Governor Ron DeSantis continues to wage war against The Walt Disney Company, and though Disney isn’t without fault in the ordeal, it’s becoming more and more clear to some–including a columnist with USA Today–that the governor’s stunts are merely that: PR stunts that may ultimately dash his hopes for a 2024 Presidential bid, not to mention alienate even his staunchest supporters.
Vivek Ramaswamy, an opinion contributor with USA Today, has taken a good, long look at the DeSantis v. Disney battle over the last few months and has come to a definite conclusion: “Ron DeSantis says he’s fighting ‘woke’ companies like Disney. But it’s just a PR move.”
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Mickey Mouse dilemma goes beyond the debate about the proper use of state power to combat ‘woke’ corporations,” Ramaswamy writes. “DeSantis’ critics on both the right and left missed the main plot: woke companies from Disney to BlackRock won special deals from the governor in a way that undermines the credibility of his crusade against them.”
The contributor points out that Disney is now suing DeSantis, claiming the governor carried out “a targeted campaign of government retaliation.” Disney says the retaliation stemmed from the company’s criticism of the Parental Rights in Education Act, which was signed into law in March 2022 by Gov. DeSantis.
“This move follows Disney’s attempt to defenestrate the power of a DeSantis-appointed governing board and DeSantis’ retaliatory suggestions to bring other amusement parks to the state, impose new tax levies and regulations on Disney, and even to locate a state prison near Disney World,” writes Ramaswamy. Clearly, such a move is comical at its best and asinine at its worst because, as you can read here, there are many prisons already located within close proximity to the Walt Disney World Resort.
“DeSantis’s chief defense is persuasive at face value: companies like Disney shouldn’t have special crony privileges in the first place,” says Ramaswamy. “Disney has long enjoyed a smorgasbord of special privileges and legal carveouts as a product of its lobbying, even granted self-governing status for the last 50 years courtesy of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special tax district near Orlando that allows Disney to self-govern the land that houses its Resort.”
Ramaswamy says that those privileges–now rescinded by DeSantis–allowed Disney to legally get around local governmental processes for approval, regulations, and even fees that are usually levied on property developers.
Ramaswamy concludes by pointing out that in February 2022, just before he signed House Bill 1557 into law, he declared, “The corporate kingdom finally comes to an end; there’s a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day.” But the opinion contributor then points out something he sees as clear as a bell.
“That declaration falls flat when the same sheriff granted the corporate kingdom one of the crony capitalist privileges he ceremoniously canceled.”
Time will tell just how much of an effect the DeSantis vs. Disney feud will have on Gov. DeSantis’s bid for the Presidency in 2024.