The more folks get a good look at Beto O’Rourke, the more they realize there’s nothing to see.
To Kerouac and Back
Earlier this year, soon after his come-from-ahead loss to Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate election, Beto O’Rourke embarked on a solitary road trip across several states. Recording On The Road style deepities in an online journal, O’Rourke sought to find his true self. Actually, it’s a journey he’s been on his entire life. But Beto could’ve spared his car the mileage, because there is no real Beto to be found.
The Gush, The Rush, and The Bust
If you are situated anywhere left-of-center, at some point in 2018 you likely had some progressive approach you and in a gushing half-whisper ask ‘have you heard of Bayyhh-Toe?’ Or more tellingly, ‘have you heard Bayyhh-Toe?’, meaning one of his ‘inspiring’ speeches. For Beto O’Rourke’s particular style of demagoguery resonates with a certain cadre of Democratic activists, always on the lookout for the next Robert F. Kennedy/Jesus of Nazareth to ‘transform’ the Party and America.
So when the formerly obscure three-term congressman from El Paso (TX-16) snagged the Dem nomination to run against incumbent US Senator and nosferatu, Ted Cruz, the donations came pouring in from out of state — helping O’Rourke amass, at $80 million, the biggest war chest ever for a senate race. The left-leaning MSM played its part, showering O’Rourke with copious, fawning coverage. The spotlight and the cash had an immediate effect, as early polls placed O’Rourke 9 points in the lead. Dems squeed at the prospect of turning Texas blue and sending Cruz back to his crypt in Transylvania.
Then a funny thing happened. The more folks got a good look at Beto, the more they realized there was nothing to see. O’Rourke’s polling numbers began to steadily sink. The old political adage on the ability to consistently fool people was bearing true.
About that speaking style of his. It did charm the whisper-gushers, but whisper-gushers are suckers for cheap tricks of rhetoric. They fell for Tony Blair (okay we all did briefly), fell for ‘Ohh-Bahhh-Mahhh’, and are falling right now for Pete Buttigieg’s Sunday sermon and Lizzie Warren’s manic high. To this jaundiced ear, however, Beto’s public speaking is rife with ‘I’m a complete fake and I know it’ red flags. For starters, he never looks anyone in the eye. Up close, he stares past his interlocutors — he can’t even look a hand puppet in the rubber face.
From the podium, he gazes at a spot on the floor about four feet away. Throughout each performance, a hand with thumb pressed to forefinger jabs continually at the air. Presumably this is done on the theory that, if you point often enough, people will assume you have a point. Also trademark Beto is the metronome rhythm with pregnant pauses that last so long they could use cesareans. Are they designed to appear ex tempore? Because all these affectations do is make Beto appear like some 8th grader trying to recall his lines in the school play. Occasionally, Beto can get convincingly animated, even to the point of jumping up and down — but only when he’s talking about his totally awesome self.
As the 2018 senate campaign progressed, Beto’s once-lofty lead continued to fade, until he was behind just before election day, when Cruz defeated him by a narrow margin. Many theories were put forth by pundits, from voter suppression, to voter ennui, to the undead voting en bloc for one of their own. But the simplest explanation is that, when Texans were given an extended period to scrutinize Beto, they discovered there’s not a sincere molecule in his entire 6’5” beanpole of a body.
One part of O’Rourke’s failure on the big stage may be that, unlike your standard shape-shifter politician who consciously erects a false front, Beto is forever in search of his true identity. Pity he has none, for it leads him to don one false persona after another — often literally. Beto can most often be seen wearing dress slacks and an unbuttoned oxford. For Annie Leibovitz’ cover of Vanity Fair, though, Beto, now clad in jeans, posed between a pickup (or is that a Honda?) and a big black dog, Texas dirt road and Texas brush behind him. For GQ, a baggy baseball uniform draping his pencil-thin frame made him look about eight-years old. At one point in his early days, he wore a dress.
Because ‘Beto’ is the Spanish diminutive for names ending in ‘-berto’, Robert Francis O’Rourke has been accused of falsely suggesting mixed Irish and Mexican heritage, like Anthony Quinn, which would be cool, like Anthony Quinn. But Beto is all gringo, the nickname bestowed upon him at an early age by daddy. Nevertheless, O’Rourke oftentimes acts as if he were latinx. Facing his first debate question, Beto chose to answer in (halting) Spanish, immediately either alienating or simply bemusing most of the 22 million viewers. During the second debate, in a stilted, rising tone intended to emulate human emotion, he boldly promised to grant blanket amnesty for all illegals on his first day in office. On the campaign trail, Beto more times than not can be seen posing with latinx, despite running for president of the entire nation, not reelection from TX-16. Recently, he even campaigned in Mexico. One wonders whether Beto is the Mexican Rachel Dolezal.
Above all, Beto wants to be seen as cool. Playing sandlot baseball (and whiffing a lot.) Live-streaming his haircut. Live-streaming his dentist’s appointment. In one particularly sad display, skateboarding in a Whataburger parking lot. (h/t Kara).
Of late, Beto’s cool-signaling includes dropping F-bombs on CNN. Though he’s running for President of the United States, maybe all Beto really wants is to be liked by the other kids. Just how was a creature like this formed?
I Was Born a Rich White Child
Beto was born into a wealthy family, to an influential local judge father and a businesswoman mother. Though given a Spanish nickname to blend into heavily latinx El Paso, young Beto first attended Montessori, then was shipped off to prep school, where youth born with silver spoons in their mouths are taught How Succeed In Life Without Really Trying.
As a teen, Beto engaged your typical teenager stuff: international computer hacking, plotting an anarchist overthrow of the government, writing a gruesome story about a teenager intentionally running over a mother and her children, burglary, causing a car crash while DUI, the last two crimes swept under the rug allegedly thanks to daddy’s influence.
Beto studied English Literature at Columbia, where he was described as “curious, wry, bookish but adventurous”, and made a point of always being seen with a novel in his pocket, “whether Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or The Sun Also Rises”. Or perhaps also James Joyce’s Ulysses, a novel for which O’Rourke’s first son is named, and a favorite of poseurs seeking to appear intellectual.
It was at college where he discovered his true calling was music, playing in crappy punk bands — first guitar, then drums, then bass, until he realized he was a crappy musician no matter which band or what instrument. After graduating, Beto accepted a position in NYC as an Aimless Slacker. Realizing that nannying and dog walking were neither his true calling nor enough to pay the bills, Beto returned to El Paso and the comfort of his parents’ gentle wing. Drawing on his experience as a hacker, Beto briefly worked for mommy’s furniture company doing spreadsheets and shit. Realizing his true calling was entrepreneurship/community service, he used daddy’s money to found a software development firm, Stanton Street Technology Group, that hired lots of underprivileged local latinx. Stanton Street’s first client was mommy’s furniture company.
“I’m Just Born to Be In It”
When clients beyond mommy’s furniture store failed to appear, Beto had an epiphany — his software development company was actually an alternative weekly tabloid. So he published & edited Stanton Street: The Newspaper for a while, before realizing
nobody wanted to read his lame rag his true calling was politics. He started volunteering for local Dem candidates, until, after each of them lost, decided to run for office himself. He set his sights on a city council seat. Running on a platform of legalizing pot and lots of free stuff for illegal immigrants, he won.
Inspired by plenty of local media coverage and frequent observations of his physical resemblance to RFK, Beto, running on a platform of legalizing pot and lots of free stuff for illegal immigrants, successfully stood for US Congress. Once in Washington, he joined the term-limits caucus, as not sticking for very long in any one job is a concept dear to Beto’s heart.
Senate Or Bust
Inspired by plenty of regional media coverage and frequent observations of his physical resemblance to RFK, and having accomplished everything humanly possible in three terms in the House, in 2018, Beto set his sights on unseating Ted Cruz, the most despised man on Earth.
Running this time on a platform of peace, love & understanding and lots of free stuff for everyone, Beto’s campaign garnered national attention. As mentioned, convoys of trucks loaded with cash donations were driven to Texas from Marin, Hollywood, Hyde Park, and the Upper West Side. Scores of endorsements followed from celebrities eager to drive a stake into Cruz, including Willie Nelson, Beyonce, Eva Longoria, LeBron James, Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Abraham Van Helsing.
Drawing on his experience in crappy punk bands, O’Rourke eschewed the advice of seasoned professional pollsters or consultants, relying instead on raw volunteers with no prior campaign experience. Inexplicably, he lost.
Despite gamely putting a positive spin to his concession speech, O’Rourke was clearly shaken to the core to discover that not everyone loved Beto as much as Beto did. Wife Amy, billionaire heiress and ever-cheery savior of poor Guatemalan children, recognized that Beto, ‘more prone to higher highs and lower lows [than she], was in a “funk.”’ The only remedy was to embark on a months-long solo journey down Route 66.
“Maybe if I get moving, on the road, meet people, learn about what’s going on where they live, have some adventure, go where I don’t know and I’m not known, it’ll clear my head, reset, I’ll think new thoughts, break out of the loops I’ve been stuck in.”— from Beto’s journal
On his Hero’s Quest, Beto delved deep into his soul and the profundities of existence. He stayed in ordinary motels, ate ordinary blackberry cobbler, chatted with ordinary waitresses. He gazed at the leaden sky, gazed at the snow on the ground, read lots of Joseph Campbell. In New Mexico, Beto ate magic dirt reputed to have regenerative powers, bagging up some extra dirt to bring home for the wife and kids to eat. (I’m not making any of this up.)
The road trip, and no doubt the magic dirt, had the desired effect. Beto hadn’t uncovered his next true calling yet, but he was out of his funk — and most importantly, jogging again. One thing was clear, though: as previously pledged, Beto would not run for president in 2020.
POTUS Or Bust
But heck, once you’ve blown a senate race in spectacular fashion, what challenges remain? So, after talking it over with Amy and the kids, Beto realized his true calling was to serve as President of the United State of America. Barely able to contain his enthusiasm — or avoid Freudian slips — he described his candidacy as
“the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”
In his announcement (perhaps recalling the ordinary folks on Route 66,) O’Rourke placed special emphasis on the need to expand internet access to rural areas, because lonely farmers “can’t go on Tinder to find that special date tonight.”
And the MSM fawned, and the whisper-gushers whisper-gushed, and a convey of trucks loaded with $3.9 million in donations drove to Texas. And then the pattern repeated. Beto’s support in polls, initially in double digits, stagnated. Following his first debate performance, roundly deemed a fiasco, those numbers started to sink. Unable to distinguish himself from the other 19 progressives in the field, in the second debate Beto recast himself: he was now The One Who Can Deliver Texas’ 38 Electoral Votes™. Which makes total sense, considering how he trounced … wait, never mind.
And still his polling numbers sank. Desperately seeking some way to jump-start his campaign, regain the adoration of Ellen, LeBron, & CNN, and claw his way back ahead of Andrew Yang, Beto received a wonderful gift from Dame Fortune — or so he thought.
The Mask Slips
That ‘gift’ was a mass shooting of latinx by a white racist in his own home town of El Paso. Rushing back from the campaign trail, Beto went before the media to announce his reincarnation as The Ender of White Nationalism and Buy-Backer of All Assault Rifles™. And it just might have worked, had he been able to conceal his glee. But he could not. For Beto smiled and laughed on national television about the senseless murder of 20 people.
And it went viral.
It’s here that Beto’s White House aspirations end. Oh, he still has one last at-bat in the third debate, but will likely whiff on three pitches just like in sandlot. And, while his lust for attention might never dry up, the donations will and that’ll be that. The Houston Chronicle has already called for him to drop out.
It must be tough, being a narcissist yet unsure of yourself. Even O’Rourke’s old girlfriend found him difficult to know. “That’s kind of the mystique of Beto, is that he seems to be accessible, but there’s just this layer of protection. I don’t think it’s because he’s hiding anything. I think it’s because he’s keeping a part of it to himself,” she told Vanity Fair. I believe she’s wrong. Beto is hiding something; namely that, under that layer of protection, lies nothing.
What does the future hold for Beto O’Rourke? Now that the wax wings of his political career have melted, yet another personal reinvention is in order. I predict a brief ‘funk’, a morale-boosting appearance on The View, then wielding his touted “Beto Effect” by campaigning for down-ticket candidates, giving inspiring speeches before select audiences of whisper-gusher donors. Before long, there’ll be a deepity-laden memoir, accompanied by a PR tour and another appearance on The View. And finally, a high-priced, new-age Beto Effect™ Spa Retreat & Personal Reflection Center, overseen by Beto himself, barefoot and in loose-fitting white garments, quoting from The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Magic dirt available for an additional charge.
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