Despite the claims of NRO hacks and the New York Times alike, Ron DeSantis has moved from anti-anti-anti-vaxx to just straight anti-vaxx:
You can see DeSantis’s progression from anti-anti-anti-vaxxer to simple anti-vaxxer by observing the increasingly strident tone and content of his stances. DeSantis has:
– blocked cruise lines from requiring their customers to be vaccinated. This stance is both a violation of traditional conservative deference to property rights (why should a business owner be forced to permit onto his property infected customers he doesn’t wish to serve?) and a practical economic threat to an important Florida industry (who in their right mind would set foot on a cruise ship that didn’t require everybody to have a vaccine?)
– blocked cities from requiring that their public employees get a vaccine. DeSantis threatened to impose a $5,000 fine per infraction on any Florida town that imposed a vaccine mandate on its city employees
– refused to participate in a federal plan to give $100 checks to everybody who got a vaccine
– appeared at a rally beside an anti-vaxxer who told the audience the vaccine “changes your RNA” and then declined to contradict this absurd claim when his turn came to speak
– and appointed a state surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, who has repeatedly questioned vaccine safety.
Last week, DeSantis appeared at a rally with Ladapo, who ranted against vaccine safety. “People being forced to put something in their bodies that we don’t know all there is to know about yet. No matter what people on TV tell you, it’s not true. We’re going to learn more about the safety of these vaccines. We’re finding that some of these vaccines, the protection from infection is less than 40 percent,” he said, “We’re going to learn more about the safety of these vaccines, right?”
During one of his regular fawning Fox News interviews Sunday, DeSantis urged police officers who have lost their jobs in other states for refusing to take a vaccine to come to Florida. He even promised $5,000 to help them relocate. If Florida has a desperate need for police officers, why does it need to single out anti-vaxx cops for recruitment? Why do vaxx refusers merit special payments, when DeSantis has refused to allow payments to citizens who get a jab?
There is no principled explanation for all these decisions other than a belief that vaccine skeptics are a special category of citizen that deserves special treatment and legal protection. DeSantis is giving vaccine skeptics platforms they can use to encourage that sentiment.
Sociopathic nihilism is what’s necessary to get ahead in today’s Republican Party, so none of this is surprising, but the media denial of what’s going on is something else.
Incidentally, the first time I saw the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” was last week at an anti-vaxx rally outside the Boeing plant in Renton. I assumed it was referring to a worker who got shitcanned for refusing to get vaccinated or something until I failed to resist the temptation to google. These were also the thirstiest protestors I’ve ever seen, begging for for honks from the silent cars passing by like their life depended on it. What I assume was a mother and daughter made such puppy dog eyes at me when I failed to honk while stopped at a light that I resisted my instinct to flip them the bird, so there’s my contribution to civil discourse.