Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced he’s in.
He’s running for president.
I caught DeSantis’ remarks in Orlando at the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters the day before he formally announced.
It was immediately clear that this is no ordinary politician.
It has been said that there are two types of people. Those who want to be someone and those who want to do something.
DeSantis is clearly that latter. And at age 44, he has already done a lot.
Yale baseball captain, Harvard Law School, Navy veteran — including serving in the war in Iraq — three-term U.S. congressman and two-term governor of Florida, the nation’s third largest state in population and fourth largest in economy.
What immediately spoke to me, and probably most of the 4,000 Christian broadcasters in the room, was DeSantis started right off talking about bringing water from the Sea of Galilee in Israel to Florida to baptize his three children.
This is a man who stands firmly in cement regarding his view of the world in terms of right and wrong, and man’s ability and responsibility to make the right choices.
His battle against woke culture is really a battle for freedom and against indoctrination.
And hence DeSantis’ remarkable achievement of making school choice available practically throughout the whole state of Florida.
This puts parents in charge of their children’s education — not politicians, bureaucrats or unions.
This defines real conservativism. You start with clarity about right and wrong and then give people freedom to live their life as they choose.
DeSantis’ list of accomplishments as governor in many important areas is long. But the headliner is his bold and courageous move in opening his state’s economy and schools during the pandemic, when most other states were still closed.
He has made the point that Disney, which has fought him in his battle against sexual indoctrination among youngsters in school, profited handsomely because they were able to operate their business in Florida during the pandemic while being forced to close in California.
It speaks much about the widespread unfortunate realities of many corporations today, which on the one hand profit from freedom and capitalism and at the same time promote policies that undermine that very freedom.
One line of criticism that has been aimed at DeSantis is that he is not charismatic and that, in the words of The Wall Street Journal, “He’s a cultural brawler more than a likeable unifier.” The Journal suggests he adopt a little of “Ronald Reagan’s self-deprecating humor.”
But DeSantis is a soldier, not a socialite, motivated, as was Reagan, to do what is right for the country. He is not going to reinvent himself based on alleged wisdom from political consultants about what voters want to see and hear.
More importantly, the leadership challenges today are even greater than those faced by Reagan. Our fiscal and cultural challenges are daunting.
Our national debt today is about 100% of GDP. When Reagan ran in 1980 it was less than 25%. Federal spending today is almost 25% of GDP. When Reagan ran it was 20.6%. The federal budget deficit now is 5.4% of GDP. In 1980 it was 2.6%.
As result of dramatic expansion of government, our economy today is growing around 2% per year, well below the historic rate over 3%.
As a result of the breakdown in traditional values and family, the country is aging. The percentage of Americans over 65 stood at 16.9 % in 2020, compared to 11.3% in 1980.
The birth rate of babies to unwed mothers is now 40%, compared to 18% in 1980.
If there is any hope in turning it all around, it’s more important that our leadership is tough than jovial.
From what I have seen so far, Ron DeSantis has exactly what America needs in 2024.
Star Parker is President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show “CURE America with Star Parker.”