Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed investigative reporter for One America News, Neil W. McCabe, to the newsmaker line to discuss Florida’s election victories, the power of the parents’ rights stance, and the true leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by the great Neil W. McCabe, now with One America News Network. He’s down in Florida. He’s covering everything Ron DeSantis. Neil, looks like it was a pretty good night last night for Ron DeSantis in the Florida primary and general elections for the school boards there as well.
McCabe: Yes, Governor Ron DeSantis is pretty psyched. He’s sitting pretty good right now. He got some bad news on the Democratic side. I talked to people in the DeSantis campaign who were really relishing the opportunity to go after Nikki Fried. Charlie Crist, the congressman and former republican governor of Florida, won that primary.
But as The Florida Capital Star has covered, Nikki Fried has an interesting public and private life that tends to lend itself into the crazy.
Leahy: It’s a total mess. Charlie Crist beat her pretty soundly in that primary. By the way, are you officially “Top Gov” tracker? Is that your job now? (Laughter)
McCabe: I might need my aviator glasses.
Leahy: I’m referencing, of course, the terrific commercial that Ron DeSantis, the former JAG officer in the Navy – he’s got this commercial called “Top Gov,” obviously a takeoff on Top Gun. It’s quite good, I thought. And since you’re covering Ron DeSantis for One America News Network, now that makes you Top Gov tracker.
McCabe: In the nautical services, I served in the Coast Guard, and the Navy, of course, is loosely affiliated with the Coast Guard. Whenever you plan an event, the word they use for an event is an evolution. So it’s like, in this evolution, we will do this. And DeSantis name-checked evolution.
(Leahy chuckles) I was so excited, throwing in some nautical slang. But yes, it’s the rules of engagement for dealing with the corporate media. And it has clips of DeSantis calling out these left-wing reporters.
And one of the things that I’ve noticed, especially when I was working with Project Veritas, traveling around the country, trying to push our stories and investigations, is that you go to these conservative states and conservative cities and you expect the local reporters to be at least sympathetic to what Project Veritas is up to.
And they’re just as vicious and hostile left-wing as the guys I find in Washington. And it’s because the chains, McClatchy and Gannett and all these big chains, they own all these small papers. So in big cities, it used to be like a locally owned paper that tended to be more conservative.
Now, for these young reporters to advance up the corporate chain, they have to be as left-wing as their masters in corporate media, and DeSantis has taken them on hard. And another thing that’s interesting about DeSantis is because he had no primary opponent, [and] Marco Rubio, the U.S. senator, had no primary opponent, so on the top of the ticket for the Republican side, the fear was that there would be a low turnout.
I don’t know what the overall turnout is. I’ll have to look at it. But the fear was that because there was no race for the U.S. Senate or governor on the Republican side, that the school board elections would go the wrong way because Florida holds all its school board elections on primary day.
That would be yesterday. But conservatives won big, and took over more than a dozen county school boards across the state. And so DeSantis toured the state all day Sunday just trying to ramp up enthusiasm.
I saw him in Jacksonville on Sunday night. That was his last stop on the tour, and the crowd was completely amped up. He was amped up. And you can see that leadership of the party, that you get from DeSantis, is something you don’t see in other states.
Leahy: That’s a very good point. And so in Florida, there are only 70 school districts in the entire state. They were all up for grabs in the school board elections. Last night, DeSantis really heavily endorsed like 30 candidates, and 21 of them won outright. Four or five of them are in runoff elections.
But the big news was in Sarasota County, which is sort of the elite suburban county outside the Tampa area, that was a 3-to-2 school board that was Woke. It was Woke 3-to-2, and he endorsed three specific candidates. They all won. It’s now 4-to-1. Non-woke, a huge victory. But you’re quite right.
What it shows is, leadership matters, and in other states where the governor has been not as engaged, or not even engaged at all – Tennessee – the results of the conservative parents who want to take back their schools have been not quite as stellar as they were last night in Florida. A huge victory for Ron DeSantis and parents and Florida school boards.
McCabe: I also want to name-check Bridget Ziegler, the wife of the great Christian Ziegler, who’s involved with Moms for Liberty. She won in Sarasota. She was a school board member, conservative, who is basically targeted by the leftists.
I also want to talk about the Project 1776, run by our good friend Ryan Girdusky. A year ago, Girdusky was calling out school boards as the new battleground, and he has had success across the country, and also would direct people’s attention to sort of faltering senate campaigns and faltering Republican campaigns like Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania.
If these guys would run on education and parent rights, they would win. I just don’t know why it’s so difficult. Instead of, sadly, ridiculing a guy recovering from a stroke because he won’t answer questions at an event, it’s like mean.
And then you have all of these parents who are screaming and yelling all over the country to have their rights restored. I don’t know why Oz and other Republicans don’t take the playbook from DeSantis. And frankly, he’s playing the Youngkin playbook.
Leahy: So let me tell you, DeSantis is playing to Youngkin’s playbook. And you know who else I see aligned with DeSantis right now in terms of their messaging? It is GOP gubernatorial nominee in Arizona, Kari Lake. I think she’s got the same kind of attitude as DeSantis.
McCabe: Yes, absolutely. I saw Trump at CPAC in Dallas. A lot of people watched that. And his biggest applause lines are when he talked about predatory and grooming teachers trying to flip their kids’ genders in secret.
And when he talked about the championship swimmer from the University of Kentucky who had to run against that guy from the University of Pennsylvania, and she was in the audience and he saw her up front, Trump called her onstage. The place just lit up. I mean, raised the rafters.
It was like Woodstock or something when she came onstage. And DeSantis gets the same reaction when he talks about teachers secretly flipping kids’ genders. And it’s like it drives people out of their minds.
It’s something that even five years ago, even three years ago, no parent ever thought that this was even an issue. Who even discussed this three years ago, Mike?
And yet it is now the consensus in the mainstream media, and the Republican establishment is completely compliant against it. Conservatives would win, and I’m talking about winning. The key components of the Democratic coalition will flip to the Republicans if the Republicans would say, we stand with parents.
Listen to the interview:
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