorts of allegations and rationales, but very few facts except: “they’re old.” Yeah, well, that’s true. And then DeSantis failed them by putting unvaccinated workers all over the place. You had NJ and NY’s experience; you should have known. We learned. DeSantis failed you. What’s even worse was he got a “mulligan” in that FL did not really face this until 2021 in great numbers. He could have been prepared, he had a luxury of time NJ did not.

  2. Shakey

    DeSantis is AWESOME. Taking Disney to task is/was GREAT! The fact that FLORIDA is enjoying a BOOM in Population growth speaks VOLUMES for why BUSINESSES would want to relocate: A work force combined with NO State Income Tax! Disney decided to way into politics and got what it deserves. Their movies suck, their parks are deteriorating and scandal follows their brand. Sounds like you’re just little bit TOO SCARED of what he MAY DO for the rest of the country IF he runs and is elected. I for one can’t wait!

    • frank stetson

      And lastly, Florida’s economy is complex and differs from many States in the Union. Just a thumbnail sketch, and trust me, I am no expert on this, or FL.

      Florida is an interesting economic and social situation as there is no doubt the State is growing in people and money. But like the Florida swampland real estate scandals on the 1920’s, there may be gators in there….. One issue is that FL is a service economy state, there’s not much manufacturing, industry, materials being produced. No copper mines, auto plants, or pharmaceuticals for example. As such, it is highly susceptible to US economic changes sort of like a high-beta stock that reacts wildly to overall market changes.

      Another problem with a service economy is the fungibility of the jobs. It isn’t hard to find one, and it isn’t hard to leave one, as well as the State. Three major hurricanes in a year and the giant flow of inbound folks may turn into an exodus. A last problem is infrastructure. When you live in rural areas, you salivate for the strip mall, new business tax revenues and all. What you don’t realize is the strip mall requires more police, more fire, water, sewage — you get it. FL with the influx of service workers with lower incomes, may face this problem if it isn’t already. For example, they have little public transpo so all these workers are walking, biking, or driving…. FL needs to support all those new cars on the road.

      Therefore, the State median income is low, like 37th in the country whereas NJ gains 50% more in median income to be 2nd. Cost of living is good in FL, but not rock bottom, more like 18 from the bottom with NJ only being 6 States above. Median home prices are 24th, pretty middle of the road whereas NJ is number 8. Given NJ property taxes are the highest in the nation, that’s a killer for us whereas FL is middle of the pack, about 26th. As I noted earlier, as millennials enter the state, wages are rising. FL also holds first place to Delaware in being the incorporation state, whatever that brings beyond weirdness and some State funds for nothing.
      On to the economics: first, on the GDP growth, a most important gauge of business and jobs, they rate about 7th, with a massive 2.5% growth for 2017 – 2022. NJ had 1.7% in same time period. However, FL’s line of businesses is heavily oriented to service-related businesses with rapid ups n downs. Swampy…

      For example, FL’s largest business sector is Professional Employer Organizations followed by New Car Dealers. The first are basically professional outsources – the first to cut bait when things turn down. Then Hospitals, go figure, Petro wholesaling, Health & Medical Insurance, Supermarkets & Grocery Stores, Property, Casualty and Direct Insurance, and Public Schools.
      NJ may have slower growth but our business sector is much more diverse, resilient, and viable.

      Top FL employers are Walmart, Disney, Amazon, and Home Depot…Disney pays more than Walmart and so is biggest FL income for workers. When Walmart is number one, well, what can I say….

      NJ tops are Amazon, Wakefern Food, UPS, Walmart, Bank of America, Johnson and Johnson. Think about it: huge warehouses, grocery distribution, banking (CA firm too), and Pharma. It’s a huge and diverse economy.

      Good news is FL has some “millennial cities” and they are lifting the wages within the State but even here it’s swampy. Unfortunately given FL’s social attitudes, the diversity of the incomings may be more limited creating a less diverse economy. That’s a guess on my behalf.

      I can go deeper but the conclusion is FL is growing rapidly yet has a economy favoring low wage service jobs without adequate benefits. Swamp land.

      So, as good as things seem to be, there may be hurricanes out there. The first is the cost of just being there given rising sea levels, heavier rains, more extreme and frequent hurricanes which already are pushing folks from low lands like the Keys. Not to mention the rising heat. Estimates are that FL real estate is $50 billion over book because flooding, a risk that can wash away assets and continue the State’s massive investment in climate infrastructure. Miami spends on “heat officers” already for example and hundreds of millions are expended each year by the State. Which is not enough. The State also has a severe lack of public transportation keeping the poor segregated from the “transportable.”

      But it’s the reliance on the service-based economy that creates the largest risk. People flooding in, Walmart jobs, rising GDP, can all vanish in a flash because there is little exit costs. All in all though, you are correct — FL is on the rise under Desantis, economically. Unfortunately, so far, it just looks like more of the same, compounded.

  3. Frank stetson

    As I indicated earlier, Disney had been bringing many of his California jobs to Florida over time. These are much higher paying jobs than the usual, Florida fair or Disney fair.

    Disney just announced that they will cancel their $1 billion business office park in Florida. This again, was not an expansion of the park, but a movement of high talent people from California. It was to be about a total of 2000 jobs, jobs averaging $120,000 a year in a state with the median income of less than $60,000.

    Pretty hard for Ron DeSantis to replace that kind of business. But they do have their special culture down there. Enjoy it.

    I think at this point, it’s probably pretty hard to put Humpty Dumpty back together again without removing DeSantis. All business is business, at this point I will gather there are many emotions here as well, and a complete lack of trust.

    • Frank stetson

      Now, DeSantis has fired back, saying that he had nothing to do with Disney dropping these jobs, and it was all about Disney, dropping in the stock market, losing market value, and oh my oh my.

      He did not mention his market value, dropping as the mayor of Jacksonville became democratic.

      Truth is, Disney was losing stock market value well before DeSantis came on the scene with his bogus PR culture war, it was all about dropping growth in streaming subscribers in it’s new streaming business and much of that was due to sales in India, not America.

      The last quarter was actually pretty good but investors still don’t like the streaming business. The park businesses were solid.

      The bottom line is Disney as a business will probably come back, the streaming package is very good, a major market share overnight. The $1 billion in investment and the 2000 jobs in Florida, at about 120 K, each, which is only furthering the trend that Disney had been doung for some for sometime, will never come back. Some other state will get them.

      DeSantis has basically said this battle is to the death, and so far Florida is the one that bleeds. Hope they love that DeSantis anti-gay culture..

  1. There you go again raking up stories about obscure democrats who are of small consequence in the larger American political…