Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is at the top of every Democrat's public enemy list, and that's certainly true for all of them who work over at CNN. Jim Acosta, who was demoted to flailing weekend host following the Trump presidency, took his shots today. In doing so, he managed to set a new bar for cringe.
In a scene reminiscent of the classic “Seinfeld” episode where George responds to a co-worker by telling him the “jerk store called and they're running out of you,” Acosta dropped the sickest burn in his arsenal — calling COVID variants the “DeSantis variant.”
— Shanlon Wu (@shanlonwu) August 8, 2021
“Perhaps it's time to start naming these new variants that may be coming out after them,” Acosta said, referring to the GOP politicians. “Instead of the delta variant, why not call it the DeSantis variant?”
“We can sell beer koozies that say ‘Don't Florida my Fauci' and use the money to pay for all the funerals in the days to come,” he added.
There's even a hashtag to celebrate the sheer force of wit put on display here by Acosta. The dozen or so people that watch his show will be thrilled, and speaking of watching his show, if you want to watch the actual video, you can go to CNN's website and see it. Yes, they were actually proud enough of this moment to publicize it further. But really, does that sound like something you want to do?
Regardless, since we try to do analysis here at RedState, I'll do must best to take this idiocy seriously enough for long enough to offer some.
Florida is currently 25th in COVID deaths per capita. If Acosta's point is that some governors have presided over large death tolls, perhaps he should start by criticizing Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy, Charlie Baker, or any of the other governors who have done an objectively worse job. Or is the contention that none of those people have played politics? Because that would be ludicrous.
Besides, the idea that it's playing politics to preserve individual freedom is probably one of the most anti-American things I've ever heard come out of a supposed journalist's mouth. DeSantis has done an excellent job of balancing effective mitigation (i.e. distributing the vaccine to the most vulnerable) with protecting the rights of those in his state. That doesn't cease to be a relevant concern just because the government says there's an emergency.
But like so many beltway residents, Acosta is certain that no crackdown on individual rights will ever affect his personal life. Thus, he's comfortable going on national TV and stumping for governors to act like dictators. He'll still have his fat check and cocktail parties at the end of the day. Of course, assuming Acosta gets invited to parties may be assuming too much.
What's really missing here is any basis for Acosta's hysteria in the first place, though. Florida is a state of over 21 million people. Right now, they are averaging 88 COVID deaths a day at what looks to be the peak of their Delta wave. That's a far cry from anything seen during the Alpha wave. Given zero COVID is not a realistic goal, the question is: can waves be managed with treatments and vaccines? So far, the answer seems to be yes.
I also suspect that, just like last summer when Florida saw a spike, other parts of the country will see fall/winter spikes. In other words, Acosta is spiking the partisan football way too early here. COVID is clearly a cyclical disease, and it spreads in different parts of the world at different times throughout the year.
Past that, Acosta just isn't very good at his job. There's nothing clever about how he goes about his partisan attacks. Where's the creativity? Cussing on-air and telling jokes that would make an eight-year-old blush don't exactly paint a picture of a top-shelf talent. Is this the best CNN can do?
I don't know, but what I do know is that watching DeSantis making heads explode in 2024 is going to be worth the price of admission.