So Beto O’Rourke held his “official” campaign launch rallies yesterday in his home state of Texas. I’ll confess up front that I didn’t manage to find time to watch the live coverage, so I had to catch the highlight reels. There wasn’t too much that came as a surprise, given that everyone already knew he was running. But we definitely witnessed something of a change of tone when compared to his midterm campaign.
Back when he was running to unseat Ted Cruz, O’Rourke appeared to walk a fairly careful line, sticking to a more moderate approach on some issues so as not to scare off the independents and right-leaning centrists he would need to win a statewide bid the Lonestar State. Now that he’s running for national office, all bets are off. Beto is free to be Beto and he was out there pounding away at some of the hottest liberal takes in the 2020 race. (Associated Press)
Despite such nods to bipartisanism, however, O’Rourke offered many positions Saturday that were liberal enough to make moderates nervous. He vowed to legalize marijuana nationally, defend abortion rights, sign new voting rights legislation to end partisan gerrymandering and allow same-day voter registration, institute federally financed, universal pre-kindergarten programs, strengthen unions and bring home all troops from the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He also renewed his support for a House proposal called “Medicare for America,” which he says will guarantee universal health care coverage while allowing people who like getting insurance through their employer to continue doing so.
Whoa. That’s quite the list to cram into a single speech in Austin. National pot legalization, motor voter, national “free” pre-K, empowering unions and, of course, abortions for all my friends. A platform like that likely would have seen him laughed out of the Texas Senate race, but now he has to battle a field of seriously socialist competitors, so I suppose this was to be expected. Of course, if he wants a good primer on how to shift your positions to the left rapidly, he might consider hiring Kirsten Gillibrand as a campaign consultant. And she might be available for the gig since she’s currently polling at around zero percent.
The one portion of his comments that really caught my attention, however, was when he talked about the beauty and wonder of the Mexican-American border. He’s used versions of this quote already, but he led off by saying, “We are safe, not despite the fact that we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers. We are safe because we are a city of immigrants and asylum seekers.”
This is the disingenuous doublespeak of Democrats when they try to sell open border theories to the public. It’s also completely dishonest. With the exception of the indigenous Native American tribes, everyone in America is descended from immigrants if you dig back far enough. And we’ve traditionally embraced those who follow legal paths to immigration or presented legitimate applications for asylum from dangerous homelands. Of course, that’s not where any of the current debate is focused.
The type of “immigration” we’re most worried about is the illegal variety. If O’Rourke is in favor of that he should come out and say so clearly. But more to the point, when it comes to people arriving in the thousands each day recently, seeking either legal immigration or asylum, our system is overwhelmed to the point of collapse. Beto wants to point to the group of immigrants that were temporarily held under an overpass near one immigration office as proof that the current administration is bigoted. But since he wants the top job himself, where is his solution to the migrant caravans overwhelming our enforcement capabilities on the border?
As with the rest of the Democratic candidates, O’Rourke has no plan. He offers no solutions. He simply wants to cast stones and score points. And that’s no way to fix what’s broken.