We'll go to the video tape in a moment, but first, my overall thoughts on Beto's just-announced candidacy: His close-shave loss in deep red Texas demonstrates that he's formidable, both as a retail politician and as a fundraiser. Democrats seem to enjoy "falling in love" with politicians, and Beto will make a strong play for many liberals' hearts. His semi-orgasmic coverage proves that he's an early favorite to win the "media primary," a key advantage among an important constituency within the Democratic Party's core base. He's much more progressive than he may seem at first blush, masking his ideology with aspirational, unity-themed rhetoric, which may sound familiar. On the other hand, his "cool" persona is marred by comical try-hardism, his background as a privileged white male may hurt him among identity-obsessed partisans (many people are likely willing to overlook his DWI arrest and attempt to flee the scene), and it's not as if he's amassed a stellar list of legislative accomplishments:
This observation is also undoubtedly true:
If Beto had an R after his name instead of a D, you’d hear he was boarding-school-attending judge’s son who dodged serious charges for the DUI & burglary, used eminent domain to gentrify poor Latino neighborhoods & married into a billionaire’s family. https://t.co/s46ildgFnB pic.twitter.com/mG1TpXjVqw— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) March 14, 2019
And this snarky point made me laugh out loud:
It's extremely subtle, but with a trained eye, you can detect a slight difference in the media posture toward Robert O'Rourke and the average Republican congressman running for president after losing a Senate race.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 14, 2019
But for all the goofing on his announcement video, and shots at his cringeworthy "authenticity," this clip from just a few months ago may actually rub some voters the wrong way -- especially since he's running as a likable empty vessel. Plenty of politicians insist they won't run for a certain office up until the moment that they do, but the recency of this statement, and the specific reason Beto offers, makes his about-face feel especially disingenuous and selfish. He said this in November:
Turn up the volume and listen to what Beto says here pic.twitter.com/jX2fz5KQ8h— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) March 14, 2019
"I don't want to [run for president]. I will not do it. [My family and I] have spent the better part of the last two years not with each other -- missing birthdays and anniversaries, and time together. Our family could not survive more of that."
His family shall now endure...more of that. How might that go over?
It's going to be really interesting to see how the dad of young children is covered. Someone else tweeted this (sorry, don't remember who!) but it's hard to imagine the below exchange not being a SUPER big deal for a female candidate pic.twitter.com/T27lC5p1Hv— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) March 14, 2019
Another related Beto quote is also drawing quite a lot of side-eye from left-leaning women on Twitter:
Beto tells a coffee shop crowd that he just talked with his wife, Amy. “She is raising, sometimes with my help,” their three kids. Then says he’s running for president for his kids, and theirs.— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 14, 2019
I'll leave you with one more little nugget about other 2020 Democrats still testing the waters.