Tag Archives: Beto O’Rourke

Beto’s early burst needs a boost

Beto O’Rourke burst on the national public political stage with a near-miss loss to a Republican U.S. senator in Texas in 2018.

Then the former El Paso congressman launched his presidential campaign and hearts started fluttering beyond Texas’s state line. He raised a lot of money in the first 24 hours of his 2020 presidential candidacy.

But then . . . O’Rourke plateaued. Other Democrats — and there are a lot of ’em out there — began stealing Beto’s thunder. They spoke in many more specifics than O’Rourke has offered.

So now, according to the Texas Tribune, O’Rourke is now finding himself looking for a bit of a reset. He is settling in for the long haul. The Tribune reports that O’Rourke is still campaigning “aggressively,” but he’s now just one among a large field of politicians who want to become the next president of the United States.

Yep. It’s going to be a long one, no matter how O’Rourke finishes this campaign.

The RealClearPolitics poll average has former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the runaway frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination. Biden stands at 41 percent among all the announced candidates; Sen. Bernie Sanders is next at something like 16 percent. Beto stands at 4 percent, according to the RCP poll average.

It’s way too early to write Beto off, just as it way too early to anoint Joe Biden as the next Democratic Party presidential nominee.

I guess O’Rourke’s recent struggles tell us about the fickle nature of the voting public and offer an example of how a candidate cannot rely solely on a prior campaign . . . that he lost!

AOC joins Bernie in pitching a nutty notion

This comment is for you, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

You, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, have rocks in your noggin. You need your head examined. This notion you’ve backed to give felons voting rights while they are locked up behind bars is a nutty notion that needs to find its way to the trash heap.

I hope you don’t mind if I call you “AOC.” It’s the new term being assigned to you despite your lack of any meaningful experience on the national stage. Maybe you’ll earn some standing once you get past your rookie term in Congress, but for now you don’t deserve it.

Still, since the media are infatuated with you and Republicans have deemed you some sort of existential threat, I guess your endorsement of Bernie’s nutty idea deserves a brief rebuke here.

You say the prison system is out of whack. Maybe it is. You don’t fix what ails the federal penal system by granting voting rights to incarcerated felons. Let them finish their prison terms and then grant them the right to vote once they have paid their debt to our society.

You see, where I come from, AOC, when you commit a felony you lose some rights of citizenship. Voting is one of them. It ought to stay that way, in my humble view.

A couple of Democratic presidential candidates — Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro, both of Texas — want to give those votes only to non-violent felons. I’m not keen on that idea, either, but at least it’s a little less wacky than what you and Bernie are pitching.

Prison reform? Sure thing. Felon voting rights? No way, young lady.

Texas might be a battleground? One can hope

Beto O’Rourke’s near-electoral miss in November 2018 has managed to turn Texas from a reliably red, staunchly Republican state into a potential battleground state in the 2020 presidential election.

Maybe . . . that is.

O’Rourke is now running for president of the United States. He damn near was elected to the U.S. Senate this past year. He came within 2 percentage points short of beating Ted Cruz. His close finish energized a once-moribund Texas Democratic Party.

So he decided to parlay that enthusiasm into a national bid.

Now, does his presence amid a gigantic — and still growing — field of Democratic presidential contenders automatically convert Texas into a battleground? Of course not.

He is going to campaign like all hell for Texas convention delegates. If he somehow manages to become the party’s presidential nominee –or even end up on the Democratic ticket as a VP nominee — then the state becomes the site of pitched battle between the two parties.

This is a dream come true for many of us. Me included.

I long have wanted Texas to become a two-party state. Even when Democrats controlled every public office in sight. It shifted dramatically over the past three decades. The GOP has control of every statewide office.

Presidential candidates haven’t given us the time of day. Why bother? The state’s electoral votes are going to the Republicans. So, the GOP has taken us for granted; Democrats have given up on us.

Beto O’Rourke well might have changed all that.

So, we might be in store for a barrage, a torrent, a tidal wave of political ads as we enter the summer and fall of 2020.

Forgive me for saying this, but I would welcome it.

Unity becoming a signature issue among Democrats

I have heard a lot of talk of the “u-word” among those who are running for president of the United States.

They want to bring unity to the country. They want to bridge the divide that is growing between and among various ethnic, religious, racial and political groups.

They say we are living in (arguably) the most divisive period in our nation’s history. I agree with their goal. I favor a more unified country, too. The divisions that have torn us apart have created nations within the nation.

I am going to disagree with the implication I have heard from some of the Democrats running for president that this division is the worst in our history.

We had that Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The nation fought against itself, killing 600,000 Americans on battlefields throughout the eastern third of what is now the United States of America.

The Great Depression brought about huge division, too. Americans tossed out a president and brought in another one who promised a New Deal. It took some time for the economy to recover. Indeed, it’s been argued that World War II was the catalyst that sparked the nation’s economic revival.

Then came two more wars: in Korea and Vietnam. Those conflicts produced division as well. Vietnam, particularly, brought death in our city streets as well as in far-off battlefields.

The divisions today are severe. Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency pledging to unify the nation. He has failed. Indeed, his rhetoric only has deepened the divide.

The white nationalist debate that has flared with the New Zealand massacre allegedly by someone associated with white supremacists has underscored the division.

So now we have a huge and growing field of Democrats seeking to succeed Donald Trump as president. One of the themes that links them all is their common call for unity. One of them, Beto O’Rourke, says he wants to “restore our democracy.” OK, but . . . how?

Seeking unity is a noble and worthwhile goal. I applaud any candidate who says he or she wants to make that a top priority.

However, I am no longer in the mood for platitudes. I need some specifics on how to achieve it. I know that Donald Trump is a lost cause. He cannot unify his own White House staff, let alone a nation he was elected to govern.

The rest of the field needs to lay out their plans to achieve what Trump has failed to do.

In . . . detail!

Former VP pondering early running mate decision

Dare I take any credit for this bit of news?

I think not, but I have to share this tidbit anyway. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s considering whether to seek the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2020 is considering whether to select a running mate early, rather than waiting for the nominating convention.

I thought one option might be to name Beto O’Rourke as his running mate; I mentioned it in an earlier blog post. But then O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, announced his own presidential bid.

Biden reportedly is pondering this decision, which could echo what Ronald Reagan did in 1976 when he challenged President Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination. Reagan selected Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his running in advance of the GOP convention.

It would be a gutsy move by Biden to do something out of the ordinary. However, as the election of Donald Trump demonstrated in 2016, we have entered an era of many definitions of the “new normal” in politics.

CNN reports that Biden has discussed the possibility of naming a VP candidate early. Well, the former vice president has a huge number of hopefuls who I reckon would like to run with him.

My only advice would be for the 77-year-old candidate to find someone who is willing — and able — to step into the presidency.

If you get my drift.

‘Horse race’ takes on new meaning

Many of us lament the nature of political coverage, how it centers on the “horse race” aspect: who’s up and who’s down?

Now, though, the “horse race” element is taking on a new context.

Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Democratic Party presidential primary field this past week was followed immediately by his jaw-dropping fundraising effort. O’Rourke managed to raise $6.1 million in just 24 hours, a record for such political fundraising. Beto beat Bernie Sanders’s previous record of $5.9 million in the first day of his 2020 presidential campaign announcement.

So now the media are talking about the Texan’s prodigious fundraising capability. They take note of how they come from small donors living in all 50 states and the various U.S. territories.

The political pros also are comparing Beto with Barack, saying that O’Rourke’s huge initial cash take dwarfs the amount that Sen. Obama raked in as he campaigned for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

All this money is just fine. Beto has a lot of it to spend as he seeks to elbow his way past the gigantic — and still growing — 2020 Democratic field.

The pile of cash doesn’t necessarily translate to a pile of votes. At least that has been the norm.

Until this year?

Beto gets ’em fired up early

The media and political fascination with Beto O’Rourke has commenced. It’s at full throttle already.

The former West Texas congressman announced his presidential candidacy this week, jetted off to Iowa and had the political media following his every move.

I heard one commentator gushing over how physically attractive he is and how O’Rourke already has ignited the national flame much as he did in Texas when in 2018 he came within a whoop and a holler of defeating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

None of this early excitement is surprising. O’Rourke presents a different type of presidential challenger. He nearly defeated Cruz in a heavily Republican state. He ran close and hard with nary a political adviser to be found; he had no pollsters; he toured every one of Texas’s 254 counties.

He is pledging to do something similar as he runs for president. Good luck with that, young man.

I remain fervently on the fence regarding Beto O’Rourke. I am inclined to want to support him. I am just not there. I don’t know if I’ll get there. I’m thinking hard about it, along with the rest of the already-gigantic field of Democrats lining up for the chance run next year against Donald Trump.

The media fascination in a strange way seems to mirror the fascination they showed toward Trump as he announced his candidacy in 2015.

I don’t expect O’Rourke, though, to inflame animosity the way Trump did, even though the president likely owes the media debt of gratitude for elevating him from carnival barker to serious presidential candidate.

Welcome to the big time, Beto O’Rourke. This will be wild ride.

Beto has one distinct advantage over rest of huge field

As I ponder the impact of Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the burgeoning Democratic Party presidential primary field, I keep thinking of a distinct advantage he holds over most of the rest of the thundering herd.

He doesn’t have a job at the moment.

Beto once served in Congress. He represented El Paso in Congress for three terms. Then O’Rourke decided to give up his House seat. He ran for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke ignited the Texas Democratic Party, which had been in a state of slumber, er . . . stupor for the past three decades.

O’Rourke almost won!

Now he wants to take the fight to an even higher level. He wants to become president of the United States.

He is running against a lot of U.S. senators, some governors and others who are gainfully employed. Beto doesn’t have a job.

One of the points he sought to make while losing narrowly to Cruz was that the junior senator from Texas spent too much time running for president and too little time casting votes in the Senate.

The many folks who are running against him for president in next year’s Democratic primary will be unable to slather him with mud from that particular pit. He’s jobless at the moment and can devote his waking moments full time to the task of running for POTUS.

He’ll be able to parlay that advantage at least for a little while.

Then he well might have to cope with another high-powered politician with no gainful employment.

Joe Biden? Are you out there?

Beto’s big announcement is the real thing

I guess Beto O’Rourke’s “big announcement” is going to be what everyone in America suspected it would be.

The former West Texas congressman is going to run for president of the United States of America. He is going to make the announcement on Thursday.

OK. Now what? How am I supposed to feel about this? I’ll be candid: I am not sure yet how I feel about a President O’Rourke.

I can explain this a couple of ways. Compared to the man who’s currently in the office, I feel better about Beto and I do about Donald, as in Trump.

Beto O’Rourke is No. 13 among the Democrats who have declared their intention to seek their party’s presidential nomination in 2020. More will be jump into the moat. There will be at least one more major candidate to announce: former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Beto captured many Texans’ imagination when he nearly beat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. That he was able to finish just a couple of percentage points behind the Cruz Missile in heavily GOP Texas still has state Democrats salivating.

Now he’s going to enter the huge field of Democrats.

I sense a certain sort of Bobby Kennedy freneticism in Beto’s candidacy. Just as RFK scrambled to assemble a presidential campaign in 1968 and ran a frenzied race for 85 days before tragedy struck, I sense that Beto might be modeling his 2020 after Robert F. Kennedy.

As an aside, I should note that the late New York senator’s name was Robert Francis Kennedy; Beto’s proper name is Robert Francis O’Rourke. Karma, anyone?

I’ll need to hold my breath for Beto’s entry. I wanted him to defeat Sen. Cruz. I am not yet convinced he is ready for the Big Chair in the Big Office.

However, I can be persuaded.

‘Big announcement’ coming from Beto?

Beto O’Rourke’s political team says the former West Texas congressman is planning a “big announcement.” It will come perhaps later this week.

Everyone this side of the Trans-Pecos believes O’Rourke is going to announce he is running for president of the United States in 2020. Yep, that’s a big announcement, all right.

Think about an alternative.

Is it a “big announcement” for Beto to say that after all the deliberation with his wife Amy and their friends and confidants that he’s decided to wait until 2024?

Donald Trump is certain to be gone by then. Perish the thought that he actually runs for re-election and wins next year. Anything is possible, as Trump’s election in 2016 demonstrated in all its narcissistic glory.

Run, Beto. Run?

O’Rourke, who once represented El Paso in the U.S. House and came within a cow chip toss of defeating Sen. Ted Cruz this past year, is showing all the signs of becoming a presidential candidate in 2020.

I just want to suggest that a “big announcement” can arrive in more than one form.