Robert "Beto" O'Rourke made headlines from his 2018 Senate race in Texas. I could run through a list of what happened and how, despite losing, he bolstered the Democratic Party's support in a state that has historically been viewed as a GOP stronghold, but this is not a Wikipedia article, you remember what happened in 2018.
The Senate race is over, and O'Rourke lost to Ted Cruz, arguably one of the most hated people in the country.
O'Rourke had a list of options to choose from for his future political career. He could have used his now national fame to begin building a campaign to challenge Texas's other Senator in 2020, or he could have waited until 2022 to run for governor.
Instead, the crafty Irishman who's not actually Hispanic but managed to mislead so many people with his silly nickname decided to run for president.
Why not? There are only 14 other people running, each with different backgrounds and experiences that make them qualified to at least be considered for the party's nomination.
O'Rourke, meanwhile, is famous for losing a Senate race to one of the Republicans that might actually be less popular than Donald Trump.
All of this could be forgiven if O'Rourke actually had a unique message and highlighted key issues to focus on in his campaign.
Instead, he is not talking about policy at all. Journalists actually have trouble getting answers out of O'Rourke's campaign about what his main policies are.
His campaign, devoid of any serious political goals, is instead thriving on empty rhetoric. Absolutely meaningless word salad that sounds as though it has been taken from the pages of the Aaron Sorkin television series, The West Wing.
Why and how then, has Beto duped so many liberals into being nearly fanatical in their devotion to him? It's simply misplaced nostalgia for the Obama-era.
In 2018, Beto was called "the white Obama" not just by his critics but by people managing his campaign, they were literally running on that.
Similar to President Obama, O'Rourke is an excellent orator, he is able to hit all the right emotional notes on his speeches. However, looking critically at his speeches reveals he is all pathos and no logos.
George Orwell wrote of politicians like O'Rourke in his essay, Politics and the English Language. By being vague about policies but filled with emotional vigor, O'Rourke is hiding the truth that he is a useful tool of the establishment trying to make neoliberalism "cool."
And that is sort of why it is fair to liken O'Rourke to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, they made some of the worst policies ever with their years in the White House, but they sure were fun about it. Whether it was Bill playing his saxophone on late night tv, or who could forget Obama dropping the mic at the State of the Union and all those unforgettable memes he made with Joe Biden?
Meanwhile, Clinton deregulated the financial institutions which caused the 2008 recession and when Obama left office, the US was bombing seven different countries.
How is what they did any different from Ronald Reagan putting on a cheerful smile and telling some silly joke while his administration turned a blind eye to the AIDS epidemic?
The truth is, this is all the same. Because Reagan, Clinton, and Obama were all passionate neoliberals who were able to put on useful masks.
They were charlatans and the American people bought the snake oil, and the Democratic Party is going to sell O'Rourke because he's the same exact thing and Americans will be forced to believe that this is the only option other than Trump's fascism-lite.
However, we must reject fascism and empty rhetoric and seek a third way. Do not settle for less than you deserve, and Robert O'Rourke is not what the American people deserve.