Posted by Curt on 18 October, 2018 at 11:06 am. 19 comments already!


Attention, journalists of America: Time is running out! You have under three weeks left to publish your last batch of over-the-top pre-election puff pieces on Texas Democrat/cross-country liberal sensation/wing-and-a-prayer Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke!

It is here that we must face the difficult truth: Barring a GOP-related disaster of some sort, O’Rourke — he of that ineffable “cool factor” and “special sauce,” at least according to easily impressed columnists at the Washington Post — is likely to lose big. According to the latest polls, Senator Ted Cruz leads him by anywhere between seven and nine points. Tuesday’s debate between the two, meanwhile, was so mismatched that O’Rourke’s best moment might have involved a random deer-in-the-headlights story in which he described how he “got to meet this blind squirrel who is slowly regaining its sight.”

In summary, this year’s Betomania — a somewhat weird phenomenon, as we’ll explore in a bit — seems set to disappear from view just as quickly as it arrived, at least in the Lone Star State. On one hand, this possibility warms my heart, given that in my neck of Texas, it has grown rather exasperating to have to wade through 15,000 blaring BETO yard signs when I’m simply trying to get a breakfast taco or four. On the other hand, I also feel a tinge of melancholy and regret about all of this, given that I never got my act together enough to print ironic t-shirts with the following brilliant slogan I made up all by myself: “You BETO vote for Ted Cruz.”

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I’d like to further discuss the debate between O’Rourke and Ted Cruz, and also actual policy issues, and also perhaps the fact that many people in politics seem to be slowly going insane. But first, can we talk about how embarrassing Betomania is? Friends, I am deeply concerned for our culture. When you look at a middle-aged establishment politician as an icon of “rock star” cool, you’re doing something wrong.

“Skateboarding Beto O’Rourke Shreds Whataburger Parking Lot,” read an actual recent headline on the website of the Dallas Morning News. This all sounds really rad and sick and gnarly and whatever until you actually watch the video, which features O’Rourke gently coasting around the parking lot, soccer-dad style, looking precariously close to biting the dust when he gives a bystander a high five. Don’t get mad: I’m not judging! I would do exactly the same thing, except I’d probably actually fall! But no wide-eyed journalist would write a headline claiming that I “shredded” anything, nor credulously act like I belonged on the cover of Thrasher magazine.

Of the countless head-scratching elements of the O’Rourke phenomenon, one wins handily as the head-scratchingest of all: A troubling percentage of the Betomaniacs I have met in Texas moved here after fleeing places ruined by Beto’s favored policies. These locales are often expensive, increasingly dysfunctional, wildly overregulated, sometimes mystifyingly poop-ridden despite being wildly overregulated (here’s looking at you, San Francisco!), and inevitably run by Democrats. Why does no one seem to make this connection? I don’t know! One hero in Austin has taken to posting stickers around town featuring an image of a giant locust, paired with the following text: “I MIGRATED TO A THRIVING TEXAS FROM A LEFTIST [NIGHTMARE] AND NOW I’M VOTING FOR BETO FOR SENATE.” (The posters feature a word much worse than “nightmare,” which I’m not reprinting because I run a PG-13 column here.)

“But Heather,” you might be thinking. “Surely you must have seen the countless articles in national publications describing how annoying Ted Cruz is and how Beto O’Rourke is going to lead our generation in rising up above the terrible cynicism that dominates modern politics, acting as a bridge uniting and respecting the diverse voices of Texans as long as you join in lockstep support for things like abortion on demand, higher taxes, and a list of leftist hobbyhorses that drive out-of-state donors wild!”

Why yes, thanks, I have read those articles. I laugh every time!

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