And now they tell us substance matters
We remember that the Dallas Morning News endorsed Representative Beto O'Rourke last November because the paper just did not like Senator Ted Cruz. Now the editors are back with another message:
In the end, of course, it wasn't enough to win. His policy statements too often lacked clarity. When he did clarify them, they were sharply left of where many Americans, and certainly many Texans, stand. O'Rourke may have missed his chance to beat Cruz because he was unwilling to either fully own the progressive nature of his beliefs, or because he was unwilling to stake out a middle ground left of Cruz but still palatable to a majority in our state.
He will face the same problem in the coming presidential campaign, although it may, in some ways, be easier for him. A good number in the Democratic primary field are already so far to the left it would be hard to outflank them without offering extreme, uncompromising positions.
O'Rourke's style as a campaigner will serve him well in Iowa and New Hampshire. He is plainly comfortable in a crowd. But he will have a hard time avoiding substantive, detailed policy questions from journalists as well as from his competitors for the Democratic nomination.
Let's hope he actually gets those questions from journalists. He didn't in 2018 because too many of them were into Beto rather than journalism.
He will be challenged by his fellow Democrats. I'm sure that a Democrat will remind Beto that he took money related to fossil fuels, or Julián Castro will remind his fellow Texan that he has a Mexican grandmother and Beto does not.
So let's watch Beto over the next few weeks, and especially that first debate this summer.
By the way, I checked his website and still could not find any policy papers. To be fair, it is early, and maybe he is working on that after reading the aforementioned Dallas Morning News editorial.