Beto O’Rourke and The Crazy Mouse #sincerely76315-066

Ken Smukler is a former political consultant. He is currently residing in a federally gated community. He is now writing for under the tagline #sincerely76315-066

Ken Smukler is a former political consultant. He is currently residing in a federally gated community. He is now writing for under the tagline #sincerely76315-066

Beto O’Rourke’s campaign ride so far is one that has had more twists and turns than the Crazy Mouse roller coaster at the Iowa State Fair. And as anybody who has ever been to the Iowa State Fairgrounds knows, the Crazy Mouse (sometimes called the Psycho Mouse) can really shake you up.

Beto’s entry into the race in March was forged by a near miss 2018 run against incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz - a race in which three things happened: The favorite son of El Paso drove Texas turnout to record numbers for a mid-term, he set an all-time record for money raised by a Senate candidate in a quarter - $32 million, and he lost by less than a quarter million votes out of 8.3 million cast.  

The last time anything soared that high off the ground in El Paso Texas, Werner Von Braun was launching Hermes V-2 rockets over the skies of Fort Bliss and that was 1950. 

All this led Beto to tells his fans on election night, “we’ll see you out there down the road.”But then the Crazy Mouse sped into its first turn.

In January, Beto decided to do just what he said on election night - go down the road.  But he does so in terms more reminiscent of a passage from Tome Wolfe’s Electric Kool Aid Acid Test then someone vying to be the leader of the free world.

He says “he has been stuck lately…In and out of a funk…it’ll clear my head, reset, I’ll think new thoughts, break out of the loops I’ve been stuck in.” I thought he was going down the infamous path of Ross Perot’s running mate Admiral Stockdale in 1992 Veep debate: “Who am I?  Why am I here?” And as well know, that did not end well for the good Admiral.

And it’s not just FOX News that was making 1960’s poet references.  CNN and MSNBC joined in the fray.

And then the Crazy Mouse hit the second turn.

In February, Beto holds a dueling rally down the road from Trump on the Mexican border, shouting to the crowd that “walls kill lives” from the back of a pick-up truck in Tornillo Texas and you can’t help but hearken back to 1968 - Bobby Kennedy’s Appalachian tour when he visited the shuddered coal mine in Prestonsburg Kentucky.

In March, Beto announces he is running for president and raises $6.1 million in the first 24 hours - the largest 24-hour take in the field at the time and you think this Irishmen’s campaign will be like an instant success - like a box of Lucky Charms - every bite magically delicious. The old Beto is back!

But April, May, and June have not been kind to Beto.  When national polls had you hitting double digits post announcement in March and two months later you are at 2% something has gone wrong.

More importantly, his polls are lagging in the pre-Super Tuesday states.  Of the first four caucus/primary states, Beto’s running 6th behind the 3 B’s - Biden, Bernie, and Buttigieg- and also lags behind Warren and Harris; In South Carolina he’s 7th also trailing Corey Booker.  

While I argue that the rise of Mayor Pete has stolen, at least for the time being, the millennial moniker away from O’Rourke, Beto argues that the media coverage of his gaffes is what has pricked the Beto balloon.  While I say that a candidate nine years his junior with 6 years more executive experience and one gay husband to boot is a pretty tantalizing trifecta for a generation craving someone authentically different, Beto chooses to blame Vanity Fair. 

More specifically, it’s the cover piece on Beto in which he seems to imply that he believed he was born to run for president.  

Beto: when Vanity Fair photo-shopped and erased James Franco off of its cover - changing it from 13 Extraordinary Stars to 12 after he was outed in a series of #metoo accusations - that my have hurt his career.  But if you think some soybean farmer in Sioux City Iowa is running out to his mailbox on Highway 20 for his next copy of Vanity Fair, then sees you on the front cover, and rejects you for intimating some divine intervention in your candidacy, I think you may be misjudging your audience just a tad.

Spend more time prepping for your second debate Beto because you never know which way the Crazy Mouse will turn.