I honestly never thought I’d say this about any of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, but I almost felt sorry for Beto O’Rourke during his interview on ABC‘s “The View” program earlier today.
As Red State‘s Brandon Morse noted last week, his campaign has stalled just two months after its launch. And Alex Parker wrote yesterday about how O’Rourke is gearing up for a “relaunch” of sorts to reestablish himself with Democratic voters.
Part of that relaunch apparently involved appearing on “The View”, where he was nitpicked over every perceived campaign flub, including the now-infamous Vanity Fair cover.
During an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” O’Rourke responded to questions about his statement to Vanity Fair that he was “born to be in” the 2020 presidential race. He also fielded inquiries about his comment early on the campaign trail that his wife, Amy, was raising his kids back in their hometown of El Paso, Texas, “sometimes with my help.”
“Would you say those are mistakes — being on the cover of Vanity Fair?” host Joy Behar asked O’Rourke Tuesday. “It looks elitist? What?”
“Yeah, I think it reinforces that perception of privilege,” the former Congressman responded. “And that headline that said I was ‘born to be in this’ in the article — I was attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service. No one is born to be president of the United States of America, least of all me.”
Watch a portion of his lengthy segment on the show below:
NEW: Beto O'Rourke tells @TheView that Vanity Fair cover on 2020 run was "attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service," but it "reinforces that perception of privilege."
— ABC News (@ABC) May 14, 2019
He was momentarily quiet after co-host Meghan McCain asked the question about the Vanity Fair cover and some of the goofy comments he’d made on the campaign trail as though he was trying to absorb a body blow.
There’s no question that some of the things he’s said since he announced his presidential candidacy have been stupid. And it’s no secret that O’Rourke has an inflated opinion of himself. But part of that was fueled by Democrats who used to hang on his every word, and part of it was fueled by a mainstream media who used to give him the rock star treatment a la Barack Obama.
In fact, the former president even said in an interview late last year that O’Rourke reminded him of … himself.
Beto O’Rourke used to be able to say the most ridiculous things and be praised and revered for it.
But the times have changed. The same media and Democrats who once treated Beto O’Rourke as the next Barack Obama are in some ways now treating him like a Republican pariah because he’s not a female candidate, he’s not a middle class candidate, he’s not gay, and he’s not Hispanic.
In other words, he can’t help them play their identity politics games with Republicans because he’s a rich white guy. So now he has to embrace a more humbled, contrite, and apologetic tone in order to win back over the same journalists and Democrats who once viewed his self-centered nature and wildly speaking off the cuff as admirable qualities in future leaders.
It’ll be interesting to see if he can turn his campaign around at this (admittedly early) stage of the game.
—Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–