Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reminds me of someone. Someone from popular culture. Is it Hannibal Lecter? Nah. Lecter was far more discriminate when it came to choosing his victims. President Camacho from Idiocracy? No way. Camacho at least showed glimmers of empathy. Gus the Field-Goal Kicking Mule? Closer, but no. Gus was actually good at something. Jim Carrey’s talking asshole from Ace Ventura? Much closer—especially this version. But not quite. Assholes are warm-blooded, after all, and occasionally speak in marginally coherent sentences.
Then it occurred to me. He’s Brick Tamland, the gormless weatherman played by Steve Carrell in Anchorman. For one thing, DeSantis is as dumb as a, well, cinderblock, and for another, he doesn’t seem to know whose side he’s on—his constituents’ or the coronavirus’.
Like Tamland, DeSantis continually stands abreast of his putative enemies while being gently reminded that he’s supposed to be fighting the virus (more on that in a moment).
The latest? With COVID-19 tearing through Florida like pork tapeworms through Donald Trump’s blood-brain barrier, DeSantis is doubling down on death. Because changing tacks in the face of a hurricane is just not something he knows how to do.
Florida will start issuing $5,000 fines to businesses, schools and government agencies that require customers or visitors to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this year that banned so-called vaccine passports. The fines will start Sept. 16 if people are asked to show proof of a vaccine. The law does not apply to employers that require vaccination of their staff.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s the new Republican orthodoxy: Private businesses should have every right to refuse service to, say, a member of the LGBTQ community, but under no circumstances are they allowed to turn away people with deadly communicable diseases. Sounds about right. I can’t imagine what they’d do if a gay, vocal anti-vaxxer came in demanding a wedding cake. They might go fetal—which is really the only way to be if you want a Republican to act on your behalf these days.
“Promises made, promises kept,” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said Wednesday.
Okay, okay, you’re right. Stupid, shitty promises were kept. But, uh, there’s something to be said for reading the room, don’t you think?
Meanwhile, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who may be eyeing a gubernatorial run next year, called B.S. on DeSantis’ pro-pestilence shenanigans. “Gov. DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,” Fried told The Sentinel. “This not only goes against common sense—it’s also an insult to the free market principles that he claims to champion.”
So, yeah, Brick DeSantis is doing a bang-up job for Florida funeral homes. Freedom and dirt naps for everyone! Floridians are so focking free they’re slipping the surly bonds of Earth and joining their fellow anti-vax warriors in God’s blessed ether. And they have one person, more than any other, to thank for that.
Sadly, DeSantis still thinks he’s doing a good job, even as his constituents say otherwise.
In Morning Consult polling that concluded on July 1, only 38% of independent voters said they disapproved of DeSantis’ job performance, yet in polling conducted August 21 to August 30, that number had spiked to 51%.
DeSantis still has strong support among the GOP base, with more than four in five Florida Republicans saying they still approve of the governor, although that number dipped slightly since the beginning of July, from 87% to 83%.
Among all voters, DeSantis’ net approval rating has plunged 14 percentage points over the past two months.
Like Anchorman’s hapless meteorologist, DeSantis is holding a hand grenade. The only difference is that it’s one of his own creation.
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