Tag Archives: Beto O’Rourke

Hey, Beto … you gonna run?

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/AP/REX/Shutterstock 

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Oh, Beto, Beto, Beto!

The young former West Texas Democratic congressman had to walk back something he said out loud, in public, to a TV reporter.

He said he didn’t plan to run for Texas governor in 2022. Then his office called the Texas Tribune to say … oops! “What I said today is what I’ve been saying for months: I’m not currently considering a run for office,” Beto O’Rourke said in a statement. “I’m focused on what I’m doing now (teaching and organizing.) Nothing’s changed and nothing I said would preclude me from considering a run in the future.”

Don’t you just hate it when politicians say something and then tell you what they meant to say?

According to the Texas Tribune: “I’ve got no plans to run, and I’m very focused on the things that I’m lucky enough to do right now — organizing, registering voters and teaching,” O’Rourke said on NBC DFW’s “Lone Star Politics,” which will air Sunday. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing now.”

Beto O’Rourke clarifies running for governor still on the table | The Texas Tribune

Sure. I get it. He is “focused” on whatever he is doing at this moment. None of that precludes him getting focused at the next moment on something else, such as running for governor.

I happen to believe Beto O’Rourke is going to run for governor. I believe he should run. I also believe a Beto win over Gov. Greg Abbott would slam-dunk any chance of Abbott seeking the presidency in 2024.

Those are my hopes. I just want Beto O’Rourke to stop telling us what he means to say.

Beto in the hunt … again?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Democrats’ hearts are fluttering again, thanks to reports of Beto O’Rourke’s latest barnstorming tour of the state.

You see, O’Rourke — a former congressman from El Paso who came within whisker stubble of beating Ted Cruz in 2018 — might be running for Texas governor in 2022.

Except that he says he isn’t “thinking about it.” Sure, Beto … whatever you say.

Actually, my gut and my trick knee tell me he is thinking about it.

Is the state’s current governor, Republican Greg Abbott, vulnerable to a challenge from a credible Democrat? I think so. I hope so. I am not sure I expect a serious challenge to emerge from the tall grass, even if it happens to be Beto O’Rourke.

O’Rourke ran for president in 2020, but didn’t make the grade — quite obviously. His 2018 near miss against Sen. Cruz, though, still has whetted the appetites of Texas Democrats who believe that O’Rourke can mount a serious challenge against Abbott.

Beto O’Rourke is criss-crossing Texas again, igniting Democratic hopes he’ll run for governor – CNNPolitics

Abbott’s recent decision to rescind his mask-wearing order has angered me. I am quite certain it has angered other Texans, too.

Does that act alone make him vulnerable? Not really. Unless, we see a serious spike in COVID cases arising from Abbott’s foolhardy (in my view) decision to lift the order.

Beto O’Rourke might not have played well on the national stage, but here in Texas it might be another matter altogether.

Or … he might flame out once he starts “thinking about” running for governor.

Playing politics with people’s misery?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Oh, my. Here it comes.

Texas government officials are taking their lumps over the disaster that arose from the Arctic blast that blew in over the state. It has paralyzed entire cities. Power has gone out. Water supplies have been compromised. It has been a nightmare around here.

However, I am saddened to see this misery being politicized. I do not want to assess any blame based on partisan concerns. Nor do I want to hear prominent politicians or other political activists seek to make hay over the misery that so many of us are enduring.

I’m talking about folks such as, say, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a one-time presidential and U.S. Senate candidate from El Paso. O’Rourke says the failure of the power grid is attributable to “Republican policies.”

Really, Beto? You are going there already while a lot of folks — perhaps even some in your home town — are still sleeping in frigid conditions?

I am way more than ready to get through this emergency. I want it to end. I want solutions based on reality. I believe some individuals or groups of individuals have made plenty of mistakes while mismanaging the crisis.

The source of our misery is infinitely greater than any human being can control. Let us focus on dealing directly and exclusively with how we can find our way out of this mess. The politics of it can wait.

Abbott vs. O’Rourke in ’22?

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/AP/REX/Shutterstock 

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gosh, we just finished a contentious presidential election that produced a violent transition of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

Now it’s time to look just a bit ahead to 2022 and what is shaping up here in Texas. A potential donnybrook between Gov. Greg Abbott and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Oh, boy. Pass the popcorn.

O’Rourke spilled some of the beans when he told an El Paso radio station that he might run for governor in 2022, seeking to generate the excitement he ginned up when he almost defeated U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. Unfortunately for O’Rourke, the Texas buzz didn’t play on the national stage as he sought the presidency in 2020; he dropped out early from the Democratic Party primary contest.

He did make some news, though, he declared “Hell yes,” he intends to take away people’s AR-15 assault weapons.

Abbott wasted no time capitalizing on that exclamation, declaring that O’Rourke would seek to do that very thing in gun-loving Texas if he is elected governor.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “You’re talking about a person who says they want to run for governor who said, ‘Heck yes,’ he’s gonna come and take your guns,” Abbott said, referring to O’Rourke’s 2019 embrace of a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons. “Heck yes, he’s for open borders. Heck yes, he’s for killing the energy sector and fossil fuels in the state of Texas. I don’t think that’s gonna sell real well.”

Greg Abbott, Beto O’Rourke trade barbs over talk of 2022 governor’s race | The Texas Tribune

Here we go. The demagoguery has begun in earnest. Open borders? Killing the fossil fuel energy sector? Does the governor of this state have that kind of exclusive power? Um … no.

As for the gun buyback, the governor cannot do that by himself, either. No governor is “gonna come and take your guns.”

I do hope to see an Abbott-O’Rourke contest in 2022, even if it includes the frightening rhetoric we’re already getting.

Texas Democrats optimistic; but let’s keep it (more or less) in check

Texas Democrats reportedly are optimistic heading into the 2020 election season. They think a Democratic presidential nominee can carry the state, handing Texas’ 38 electoral votes to the party’s nominee.

Were that to happen, the GOP president, one Donald Trump, can kiss his re-election goodbye. Indeed, I figure that if Texas is going to flip from Republican to Democrat, then the 2020 election will be a dark, foreboding time for the GOP throughout the ballot in Texas.

However, Democrats would be wise to curb their optimism in Texas.

It’s not that I don’t want Texas to help elect someone other than Donald Trump, or that I don’t want the Texas Legislature to turn from GOP to Democrat. I want to see at minimum a contested political playing field, one that features two strong political parties arguing vehemently to persuade voters to buy into whatever ideology they are trying to sell.

However, Texas’ turn from Democratic to Republican control was dramatic and total over the course of about 20 years.

I get that Democrats got all fluttery when Beto O’Rourke nearly defeated GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O’Rourke then tried to parlay that near-miss into a presidential candidacy. He failed.

Texas Democrats have been floundering in the wilderness since the late 1990s, when they won their last statewide political campaign. Is the upcoming year going to mark the turnaround for the Texas Democratic Party. My bias tells me to hope it does.

My more realistic side tells me to wait for the ballots to be counted.

Beto’s presidential ‘splash’ wasn’t what he hoped to make

Beto O’Rourke hoped to make a huge impact on the 2020 presidential contest.

The former El Paso congressman had that spectacular run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, falling just a bit short of making history by becoming the first Democrat to win a statewide office in Texas since The Flood.

Then he decided to go for the bigger prize, parlaying the excitement he generated in Texas into a national craze.

It, um, the excitement didn’t translate.

Now he is known for perhaps the most spectacular presidential campaign collapse in recent memory. The one that seems to measure up to O’Rourke’s cratering occurred in 1972 when Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie seemingly cried in public in reaction to an unkind editorial in a New Hampshire newspaper.

O’Rourke now becomes a political footnote. He has saddened a lot of my Texas acquaintances and a few actual friends by declaring an end to his presidential bid.

O’Rourke forged a number of political alliances in the Texas Panhandle, a famously Republican-leaning region of Texas, during his Senate campaign. Many of his allies there hoped he could stampede to the front of the pack during a presidential run.

Well, he started at the front, but then faded as the rest of the large herd of candidates overtook him.

Look, to be honest I am among those who is disappointed Beto O’Rourke’s presidential candidacy failed to ignite. The field that remains is still full of considerable talent, along with a whack job or two, or maybe three.

They all have the same goal. They want to defeat Donald Trump in November 2020. So do I … want him defeated. If lightning strikes, hell freezes over and Earth spins off its axis Trump might be removed before then.

I do wish Beto O’Rourke would have been in that mix. He won’t.

Unless … the presidential nominee — who is not a white male — believes Beto O’Rourke can regain his wings as a VPOTUS nominee. It can’t happen? Here’s two words: Joe Biden.

Beto wipes out on wave he hoped would win the White House

Beto O’Rourke rode a huge wave to a near win in a 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Texas.

Then the former El Paso congressman decided he would ride that wave in search of a bigger prize: the White House.

Today, though, he called it quits. He is no longer running for president of the United States. Indeed, O’Rourke never quite caught the same wave that excited so many Democrats in Texas and for a time got ’em pumped up in many other parts of the country.

I’ll admit to being disappointed. I had hoped to cast my ballot for O’Rourke once the Democratic Party primary parade marched its way toward Texas. However, O’Rourke never quite ignited the same level of interest in his presidential campaign that he did while he challenged Sen. Ted Cruz a year ago.

Oh, I wanted him to win the Senate seat in the worst way. He campaigned in all of Texas’s 254 counties. He took his message to progressive bastions such as Travis, Dallas and Bexar counties as well as conservative strongholds in the Panhandle, the Permian Basin and Deep East Texas.

O’Rourke finished Election Night 2018 less than 3 percent short of victory. In Texas, that constituted some sort of “moral victory” for Democrats who have lusted for a statewide election victory for more than two decades.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as O’Rourke sought his party’s presidential nomination.

There might be another elected office in O’Rourke’s future. Just not this next year.

Nice try, Beto. Many of us still want to see you stay in the game, even if you’re no longer a candidate for public office.

Rep. Cain: You’re the reason for stricter laws

Where I come from, when someone threatens another person by saying they have a deadly weapon ready for them, the person to whom he or she is speaking can take that as a direct threat to their health and safety.

So, on Thursday night when former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said “hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, ” he received a Twitter-borne threat from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain, who said “My AR is ready for you, Robert Francis.”

Is that a direct threat to the Democratic presidential candidate from a Republican Texas state lawmaker? Yep. I believe it is.

Is that also a clear demonstration of what O’Rourke is trying to say about enacting stricter gun laws to keep these kinds of weapons out of the hands of crazy people? Yes, sir! I believe that’s the case as well.

I am not going to say that state Rep. Cain is “crazy.” I am saying that he needs to be very careful about the threats he levels against a candidate for the presidency.

The FBI takes quite a dim view of people popping off carelessly while threatening physical harm to individuals running for public office.

Beto feels the heat from those who want him to drop out

Beto O’Rourke is getting a lot of unsolicited advice these days.

Such as what came from the Houston Chronicle over the weekend. The Chronicle, which endorsed his candidacy for the U.S. Senate over Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, has urged O’Rourke to drop out of the Democratic race for president and to run for the Senate seat now occupied by GOP incumbent John Cornyn.

Read the editorial here.

O’Rourke is polling in the single digits. He was thought to be a strong favorite in Texas among the still-large field of Democratic primary candidates for POTUS; he isn’t polling all that strongly in his home state.

So, should O’Rourke bail on the race for the White House? I’ll offer this view.

He lost by a thin margin against Cruz in 2018, filling Texas Democrats’ hearts with hope that the state might actually elect a Democrat to statewide office for the first time in more than two decades. Cruz has parlayed his near-miss into a presidential campaign that started with a lot of buzz, but which has floundered.

Does he shuck that bid and take on Cornyn? Well, he would need some assurance that he could actually win the Senate seat Cornyn has occupied since 2003.

Were the former El Paso congressman lose a second consecutive U.S. Senate race, I believe that might doom any statewide office aspirations that O’Rourke might harbor.

Two straight losses would be tough to overcome.

I have no advice to give the young man. He’s getting a lot of it from people who are more in the know than little ol’ me. I am just concerned that the magic that Beto found in his first run for the U.S. Senate might be a bit more elusive to find were he to make another run for another Senate seat.

Good luck, Beto. Do what you think is best.

Should the POTUS visit El Paso?

Donald J. Trump is set to fly to El Paso, Texas, later this week in the wake of the massacre of 22 victims at the Wal-Mart shopping center.

The alleged shooter reportedly hates Mexican immigrants. He was prodded to act reportedly by rhetoric uttered by — that’s right — the very same Donald J. Trump.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said today that the president should stay away. So has O’Rourke’s successor in the U.S. House district he represented for six years in Washington, Veronica Escobar, another Democrat. They both say the president isn’t welcome in their city.

“He’s helped to create what we saw in El Paso on Saturday,” O’Rourke told the El Paso Times. “He’s helped to produce the suffering that we are experiencing right now. This community needs to heal.”

Oh, boy. I happen to believe the president should go to El Paso; he also plans to visit Dayton, Ohio, which erupted in gun violence hours after El Paso suffered its grievous wounds. And, yes, he faces the prospect of getting an unfriendly welcome from angry El Paso residents.

Donald Trump is facing the most serious quandary perhaps of his presidency. What in the world does he say when he visits with victims? Is he capable of holding himself accountable for the actions of a lunatic who drove 660-plus miles from the Metroplex to inflict such damage?

If lightning strikes and hell freezes over, perhaps there’s a chance he’ll do what he needs to do, which is take responsibility for fueling the anger that erupted at the Wal-Mart in El Paso.

I am not going to bet the farm on it.