VFW Commander: Beto O'Rourke campaign wanted flags taken down

The campaign season is in full swing now that Labor Day has come and gone. Some of the campaigns are feeling the intensity more than others. A good example is the Senate race between incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his Democrat opponent Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

An odd controversy is swirling around involving a campaign rally for O’Rourke and the VFW post in Navasota, Texas. Navasota is a pleasant small town in the Hill Country of Texas with a population of about 7,500 people. I know of it because my son attended summer camp there. So, when I read the news of the VFW hall being rented out to O’Rourke’s campaign at the end of August and the Commander mentioning that not one but two different campaign staffers asked him to remove flags that hung on the wall, it all seemed odd.

The piece quotes Commander Carl Dry, who reacted to the request just exactly as you would expect him to do. He not only said no but he also attended the event himself to make sure everything went ok.

“I do not normally attend rental events, but I attended Saturday to make sure things ran smoothly,” said Dry, who noted there were only two requests he could not allow at the VFW Post. “They wanted to open the doors (to the Flight Deck Lounge) and I couldn’t allow that and they wanted to take the flags down, I didn’t only say no, I said hell no, you don’t take the flags off the wall. I can’t believe any American would ask us to do that and I don’t know why he wanted them down or what he was going to put up instead.”

Another article, one at Fox News.com went into a bit more detail. Hanging on the hall’s wall were both a Texas state flag and an American flag.

The commander of the post, Carl Dry, said he rents out the hall for lots of different events. But Dry said before the O’Rourke town hall, a young woman with the campaign asked take take down venue flags.

Dry explained there are two large flags hanging on the wall in the main hall, one for the United States and one for the state of Texas. There are also two standing flags on either side. Mr. Dry said after he told the young woman “no,” a young man then came up and asked the same question. This time he replied, “Not just no, but hell no.” He added, “I was a little hot they’d ask, especially at a VFW hall.”

Odd as this story is, I have no reason to doubt the word of the Commander. The O’Rourke campaign denies the allegation.

But Chris Evans, communications director with the O’Rourke campaign, said that simply didn’t occur. Evans told Fox News: “Our campaign absolutely did not request that any flags be removed or taken down from the walls. It is incorrect to say that we did.”

Evans added that the campaign has hosted dozens of town halls in VFW posts across the state, at which they “ensure that the flags are prominently and respectfully displayed.”

The timing of this is not great for O’Rourke. Deep in the heart of Texas, respect for the flags and national pride is a big deal. O’Rourke angered lots of voters recently by saying he’s ok with those who take a knee during the National Anthem. Beto said there is “nothing more American” and lefties everywhere rejoiced. He is the darling of the Hollywood two-percenters these days and they tweeted out their delight.

Asking for flags to be taken down from a display is a really bone-headed move on the campaign’s part. I believe, from personal experience, that campaign staffers are led by the example set by the candidate. A candidate’s staff wouldn’t embarrass a candidate, especially in Texas, over removing flags if Beto’s comments in their presence hadn’t indicated he’d want that done. I also cannot imagine any VFW post commander being comfortable with that request.

O’Rourke is being marketed as the second coming of JFK. He has caught the imagination of the left on both coasts who hope for a blue tidal wave in November. The man knows what to say to audiences by tailoring his speeches to them. He has, for example, come out both in favor of and against impeaching President Trump. In order to be considered as a  possible vice-presidential candidate in 2020, for example, he has chosen to go full leftist in recent weeks. I suppose that’s one way to shoot for the stars. As the national party moves farther left, a moderate-sounding Texas Democrat won’t be too appealing as 2020 frontrunners emerge.

Real Clear Politics has this senate race in the toss-up column now. That is truly surprising but for the fact that Democrats are highly energized these days, even in America’s largest red state. The old normal exists no more. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. I still say Cruz will win in November, it’s just a question of by how much, which will affect the down-ballot candidates. And, Beto will be free to be ready for his national close-up.

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