Your advice to DS is living up the pugilistic theme of your Substack!

In fact, maybe the analogy for this race is to be found in Gentleman Jim Braddock's patient pursuit of the bigger, badder, braggadocious Max Baer.


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Jun 6, 2023Liked by William Otis

If DeSantis wants to contrast positively against both Trump AND the Democrats he needs to stop with pithy slogans like "Where Woke Goes to Die" and start clearly articulating what is happening, why its wrong, and how we can stop it if he is elected. The media and the Democrats (I repeat myself) will insist that he is ginning this all up to appeal to the MAGA crowd and unless he rebuts this charge effectively, suburban women will again be frightened out of voting for him. Then we will get either Trump or 4 more years.

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Jun 6, 2023·edited Jun 7, 2023

A good analysis and response to Berenson. Like many, Berenson longs for a return of Ronaldus Maximus but different times summon different leaders. For all the similarities he summons, Berenson hasn’t adequately accounted for how far things have gone off the rails since Reagan. There isn’t a single Democrat prior to Obama, not even Hillary, who would be acceptable in the eyes of the activist base of the current Democratic party. The primary focus of Democrats today is very far removed from the historic concerns of the Democratic party and if anything has become its parody. DeSantis has won attention and elections by highlighting this albeit indirectly. The hard edge that worries Berenson is precisely what DeSantis has run on to date and his enemies will not allow him to turn away from that. DeSantis has burned his boats on the beach. All credit to him for that. It is a point of authenticity utterly lacking in politicians, particularly GOP politicians, and has been for decades. To Trump’s credit, he saw a path that many didn’t and those who did lacked the courage to pursue it. Invariably, the CW has been to court the base to get a nomination and then betray it in the final running and after. Having burned his boats, DeSantis will gain nothing by listening to those voices of caution. Tell the people what he’s done, why he’s done it and what he will do. And if it comes across as hard edged, so be it. Time to grow up, the times demand it.

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Jun 7, 2023·edited Jun 7, 2023

I enthusiastically agree. I wish to offer two points.

William Otis writes "This would not include a decrepit lifetime pol unable or willing to resist his party’s wild capture by race hucksters and anti-Americans. It also would not include a narcissist largely oblivious to what law and the rule of law, not to mention normal traditions of probity, require."

I note that while the phrasing appears to refer to Biden and Trump, respectively, each description also applies to the other. Trump may not be a "lifetime pol," but he is happy to let self-proclaimed "white nationalists" gain influence in the conservative movement, and his contempt for the rule of law, etc., sounds anti-American to me. Biden may not be a narcissist, but his support for the administrative state conflicts with the rule of law, and he has a long history of nasty political attacks which cannot count as "probity," such as his lies about the Constitution during his debate with Palin.

Secondly, Bill writes "Ronald Reagan never had to confront [wokism]." That depends on how you look at it. Reagan was governor when crackpots like the Black Panthers appeared, who rejected shared American ideals and promoted contempt for civil society. From the vantage point of an observer from an earlier time, the counterculture of the late 1960s and today's "wokism" lie on a continuum not far from each other.

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