You Have Been Warned About Ron DeSantis

And other Sunday stuff to know…

I’m already in danger of being late for an early Gang of 500 brunch at Lauriol Plaza, so let me send you off into your Sunday armed with the most important news items.

As I head out the door, I’m sure you are wondering: Am I more sorry about the typos or the linked items blocked by paywalls?  



The first thing you need to read is Ross Douthat on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose place in the 2024 hierarchy remains at once a work in progress and surprisingly strong.

Douthat does one of the smartest jobs yet explaining the hows of the former and the whys of the latter:

DeSantis’s career has been a distillation of this Florida-Republican adaptability. Born in Jacksonville, he went from being a double-Ivy Leaguer (Yale and Harvard Law) to a Tea Party congressman to a zealous Trump defender who won the president’s endorsement for his gubernatorial campaign. A steady march rightward, it would seem — except that after winning an extremely narrow victory over Andrew Gillum in 2018, DeSantis then swung back to the center, with educational and environmental initiatives and African-American outreach that earned him 60 percent approval ratings in his first year in office.

Combine that moderate swing with the combative persona DeSantis has developed during the pandemic, and you can see a model for post-Trump Republicanism that might — might — be able to hold the party’s base while broadening the G.O.P.’s appeal. You can think of it as a series of careful two-steps. Raise teacher’s salaries while denouncing critical race theory and left-wing indoctrination. Spend money on conservation and climate change mitigation through a program that carefully doesn’t mention climate change itself. Choose a Latina running mate while backing E-Verify laws. Welcome conflict with the press, but try to make sure you’re on favorable ground.

As I’ve said before, DeSantis might not end up being the Republican presidential nominee in three years, but, if he ends up in the slot, the reasons are wildly apparent right now.


For all the latest news all the time, check out our new 24/7 website the Walking Duck.


Next, let us raise three germane foreign policy riddles: 

1. Are the U.S. and China forging a new bond around planetary leadership on climate change?

2. Are the U.S. and Mexico forging a new bond around hemispheric leadership on immigration?

3. Are the U.S. and Israel unforging an old bound around….everything..starting on Iran?

There are no answers yet, but here are the prelims:

Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, said they would work together to set more ambitious goals to tackle climate change, a rare statement of agreement at a time of heightened bilateral tensions.

John Kerry, the Biden administration’s special envoy on climate change, said Sunday that his meetings with his counterparts in Shanghai were productive, adding that the two sides discussed the possibility of China “enhancing” the commitments that leader Xi Jinping made last September, to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality—net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions—by 2060.

“This is the first time China has joined in saying it’s a crisis,” Mr. Kerry told reporters in Seoul, a day after wrapping up a four-day China tour to meet with climate officials. Mr. Kerry said that the Chinese delegation underscored that the climate issue must “be addressed with urgency. And they talked about ‘enhancing.’ So the language is strong.”


Wall Street Journal:

MEXICO CITY—Mexico increased detentions and deportations of migrants in March as the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador steps up law enforcement against a wave of illegal immigration that has created havoc for the Biden administration.

Detentions of Central American migrants jumped 32% to 15,800 in March from February, and more than doubled compared with March of last year, according to data from Mexico’s immigration agency shared with The Wall Street Journal.

Deportations rose 61% from February to 9,400 last month, and were up 65% from a year earlier.

Mexican officials said efforts against irregular migration are continuing in April after more than 170,000 migrants were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in March, the highest number in 15 years. The number of unaccompanied minors at the U.S. border, most of them from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, hit a record.


Washington Post:

The current Iran nuclear talks mark a defining moment for President Biden and the new, less-cozy relationship that is shaping up between Biden and Israel, its longtime leader and its American supporters.

Biden campaigned on a pledge to return to the Iran deal, which was brokered by President Barack Obama over the fierce objections of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But until the talks began this month, it was not clear how either leader would handle their differences of opinion, or what they portended for an alliance already in flux.

An attack on a key Iranian nuclear facility, widely attributed to Israel, has made the simmering disagreement suddenly acute.

That attack, an apparent act of sabotage ahead of the second round of talks that opened Thursday, did not derail the effort. But it may make the question of U.S.-Israeli ties more personal for Biden, since his prestige is tied up in the Iran talks.


GROUNDHOG DAY CORNER (Like Pooh Corner, only with groundhogs)

What would have to happen (on our streets or in our elections) for this to be different?

With Democrats in control of the White House, the House and the Senate for the first time in a decade, the recent string of mass shootings has encouraged activists to make a concerted push for fresh legislation restricting access to guns. But with no clear consensus on how to achieve an elusive goal — and with the White House reluctant to spend limited political capital on a prospect with long odds — there’s a palpable fear among gun-control groups that their best chance in years to change the nation’s gun laws could once again end in failure. (Washington Post)


A Washington Post story in which Republican Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is torn between fidelity to Donald Trump and a new direction; in which Mr. Trump talks about how he was robbed in 2020; in which Henry Barbour and Bill Palatucci are promiscuously quoted as the national committeemen putting party and country over personality??!!???

Let’s just say that some of us will be laughing at this one over our Filetito Con Salsa de Champinones.

The incumbent president is back on the links and all is right in the world (for those who like to see presidents on the links).

Peanut gallery: Envy the soul who can eat all that ice cream and be that thin!!!!



And this:

Republicans who were the most vocal in urging their followers to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to try to reverse President Donald J. Trump’s loss, pushing to overturn the election and stoking the grievances that prompted the deadly Capitol riot, have profited handsomely in its aftermath, according to new campaign data. (New York Times)

….are both going to keep happening as long as the incentives in our current system stay as they are.


Incredible pair of paragraphs from a Washington Post story that rounds up some of the recent Hunter Biden radio and TV interviews (but wants for the kind of precision that a print interview requires):

Andrew Johnson’s oldest son died after being thrown off a horse, his middle son was an alcoholic who died by suicide, and his youngest suffered from tuberculosis, drank to excess and died at age 26. Andrew Jackson’s son died in a hunting accident. John Tyler and John Quincy Adams each had sons who were alcoholics and died young.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had five adult children with 19 marriages between them, with one son becoming the center of a national scandal for using his father to obtain lucrative contracts.


For those of you who will be at our brunch, see you there!

For those with other plans, have a wonderful Sunday.

Oh, one more thing: 

Boston, first in revolution, last in sushi, and first in the American League East.

New York, last in knowing your neighbors, first in theater, and last in the American East.


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