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Who's Up for Another Ron DeSantis 'Controversy'?

AP Photo/John Raoux

I regret to inform you that the libs are losing their minds over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis again.  I often find it remarkably easy to defend the guy because so many of the critiques are some combination of stupid, desperate, and dishonest.  It's one thing to knock him for taking a fun but unfair cheap shot at the French -- or to offer substantive critiques of deeply flawed (in my view) LGBT-related legislation for which he's signaled support.  That sort of thing is fair game.  But the pearl-clutching over this?  C'mon:


The angry freakout over this has manifested in several forms: He's bullying the kids!  He's taking their choice away!  He doesn't care if they have underlying conditions!  The clip is only 18 seconds long.  Anyone can watch it.  He informs the students that they didn't have to wear masks.  Accurate.  He notes that many masks don't serve much of a purpose in stopping COVID. Also true, as even CNN's COVID safetyist on-air doctor has admitted ("facial decorations").  He goes out of his way to literally give them a choice, saying it's fine if they want to keep wearing them, but adding he's had enough of the "ridiculous" virus "theater."  Agree or disagree on the latter point, he's channeling the attitude of an awful lot of people -- including many of us who have taken COVID seriously and consistently advocated vaccination.

Let's point out a few things:  (1) Several of the kids laugh and immediately remove their masks, smiling. Some keep them on.  The event proceeds.  (2) Young people are extraordinarily low-risk from COVID.  Extraordinarily.  (3) We all just witnessed a major nationally-televised event featuring many unmasked senior citizens, indoors, in close proximity to each other.  Because the science had just 'changed,' or whatever:


The lack of self-awareness really is breathtaking:

They do not hear themselves.  They were presented with a tribal opportunity to preen about COVID while also attacking Ron DeSantis, an irresistible two-fer.  By the way, something that occurred to me about this little episode is what probably went through the governor's mind as he approached the podium:

You know it's true. A big part of his brand is being a truth-teller against masking kids.  For him to do an event flanked by a bunch of masked kids would have gotten some attention and attracted barbs and mockery from many of the same people who are "angry" about what he did instead.  He recognized this in the moment and said something, quite possibly knowing that the mics and cameras would pick it up -- which would, in turn, elicit a dumb backlash from the right sort of political enemies.  I'd imagine he'd like nothing more for these usual suspects to keep it up.  It's helping him in 2022 and burnishing his credibility for a potential presidential primary fight.  Parting thought: What will the next counter-productive meltdown be about?  I'm going to guess this, which is the sort of common-sense, middle-ground proposal that enjoys wide popularity outside left-wing Twitter and the cloistered hive-minds of 'mainstream' newsrooms:


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