Beto O’Rourke Was ‘Born To Be In It’. Now He’s Out Of It.

Beto O’Rourke Was ‘Born To Be In It’. Now He’s Out Of It.

Beto O’Rourke wanted “to be in it”. In fact, he was “just born to be in it”.

Those quotes – from a now infamous Vanity Fair cover story that ran in March – marked the unofficial beginning of Beto’s bid for the White House.

That bid is now over.

According to the New York Times, O’Rourke “planned to announce his withdrawal from the race in Iowa on Friday evening and follow up with an e-mail message to his supporters”. “My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee”, he said, in a draft seen by the Times.

Apparently, his campaign is cash-strapped and does not have “the means to move forward successfully”.

It marks a stark reversal of fortune (figuratively and literally) for the man who nearly ousted Ted Cruz in Texas. When Beto joined the race in March, after a painfully-long decision process, he raised $6.1 million in one day, “without a dime” from PACs, corporations or special interests. That was more than Bernie Sanders raised in his first 24 hours, no small feat, as Sanders’s one-day haul ($5.9 million) was front-page news at the time.

We were hardly alone in suggesting that Beto was “capable of creating the kind of unstoppable wave — the electoral fervor — that could rival the fanaticism of Trump’s base”.

Instead, he did the opposite. Briefly seen as a potential frontrunner, Beto quickly faltered. On the national stage, he was unable to summon even a trace of the magic that found its purest expression in his famous “Baba O’Riley” air drums moment.

If money talks, only the chirp of crickets could be heard following O’Rourke’s charge out of the fund raising gates. As the Times notes, “he raised more in his first 48 hours than in the following thousand days”.

Beto’s failure to capture the nation’s imagination after effortlessly enchanting voters in a notoriously red state is somewhat baffling. It’s made even more so by the fact that large swaths of the electorate, still nostalgic for Barack Obama, are pining away for a hero to embrace in what many Democrats consider to be the darkest period for America in modern political history.

Beto seemed perfect. He was moderate compared to the “socialists”, progressive when he needed to be (mostly while shouting and gesticulating on countertops at coffee shops), young, eccentric and authentic enough to post videos from cross-country road trips without being accused of resorting to gimmicks.

But when he was on stage or being interviewed by national media outlets, Beto appeared uncomfortable in his own skin – or maybe he was just uncomfortable in a suit. His campaign is a case study in something, but nobody quite knows what. It was more “non-starter” than it was “failure”. Beto didn’t “crash and burn”, he just never launched at all.

For whatever reason, the same man who was entirely comfortable playing air drums to “Baba O’Riley” and sharing the video with millions of people, seemed suddenly intimidated by the prospect of seizing his moment.

It’s a rather disappointing turn of events that perhaps speaks to Beto’s life history of “falling up”.  And nobody knows what’s next.

“At the last Democratic debate, a pair of O’Rourke’s donors flew to Ohio to meet with him about his campaign and the possibility of him quitting the race to run for Senate in Texas against John Cornyn, who is up for re-election”, the Times writes. Beto responded that he wasn’t interested.

One imagines America hasn’t heard the last of Beto.

But for now, the man who was “born to be in it”, is “out of it”.


 

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