Sunday, March 26, 2023

How Long Will Disney Be A Workable Political Punching Bag For Governor DeSantis?


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

Like most people, I have been watching the developments over in the Orlando area regarding the Reedy Creek Improvement District and the transformation into the
Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis has selected the sprawling Orange County Disney World theme park and the Reedy Creek Improvement District as one of his political punching bags as he governs the state of Florida and begins his quest for the Republican nomination for president of the United states.

 Since Governor DeSantis decided to take on the Disney empire in Florida for their stand against his so-called don't say gay bill, former CEO Bob Iger has been recalled to lead the sprawling Disney empire as they work through the issues created by the governor's attack on the largely Disney controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District.

While Governor DeSantis periodically in his campaign travels takes the opportunity to throw a few punches Disney World's way, CEO Iger has largely ignored the barbs and focused on shoring up morale on the Disney World property.

Governor DeSantis and his campaign staff realize that they have the perfect political foil in Disney. It is virtually impossible for the Disney people to pull up stakes and move, or even to consider any sort of shutdown at the Florida property. Generally speaking, Disney simply has to sit there and take whatever the governor dishes out.

For now, it seems that Bob Iger has decided the best approach is to ignore the Governor and his political campaign antics while trying to move his business forward.

While it is unlikely, we will see any large political grandstanding by the Disney organization as it relates to Governor DeSantis, it is also very unlikely that Disney is going to retreat from its position of protecting and standing up for diversity of, LBGTQ and transgender rights.

 A clear example is Disney hosting the Out and Equal 2023 workplace summit. For more information check out Tampa Bay Times artcle, By: Michael Wilner Miami Herald, Mary Ellen Klas Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau: Disney to host gay rights summit in Orlando.

The question to me seems to be can Governor DeSantis ride the Disney train to the Republican presidential nomination? Given the amount of time remaining before the Republican National Committee needs to select their presidential nominee, and unless Bob Iger takes the bait it seems unlikely that the Disney issue will be a significant factor in the outcome.

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