- The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 16, 2021

It looks like a case of DeSantis phobia. Democratic strategists have launched an aggressive activist group in Florida, and the name of it tells all. The organization is called “Ron Be Gone.” Its sole purpose is to bar Gov. Ron DeSantis from winning a second term next year, and then to damage his prospects as a GOP presidential hopeful in 2024.

“Ron Be Gone is a new 527 political group with a single mission: to hold Ron DeSantis accountable for his abysmal record as governor. We are a grassroots-funded organization solely dedicated to taking on Ron DeSantis and supporting the eventual Democratic nominee for Governor in 2022,” the group says in its mission statement.


Organizers include former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Coral Springs Vice Mayor Josh Simmons, former state Rep. Cindy Polo, and notably, high-profile political strategists Brice Barnes, Joshua Karp, and Lindsay Pollard.

“Ron DeSantis’s failure to protect Floridians during this pandemic will go down as one of the greatest catastrophes in Florida history,” Ms. Mucarsel-Powell said in a statement.

“Ron Be Gone is going to go all over Florida, meeting voters and educating them about how Ron DeSantis has failed on every issue — from our economy to our health care, from our schools to small business, he’s never looked out for us,” Mr. Simmons noted, also in a statement.

And the Republican response?

“Bring it on. Gov. DeSantis will win reelection,” Helen Aguirre Ferre, executive director of the Florida Republican Party, told The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Anthony Man, a senior political analyst for the news organization, noted that Mr. DeSantis typically has a 53% approval rating among all voters, and he points out that the aforementioned Mr. Karp was senior adviser to Sen. Jon Ossoff‘s victorious campaign over David Perdue in Georgia’s Jan. 6 runoff election.

Mr. Man also had an observation about the choice of “Ron Be Gone” as the organization’s title.

“Even the name, which sounds like a pest removal product, shows the depth of Democratic animosity toward the Republican governor,” Mr. Man wrote.

Mr. DeSantis, in the meantime, publicly praised former President Donald Trump for his immigration policy, now being revisited by those who are leery of President Biden‘s open-door approach.

“Biden is going in the absolute wrong direction. Trump had it right at the border, Biden’s got it wrong,” Mr. DeSantis told Fox News over the weekend.

A WEE BIT O’ MARCH 17TH

Well, happy St. Patrick’s Day. There will be some green arriving Wednesday, according to the IRS, for those Americans who are receiving the first wave of Economic Impact Payments — otherwise known as stimulus checks.

And on a historical note, we must remember that at this time last year, then-President Donald Trump declined an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to attend a traditional St. Patrick’s Day luncheon on Capitol Hill.

“Since the Speaker has chosen to tear this nation apart with her actions and her rhetoric, the president will not participate in moments where she so often chooses to drive discord and disunity,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere at the time.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census kindly sent Inside the Beltway some handy data for St. Patrick’s Day — which has been recognized in the U.S. since New York City staged the nation’s first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762. The federal agency also reveals that nearly 1-in-10 U.S. residents — 30 million — claim Irish ancestry. New Hampshire and Massachusetts are home to the most Irish Americans, who constitute a fifth of their respective populations.

The median age of Irish Americans is 43 years old, 95% are high school graduates, 40% have a bachelor’s degree of higher and 47% work in management, business, science, and the arts, the Census said.

FOXIFIED

During the week of March 8-14, Fox News aced the competition according to Nielsen Media Research, garnering a prime-time audience of 2.5 million compared to 1.9 million who preferred MSNBC and 1.3 million who chose CNN.

Fox News also dominated coverage of President Biden‘s first prime-time speech Thursday, with an audience of 4.2 million. Prime-time host Tucker Carlson also drew an average of 4.2 million nightly viewers throughout the week.

In the nighttime arena, “The Greg Gutfeld Show” bested ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Mr. Gutfeld — who trades his weekend-only show for daily late-night programming on April 5 — currently enjoys an audience of 1.8 million.

WITH AN EYE ON PROSPERITY

The Competitive Enterprise Institute will release “Free to Prosper,” a policy agenda for the 117th Congress on Wednesday — focusing on regulatory reform, energy and the environment, technology and telecommunications, banking and finance, and other topics.

The mission of the nonprofit group is to make the case for “more prosperity and innovation, and less regulatory overreach” — with an emphasis on American “resilience.”

Among those assisting in the big reveal: Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, plus the organizations astute experts Kent Lassman, Iain Murray, Ryan Young, and Sean Higgins. Find the agenda and lots more at CEI.org.

POLL DU JOUR

• 28% of U.S. adults “strongly disapprove” of fencing of the U.S. Capitol from the public for security reasons; 54% of Republicans, 33% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.

• 14% “somewhat disapprove”; 17% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 13% of Democrats agree.

• 21% overall “somewhat approve”; 13% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree.

• 25% overall “strongly approve” of the measure; 10% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 42% of Democrats agree.

• 12% overall are not sure; 7% of Republicans, 12% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted March 6-9.

• Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and thanks for reading Inside the Beltway.


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