I love these series of posts from Beto O’Rourke on the road as he contemplates running for President in 2020. They come across as genuine and harken back to old school blogging.
Ben Mathis-Lilley, writing for Slate, had an interesting take.
O’Rourke seems a little lost. His current affect is wishy-washy and borderline cheesy; it involves a lot of listening and urging people to be “respectful” and “decent” but no specific policy commitments. It would not be a positive development were he to continue in this mode indefinitely—to run for president on a platform of being nice and listening to other people’s ideas without asserting any practical ideas of his own.
But when is the last time a major presidential contender spent more than 10 minutes talking to a normal person without cameras or handlers present? When is the last time such a person was open about what is, according to behind-the-scenes reporting, his real indecisiveness about whether the world needs him to run for president? Does anyone out there get up in the morning, look at news, and think, damn, this country is nailing it, our system of self-government is really humming, and the reason why that’s happening is because everyone is treating each other so kindly and respectfully?
Does anyone see the border fight and refugee situation and think, I’m certain that my ideas about immigration reform, a very simple issue, are achievable and realistic? Is spending extended time in not-particularly-affluent parts of the country not what every public servant should be doing between TV appearances and donor calls and flights to D.C.? Is it not inevitable, if a politician is acting in a truly authentic way, like we always say we want, that they will occasionally be a little much, or uncertain, or confused, or even pessimistic?
Let Beto live! And if it turns out he is actually doing this all as a stunt while his big-money consultants are putting together a manipulative, shallow campaign to attain the presidency by using regular people as props, we can all justifiably bury him in an avalanche of cynical snark and go back to the regular order of business: criticizing Hillary Clinton for being too focus-grouped and robotic.
I’m not sure he’s running. He might make an excellent VP candidate though.