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Beto O'Rourke, the three-term former congressman from El Paso, Texas, who narrowly lost a 2018 Senate bid against Ted Cruz, announced today he's running for president. Of your pants. Let's watch his announcement video, which is pleasantly non-flashy, not a dramatic soundtrack or jump cut to be seen anywhere. Just Beto talking about America and coming together, while his wife Amy holds his hand, and at one or two moments where he's really warmed to his topic, apparently working to hold him down so he won't jump up off the couch.

Beto O'Rourke announces he's running for president www.youtube.com

O'Rourke is clearly going for the same positive, come-together and solve our problems because we're Americans dammit tone that he used in his Senate campaign, and he makes a pretty good pitch:


This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us. The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate, have never been greater, and they will either consume us or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America. In other words, this moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it.

Before he gets to the debates, Beto's gonna have to learn some additional gestures, though. That up-and-down arm wave he's got going is a little distracting, although of course it's way better than Trump's accordion playing. Then again, the Ramones managed to get into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame with only four chords (and a gun), so let's not get too hung up on the visuals. Also, speaking of punk rock, be sure to check out Vanity Fair's longread profile of O'Rourke, conveniently published yesterday. Decide for yourself whether author Joe Hagan makes too much or just enough of O'Rourke's love of punk and its stripped-down aesthetic. Better than a fascination with Mantovani!

The announcement hardly came as a big surprise, since O'Rourke has been making plenty of 'bout-to-run noises all over the place; in a February TV interview, Oprah Winfrey practically demanded he get into the race. Evan is on Yr Wonkette's story about that profile, but we'll poach this bit from Hagan anyway, because it's a pretty good entry in the "how did you finally decide to run" annals:

When O'Rourke blurted out to Oprah that he'd make a decision on whether to run or not "before the end of this month," the answer surprised even him. "I did not intend to say that," he tells me. On the flight home from New York, O'Rourke learned that Trump was coming to El Paso. Amy was reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama, absorbing the former First Lady's account of her trials living through a toxic presidential race with her husband. By the time the O'Rourkes touched down at El Paso International Airport, Amy's stomach was in knots. "She was kind of pissed at me when we got home," recalls O'Rourke. "Almost like 'You fucker.' "

She knew he was running.

We want the debates to include at least some questions about the role cussin' has played in the candidates' outlook. It surely can't just be Beto and Amy Klobuchar, right? We want the entire field of candidates to just stand on a debate stage and say "fuck" a lot. Maybe America needs a cursing mommy in 2020.

It's also nice to know wingnut America was already worried about a Beto candidacy even before he announced. The rightwing Club For Growth made them a deeply stupid attack ad whose whole theme is that Beto O'Rourke is not nearly woke enough, yes really. It's just hilariously bad!

"Pedigree" youtu.be

This awful Beto O'Rouke, says the generic attack-ad-lady voice over the generic attack-ad Music of Ominousness, isn't a real community-organizing crusader like Barack Obama, shame on him! Also he's guilty of "cultural appropriation," being "entitled, and "white male privilege"! Yeesh. We can imagine his campaign staff will probably screen the thing late at night while drinking beer and jeering at it. Sorry, Club for Growth, you're not likely to pull off anything like Claire McCaskill's brilliantly sneaky 2012 move where she helped her weakest GOP primary candidate win, by running an ad accusing crazy Todd Akin of being "too conservative" for Missouri. Nobody's going to believe the Club For Growth fretting about whether Beto is progressive enough.

Reminder for anyone who buys Ted Cruz's bogus campaign slur that O'Rourke adopted "Beto" to fool people into thinking he's Latino: Nah, it was his nickname from birth, and he' s got a photo of himself as a blubby-cheeked tot to prove it:

Fact we just made up: All of Ted Cruz's baby pictures show him scowling and pushing other children away to get in front of the camera.

Policy-wise, Beto's announcement vid hits the right notes: health care, dignity of work, environment, diversity, and on one of his biggest issues as an El Paso guy,

if immigration is a problem, it's the best possible problem to have. and we should ensure that there are lawful paths to work, to be with family, and to flee persecution.

Also too, he's unapologetic about his love of dogs:

Already, the Usual Suspects are doing their part to make O'Rourke look good with dumb claims. On Fox And Friends, Brian Kilmeade Foxsplained the Vanity Fair piece the way only Brian Kilmeade could: The man reads BOOKS!

They also point out that he has this huge library. As if it's a big plus that he reads books. We would assume that!

That's like if a robot was programmed to say Kilmeade things.

In conclusion, we like Beto just fine and we welcome him to the 2020 race, and we like him, just as we like almost all the Democrats running next year. And if you're lukewarm on the kid who won't say if he's a progressive because he "doesn't like labels," just close your eyes and think of Colin Kaepernick.


'I can think of nothing more American': Beto O'Rourke responds to question on NFL protests www.youtube.com

Also, too, Yr Wonkette is now happy to sell you a brilliantly familiar-looking tee, updated for Our Modern Era!

Go! Buy! He's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier!


[Texas Tribune / WaPo / Vanity Fair / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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