Richard Greene

What the Beto O’Rourke, Wendy Davis flops tell us about power of the national media

There’s an aspect of the postmortem on Texan Beto O’Rourke’s failed presidential campaign that has not gotten a lot of attention.

It’s something he has in common with the collapse of Texan Wendy Davis’ ambition to be governor, which also didn’t come close to succeeding.

Both overconfident Democrats were immediately and fully embraced by the national media, which lavished them with accolades designed to convince voters that they were heir apparent to the offices they were seeking.

While it won’t stop the liberal media from trying to tell voters that we should choose those anointed by them, it’s a major blow to their agendas to discover that the great majority of us aren’t buying what they are selling.

From the moment that O’Rourke announced his campaign by saying in a Vanity Fair cover story that he was born to run for president, the fawning shifted into high gear.

The press loved to highlight his skateboarding, table-hopping, haircut and teeth-cleaning adventures, but they came across as an odd way to convince voters he should become our nation’s commander in chief.

Ultra-left leaning MSNBC reporters and commentators echoed feelings that spread across other networks and newspapers.

A sample of their coverage of Beto’s charm and charisma seemed to leave them spellbound. They said he was Obama-esque and even the candidate needed to rekindle the Kennedy mystique.

They talked of him having some kind of magic touch signaled by a gleam in his eye. One of the commentators said seeing Beto was like seeing a “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”

Illusionary nonsense like that was everywhere – a celebrity aura that others just couldn’t match.

During an appearance on The View, O’Rourke spent most of his time apologizing for his white privilege, his apparent elitism, and for having been on that magazine cover to begin with.

The women on the panel reacted with admiration for his repentance and promise to be a better person who really cared for those less fortunate than himself.

As the primary campaign developed, O’Rourke approach to defeating the other 20 or so contenders was to move ever more to the left of all of them. He declared that he was coming after your guns, that the country was racist in countless ways, that we should deny churches their tax-exempt status if they were faithful to biblical standards he opposed, and that he supported NFL players disrespecting the flag.

Maybe, in the end, it was all of that extremism that kept him in single digits in all of the national polls.

Voters didn’t care that the media loved him, and that’s a reality that should make us all very happy.

As for Davis, whose experience may have actually made her an even greater media darling, the lesson is the same.

Notwithstanding the experience of being the favorite of the Texas press, perhaps surpassed by the national attention she garnered, on Election Day in 2014 she managed a paltry 39 percent of the vote.

So profound was the rejection of voters across the state that she even fell short of Democrat Bill White’s vote totals in the previous gubernatorial race. His campaign was covered without the fawning, but he still managed to outdistance Davis’ performance.

The national media positions itself as the self-appointed force to chart the future of our society. We are free to ignore their influence, and the O’Rourke and Davis experiences show we have done just that.

Thank goodness – that’s the way it is supposed to work.

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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