'A strange no-eye-contact oddball': Who is the real Ron DeSantis?

'A strange no-eye-contact oddball': Who is the real Ron DeSantis?
Image via Gage Skidmore.

A new analysis is expressing doubt about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) being the future of the Republican Party.

In the new piece, The Atlantic's Mark Leibovich lays out his argument to explain why the Florida governor isn't all that Republican voters believe he is. He began with a brief overview of how the evolving governor is being perceived by the public. "Governor Ron DeSantis has a growing store of admirers. This includes many who have watched the cantankerous Floridian only from afar," Leibovich wrote.

READ MORE: How Ron DeSantis wields 'a tremendous amount of power' over Florida politics: 'Cross him once, you’re dead'

"They have heard glowing things. He was the biggest winner of an otherwise dark election cycle for Republicans," he wrote. "He has impeccable bona fides as a Donald Trump disciple—without being Trump himself, whom many see as the biggest loser of said dark election cycle."

Leibovich went on to explain why DeSantis appears to be a rising star among Republicans. The governor appears to be a representation of the best of both worlds; a sharper version of former President Donald Trump.

"This has made DeSantis the GOP’s hottest molecule. He is full MAGA without the high drama. He is terrorizing all the right targets while Trump keeps blowing himself up in new and creative ways. “He is Trump with a brain,” goes the whispered refrain among DeSantis aides (this clearly drives Trump nuts—always a noble goal)."

However, according to Leibovich, those who have actually crossed paths with him are arguing otherwise. Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican lawmaker in Florida who served alongside DeSantis during his time in the House of Representatives, weighed in with his take on DeSantis.

READ MORE: ‘The epitome of hypocrisy’: Ron DeSantis 'bashes' POTUS' tax policies while reaping the benefits

“I think he is going to run into some challenges,” Curbelo said. “It’s that question that often comes up in politics—the question of ‘Would you want to have a beer with him?’’’ This is a big-time cliché, of course, but it does feel pertinent. Will he grow on voters like a catchy song, or like mold? DeSantis “has this robotic quality that he has to shed.”

He added, “Everything else checks the box. He is smart and competent and committed to his ideology. He just has to humanize himself.”

In a piece published by Resolute Square, Republican consultant Rick Wilson described DeSantis as “a strange no-eye-contact oddball.”

"I’d rather have teeth pulled without anesthetic than be on a boat with Ron DeSantis,” said Tallahassee lobbyist Mac Stipanovich.

Comparing DeSantis to Trump, Stipanovich also said, “On a debate stage, all of Trump’s strengths go straight to DeSantis’s weaknesses." According to Leibovich, Stipanovich also pointed out that, "Trump has energy and presence; DeSantis 'is dour and doesn’t improvise particularly well.'”

Although the direction of DeSantis' political career remains unknown, there is still a possibility he could be prepping for a 2024 presidential run against Trump.

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis sending 'very dangerous sign' to GOP voters — and Trump’s worried: religious scholar

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