Washington, DC – Two must-read Washington Post opinion columns capture Ron DeSantis’ motivations and why the GOP is rallying around his cruel, dehumanizing and Fox-coordinated stunt to transport Venezuelan refugees to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses.
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne “DeSantis’s cruel stunt highlights the GOP’s hunger to change the subject,” notes:
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s cruel stunt of flying Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard — now under investigation by a sheriff in Texas and the subject of a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Boston — is widely seen as a play for Republican votes in a possible 2024 presidential run. But it is also part of an unusually intricate battle over which party will set the agenda for the 2022 election, and which side will be forced to play defense.
… even with inflation as a cudgel, it hasn’t been that easy for the GOP. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, Donald Trump’s high profile in the news and the right-wing radicalism of many of the party’s candidates, Republicans are having to scramble far more than they expected to. The anti-Biden, anti-inflation message of so much of the GOP’s advertising is no longer enough. Democrats have found ways to be aggressive, even when they’re on defense.
So DeSantis’s cynical move was, as much as anything, an effort to push aside abortion rights, an issue central to the underdog campaign Democrat Charlie Crist is waging against him.
This dynamic is playing out all over the country. Candidates who once spoke of their ardent opposition to abortion are now scrubbing their websites of references to the issue (“duck and cover” exercises, in the words of one Democratic strategist) and touting their own moderation on the issue.
…sometimes, the counterpunch is straight to the chin. Democrat John Fetterman begins what, in theory, is a defense of his record on crime in the tough Pennsylvania town he led as mayor with these words about his opponent, Mehmet Oz: “Doc Oz in his Gucci loafers is attacking me on crime. Dr. Oz wouldn’t last two hours here in Braddock.”
Turning defense into offense can mean letting Gucci loafers talk for you.”
Also in the Washington Post, Paul Waldman’s opinion column, “Forget the cruel stunts. What should we actually do about immigration?” highlights how Republicans have abandoned any pretense of trying to pursue immigration solutions in favor of politicized chaos. When pressed, the GOP supports a radical anti-immigrant agenda that would re-up the worst of the Trump administration. Waldman writes:
“Insofar as there’s something like a Republican consensus in the ongoing Trump era, it’s that all forms of immigration should be limited as much as possible, if not closed off completely. We should grant asylum to only a tiny number of people fleeing violence and oppression, if any. The same goes for refugees. We should further restrict and reduce legal immigration.
…Republicans such as DeSantis have made it more than clear that their desire isn’t to find a solution for America’s immigration problem. It’s to use that problem to drum up hate and fear among their base. And if the immigration system is under increasing strain, even edging toward chaos? That’s just fine with them.”