Count Lawrence O’Donnell among the unconvinced by Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s self-professed determination to eschew the Senate race in Texas. On his MSNBC show last night, he asked O’Rourke, “Do you have December 9th marked in your calendar?” That is the deadline for filing to run against John Cornyn in next year’s election.
O’Rourke laughed and insisted that he will not drop out of the presidential race and will not run for the Senate “in any scenario”:
In an interview tonight on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) told host Lawrence O’Donnell he will not be running for the Senate: “Let me make your show the place where I tell you and the country I will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate. I’m running for president. I’m running for this country. I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump and that is what I am exclusively focused on doing right now.”
He added: “I’m running for president and I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump in large part because my community has bore the brunt of the consequences of Donald Trump. His open racism, his invitation to violence, the white terrorism that he’s inspired that came to my community, drove 600 miles to my community and killed 22 of our fellow El Pasoans, inspired in large part by this president.”
If this sounds familiar from O’Rourke, it should. As Politico points out, O’Rourke made the same claim last year about not running for another office. Remember this?
"I will not be a candidate for president in 2020,” Beto O'Rourke tells @GarrettHaake.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 5, 2018
It was less than two years ago that O’Rourke promised Texans that he was committed to the Senate. That promise didn’t last out the month, by the way. By Thanksgiving, Beto was suddenly open to running for the top job.
The “I’m doing it for El Paso” schtick doesn’t really fly, either. Beto’s been either toying with a presidential run or committed to it for almost two years now. The shooting in El Paso may have provided him a chance to recast his candidacy, but it’s also the third time in the last five months he’s needed to do so.
Neither does Beto’s rationalization for not directing his considerable resources to a more winnable race. O’Rourke claims that the seven people in the race to challenge Cornyn are all capable of beating him in 2020. Perhaps, but none of them got tens of millions of dollars in 2018 from fellow Democrats across the country as an investment in their brands, like Beto did. Rather than look for the best opportunity to make that investment pay off, O’Rourke is squandering it on a facile and ego-stroking campaign that’s rapidly dissipating the brand in which they invested.
Big egos are nothing new in politics, of course, but rarely has so little accomplishment accompanied one. When it becomes clear that O’Rourke is heading toward political oblivion, bet your bottom dollar that he’ll change his mind again — and that date will come well ahead of December 9th.