Where's Beto? A documentary debuts yet no formal announcement

Didn’t Beto O’Rourke say he’d make an announcement about a presidential run at the end of February? That deadline has come and gone, so where’s Beto? The only announcement he’s made is that he will not challenge Senator Cornyn for a Senate seat in 2020.

So, yeah, he’s running for President.

Word is that Beto’s people are reaching out to campaign professionals to check availability for a campaign of his own and to seek advice. Are we to believe O’Rourke is only just now getting around to doing that? Perhaps the solitary time on the road after his loss to Senator Cruz last November (after saying he wanted to make up for lost time with his young children and wife) slowed him down. Or maybe it was all the appearances with late-night show hosts and Oprah that distracted him from organizing a potential campaign. Maybe it’s all just a mid-life crisis.

The sources said the inquiries have touched on the names of strategists and political operatives who may be available for advisory and staff posts should O’Rourke move forward.

These inquiries have been made only in the past several days and are the first sign of any contact by O’Rourke’s team with Granite Staters.

Now O’Rourke is simply saying he’ll make an announcement “soon”. He pontificated during a recent appearance at the end of February that he’s not ready yet to make a public announcement.

“Am I the best person to lead this country?” O’Rourke said during a recent visit to a college class in El Paso. “Beyond my ego and my ambition … what is the best thing for the United States of America? And in thinking through that, and in suspending your ego in that process, is tough. And so I’m in that process of thinking this through, talking to [my wife] Amy, listening to good friends and then hearing what you all have to say right now.”

The man certainly has the ego and he loves an audience. Can he catch fire in a Democrat primary if he decides to run? Or has his time passed? I think it’s risky for him to dilly dally around jumping into the field, given the size of it already. Plus, Joe Biden is about to make his move and that will suck up all the oxygen for a while. Bernie’s supporters are fired up and his crowds are rivaling those from his run in 2016.

Maybe he’s holding out for an appearance at SXSW Film Festival in Austin Saturday. That’s when a documentary on Beto’s senate run will premiere. That’s right – AOC has nothing on Beto. He’s got a documentary, too. HBO filmed his and it’s set to air May 28. It’s called “Running With Beto”.

In EW’s exclusive first look at the film (above), O’Rourke is literally running — as he often did during the campaign, sometimes on Instagramthis link opens in a new tab, sometimes while holding town hall meetings — through Washington, D.C. In voice-over, he explains the origin of the campaign.

“We were watching the returns for president, trying to figure out what’s going on,” he recalls. “Somebody just won an election by defining us as being scared and small and afraid. So we just — what are we going to do? And out of that conversation came this idea: What if we ran for Senate?”

While O’Rourke was easily painted as a far-left liberal in his run for the senate in Texas, it will be interesting to watch what lane he’ll attempt to run in. Will he go full-out progressive or will he try to sound more measured and moderate? He’s big on saying he won’t be succumbing to political labels. He was a back-bencher in the House and has no legislative accomplishments to tout. To say he’s flexible in his political stances is an understatement. He’s been careful to not get into supporting the socialism raising on the far left yet he’s quick to embrace open borders. He’s big on feelings, though so he may be in the same lane as Cory Booker. Beto swears a lot in campaign rallies, though, and I’ve not heard Senator Sparticus do that.

Even when O’Rourke could be hard to pin down at times, he made people confident that he cared about what they cared about — and “that is a gift,” said Ed Espinoza, executive director of the progressive group Progress Texas. On O’Rourke’s Senate bid, Espinoza added, “I don’t think it was as issues-driven as values-driven.”

He’s made all the usual moves toward an announcement that he’s running though it’s a slower pace than I expected. He even showed up in Selma and got a photo with Rep. John Lewis. I guess we just wait now and see how it unfolds. Will America’s Hollywood left and young voters still care? The ultimate Beto move would be to make an announcement at SXSW as his documentary debuts.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on December 01, 2022