Looks like we will have Beto to kick around some more

Robert Francis O’Rourke isn’t going anywhere, you know. Thursday night during a phone call with supporters, he reassured them he “absolutely” plans to stay involved in politics. These are the first remarks he’s made since dropping his bid to be the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nominee.

Surely this isn’t a surprise to anyone with even a small interest in the 2020 election cycle. O’Rourke has a Texas-sized ego and he’s just 47 years old so there is plenty of time for him to sit back and wait until an opening presents itself to him. It doesn’t look like he’ll be running for the Senate, though, as he is dashing the hopes of Democrats about entering that race. There is an abundance of candidates running against Senator John Cornyn and it looks like Beto plans to let them slug it out.

In the meantime, Beto is telling supporters that he plans to support candidates all the way down the ballot. Running for the local school board? Beto just might endorse in that race, especially if gun confiscation can be worked into that campaign.

O’Rourke said even though he’s still figuring out what his next steps are, he vowed to help Democratic candidates across the country and to continue to address his signature issues such as gun violence.

“I’m going to do everything that I can, and what form that takes and in what capacity I don’t know,” he said. “But certainly it will involve supporting great candidates all over this country from school board trustee to the next nominee for the presidency of the Democratic Party.”

The “born to run” man tells his supporters that if even one person fails to do their part in our democracy, “then we will fail this country and the generations that follow that are counting on us.” Beto is nothing if not hyperbolic. In his world, extreme political thought is a way of life. Most of all he called for party unity to beat President Trump in 2020.

“All of us have to commit to get behind the nominee from this party to make sure that she or he is successful against Donald Trump and then to make sure that once they become president, they help to heal this very divided country,” he said.

Without a trace of irony noted, that reference to “this very divided country” didn’t come with an acknowledgment of the role he has played in that division. The overriding theme of his campaign after the mass shooting in El Paso was gun confiscation. That topic alone divides American voters quicker than just about any other issue today. If Michael Bloomberg carries through with his alleged decision to enter the Democrat primary, a Beto endorsement could be just around the corner, given Bloomberg’s funding of PACs like Everytown for Gun Safety.

O’Rourke let his ego get the better of his decision-making process when he jumped into the presidential race. He believed all the puff pieces and magazine covers and contributions from Hollywood elites after his run against Ted Cruz in Texas. Suddenly another Senate run wasn’t enough for him. He would only go for the big prize – the presidency. Oprah encouraged him. Cable television interviews didn’t question the fact that he never really articulated a reason for his candidacy, other than a hatred for the bad Orange Man. Then he found his cause after the El Paso shooting tragedy and even the endless interviews on cable television couldn’t save his floundering campaign.

Any shot O’Rourke had to defeat John Cornyn was squandered months ago. I never thought he had a chance, anyway, but now the field is getting crowded on the Democrat side. He could make a splash and raise money rather quickly but his time has passed. At least for now. The national exposure Beto got showed Democrats across the country that he’s an empty suit. He can sound passionate and say absolutely nothing. After he recites standard Democrat talking points, he is hard-pressed to discuss actual policy. He’s all about emotions.

Senate speculation is still expected to swirl around O’Rourke and another presidential contender from Texas, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, until the Dec. 9 filing deadline. But absent a big-name candidate who is known statewide, the Democratic primary remains in flux with largely unknown contenders.

“Everyone’s trying to pull a Beto and catch fire and have millions of dollars falling from the sky at the click of a mouse,” Texas Democratic strategist Colin Strother said. “And no one’s been able to do that yet.”

Ten Texas Democrats have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for Senate, including several credible candidates.

Hey, there is always the possibility that Julian Castro will finally throw in the towel and decide he’ll challenge Cornyn. Nah. He would have less chance than Beto. Unlike Beto, I think Castro is a little more aware of his limitations.

Beto will be back. He won’t be able to be on the sidelines cheering on other candidates for long. We’ll have him to kick around again.