Washington Democrats and liberal media outlets have spent so much time on their “search and destroy” mission against Judge Brett Kavanaugh that they have barely been able to keep up with their love affair with Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas. O’Rourke’s race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has become the latest heartthrob and cause of the fashionable new left.
Think of O’Rourke as a wannabe variant of North Carolina’s John Edwards circa 1998. Like Edwards 20 years ago, O’Rourke is glib, hip and full of today’s most shallow platitudes. He is wrapped in a package of youth and modern liberalism. As is the case with a lot of Democratic candidates these days, O’Rourke needs to speak in banalities.
He is completely illiterate when it comes to talking about the economic environment - including relaxed regulatory burdens and a friendly tax system - that has made Texas a powerhouse for growth and jobs.
O’Rourke would rather stick with left-wing slogans than discuss specifics on the issues as his precise policy positions can be debilitating, particularly in Texas where he declared his opposition to Kavanaugh back in July and has a long history of supporting abortion across the board. But that doesn’t matter to the vapid, glossy-profile writers fawning over his candidacy. Just see what Esquire, Rolling Stone and Mother Jones - to name only a few - have to say about the Democrats’ new poster boy.
We saw this “next big Texas Democrat” story play out four years ago in Wendy Davis. Remember, Davis was the liberal pro-abortion crusader who many thought would seriously challenge Republican nominee Greg Abbott for the office of governor. She ultimately lost by an embarrassing 20 points. Not to be deterred, O’Rourke’s supporters swoon. No exaggeration is thought too much, including doe-eyed comparisons to John F. Kennedy. Vanity Fair went so far as to say O’Rourke is “the Kennedyesque Democrat trying to beat Ted Cruz.” There is even already speculation about whether O’Rourke will run for president in 2020. He doesn’t appear the slightest bit embarrassed by any of this.
Meanwhile, all the syrupy fawning over O’Rourke has caught the attention of fact checkers and Republican opposition researchers and we are beginning to see some findings pop up that might bring O’Rourke back down to Earth. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave O’Rourke four Pinocchios after he claimed he did not try to leave the scene of an accident he caused while driving under the influence.
And since it’s fair game these days, O’Rourke is guilty of having authored a publication that offered some unflattering remarks about female actresses and their physical appearances. Of course, he is apologizing and it is unlikely the media will pursue it. After all, he was only 19.
But it won’t be fact checkers or opposition research that dooms O’Rourke. It will be that he is wrong for Texas. Despite Democratic fantasies, the Lone Star State remains solidly Republican and pro-Trump country. Democrats and their media allies will do all they can to prop up O’Rourke, but they can’t do the impossible.
Reality-check: According to FiveThirtyEight, Cruz votes with President Donald Trump 90.9 percent of the time compared with O’Rourke’s 28.9 percent. And the National Federation of Independent Business says he votes 0 percent to support small businesses compared with Cruz’s 100 percent. No wonder FiveThirtyEight has Cruz as the heavy favorite. O’Rourke can run but he cannot hide.
Ed Rogers is a columnist with The Washington Post.