Democrat 2020 presidential candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke seems to be trying to be the next Barack Obama, at least in some respects.
O’Rourke is, according to The Washington Post, echoing Obama’s famous empty suit line, asking “voters to shape him into the presidential candidate they want him to be, to help him draft a vision for America,” the outlet reported.
You may remember Obama saying something similar in his second autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope.”
“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views,” Obama wrote.
That, and giving few, if any, specifics about what policies he supports, has seemed to help the former congressman, who raised $6.1 million during the first 24 hours after he announced his campaign.
O’Rourke certainly has the media love that Obama had over his eight years as president and before that as he ran for the highest office. Last year, during his failed attempt to unseat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), O’Rourke enjoyed lavish praise from the press. An ABC reporter even fawned over him at an event, calling him a “rock star.” The Post said he had a “cool factor” and the “special sauce.”
Now that he’s running for president, not much has changed. Vanity Fair put him on the cover of its magazine to help launch his presidential campaign, and he has been followed by eager reporters ever since, even though he doesn’t even have a real campaign set up, according to the Post.
Newsbusters had previously rounded up a collection of the ways the media described Obama since he gave a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, including NBC’s Andrea Mitchell calling him a “rock star.” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos called him “the Tiger Woods of the Democratic Party right now” (this was, of course, before Woods’ extramarital affairs were discovered).
Politico editor John Harris called him “so impressive” and “so charismatic.” The Associated Press said he was “something special.” The Washington Post described his “chiseled pectorals.”
“And as an individual, journalists fawned over Obama, calling him ‘one of our brightest presidents,’ a ‘huge visionary,’ ‘the perfect American,’ ‘our national poet,’ and ‘the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House,’” Newsbusters wrote as Obama left the White House in 2017.
He and his family were on the cover of ever major magazine. In fact, they still end up on the covers.
O’Rourke has a long way to go before he reaches the saintly level that Obama received right out of the gate, but of all the Democrat 2020 candidates, he comes the closest.
Or at least, he did. Days after O’Rourke announced, report after report of weird things he wrote and did as a young man have surfaced: Murder fantasy writing and illegal hacking. He has also apologized numerous times for these decades-old atrocities, as well as his white male privilege.
Obama wasn’t forced to make such apologies until after he was president, and even then he offered mostly non-apologies (or apologized to other countries about America’s past).