Monday, June 3, 2019

2020 Challenger Lineup: Beto O'Rourke

The white dudes just keep coming, huh? At this point people are starting to point out how much we need good candidates to run for Senate seats, or have Democrats completely given up on the idea of ever taking the Senate back because they let Republicans run amok with their gerrymandering and other bullshit?

We haven't heard much from Beto after his initial whirlwind of press followed by, at least in my circles, criticism over his actual voting record. Followed by people saying that said criticism was gonna get Trump elected again. So what does Beto's record really look like? Does it hold up in comparison to other candidates as opposed to in comparison to the embodiment of shit that is Ted Cruz?

No, no it doesn't.

Beto's record is one of being viewed as progressive in comparison to far-right incumbents in the South. However, his platforms of "border reform" and a gentrification project that got him his first political position as an El Paso city council member were far from the progressivism that a lot of voters on the left are looking for right now. However, I do appreciate his challenging of the "war on drugs," though a white-dude focus on making weed legal always makes me suspicious. Is this about justice or business?

As a U.S. House representative, Beto introduced the Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act to investigate and reform U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, in 2014, he opposed Obama's executive action to "to spare approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation," saying that "the motive is noble, but the means are really hard to stomach." I'm assuming by "means" he meant the fact that this was an executive action, because remember when people were freaking out about Obama's use of executive power even though he never did it as much as any Republican president? Classic.

Now, the Political Views section of Beto's Wikipedia page is pretty hilarious because it starts off like this: "Political analysts classify O'Rourke as a progressive, liberal, neoliberal, or centrist." Well that's kind of all of it, isn't it? But when you look at how he's rated by various organizations, he definitely falls more conservative than many of the current candidates. The "pro-business" stuff makes this dirty commie sigh, of course, and I kind of hate this: "Allegheny College bestowed the 2018 Prize for Civility in Public Life to O'Rourke together with Will Hurd, a Texas Republican."

If I never hear the word "civility" again it will be too soon.

That said, Beto is decent on funding education, supporting anti-trust laws, and crime. Basically, Beto has taken the solidly liberal position on everything without ever crossing the line into actual progressivism, let alone anything radical. He seems to be focusing on comparing himself to the far-right and presenting himself as a safe choice rather than putting forth real ideas like Elizabeth Warren has. I don't believe he supports the Green New Deal and downgraded his support for Medicare for All to a watered-down version called "Medicare for America," which I'm sure is what we'll end up getting.

There's a good reason the actual left has reacted to Beto with a shrug and an eye roll. Beto gets a C. Solidly, 100% average. Grade A meh. I'm not the least bit interested and I hope he fades into the background to make way for much more exciting candidates. Standing on tables and being handsome can only get you so far.

No comments: