Richard Greene

O’Rourke and Castro are embarrassing Texas. It’s time they leave the presidential race

It’s time for the two Texans in the Democratic presidential ruckus to call it quits and save what’s left of the state’s traditional character from further embarrassment.

Both of them emerged from the most recent debate in Houston as media darlings trying to explain why they thought what they said and did would somehow help their flagging campaigns.

While many of the Democratic candidates are promoting socialist ideas, Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro are lurching ever further left on issues where they once demonstrated measured reasoning.

Some pundits see them as doing the rest of the country a favor by giving us all a clearer view of who they are and where they would take our republic if they were to gain the power they seek.

But their continued presence in the race has many of us trying to respond to questions of what’s going on with fellow residents of the Lone Star State who seem to have abandoned what Texas has always stood for throughout its history.

Neither O’Rourke nor Castro have a chance to win their party’s nomination at this point, so there’s really no reason for them to suck up any more media exposure. There are many reasons for my conclusion that the race is over for them, but let’s take a look at a couple of the main reasons their poll numbers remain in single digits.

O’Rourke’s signature line in the last debate — “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47” — raised fears of armed men showing up at your doorstep to seize your legally-acquired guns. It was no momentary mistake.

T-shirts bearing the statement as a brag were ready for sale by the time he entered the spin room in Houston. It obviously was a deliberate strategy to get the line into the three-hour melee.



Apparently confident no other candidate would threaten gun confiscation, he had correctly calculated that the line would help him get in front of television cameras in the days that would follow.

Not completely lost in the coverage was O’Rourke’s previous reassurance, during his Senate campaign last year, that if you owned any of these mischaracterized “assault weapons” you could keep them and continue to use them responsibly.

There was also the reminder that exactly no one with a criminal intent would ever surrender his guns, nor have much of a problem in obtaining whatever weapon he wanted.

Not to be outdone, Castro decided to attack Joe Biden’s memory and demeanor. Just about everyone said that was a colossal blunder.

If I were a Democrat, I would have already been supporting the former vice president’s campaign, and Castro’s behavior would have led me to send Biden another check.

However, that’s not the most egregious position the former Obama cabinet member has taken.

He leads the pack with plans for open borders — the sure formula to impossibly burden Texas with immigrants overwhelming all human resources and any remaining barriers to protect us.

While other Democrats noted his previous full embrace of President Barack Obama’s commitment to enforce immigration laws, Castro managed to convince Bernie Sanders to join his call for unrestrained access. In fact, Sanders one-upped him by saying he would place a moratorium on deportations of those already here illegally.

These strategies aren’t working for either O’Rourke or Castro. If they can’t be convinced to return to private life and leave us alone, we will wonder how these Texans managed to range so far away from our proud conservative heritage.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor, served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and lectures at UT Arlington.
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