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 national political correspondent for One America News, Neil W. McCabe, to the newsmaker line to discuss the effective leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis after Hurricane Ian, and the other races in Florida.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line, the great Neil W. McCabe, formerly our chief national political correspondent of The Star News Network, now a national political correspondent for One America News Network, whose responsibilities are to keep track of everything Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida is doing. We call him “Top Gov tracker.” Good morning, Neil W. McCabe.
McCabe: Morning, Michael. Quick question. Does anybody really leave The Star News Network?
Leahy: I don’t think. No. You’re always part of The Star News Network, my friend. (Laughter) So let’s talk about the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
It appears to me that Governor Ron DeSantis has handled the hurricane masterfully as governor. Your thoughts?
McCabe: Yes, Mike, I think your parents might have told you about a guy who ran for president, Mike Dukakis, and he couldn’t argue against conservative policies. Because what happened in the ’80s, and I haven’t seen it in 30 years, but in the 80s, there was an intellectual triumphalism to conservatism, just called all the liberal policies crap. The liberals couldn’t defend them anymore.
And so a guy like Dukakis could basically run against George H.W. Bush, saying, I’m more competent, we’re competent, we can run government. And you see this competence, even with Biden in 2020, he was running as like, Trump’s policies are great, I can’t argue with them, but I can run the government and he’s incompetent.
So they run against Republicans as incompetent. Well, the most competent guy in America right now is Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, because he has this place spinning like a top and he is like, driving people.
He is driving people to get the work done. People said, oh, Pine Island. Sanibel Island. We’ve got to evacuate the island. It’s going to take years to rebuild. He says, no, we’re not evacuating the island.
He hired barges, he had helicopters, food, equipment, water. There was a bridge to Pine Island. They said it would take a month or two months to fix. They fix it in like three days.
Sanibel Island, they said that thing will never be safe. They said the causeway would take a year to be fixed. They just announced that it was fixed, like two weeks later. He’s just driving people.
And it’s interesting too, that with warp speed and President Trump’s response to COVID-19, Trump had parallel operations.
He wasn’t doing step one, step two, he was doing steps one, two, three, four, all at the same time. Parallel operations. This is what DeSantis is doing.
He has multiple operations operating at the same time, and it’s just getting stuff done. And it’s really a marvel of management and leadership, Mike.
Leahy: Yes. That’s coming across. And he’s up for re-election on November 8, 27 days from today. The last poll that I saw was released a week ago today by Mason Dixon. Showed him up over Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor, the current Democrat congressman.
I guess he just resigned to keep running for governor. It had DeSantis up by 11 a week ago. Is that trend continuing?
McCabe: Yes, there’s going to be a breakaway, you might see that become 20 points. It’s really something. Because what’s the argument? It’s like, why get rid of the guy?
Leahy: He’s doing a good job.
McCabe: A lot of times with, like, mayors and governors, if they’re running the place well, let’s just keep it – like Mayor Daly. People wonder, how did a guy like Mayor Daly, the old Mayor Daly, how did he run the place for, like, Chicago, for 30 years?
And then his first replacement came in, Jane Byrne, and the first snow storm came and the streets weren’t plowed. It’s like, yeah … Mayor Daily plowed the streets when it snowed.
He picked up the garbage. The water tap worked. It’s like people, just especially with a governor and a mayor, it’s so hands-on. And DeSantis has absolutely passed that test.
Leahy: What’s the reaction in Florida, now that you’re living down there among, shall we say, independents towards Ron DeSantis? Is he reaching out to them? Are they approving of his quick reaction and quick response to this hurricane?
McCabe: Yes, I think that one definition of an independent is a guy that just doesn’t want to argue with you all the time. It’s like, hey, most people, they’re not arguing over politics. They got farms, they got businesses, they got their families.
And it’s like they just want to live their life and not deal with politics. And that’s the other thing that confidence does. When everything is working, it’s like everybody just forgets there’s even a governor. That’s like, Kennedy ran against Eisenhower saying that the ’50s were basically – even though he ran against Nixon, but he was really running against Eisenhower, saying everything is so boring.
We need things to be exciting. Well, by the end of the ’60s, people are saying, wow, the ’50s are so quiet. Can we have that again?
Leahy: Exactly. Well, there’s another political statewide race going on down there, and that’s Marco Rubio against Val Demings. He’s the incumbent Republican. He actually beat Charlie Crist back in, I think it was 2010 when Crist was a Republican governor.
He beat him in the GOP primary. The last poll I saw, and Val Demings, Democrat, member of Congress, former police chief in Orlando. That same poll, the Mason Dixon poll, shows Rubio up by six. What’s his seat look like there in Florida?
McCabe: I think that the problem with Rubio, he has fantastic name recognition, but he’s not in the news every day like DeSantis. And DeSantis, every day, what is he in the news doing?
Delivering bottled water, reopening bridges, shaking hands with veterans? Rubio is in D.C. He’s in Florida. He’s a national figure, especially after his presential race. But I think Rubio is in good shape.
I’ll tell you, though, Val Demings is advertising on One America News here locally. And one of the ads I saw yesterday was in Spanish, so don’t know. I don’t know. Is that desperation when a Democrat is advertising on One America News? (Leahy laughs)
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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