As a former colleague and friend was fond of saying, “You can’t unhonk the horn.”
Beto O’Rourke is trying to unhonk the rhetorical horn by telling a CNN correspondent that his use of the “Lyin’ Ted” epithet against Ted Cruz perhaps is a step too far. He now sounds as if he regrets going quite so negative in his most recent debate with the Republican U.S. senator.
There’s a bit of charm in hearing the Democratic challenger acknowledge a case of weak knees in using the tag first hung on Cruz by Donald Trump when the men were competing in 2016 for the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump called him “Lyin’ Ted” and got huge laughs from campaign crowds. O’Rourke said in the men’s debate that the negative moniker sounded true to him, so he used it against Cruz.
Meeting in a town hall in McAllen with CNN’s Dana Bash, O’Rourke said he doesn’t feel “totally comfortable” taking what he called “a step too far.”
The midterm campaign is drawing to a close. Cruz appears to be clinging to a lead of about 6 to 8 percentage points. O’Rourke is looking for any edge he can find. He has gone negative in his TV ad campaign in recent days. Indeed, he now joins Cruz, who’s been firing shots at O’Rourke for several weeks. We likely won’t hear any utterances of regret from The Cruz Missile over the tactics he has used to (mis)characterize O’Rourke’s policy pronouncements.
Do I believe O’Rourke went too far with the “Lyin’ Ted” reference? Aww … no. He didn’t. However, I don’t have to deal with any blowback from campaign rhetoric. O’Rourke believes he “may” have gone too far.
I would prefer O’Rourke to stay on the high road.
And … by the way … I still plan to vote for Beto.