Beto O’Rourke stormed out of the presidential gate by raising more than $6 million in a mere 24 hours, and that fact alone makes him a force to be reckoned with in the 2020 race. He may be inexperienced, naïve, and carrying around a checkered past filled with hacking exploits, DUIs, and weird, child-killing musings, but he’s got some momentum.
We’re just not sure it’s enough to get past the bare-bones truth of the matter, which is that he comes off as a…well, as a wimp.
That probably matters less in a Democratic primary than a Republican one – Obama wasn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a man’s man, after all – but we’re pretty sure it’s going to make O’Rourke look diminished standing across the stage from Donald Trump. Challengers always face a bit of this problem because the mere office of the President confers upon the incumbent a kind of gravitas that you can’t fake. But when you put someone like Beto O’Rourke up against it? Uhh, it isn’t going to be pretty.
It’s not just about appearances, either. It’s about the way he conducts himself. It’s about the way he can’t be firm about a policy. It’s about the way he prostrates himself before the media machine. It’s about the namby-pamby way he talks about the issues. There is nothing manly about his constitution. This is so true, in fact, that we find it retroactively surprising that he was able to get as close to beating Ted Cruz in Texas as he did. We’re sure all that Hollywood hype didn’t hurt, but damn, this kid seems like he would lose in a fight with a kitten.
In his first few appearances on the 2020 campaign trail this week, O’Rourke made a joke about how his wife had raised the couple’s three children, “sometimes with my help.” We assume this got the kind of polite, half-hearted laughter you would expect.
But this is the modern liberal, social-justice, outrage machine era, of course, and feminists didn’t like that joke one bit. They said Beto was unforgivably enforcing old gender stereotypes, and they demanded that he take it back.
Which he dutifully did.
“Not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage,” he said.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with apologizing when you’re wrong, but there comes a time when you have to throw a little bit of caution to the wind and say, “Ya know what, if you don’t like it, go fly a kite.” This was unquestionably one of those times, but Beto bent the knee instead.
That may work on the primary trail (though it may not), but it damn sure won’t work in the general election. Trump has proven that you don’t have to apologize for every little thing you say that someone decides is “offensive” on Twitter. In fact, he showed that you don’t have to apologize – ever!
If Beto wants to play with the big dogs, he’s going to need to man up.