Home / General / If you can’t be president, you can still be a massive asshole

If you can’t be president, you can still be a massive asshole

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Remember when the political press spent months hyping this prick as the Reasonable, Thinking Person’s alternative to Trump because they liked vacationing in Florida during the pandemic or something?

For the past 10 days, Richard Russell has been rattled, poring over budgets and working the phones in an attempt to limit the consequences of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s veto pen.

Mr. Russell, the general director of the Sarasota Opera on Florida’s Gulf Coast, had expected his nonprofit organization to receive a state grant of about $70,000 once Mr. DeSantis signed a budget that state lawmakers had approved in March.

But in a move that stunned arts and culture organizations, Mr. DeSantis vetoed the entirety of their grant funding — about $32 million — on June 12, leaving them scrambling to figure out how to offset the shortfall.

“It’s not going to close us,” Mr. Russell said. “But it is a gap that I am going to have to figure out how to make up, and if I don’t find alternate sources of funding, that could be someone’s job.”

Leaders of arts organizations in Florida, many of whom have worked in the state for decades, cannot remember a governor ever eliminating all of their grant funding. Even in the lean years of the Great Recession, at least a nominal amount — say, 5 percent of the recommended total — was approved.

Established arts organizations usually know better than to overly rely on nonrecurring state dollars subject to the discretion of politicians, said Michael Tomor, executive director of the Tampa Museum of Art. But to cut funding at a time when arts organizations are still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic sends a concerning message “that taxpayer dollars should not be used in support of arts and culture,” he added.

There obviously isn’t even some issue of (bad) principle involved here — he’s in his second term. He just didn’t get what he wanted and is lashing out against anyone who might stop Florida from becoming an intellectual and cultural wasteland, his most natural enemies.

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