Beto O'Rourke

Beto Offers Democrats a Blend of Old and New

In New Hampshire, some voters say they are ready for a fresh face.

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The conclusion of Robert Mueller's investigation means that if the Democrats are going to defeat President Trump, they'll have to do it not in court with a prosecutor, but in an election, with a politician.

The process of choosing a nominee is getting under way already in the Granite State, where a former congressman from Texas, Beto O'Rourke, recently made his first campaign visit as a presidential candidate.

O'Rourke, 46, is a generation younger than Senator Bernie Sanders, Vice President Biden, or Trump himself.

But despite his youth and his informal appearance—Banana Republic khakis, shirt open at the collar, driving himself around the state in a minivan—O'Rourke's speaking style is oddly old-fashioned and formal. He talks about "the opportunities to which we aspire." He eschews contractions. "I do not care if you are a Republican or Democrat," he says a lot, but never "I don't care." He does, though, frequently sprinkle in the Spanish: "no me importa."

Sometimes it seems as if it's not only O'Rourke's speaking style that's stuck in the past but also the policy substance. At a campaign stop in Manchester, a single parent facing foreclosure asks him a question about affordable housing. O'Rourke replies by talking about a $15 an hour federal minimum wage and about selecting a secretary of housing and urban development who emphasizes civil rights enforcement. The candidate makes no mention of market-based mechanisms for increasing housing supply, such as easing zoning laws that limit density.

In Laconia, O'Rourke sees a voter with a Dischord Records sweatshirt and lights up in talking about how punk rock "freed rock and roll from corporate dominance." He says there's an analogy to today's American politics, which he says need rebalancing toward the grassroots and away from "the few, the wealthy, the protected."

One area where O'Rourke does talk about a positive role for "capitalism" and "innovation" and "market forces" is in combating climate change, which he warns "will cook us to death" if we don't move away from fossil fuels. He notes, accurately, that the federal Department of Labor says that the two fastest growing occupations in America are solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians. For electric transmission lines enabling Texas's wind-power boom, O'Rourke credits a Lone Star State governor named George W. Bush.

Perhaps the sharpest contrast O'Rourke offers against Trump is on immigration. Trump's tone on the issue has varied, but the president frequently emphasizes the threat posed by illegal immigration, paying less attention to the opportunities immigration offers for economic growth. O'Rourke stresses the positives of immigration. He describes himself as coming from the "largest binational community in the Western Hemisphere," by which he means El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. He says the two places are "joined, not separated, by the Rio Grande river and the international boundary line," and he recalls that he took the woman who is now his wife to Ciudad Juárez on their first blind date. Their three children, he says, now attend a dual-language public school where "they are learning math in Spanish."

"Our immigration laws need to be rewritten…in our own image, from our own values," O'Rourke says, calling for an increase in the numbers of visas issued to immigrants. He calls America "a country of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees," supports giving illegal immigrants driver's licenses, and supports legislation to bestow U.S. citizenship on those who entered the U.S. illegally as children.

This candidacy may seem like a long shot given that O'Rourke has never won a statewide election, let along a national one, or even run any enterprise larger than his own congressional office. But he drew overflow crowds in Portsmouth, Manchester, and Laconia, and his online fundraising has been impressive.

Some voters in the home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary say they are ready for a fresh face. John Haslam, 64, a self-employed carpenter from Exeter, N.H., and an independent voter who said he cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in 2016, told me as we waited for O'Rourke to arrive in Portsmouth that he had already ruled out Biden, Sanders, or Senator Elizabeth Warren: "I'm done with people our age," he said.

Other voters are mentioning O'Rourke in the same breath as top tier candidates with more experience as candidates and as officeholders. Jordan Shefferman, 18, a freshman sociology major at the University of New Hampshire, will be voting in her first presidential election. O'Rourke is on her short list, she said after seeing him campaign in Portsmouth: "I'm deciding between him and Bernie."

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of JFK, Conservative.

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120 responses to “Beto Offers Democrats a Blend of Old and New

  1. Speaks like Obama and drives like a Kennedy. What is there not to love if you are a Democrat?

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    1. “It’s storybook, man,” Biden commented.

    2. Good one, John!

      That line should be used in a political ad.

    3. Do you think he get shitfaced on Saint Paddy’s day and engages in brawls?

  2. If elected America would have it’s first “female man” President.

    1. He is an American Trudeau who makes up for it by also being a criminal.

      1. Trudeau’s corruption scandal might make that small distinction go away as well.

        1. Yeah it looks like Trudeau is the bigger criminal.

          1. Hey, don’t be so quick to judge. Give Beto a chance. He has never been the head of a major western democracy. He has never had the opportunity to be a criminal in the big leagues the way Trudeau has.

  3. pajama-boy should be embarrassed when he skates across a stage like a dad but he thinks he’s cool wtf

  4. Beto Offers Democrats a Blend of Old and New

    Like a kale/bourbon smoothie?

    1. Old shit, new package.

    2. bad and unworkable ideas from across the span of time all in one stupid wrapper…it’s a generational or intersectional thing or something like that…

  5. Despite the pretensions of being an outsider who can unite people, this chowderhead is such an obvious establishment candidate it’s not even funny. There’s no way the MSM would be pimping him this hard if they thought he was a threat to their status.

    Like I’ve said before, he’s the political equivalent of the “blowjob” pretty-boy wrestling teams from the 80s that were pushed to get women into the arenas, except those guys had actual talent at something other than being the Manic Pixie Dream Candidate.

    1. Deadbeat son of a judge who married the daughter of a billionaire. I don’t begrudge others their good fortune. I do, however, begrudge people with such good fortune who have the nerve to think they have somehow earned the right to be where they are.

      1. Deadbeat son of a judge who married the daughter of a billionaire.

        That Vanity Fair puffpiece actually provides great insight into how closely he’s followed in his daddy’s footsteps. Like his dad, he basically accomplished nothing of value as a youth, married into money, and then spent most of his time getting involved in politics because he didn’t have to have a real job to take care of his family.

      2. There’s nothing there, nature abhors a vacuum and the slightest pinprick and he’ll implode.

        1. “…abhors a vacuum…” so you’re saying he sucks?

        2. “…abhors a vacuum…” so you’re saying he sucks?

        3. “…abhors a vacuum…” so you’re saying he sucks?

    2. Manic Pixie Dream Candidate

      That is absolutely perfect as a description of him.

  6. O’Rourke replies by talking about a $15 an hour federal minimum wage

    OK, so he isn’t perfect by Koch / Reason libertarian standards. His enthusiasm for immigration more than makes up for his incorrect position on the minimum wage though.

    #LibertariansForBeto
    #OpenBorders

  7. He’s trying really hard to be Obama, and Ira Stoll is trying really hard to make him appeal to us.

    1. >>>Ira Stoll is trying really hard to make him appeal to us

      did feel fawning. hope it’s the last time.

      1. I am sure someone on the Reason staff has always wanted to vote for a douche bag Gen Xer.

        1. You know Welch wants to vote for him so badly. Everytime he talks about him he makes it sound like he is a blue dog democrat that has actual positions on the deficit. He’s a vacuous empty suit that spits out empty phrases that you can attribute anything you want to. It’s like he was built in test tube by the corporate media.

          1. If Reason starts pushing this bozo I’m cancelling my subscription.

            It was all I could take when some of them were drooling over Obama way back before he became a plague on this nation.

        2. Nick, I’m sure, has stained his jacket over Beto.

  8. He does, though, frequently sprinkle in the Spanish: “no me importa.”

    Which can be taken as, roughly: “I am not an immigrant.”

  9. Ok, wait a sec… I’ve seen like seven photos of Beto over the last week and in 100% of them he’s standing on a diner or restaurant counter. What’s with that?

    1. I do like that man-of-the-people, Howard Dean sleeves rolled up aesthetic though.

    2. coyote ugly tryouts

    3. It is his schtick.

    4. He’s the Blue Plate special.

  10. In Laconia, O’Rourke sees a voter with a Dischord Records sweatshirt and lights up in talking about how punk rock “freed rock and roll from corporate dominance.”

    Fuck punk. Ever heard of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal? Iron Maiden didn’t exactly get corporate radio play.

    1. No, the internet did that, as it did with all the old gatekeepers of old who are now totally disposable and dispensable.
      And punk rock is crap music.

      1. Society has changed. The punk ethos of not selling out doesn’t exist and punk rock is considered oldie music now.

        When mainstream culture was super cheezy, punk was relevant.

        1. >>>punk rock is considered oldie music now.

          I still listen every day … Misfits on right now … fwiw I leave Maiden on too when they’re up

      2. “And punk rock is crap music.”

        How do they all have the same voice?
        I never got that.
        It’s dumb.
        And it’s annoying.

    2. We caught Iron Maiden’s 2017 gig here in St. Paul. I never was a fan of them.

      That concert fuckin’ rocked. The local hipster music critics even listed it as one of the best concerts of the year.

      1. I saw them that year here in KC. Bruce Dickinson still running around the stage like he is 24.

        1. That’s what he did at the St. Paul gig and it was a LONG set with minimal banter in-between songs!
          The packed crowd was going wild.

    3. motorhead.

      1. Fuck yeah!

    4. Number of the Beast turns thirty seven this year, I believe.

  11. O’Rourke’s speaking style is oddly old-fashioned and formal. He talks about “the opportunities to which we aspire.” He eschews contractions. “I do not care if you are a Republican or Democrat,” he says a lot, but never “I don’t care.”

    Not many politicians will admit liking Damon Runyon.

    1. He might be more interesting as a Soong android.

    2. Maybe he is just a devote of Dr. Seuss.

    3. Liars eschew contractions.

  12. This candidacy may seem like a long shot given that O’Rourke has never won a statewide election, let along a national one, or even run any enterprise larger than his own congressional office. But he drew overflow crowds in Portsmouth, Manchester, and Laconia, and his online fundraising has been impressive.

    If you insist on Anybody But Trump, and can’t abide the socialist brats and their ludicrous Green New Deal, what the hell, he at least seems more adultish, why not listen?

    1. Except that he supports the Green New Deal.

      http://www.buzzfeednews.com/ar…..al-el-paso

      1. I’m guessing he supports A green new deal, not necessarily THE green new deal as written by AOC and her pack of semi-retarded tweens in her office.

        1. And that makes it better how?

          1. Well, if you’re opposed to the government doing anything at all about climate, then it’s not.

            But if you’re in favor of the government doing something, but not something so audacious as AOC’s plan, then it matters.

            1. Except that he supports the AOC new deal. Read the fucking article for once.

              Former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke, who is mulling over a presidential bid, said Monday evening in El Paso that he is “excited” by the Green New Deal.

              Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, a group of Democrats unveiled the Green New Deal, a broad roadmap to tackling climate change, last week; earlier this year, before the release, O’Rourke had praised the concept of a Green New Deal, as some national Democrats have.

              “I’m really excited about the leadership there to meet our commitment to the generations that follow. It is the best proposal that I’ve seen to ensure that this planet does not warm another two degrees celsius, after which we may lose the ability to live in places like El Paso,” O’Rourke told BuzzFeed News.

              “It’s going to take that kind of effort to ensure that we meet our commitments.”

              1. Well shit, he is that retarded. Ok then.

              2. Hadn’t known that, thought he had actually said something less than supportive. But his position is evolving, I guess.

              3. Eh, that statement is vague enough that he can plausibly find a way to avoid endorsing the specifics of AOC’s plan.

                1. “”This is the final chance,” O’Rourke continued. “The scientists are unanimous on this. We have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis. My gratitude is to them for the young people who stepped up to offer such a bold proposal to meet such a grave challenge. They say we should do nothing less than marshal every resource in the country to meet that challenge, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to get to net zero emissions”

            2. no *something* to be done about the climate other than enjoy it.

          2. And that makes it better how?

            Only in that it’s sufficiently non-specific. It’s like saying “I’m for tax fairness!”.

      2. Given the current state of the democratic party, it’s impossible to envision a candidate who doesn’t pay lip service to the green new deal.

        My ideal democratic candidate would say that the GND, in its current state, is a dream, not a plan. It’s important to have dreams. We need to strive for an environmentally healthy earth where future generations can thrive. We need to strive for a world where everyone has a realistic opportunity for a good life. To that extent I wholeheartedly support the dream of the GND. However, there are a whole lot of details that need to be fleshed out before the GND can be called a plan. There are smart ways and stupid ways to go about pursuing the dream, and I’m not in favor of the stupid ways. We need to get this right.

        1. Wow; you need to send that to Biden and ask for a job as his speech writer.

          [good luck with that]

  13. John Haslam, 64, a self-employed carpenter from Exeter, N.H., and an independent voter who said he cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in 2016,

    Independent. Riiiiiiight.

    1. Yeah. That caught my eye.

      “I’m independent. It’s just that Democrats are so fucking reasonable and Republicans ain’t.”

  14. I’ve been saying for some time that the democrats need to nominate a young, outsider candidate. At least Beto checks those boxes. Democrats being democrats, I can’t expect them to nominate a libertarian, but it would be nice to see them nominate a relatively antiwar candidate who at least acknowledges that fiscal constraints exist. With luck, we could even get a democratic nominee who’s immigrant friendly and for legalizing marijuana.

    As of right now, Booker and Beto are the democrats on my short list. Not that I’d vote for them or anything, but I’d take them over Kamala or Biden or Warren or Bernie.

    1. It is hard to imagine a worse candidate than Harris or Warren or Bernie.

      1. I swear, if the Libertarian Party doesn’t nominate someone half decent I’m gonna tick the Tr… box.

        1. Well, you could like, you know, not vote for any of them.

          1. If the world doesn’t cater to your ideals, just refuse to make a choice. Highly mature.

          2. I know.

            Voting for any Democrat is a complete no as I loathe and detest all Democrats as I think all decent Americans should.

            We’ll see…

      2. I think Bernie has a decent shot at winning. People seem to be thinking he’s just going to go away, but he raised the second most money, has a ground game from 2016, and consistently polls at above 20% in a race that will be incredibly crowded. Biden is a total retard whose never been able to raise any money and routinely stick his foot in his mouth at every turn. Harris is the NYT candidate who can’t go off script(kind of like hillary) and has baggage as a prosecutor. Bernie is the one who actually has a built in base and whatever you want to say for him is anti-establishment. The dems base loathes the establishment right now.

        1. I think you are right. And if he does win, it will allow Trump to run as the last defense against socialism. Outside of California, I am not sure there is a state that Trump wouldn’t win or at least be competetive in in such a race.

          1. I think if the economy is good you have to figure the establishment dems might stay out of Bernie’s way to because if he wins and than loses in a Goldwater type landslide they would have all the room they need to excommunicate the AOC and Bernie types from the party. Meanwhile it gives Kamala a good test drive and builds experience for 2024.

        2. If you vote for Bernie you’re basically voting to destroy this nation and trash the Constitution.

          1. In all honesty Bernie might be one of the better candidates. At least you know where he stands as he will honestly tell you the type of sacrifice it takes to build a socialist state.

            1. The sacrifice being you…

              1. The sacrifice will be Bernie when he gets what he wants and one of his minions puts one in his head and leverages the power against everybody else.

          2. Bernie is a hopeless economic illiterate, but at least he’s sincere in his principles. Socialist economics aside, he strikes me as a relatively decent human being. I’d rather have him than an unprincipled power-hungry establishment panderer like Kamala Harris.

            1. Really, you don’t think socialists are power hungry lunatics?

              “Power-hungry authoritarianism” underlies socialism, it’s baked in as a foundational principle.

              1. Yes, but Bernie would be nice about it. I believe he cares about the people he would screw over. Harris strikes me as being callous and vindictive as well as unprincipled. She’s Hillary 2.0.

                1. Harris is certainly evil and ruthlessly ambitious.
                  There’s a video on YouTube of a judge reading the riot act to someone representing her office when she was attorney general of CA over the blatant lies that were coming from her office. The judge ordered an accounting from her office within a certain time-frame or he would write a report and make it public.

                  Harris is evil and ruthless.

            2. The socialist with three homes is “sincere”?

            3. >>>but at least he’s sincere in his principles

              “Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one.”

        3. I do believe Bernie has a decent shot at the nomination. Biden doesn’t. I expect Biden to be the democratic version of 2016’s Jeb Bush.

          I expect Trump would win easily against Bernie, though. I don’t see the general public warming up to Bernie’s brand of socialism, and Trump has shown that the world didn’t end just because he became president.

          1. It didn’t just end, it got better, significantly better.

            Obama “achieved” the worst outcome a statesman could, he left this nation with it’s enemies stronger and it’s friends weaker.

            Trump has reversed this.

            1. My #1 issue is ending our wars (and not starting new ones). Trump has been reasonably good on this – certainly better than Hillary – but he’s far from perfect, and he could still throw it all away by starting a war with Iran.

              My #2 issue is balancing the budget. On this, Trump has been unequivocably terrible. As much as I like cutting taxes, it’s been proven that you can’t “starve the beast”. Spending *has* to be cut first.

              My ideal democratic candidate would be someone like 1992’s Bill Clinton, minus the womanizing. Clinton was a young outsider, rising from a candidate pool that the media derisively called the “seven dwarves”. Whatever you may think about him, he’s the most fiscally responsible president we’ve had since… Eisenhower? I expected him to explode the deficit, and was delighted that after eight years, he had proven me wrong on that count.

              It may be that only a democrat can balance the budget, for Nixon-to-China reasons.

              1. A governor of a small state.

                Mitch Daniels?

              2. Agree about the budget.

                You forgot his Supreme Court picks, probably Trump’s most significant contributions so far. Any picks Hillary would have made would have been a disaster.

                Also, he walked away from the Paris Agreement, a bigger economy destroyer you couldn’t imagine.

                He nixed the Iran Nuclear Deal, another of idiot Obama’s abominations.

                He drives Democrats into paroxysms of rage and the entertainment value of that can’t be overestimated.

                There’s other stuff as well I like.

              3. Bill Clinton was ready to inflict single payer on this country until the 1994 congressional revolt. If you’re going to wish for someone like Clinton you also need to wish for someone like Gingrich to keep him in his place.

          2. Biden is Jeb Bush if Jeb Bush had no campaign warchest.

          3. Do the dems still have super delegate control? Then don’t count Biden out. Super delegates were put in to make sure disaster like McGovern don’t happen again.

        4. The one thing you’re not considering is if the party actually wants him and I don’t think they do. He suffered from Libertarian Candidate Syndrome at the hands of his party last time. They’d do the same this time.

    2. Yeah right,

      Because increasing federal spending to 70% of GDP sounds EXACTLY like “acknowledges that fiscal constraints exist”.

      LOL

  15. I don’t know if it’s the skateboarding, the privileged sense of entitlement, the pretentious music takes, the vacuous meaningless platitudes, constant media fawning or the fact he’s never accomplished anything except marry well that I hate most about Beto. He is easily my least favorite presidential candidate in some time.

    1. Actually it may be the phomexican nickname that his dad called him in anticipation of getting the latin vote in future runs at public office. That actually might be it.

    2. Marrying up is the main thing I respect about him.

      1. #metoo. My comment was more a dig at the lack of other accomplishments.

    3. I think the thing that annoys me the most is he forced me to vote for Cruz. I didn’t want to vote for Cruz but I certainly didn’t want the ridiculous hypocrite that is Beto. I voted straight ticket Libertarian but felt compelled to adjust for Cruz since it seemed Beto had a chance.

      I hated all the money and support he raised by those that are outside of Texas because he was being touted as the one to get rid of those established rich white men. It was sheer hypocrisy when he was a rich white man running against a Hispanic Senator that had only served 1 term. A senator that had even sponsored a term limit bill.

      Beto’s entire accomplishment in Congress was changing the name on a federal building. I am utterly baffled by the level of love this man is getting.

    4. i think it’s the well thumbed paperback novel he carried around in his pocket to pick up chicks

  16. Half of Venezuela is now without power, a country with the largest oil reserves on the planet is half dark.
    Only socialism could “achieve” this outcome.

    Friedman was right, put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert and in five years there’d be a sand shortage.

    This is the nation Comrade Bernie was/is holding up as a paragon of socialism.

  17. The Texas power lines are in natural gas pipeline right of ways.

    Does Beto have any administrative experience? Who would actually serve as the executive in his administration?

    Are there no governors who can save us from these ninnies?

    1. “Who would actually serve as the executive in his administration?”

      The Lizard-nati, just like with every other administration.

  18. “The conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation means that if the Democrats are going to defeat President Trump, they’ll have to do it not in court with a prosecutor, but in an election, with a politician.”

    That’s not fair! Next you’ll say the Democrats will have to win the electoral college, and not just the popular vote.

  19. Someone named Paul Slansky wrote a book entitled The Clothes Have No Emperor – I haven’t read it, supposedly it was about the 80s or some such.

    But the phrase seems applicable enough where O’Dork is concerned. Another way of calling him an empty suit.

  20. He is articulate and seems cute and non-threatening enough, like one of the New Kids on the Block, but a complete phony. In other words-the perfect candidate. It if his biggest flame to bad assedness was skateboarding through a parking lot, he is seriously lacking. I mean, Obama at least had the choom gang. I bet Beto will go get a tattoo now to make up for that.

  21. liberal version of deep political analysis: “he seems cool. I’d have a beer with him. let’s elect him President!”

    Also works with “she seems cool. I’d let her pour me a beer. let’s elect her President! in 6 years when she’s old enough!”

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