Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is trying to position himself as a culture warrior like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but he faces one big disadvantage as a senator.
The Missouri Republican has introduced a bill that would reduce the length of copyrights, and his news release announcing the measure makes clear he wants to punish "woke corporations like Disney," which DeSantis also penalized for opposing a state law limiting classroom discussion of race and gender, reported the Washington Post.
"With DeSantis and Hawley plainly harboring 2024 presidential ambitions, Hawley has a lot of catching up to do," wrote Post columnists Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent. "In the new world of right wing politics, what must be demonstrated is a genuine and actionable willingness, even a frothing eagerness, to use state power to bring the leftist cultural enemy to heel. With many Republicans casting off old ideas about free-market capitalism and limits on government power, that may become a key litmus test."
DeSantis didn't just threaten to use state power against Disney, he actually did target the state's most recognizable company and one of its biggest employers, while Hawley's proposal likely won't even pass and is probably unconstitutional.
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"The poor Missouri senator’s proposal that will go nowhere is a mere cultural spitball compared to DeSantis’s mighty broadsides," the columnists wrote. "DeSantis can sign concrete laws that land direct and clear blows against the leftist cultural enemy in a way that Hawley cannot."
"And so, if Hawley hopes to catch up to DeSantis in the culture war primary," they concluded, "he’s going to have to get a lot more creative."