Friday, December 07, 2018


I have doubts about Beto O'Rourke as a 2020 presidential candidate -- the field could include many strong, capable candidates who've actually won big races, including quite a few women and non-whites, yet he's our best hope? However, what I'm reading in the right-wing media suggests that Republicans are worried about him (though they don't want you to know that), and so far they have very little to pin on him.

In the New York Post, Maureen Callhan concern-trolls the Democrats in a piece titled "If the Dems Want to Lose in 2020, Beto O’Rourke Is the Perfect Candidate." Her backup for this assertion is insubstantial:
Beto O’Rourke, with widespread backing, is considering running for president in 2020. If Democrats want to lose, he absolutely should.

Nothing has been learned from Hillary Clinton, the two-time heiress apparent who, in 2016, had the support of nearly every mainstream media outlet, who entered the final stretch of her last race with a $449 million war chest (compared with Trump’s $163 million), who led in nearly every national poll, and who was roundly depicted as the rational adult tolerating a villainous bozo.

Just as Hillary has taken that humiliating defeat as a sign to mull yet a third run, O’Rourke has taken his loss to Ted Cruz — the most loathed senator in modern American history, once called “Lucifer in the flesh” by then-House Speaker John Boehner — as a sign that he, a 46-year-old three-term congressman with a thin record, is the one to defeat Trump.
Let's see: Hillary is an older woman with a long résumé who's not a natural campaigner; O'Rourke is a generation younger, male, and a political natural. Hillary lost her last race (although she won more votes) in a purple country; O'Rourke lost his in what's still widely regarded as a deep-red state. O'Rourke is clearly thinking of running; Hillary probably isn't. Apples-to-apples comparison!

Callahan lists a few items in O'Rourke's background that she doesn't think have received sufficient scrutiny:
Nor have O’Rourke’s overall background and familial connections been much mentioned. How many voters know that his late father was a county commissioner and a county judge? Or that his step-grandfather served as JFK’s secretary of the Navy, or that his father-in-law is a billionaire real-estate developer? Not many, because none of these biographical details squares with the portrait of the rebel Gen-Xer looking to shake up the system.
Right, and that will be a problem for him running against ... (checks notes) ... the billionaire son of a multi-millionaire who has somehow become a folk hero to blue-collar whites. (And who wants to break it to Callahan that JFK and FDR weren't paupers?)

Callahan also looks at this:
No outlet truly pressed O’Rourke on his police record, which includes attempting to flee the scene of a car crash while drunken driving in 1998. During a debate with Cruz on Sept. 21, O’Rourke said, “I did not try to leave the scene of the accident” — a lie. Even The Washington Post called him out, but O’Rourke’s claim went otherwise unnoticed, let alone unchallenged.
This also comes up in a piece by Ron Kolb of the American Thinker:
Concerning O'Rourke's 1998 DWI, I asked his spokeswoman why he never admitted the incident also involved a hit and run until the press obtained the arrest reports last August. O'Rourke now claims it was not a hit and run, but I asked the spokeswoman if the arresting officer and a witness who reportedly chased him were lying after O'Rourke, going at an excessive rate of speed, struck a truck on I-10 west of El Paso and ended up on the other side of the Interstate, and then fled. Again no response.

O'Rourke also now claims that he recently contacted a passenger who was with him that night who verified he did not leave the scene, but has not said who she is. I received no response. I also asked why none of the reports during O'Rourke's arrest and processing mentioned another passenger, but did mention another passenger with the witness who pursued and stopped him. Again, no response. And I asked why O'Rourke told the police he had only two beers, when his high intoxication level showed he had consumed at least six.
I imagine this could be a problem for O'Rourke, though it wasn't in his Senate race. But please note that Democrats haven't done well with presidential candidates who seem to have spent their lives coloring only inside the lines -- Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were also seen as stiffs, though they were accused of deceit. Winners for the Democrats have included Bill Clinton (admitted pot user, womanizer), Barack Obama (pot and coke use), and, going back a bit, JFK. Even Jimmy Carter hung out with rock stars who were correctly assumed to be libertines. For many voters, I think the DUI humanizes O'Rourke. Besides, he'd be running against Trump, who seems to practice every vice except drinking.

Kolb writes:
I noted that it's a matter of record that he has heavily used marijuana and alcohol and asked if he still does. I also noted that O'Rourke profusely sweats even under perfect conditions, while at the same time others do not, and if he would be willing to take a complete physical exam. No response.
O'Rourke sweats too much? You think you're going to get him on that? Sweat-ergate?

The link goes to this photo:

The URL suggests that it was taken at a town hall ... in Corpus Christi ... in early August. I think sweat is not unexpected under those circumstances.

More from Kolb:
I sent a follow-up email to the spokeswoman noting I had received no response and intended to write an article regardless. So I added one more question. O'Rourke used the f-word live on national television in his concession speech, and used it as well at several other points in his campaign. Does O'Rourke think it is appropriate as a leader to behave in such a fashion? Still no response.

His language, along with his use of skateboards to enter campaign rallies, shows a basic immaturity and lack of seriousness to hold high public office.
Yes, O'Rourke has "a basic immaturity," according to a writer who'll undoubtedly vote for this man in 2020:

Beto O'Rourke might not be the candidate we want, but the right is still struggling to respond to him.

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