The competition is stiff for the Republican “Florida Man” of the Year Contest. In a state known for its boneheaded males, Florida Republicans have taken aggressive stupidity to new levels. Here is a rundown of the favorites:
Governor Ron DeSantis – From bungling the states’ COVID response to politicizing the vaccine rollout, DeSantis has earned the nickname DeathSantis. But he didn’t rest on his laurels. He’s also signed legislation providing civil immunity to drivers who “unintentionally” drive their cars into demonstrators blocking a street, but makes it a felony to block traffic as part of a demonstration or protest without a permit. It also makes it a felony to pull down or destroy a statute or monument as part of a “disorderly assembly.” Thus, DeSantis considers actual living people to be less worthy of protection than statues of, say, Confederate traitors. So much for being “pro-life.”
No wonder DeSantis leads one early poll for the Republican Presidential nomination; he’s dumb and belligerent – exactly what Republicans are looking for in a leader!
Matt Gaetz – With his father’s Florida political experience, Gaetz has a natural born advantage. He aspired to be a Trump lackey and has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. From giving talking head sound bites regularly on Fox News, to his stunt of “storming” the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) where a deposition was being conducted in Trump’s first impeachment proceeding, he has shown a desire to do anything in service of the Tangerine Tyrant.
Gaetz likes to surround himself with stupid, wrongheaded colleagues like Gym Jordan, and has arranged a speaking tour with deranged Trumplican Marjorie Taylor Greene. His personal life is curious, to say the least, from his “adoption/not really” of Nestor to his association with Joel Greenberg. The latter has apparently revealed Gaetz’ possible crimes (sex with a minor, sex trafficking, etc.) to prosecutors. Oops – Matt may not be available to accept the award in person if he wins.
Joel Greenberg – Although only a has-been local official (former Seminole County Tax Collector), Greenberg gained national notoriety for pleading guilty to a variety of seedy sex-related crimes, including sex trafficking of a child, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, stalking, and conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. What he has admitted to is scummy enough to win him a place on the Republican Leaderboard as a mini-Epstein. But Republicans may hold his possible testimony against Gaetz and other Republican co-conspirators against him.
Rick Scott – Before entering politics, Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA, a company that pleaded guilty to the largest Medicare (and other federal health programs) fraud at the time (for which DOJ fined the company a then-record $1.7 billion). During a civil lawsuit deposition, Scott invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself 75 times. These factors, of course, automatically catapulted him into the upper echelons of Florida Republicans. As Governor, Scott flipflopped on Medicaid expansion, and ultimately opposed it. He also cut $700 million from Florida’s water management districts as governor, and Florida suffered a water contamination crisis.
As a Senator, Scott has been a reliable voice of non-reason. He encouraged Trump to declare a national emergency if Congress didn’t appropriate funds to build a border wall, and Trump ultimately did so. Scott also supported the Big Lie by voting to object to seating electors from Pennsylvania in the 2020 Presidential Election.
Scott recently tried to gain an edge over his rivals by making up a phony award (formally the “National Republican Senatorial Committee Champion of Freedom Award,” but colloquially known as the “Tiny Bowl Award” or “Trump’s Participation Trophy”) and giving it to the pathetic, disgraced Trump, in an effort to curry favor with Trump’s vaunted base of misfits and conspiracy theorists.
Marco Rubio – Not as overtly evil as Scott, but he wins bonus points for hypocrisy. Early on, he recognized Trump for the scandalous con man that he is, but then devoted the next 4 years to sucking up to him and promoting his horrendous agenda. Rubio’s tone-deaf tweets of Bible verses while simultaneously supporting the vilest man and political policies in America take his hypocrisy to legendary levels.
The Orange Florida Man Himself – Although only a part-time resident of the State, Trump effortlessly shows he is as qualified as any full-time resident. From continuing to tout the Big Lie, whether from his exile at Mar-Elba-Lago or the CPAC Conference in Orlando, to issuing inane releases “From the Desk of What I Used to Be,” or wandering aimlessly into weddings and funerals and whining about his imaginary grievances, Trump has shown himself to be a continuing personification of “Republican Values” – screwing democracy, workers, immigrants, minorities, women, and anyone else who doesn’t bend the knee to him as regularly as Lindsey Graham.
New revelations seemingly come out every day on the depths of Trump’s attempts to undermine our democracy, through perversion of the Department of Justice and other institutions of government. Happily, prosecutors from his old home state, New York, will soon sideline his political ambitions with criminal prosecutions of his organization, his family, and himself, but that likely won’t disqualify Trump from earning the title of Republican Florida Man of the Year. In fact, it may well burnish his credentials.