Mac Stipanovich, the bookish and quotable Florida GOP pioneer and lobbyist/strategist who helped elect Govs. Bob Martinez, Jeb Bush, and Charlie Crist, has a column in the Tampa Bay Times in which he weighs in on Ron DeSantis' suggestion that a Gov. Andrew Gillum is a socialist who would turn Florida into another Venezuela.

…Clearly, the differences between DeSantis and Gillum on these issues and other "socialist" programs are differences of degree, however great, not differences in kind. They are the clash of the world views of an aggressive heir of Great Society liberalism who sees a much larger role for government in promoting the welfare of the commonwealth and a right wing populist who feeds on the anger, envy and angst of those who want to make America 1956 again.

It will be unfortunate if hyperbole and hysteria deprive Florida voters of the potential benefit of the DeSantis-Gillum race for governor — a candid dialogue between radically contrasting men with radically contrasting visions of the future. Imagine a contest of ideas, a straight up debate about whether public education needs more funding, how much, for what, and from where. Or a serious discussion about whether adequate, affordable health care for all is a moral imperative amounting to a right or the pipe dream of bleeding hearts who would bankrupt the state and corrupt the morals of the populace with their fuzzy-minded maundering…

Read the whole thing here.