Sunshine State Shade

* On balance, Gov. Ron DeSantis has been much better than expected by Democrats who knew they were getting a governor vetted in the Fox News green room. And not being Rick Scott, however subterranean that bar is, was a decided plus. But his de facto victory speech after the 2019 legislative session ended, was disappointingly disingenuous. He portrayed the session, which was an homage to the right-wing agenda (from school vouchers and armed teachers to “sanctuary city” bans, free-market health care reforms, a certain rural toll road and Amendment 4 retreat), as a win for both sides. As if.

“There’s really something in here, I think, for everybody, in one way or another, so that’s a good thing,” declared DeSantis. “There are great wins for conservatives, but there’s also, with the environmental stuff, that appeals to a lot of Democrats.” As if “environmental stuff”–and, BTW, whatever happened to enough Florida Forever money to really matter?–was purely the purview of Dems. As if this wasn’t everybody’s “environment.” As if this wasn’t business as usual–even without Scott.

* When it comes to legislation about distracted driving and voting rights for ex-felons, not nearly enough is made of this obvious rationale: It doesn’t just impact texting drivers and former felons. It impacts ALL of us. Those who, otherwise, have to run the risk of being on the road with drivers who menace the rest of us. Those who have to live in a society where former felons remain second-class citizens with predictably disturbing recidivism rates. Talk about a vested interest.

* As we know, the residents of Panama City Beach and Bay County still await federal help after the devastating hit by Category 5 Hurricane Michael last summer. This is the longest delay in memory–even though President Donald Trump inspected damage last fall and has scheduled a (swing state) return trip for this week.

“We’re not a community that has ever asked for handouts,” said Bay County Commissioner Philip Griffitts. “The one time that we need Washington to step up to the plate, they’re really failing the Panhandle.”

One ironic postscript: In 2016, Trump carried Bay County by more than 70 percent. Karma, anyone?

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