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Carry the standard

By Staff | Jan 5, 2023

Whether Gov. Ron DeSantis ultimately proves to be the Republicans’ Sir Galahad, we will give him one thing out of the gate: He knows how to throw down a gauntlet with panache.

Pithy, punchy and packed with the political mantra of the proudly unapologetic un-woke, his second inaugural address carried a singular standard: “Freedom lives here.”

“It lives in the courage of those who patrol the streets and keep our communities safe, it lives in the industry of those who work long hours to earn a living and raise their families, it lives in the dedication of those who teach our children, it lives in the determination of those who grow our food, it lives in the wisdom of our senior citizens, it lives in the dreams of the historic number of families who have moved from thousands of miles away because they saw Florida as the land of liberty and the land of sanity,” Gov. DeSantis said as he opened his address Tuesday on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol in Tallahassee.

“Over the past few years, as so many states in our country grinded their citizens down, we in Florida lifted our people up.

“When other states consigned their people’s freedom to the dustbin, Florida stood strongly as freedom’s linchpin.

“When the world lost its mind — when common sense suddenly became an uncommon virtue — Florida was a refuge of sanity, a citadel of freedom for our fellow Americans and even for people around the world.

“In captaining the ship of state, we choose to navigate the boisterous sea of liberty rather than cower in the calm docks of despotism.

“We face attacks, we take hits, but we weather the storms, we stand our ground, and we do what is right.”

• The right:

“… a vision for a free and prosperous state” that rejects “faddish ideology” and “philosophical lunacy.”

• Accomplishments forged from a “bold agenda:”

Light taxation, reasonable regulation, conservative spending. Big education reforms, an end to judicial activism, and a “new era of stewardship for Florida’s natural resources.” Support — and swift action — for Floridians affected by hurricanes Michael and Ian.

“And when Hurricane Ian came last year, the state coordinated a massive mobilization of response personnel, facilitated the fastest power restoration on record, and even quickly rebuilt key bridges that had been wiped out by the storm,” Gov. DeSantis said. “We have stood by the people of Southwest Florida and we will continue to do so in the weeks, months and years ahead.”

• The wrong:

The “floundering federal establishment in Washington, D.C.” which Gov. DeSantis said has “gone on an inflationary spending binge that has left our nation weaker and our citizens poorer,” “recklessly facilitated open borders, making a mockery of the rule of law,” and “imposed an energy policy that has crippled our nation’s domestic production, causing energy to cost more for our citizens and eroding our nation’s energy security, and, in the process, our national security.”

• The challenge, and the responsibility:

To preserve — and carry forward — the torch of what George Washington referred to in his first inaugural address as the “sacred fire of liberty.”


The glove, indeed, hit the ground.

Speculation and perhaps belabored analogies about the battle of ’24 aside, what does the speech mean for Floridians for the next two years at the least?

It means a continuation of the policies Gov. DeSantis said earned him a re-election “win for the ages” in November with a near 20-point victory over former governor Charlie Crist.

We trust that includes what Gov. DeSantis referred to as light taxation, reasonable regulation and conservative spending.

At least at the state level where the governor pointed out that said conservative philosophy has resulted in the accumulation of a record budget surplus and recognition of the “need to enact a record amount of tax relief, particularly for Florida families who are grappling with inflation.”

What it means at the local level, as the governor jousts with the bastions of “woke ideologies” in other states and the dragons of “entrenched bureaucrats in D.C., jet-setters in Davos, and corporations wielding public power,” remains to be seen.

Southwest Florida is beset by an historic housing crisis – there is little to no affordable housing and by affordable, we mean housing the average working family can afford.

Insurance premiums for both property and flood coverage have escalated, adding to housing costs. Recently passed legislation has had no immediate impact.

As for taxes… well we have yet to hear vows of tax relief, much less record tax relief, on the local level where “conservative” is a noun, not an action verb.

We suggest some add ons for the upcoming state legislative agenda as well as agendas at the local level.

Address regulations that restrict market-driven housing options. Not everyone wants — or can afford — the classic 3/2/2 that gives local governments the greatest property tax bang per residential lot.

Address governmental add-ons to housing costs.

Address “assessments” that have provided an end run around Florida’s millage cap.

Address, well, let’s call it the freedom to attain — and keep — what used to be called the American Dream.

Let us give this effort a name: Trickle down conservatism.

Or, for those who already carry that banner with pride if not effect, call it picking up the standard Gov. DeSantis unfurled.

–Breeze editorial