Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 8, 2022 / 04:00 am (CNA).
An ad released by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign is being mocked for its religious content, which some have criticized as “blasphemous.”
The black-and-white ad, tweeted out by DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, shows a series of images from the governor’s public and private life narrated by a man who invokes God 10 times in the minute-and-a-half-long video.
“On the eighth day,” the narrator opens, “God looked down on his planned paradise and said: ‘I need a protector.’ So God made a fighter.”
Critics mocked the ad for being the “gospel of the Ron DeSantis re-election campaign.”
I love you, Ron.
On behalf of millions of people, never stop fighting for freedom. pic.twitter.com/5wcopo041U
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) November 4, 2022
A day before the election, DeSantis is enjoying a comfortable lead over his opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist. RealClearPolitics shows him with a12% lead, based on the average of recent polls.
The new ad, some speculate, may be intended for a possible run for the White House in 2024.
Former President Donald Trump, too, seemed to see DeSantis as a potential rival. At a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday, Trump named him as a possible candidate for president.
Declaring himself the front-runner, Trump said: “There it is, Trump at 71 [percent], Ron DeSanctimonious at 10 percent.”
Former RNC chairman Michael Steele issued a scathing condemnation of the ad on MSNBC’s Morning Show, calling it “ass-backwards blasphemy.”
“I don’t need Ron DeSantis to be Christ. I just need him to be governor, and that’s the problem,” Steele said.
Steele, who in 2020 joined the The Lincoln Project PAC, a group of Republicans who sought to defeat Trump, also endorsed Joe Biden for president the same year.
An MSNBC op-ed slamming the ad said: “Even if it is just a tease, like many far-right and authoritarian ‘jokes,’ DeSantis is not kidding around. The ad is dangerous and anti-democratic, and was meant that way.”
A spinoff ‘So God Made a Farmer’
As Axios first reported, the ad is a spinoff from the popular and beloved “So God Made a Farmer” speech delivered in 1978 by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey to Future Farmers of America in Kansas City, Missouri.
Harvey’s ad began: “God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board. So God made a farmer.’”
By contrast, DeSantis’ ad says: “God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, kiss his family goodbye, travel thousands of miles for no other reason than to serve the people. To save their jobs, their livelihoods, their liberty, their happiness. So God made a fighter.”
In addition to mentioning God 10 times, the ad describes DeSantis as someone who will “advocate truth in the midst of hysteria” and “isn’t afraid to defend what he knows to be right and just.”
“God said: I need somebody who will take the arrows, stand firm in the face of unrelenting attacks, look a mother in the eyes and tell her that her child will be in school,” the ad continues — referring to the governor’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic when most state lockdown restrictions sent children home from school for the long term.
The ad continues to focus on the anonymous mother living during the pandemic.
“She can keep her job, go to church, eat dinner with friends, and hold the hand of an aging parent taking their breath for the last time,” the narrator says, referring to hospital rules that prevented families from being near their loved ones’ sides while they died.