Tough-guy Ron DeSantis defeats Woke Disney! Except … he didn’t. At all.

For those who’re into combatting wokeness, the imaginary villain that haunts Republican fever desires, then Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is your superhero du jour.

He took on Woke Disney and gained! He flew migrants to Woke Martha’s Winery and owned the libs! He singlehandedly de-woke-ified the Woke School Board’s deliberate AP African American research course!

The mighty DeSantis is definitely the Anti-Woke Warrior conservative America wants, proper?

Nicely, let’s put it this fashion: For those who’re into combatting wokeness, you’re additionally into getting conned, so embracing DeSantis as a blustery David defeating this perceived Goliath of liberalism is completely on model. However in case you’ve obtained a minimum of one oar within the waters of actuality, it’s a brief paddle to see behind the scenes of Florida’s Nice and Mighty Despoiler of Woke. And there ain’t a lot again there.

Florida’s governor bravely takes on … Disney?

Take DeSantis’ battle on Disney, which started after the company – the biggest personal employer within the state – spoke out in opposition to Florida’s “don’t say homosexual” legislation proscribing discussions of sexual orientation and gender identification in faculties.

Am I woke?: DeSantis and GOP combat ‘woke’ as a result of hating a phrase is less complicated than hating individuals

The governor struck again on the “woke” theme park and leisure large final yr by pushing for after which signing a invoice abolishing the corporate’s longstanding standing as a particular tax district. In principle, that meant an finish to important tax breaks the corporate has loved for greater than 50 years.

Nevertheless, right-wing exclamations of “WAY TO GO, RON!” had been untimely. Seems that simply casting off Disney’s Reedy Creek Enchancment District – which put the corporate accountable for the sprawling space it inhabits – would pressure taxpayers in surrounding counties to shoulder the prices of operating the Disney-occupied space (assume emergency companies, highway repairs and so forth.) and tackle the particular tax district’s roughly $1 billion in debt.

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So the Florida Legislature that does DeSantis’ bidding swooped right into a particular session this month to scrub up the governor’s mess. Lawmakers handed a brand new invoice that lets DeSantis choose who sits on the Disney tax district’s board.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares tax reduction in Ocala on Feb. 8, 2023. He additionally wished to remove extra of Disney’s privileges by revoking Disney World’s designation as a particular tax district.

DeSantis’ Disney victory not all it was cracked as much as be

As The New York Instances reported: “This time, Disney can be allowed to maintain the particular tax district – which by no means went away – and nearly all its perks, together with the flexibility to subject tax-exempt bonds and approve growth plans with out scrutiny from sure native regulators.”

So … DeSantis caught it to woke Disney by taking management of the board that oversees the corporate’s particular tax district whereas leaving all of the perks and tax breaks in place.

The invoice’s sponsor within the Home, Republican Rep. Fred Hawkins, was requested the way it modifications something taking place within the district and mentioned: “That I can’t reply.”

Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on April 18, 2022.

Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on April 18, 2022.

‘BIG loss for conservatives’

Even some conservatives noticed by DeSantis’ faux victory. Anthony Sabatini, chairman of the Lake County Republican Get together in Florida tweeted: “So mainly Woke Disney will get to maintain its practically tax-free, regulation-free standing—however with a special Board. … What a large capitulation that is. HUGE win for Woke Disney. BIG loss for conservatives.”

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In Trump vs. DeSantis 2024 tradition battle: Black and LGBTQ individuals can pay the best worth

The far-right information website Large League Politics blasted this headline – “FRAUD: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Folds to Woke Disney, Pushes Invoice to Quietly Restore Particular Tax Breaks.”

That’s removed from the one instance of DeSantis’ all-talk-no-actual-destruction-of-wokeness grift.

DeSantis mentioned he compelled modifications to an AP course – however he did not

The governor just lately took credit score for the School Board making modifications to an AP African American research course he had rejected as too “woke” and “traditionally fictional.” The board clapped again, saying any declare that the board “was in frequent dialogue with Florida” in regards to the content material of the course is “a false and politically motivated cost.”

Nationwide Schooling Affiliation president: Black historical past is American historical past. DeSantis is stealing our college students’ freedom to be taught it.

Final yr, DeSantis fancied himself a real grasp of “proudly owning the libs” after utilizing Florida taxpayer cash to lure migrants in Texas onto a airplane and dump them in Martha’s Winery in Massachusetts. The stunt would possibly have happy a merciless swath of the governor’s base, nevertheless it was largely met with derision and seen as an inhumane waste of cash.

It additionally, in accordance with a minimum of considered one of a number of lawsuits, would possibly have violated state legislation as a result of the state cash earmarked for transporting migrants specified they needed to already be in Florida, not Texas or every other state. And, in fact, the entire stunt had zero affect on immigration, or actually the rest.

Florida lawmakers spending time cleansing up DeSantis’ war-on-woke messes

The aforementioned Republican Florida lawmakers who just lately cleaned up DeSantis’ Disney mess additionally tried to repair his migrant transport downside this month by passing a invoice that declared “all funds made pursuant to (the unique legislation) are deemed accredited.” It’s good to have highly effective buddies devoid of ethics, apparently.

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DeSantis is combating woke gun-control advocates by pushing laws that might permit Floridians to hold weapons with out security coaching or permits. However at an election evening celebration in Tampa final yr, The Washington Put up reported, the governor’s marketing campaign banned weapons on the occasion whereas asking metropolis officers to say it was their choice.

Florida: The place woke goes to die … or not

It appears rumors of DeSantis’ success at battling the liberal “woke thoughts virus,” or no matter it’s they’re calling it lately, could also be significantly exaggerated. I think about that’s of curiosity to a different alleged enemy of wokeness down in South Florida – one Donald J. Trump. Rumor has it the previous president and present presidential candidate is sitting round pondering attainable nicknames for DeSantis, who many count on will enter the Republican presidential main.

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How about Paper-Tiger Ron? Or possibly Ron FakeSantis? Ron “All Woke Sizzle, No Woke Steak” DeSantis?

I dunno, I’m simply spitballing right here. I’ll depart it to Trump to determine it out. It’s actually the one factor he’s good at – which implies he’s good at another factor than Florida’s all-show-no-go governor.

Comply with USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Fb, or contact him at

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This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Ron DeSantis takes management of ‘woke’ Disney board, tax breaks stay