Update: Putting this at the top. Beto is now saying he’s running.
— Leslie Rangel (@LeslieRangelTV) March 13, 2019
— Leslie Rangel (@LeslieRangelTV) March 13, 2019
Not seeing this confirmed by larger media outlets yet but this local station seems confident:
I guess the market for fawning Beto profiles won’t be exhausted until every left-leaning site has written at least one. Today, Vanity Fair unveiled its cover story contribution to the hype that never ends. It’s titled “Beto O’Rourke: ‘I’m just born to do this'”
Born to do what exactly? At the very end of the story you find out he’s definitely talking about running for office, but before you get there it’s nearly 9,000 words of Beto puffery like this:
Behind the door, in the O’Rourke living room, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf contains a section for rock memoirs (Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, a favorite) and a stack of LPs (the Clash, Nina Simone) but also a sizable collection of presidential biographies, including Robert Caro’s work on Lyndon B. Johnson. Arranged in historical order, the biographies suggest there’s been some reflection on the gravity of the presidency. But there’s also some political poetry to it, a sense that O’Rourke might be destined for this shelf. He has an aura. Most places he goes in El Paso, he’s dogged by cries of “Beto! Beto!” Oprah Winfrey, who helped anoint Barack Obama in 2008, practically begged him to run at an event in New York City at the beginning of February…
O’Rourke and his wife, Amy, an educator nine years his junior, both describe the moment they first witnessed the power of O’Rourke’s gift. It was in Houston, the third stop on O’Rourke’s two-year Senate campaign against Ted Cruz. “Every seat was taken, every wall, every space in the room was filled with probably a thousand people,” recalls Amy O’Rourke. “You could feel the floor moving almost. It was not totally clear that Beto was what everybody was looking for, but just like that people were so ready for something. So that was totally shocking. I mean, like, took-my-breath-away shocking.”
For O’Rourke, what followed was a near-mystical experience. “I don’t ever prepare a speech,” he says. “I don’t write out what I’m going to say. I remember driving to that, I was, like, ‘What do I say? Maybe I’ll just introduce myself. I’ll take questions.’ I got in there, and I don’t know if it’s a speech or not, but it felt amazing. Because every word was pulled out of me. Like, by some greater force, which was just the people there. Everything that I said, I was, like, watching myself, being like, How am I saying this stuff? Where is this coming from?
Was Obama every this visibly pleased with himself? Maybe I’ve just forgotten but this seems like a new level of self-approval. Speaking of Obama, Beto does admit his candidacy has a big potential problem:
O’Rourke is acutely aware, too, of perhaps his biggest vulnerability—being a white man in a Democratic Party yearning for a woman or a person of color, a Kamala Harris or a Cory Booker. “The government at all levels is overly represented by white men,” he says. “That’s part of the problem, and I’m a white man. So if I were to run, I think it’s just so important that those who would comprise my team looked like this country.
I will give Beto this though. He has good taste in music:
O’Rourke escaped into early computer chat rooms and made two close friends, Arlo Klahr and Mike Stevens. They drew comic books, read underground fanzines, wrote poetry, skateboarded, and, inspired by the Clash, took up guitar and went to local punk-rock shows. They became devotees of the Washington, D.C., record label Dischord, co-founded by Ian MacKaye, a punk firebrand who influenced a generation of disaffected suburban youth. “I have so much reverence for him and he means so much to me in my life,” O’Rourke says of MacKaye. “He really did represent this super-ethical way, not just of being in a band, or running a label, or putting on shows, but of just living.”
The band MacKaye fronted at the time was Minor Threat and they did write some pretty great punk songs (if you like that sort of thing). One of the things MacKaye was known for was his “straight-edge” approach which meant no drugs, no drinking and for some, no promiscuous sex. But that approach didn’t quite stick with Beto. Here’s how Vanity Fair describes his infamous drunk driving accident:
The police report describes O’Rourke driving at high speed and sideswiping a truck going in the same direction, then jumping the median into the oncoming lane at about two in the morning. According to a police witness, he tried to drive away from the scene of the accident. O’Rourke maintains that this isn’t true. I asked O’Rourke to describe the events of that night. He was at home listening to music that evening, he says, when his dad called and asked to meet for a drink at the Cincinnati Bar & Grill. The O’Rourkes drank a couple of Jameson whiskeys and afterward O’Rourke called up a college student in Las Cruces that he had dated once: “And I said, ‘Hey, I know this is really late, or late notice, but any chance you’re free tonight?’ and she was, but she says, ‘I don’t have a ride.’ So I said, ‘I’m happy to come pick you up.’”
He drove an hour to Las Cruces and then an hour back to El Paso to drink with an old high-school friend. O’Rourke was taking his date, named Michelle, back to Las Cruces when the accident happened.
It’s amazing that the same people who tried to make Judge Kavanaugh’s beer drinking a disqualification for the Supreme Court don’t seem to think Beto’s DUI or the fact he tried to leave the scene should impact his run for the White House.
Only a few paragraphs of this lengthy story are devoted to policy positions. That’s clearly not the focus of Beto’s appeal. But even as he praises Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for being fearless and says he likes her idea for higher marginal tax rates, he also says he’s definitely a capitalist:
As if to rebut the inevitable accusations that he’s a socialist, he proclaims himself a proud capitalist—among the few Democratic candidates, he points out, who have been small-business owners. “The ingenuity and innovation that you only find in America and in capitalist systems, the ability to harness the power of the market,” he says, “it’s hard to argue against pricing carbon and allowing the market to respond to that.”
That’s something I guess. Mostly it just seems like a reminder how far left the Democratic Party has moved in the past year that a) this is something that needs to be said, and b) this is something that stands out.
So it seems pretty clear Beto is running. Can he keep this level of hype going for 18 more months? I’m tempted to say no, but then he’s managed to keep it going this long despite losing his race for Senate. That aura he has seems to work especially well on left-leaning journalists.
Could this be his 2020 campaign theme? He could do a lot worse.
I’m a bored boy born in a rut
Some say my manners ain’t the best
Some of my friends have been in a whole lot of trouble
And some say I’m no better than the rest
But tell your mama and your papa
Sometimes good guys don’t wear white