We’re already talked a bit about how Beto O’Rourke’s admission in front of TV camera concerning taxing churches has confirmed what we’ve all known for years concerning the left. Now comes the left with the “Beto as Strawman” argument claiming that he’s a nobody, a non-entity who doesn’t really matter:
Given his low and static polling, it’s hard to tell what, exactly, Beto O’Rourke hopes to accomplish by staying in the presidential race. But while his actual goal seems a bit elusive, he is increasingly playing a very specific role: the human straw man, the embodiment of every seemingly irrational conservative fear about what the left really wants.
That’s Jordan Weissman arguing in Slate that O’Rourke’s positions aren’t actually positions of the left and all he is doing his stoking conservative fears. This is only part of his attack on Robert Francis O’Rourke
This is not the first time O’Rourke—a politician, it should be noted, without a constituency: no district, almost no support in the polls—has promised to make conservatives’ worst nightmares come true. After adopting gun control as a marquee issue following the mass shooting in El Paso earlier this year, O’Rourke promised a mandatory gun buyback program for assault weapons, memorably telling a moderator, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Not long after, Trump and Republicans blamed his comments for making it harder to get a gun control deal done in Congress. (Yes, that’s a bit rich coming from the GOP, but I’ll come back to that).emphasis mine
These are not the only far-left positions Beto has staked out recently. He’s strongly pro reparations, for instance. But his comments about churches and guns are especially remarkable, in that he’s essentially adopting unpopular stances that Democratic politicians have spent years claiming are unfair caricatures of their actual beliefs. He is turning himself into a walking straw man, the non-fringe guy Republicans can reliably point to when they want to say: “See, the libs really do want to take your guns and shut down your churches.”
There are two problems with this man’s point. The 1st is highlighted by the emphasized text. It’s rather comical to see this argument given that it was the same lefty media created him out of the whole cloth, extolling Mr. O’Rourke, promoting him as “Beto” as a counter to Ted Cruz authentic ethnicity and put him up and the sign that Texas is finally turning their way. They drew millions of dollars from liberal activists all over the country in his failed effort for senate seat and then floated him as a potential presidential candidate before they knew that the Democrat field would become large enough to field a shirts vs skins Basketball game with benches for both teams.
But it’s the second point that really give the lie to the entire piece and it comes from four simple words in the 1st sentence of the piece following the embedded video (again emphasis mine):
O’Rourke’s comments drew a warm round of applause in the friendly room, and riled conservatives, who have spent years worrying that Democrats might try to do such a thing.
That’s the key line, the room was full of Democrat activists, the people who give the money, who put the pressure on candidates and decide who can choose to make hell for any candidate who doesn’t toe the line.
- Did those activists boo or cat call that line making it clear that this is not what Democrat believe?
- Did they rush to defend the black church which had for so many years been the place, despite existing tax laws where Democrats openly campaigned organized and raised money?
- Did they defend conservative Muslims who have increasingly become an important part of the Democrat coalition?
- And most important of all did any Democrat candidate rush to clearly state that this is completely contrary to what the Democrat party in general or they in particular believe?
The answer to all of these questions is not just no but HELL NO and the reason for this is the same as why when Joe Biden they didn’t do any of these things when Joe Biden went all in on gay marriage in 2012 because he knew that this is what the people who matter in the party believe..
Beto is playing a similar gambit. He understands that the people who matter in the party along with the college students taught by their minions in school are already at this place. He furthermore is in a can’t lose proposition for him. At worst by forcing the issue he raises his profile and lasts longer int he primaries ensuring him face time for a while. At best he’s getting some chits in for next time around and assuring himself of good speaking fees for the next four years.
There are many descriptions that can be made of these moves that are apt, but “Strawman” is not one of them, in fact “Strawman” is best used to describe those on the left who are trying to pretend that Beto’s opinions are an outlier rather than someone saying aloud what everyone knows.