After failed Democratic Senate candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke joined the presidential fracas this week, many in the media began parroting the talking point that he is a moderate, citing his Texas roots and reasonable-sounding persona.
But don’t be fooled by his aw-shucks, boy band vibe. The fact is, Beto O’Rourke has recently embraced the extreme left. In the months since failing to oust Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke has laid the groundwork for a progressive campaign, most visible in his new positions on energy and the border.
One might mistake Beto as an ally of the energy industry. Texas politicians are generally pro-energy, since the state’s booming economy is largely fueled by oil and gas, and Beto’s fundraising numbers suggest he is no exception. He has raised over $467,000 from oil and gas and was “the second-biggest recipient” of their money during 2018.
But sensing how far left the Democratic base has moved, Beto is now embracing the Green New Deal. In January he declared he is “supportive of the concept” of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-N.Y., plan. By February, he doubled down and called the Green New Deal the “best proposal” he has seen, adding he is “really excited” by the plan to socialize our economy and decimate our energy industry.
(Keep in mind, with its $93 trillion price tag, the plan is so extreme that even liberals like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg oppose it.)
By embracing the Green New Deal, Beto proved he cares more about appealing to the far-left than about backing reasonable public policy. This makes perfect political sense: bandwagon the enthusiasm of the growing socialist base as part of a 2020 campaign strategy. But does it make sense for his home state of Texas and their millions of energy workers?
Texas is reaping massive economic rewards from the state’s Permian Basin region. Shale production from Texas is surging with a recent report noting that Texas’ oil production is shattering records, creating 26,000 oil and gas industry jobs in just the past year at an average salary of over $130,000.
The Green New Deal would end this boom and undermine the Texas economy. Beto O’Rourke seems to be OK with that. Texans should be alarmed.
[O]ne thing is clear – Beto O’Rourke is no longer a moderate Democrat. If he’s become a radical liberal in just a few weeks, all of Texas – and America – should watch and see who he becomes during the course of the campaign.
It’s not just his energy policy that’s moved far to the left. On immigration, Beto has staked out perhaps the furthest-left position of any presidential candidate. In February, he announced that he would like to tear down the existing border barriers we have with Mexico, telling an MSNBC host, “Yes, absolutely…I'd take the wall down."
That position might be popular in San Francisco, but Texans would cringe. Not even Hillary Clinton wants to tear down the existing barriers that our Border Patrol agents utilize to keep America safe and combat illegal immigration.
Perhaps Beto is trying to bluster his way into the left’s heart by backing whatever wacky left-wing idea he can think of, no matter how inauthentic it makes him look. After all, he has few legislative accomplishments to show for his time in Congress.
In that way, he’s similar to much of the Democratic field, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker – a lot of talk, but few accomplishments. And we’ve already seen what happens to our nation when we elect a president based on rhetoric. Just look at the Obama years.
Maybe Beto knows he cannot win the nomination but is auditioning for the vice presidential slot. Texas was closer than expected in the presidential election of 2016, and Beto showed tremendous fundraising prowess and appeal in his 2018 Senate bid. Democrats have longed to turn Texas blue, and O’Rourke might believe his star power could help flip the state.
But the sudden leftward lunge is a surprise. Did Beto intentionally keep his radical beliefs hidden during his campaign against Cruz? Did the media, too busy gushing about Beto’s skateboarding and punk rock band, ever question his liberal views and ask how they gel with conservative Texas?
Odds are that Beto, excited to get back on the campaign trail, suddenly adopted new beliefs because that’s what the polls told him to do. Time will tell whether this finger-in-the-air strategy reaps any rewards, but one thing is clear – Beto O’Rourke is no longer a moderate Democrat. If he’s become a radical liberal in just a few weeks, all of Texas – and America – should watch and see who he becomes during the course of the campaign.