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Is Florida Better Off with Governor Graham or DeSantis?

Post # 270, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

Were we better off with Bob Graham 45 years ago than we are today with Ron DeSantis? You decide.

Republican President Ronald Reagan had a very clear question for evaluating his campaigns versus that of his opponents. He typically asked, "Are you better off with me than ___________?"

It is interesting to ask that question of those of us living in Florida today under our current Governor Ron DeSantis. The current legislative leadership brags that the state has never had better governance. As a former legislator, I feel differently, but perhaps that is because I am too close to the issue. I do feel our country and state have never been as divided as now. I believe Governor DeSantis has intentionally kept that division because he knows it will draw Trump's base to DeSantis' presidential campaign. You could match DeSantis up against any number of recent day governors, both Democrats and Republicans, on some basic interests of Floridians:

Reuben Askew (D.), 1970

Bob Graham (D.), 1978

Bob Martinez (R.), 1986

Lawton Chiles (D.), 1990

Jeb Bush (R.), 1998

Charlie Crist (R.), 2006

For this exercise, let's compare just Democratic Governor Bob Graham, 1978-86, against Republican Ron DeSantis, 2018-23, on these 10 issues:

Education: Graham: Full Public Education Funding DeSantis: Vouchers for the Wealthy

Integrity: Graham: Support Sunshine Law DeSantis: Repeal Sunshine Law

Freedom: Graham: Support First Amendment DeSantis: Repeal First Amendment

Teachers: Graham: Support Tenure DeSantis: Repeal of Tenure

Civil Rights: Graham: Support of Civil Rights DeSantis: Repeal of Civil Rights

Medical Protection: Graham: Indigent Care DeSantis: Outlaw Covid-19 Care

Register Guns: Graham: Yes DeSantis: No permit carry

Support Ukraine: Graham: Yes DeSantis: No

Bipartisan: Graham: Yes DeSantis: No

Personal Unregulated Army: Graham: No DeSantis: Yes

These are certainly not the only issues. But it does give a pretty clear comparison by President Reagan's own method, at least on these issues.

Are we moving in the right direction, or is life as a Floridian worse under Governor DeSantis? You decide.


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