There’s plenty of material to mine on Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, darling of the thigh-sweat left. The man has accomplished little other than serving three terms in Congress representing the overwhelmingly and historically blue Texas’ 16th District, a position he won after serving six years on the El Paso City Council.
Then he took on Sen. Ted Cruz last year, and came nearly within 200,000 votes (2.6%) of beating him. The Democrats took that as a victory. But it’s a loss, like Stacey Abrams was also a loss. O’Rourke is a typical Democrat, and in fact not as far left as the current crop of socialists and Millennial airheads inhabiting Congress.
In the end, O’Rourke is another political cipher who ought to blow away quickly on the Democratic winnowing floor.
The GOP, President Trump and the right has had lots of fun mocking O’Rourke, over his nickname, his band, his skater creds, fast food habits, air drumming, and his hand movements. However, there’s a danger in going overboard with this.
The most recent mocking was a crushingly mean (and funny) St. Patrick’s Day tweet by the RNC.
The danger is two-fold. First, remember all the mocking of one Donald J. Trump, who descended his gilded escalator in the glass and steel lobby of Trump Tower in 2015. Many in the GOP and the left believed Trump was a sideshow, a circus, an impossible pretender. And Trump defied them all and won.
Second, remember that the left loves a victim. Beto’s cultlike supporters are fine with the mocking, because the highest form of social courage is to be victimized and to wear your emo on your sleeve.
Beto is the typical wanna-be-a-cool-kid-but-isn’t-quite-there. He’s the living political equivalent of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” That makes him relatable to Gen-X and Millennial voters, who lean left in general, but not necessarily so far left as AOC or Bernie.
It’s not hard for O’Rourke’s core supporters to deflect criticisms about his teenage dark fiction, drinking, and driving incidents as his youthful passages to learning life. Continuing to mock these things may be handing them more ammunition with which to fight real objections.
Of course, it’s really early. But remember, the left made a critical error in trying to game the system with Trump–they gave him lots of free exposure when his name recognition as a celebrity was almost unmatched. All his faults were baked in to his brand, and therefore the left’s efforts did very little (and continue to do very little) to dent Trump’s core support.
We don’t want to focus so much on O’Rourke that his name gains strength. There’s plenty of Joe Biden (if he runs), Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and the rest of the bloated Democratic field to deal with. Gaming the system has drawbacks, and over-mocking Beto, while fun, is fraught with some danger.