The winds of swoonery blasted through Texas this year and traveled halfway across the country to dust the Eastern media establishment with love eternal for senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke. Not since the press corps fell in love with Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign has such a sirocco of worshipful candidate profiles and commentaries appeared in the national press.
“Is Beto O’Rourke the Left’s Obama-like Answer to Trump in 2020?” asked Vanity Fair. “Beto O’Rourke Could Be the Democrat Texas Has Been Waiting For,” offered BuzzFeed. Still more positive Beto coverage sprinkled the pages of Yahoo News, Time, GQ, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, the New York Times, Politico and Esquire as they worked off the same template. The Washington Post indulged Betomania with a feature, another feature, a column and the sort of ancillary coverage it ordinarily gives the Washington Redskins.
The media’s adoration for the three-term House member from El Paso knows a simple origin. He’s lauded and cuddled by reporters for the simple reason that he’s not Ted Cruz, the Skeletor of American politics. Former Senator Al Franken captured the cross-party feelings for Cruz in a recent book, in which he wrote: “I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.” A “jackass,” former Speaker of the House John Boehner once called him. A “wacko bird,” said Sen. John McCain. “Ted’s a nasty guy,” said Donald Trump, who knows everything about being nasty. “That’s why nobody likes him.”