Robert debates Rafael… I mean Beto O’Rourke debates Ted Cruz

Both Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke and Rafael Edward Cruz joined the federal legislature representing Texas in 2013 – Beto in the House and Cruz in the Senate. Both are now vying for the next term of Cruz’s job in the Senate and the fact that a Republican incumbent in Texas has agreed to debates show just how tight things have become.

Some thoughts on the first debate from September 21st…

ted cruz

Ted Cruz talking to God

A lot of this debate was framed around “who is right for Texas” and Cruz did a much better job of scoring points here. I also feel he did a better job of appealing to independents or folks on the fence. Beto felt like he was talking to his base most of the time. Cruz also spent a lot of time drawing distinctions – showing how the two of them are different, taking jabs. His is renowned for being a master debater and I think this is showing here.

Now all that would have been fine if he just didn’t come off as a smarmy, smug, insincere scumbag phony. He has the trustworthiness of a shady used car salesman who is behind on his quota. Seeing his fat oily face makes me want to smack it. All three of his doppelgangers are better options.

smarmy
smug
oily
unctuously flattering, ingratiating, servile
fulsome
insincere
phony

beto o'rourke

Beto O’Rourke’s high school yearbook photo

In strong contrast, Beto emanated a youthful, idealistic enthusiasm. Like really youthful. Like he was wearing his big boy suit for the first time. This wasn’t all bad tho – you could tell that he was also just really nice. The problem is, “nice” and “politics” don’t really mix. He tried to come out swinging and proved himself not as proficient the brass knuckled brawler that Cruz is.

In any case, I have created my own “no bullshit” version of the transcript of the event stripping out all of the bloviating and pontificating and adding in a little color commentary where it is needed.

Enjoy!

Question: Why should dreamers be allowed to the front of the line for citizenship?

BETO: Dreamers are people too. They are valuable. We need their value. We lose their value if they leave. They’re worth money! [a bizarre and unfortunately worded opening answer]
CRUZ: Legal good, illegal bad. Americans are dreamers also [Not sure what the hell that means… possibly that Americans citizens should be in front dreamers in the line to get… American citizenship?]
BETO: The wall is bad [first of many non-sequiturs from both of them]

Question: Are there people who deserve a path to citizenship?

BETO: Yes

Question: A cop shot a black man in his apartment. Why should the cop not be fired?

CRUZ: We don’t know what happened, due process dude. [a good response… if he stopped there…] Beto doesn’t like cops, he said “Cops are the same as Jim Crow”
BETO: Ted’s a liar. I do too like cops. Black people are targeted and oppressed, we need criminal justice reform [valiant attempt to pivot, but ultimately one of many poor defenses]

Question: Is police violence against blacks a problem?

CRUZ: Everyone is important, not just black people. But cops are more important than everyone else.

Question: Texans don’t agree with you about kneeling for the anthem… why are you so out of touch?

BETO: [60 seconds of invoking the 50s civil rights movement] followed by “so dammit yes, protesting *is* American”
CRUZ: Republicans passed civil rights laws, we’re the party of Lincoln, we’re the ones who stand for equal rights. Democrats are racists. [Especially with the direction that the Republican party has taken under Trump, this rings so false that it is not even funny]
[Aaaand now, the many contradictions start…]
Everyone has rights. But you still can’t kneel. That’s disrespectful. Everyone has a right to protest but Martin Luther King wouldn’t burn the flag.
BETO: Nobody here is saying that we should burn the flag, myself included… but I believe in free speech.

Question: Is there anything that Christine Blasey Ford can say that would make you change your mind?

CRUZ: “Of course.” [Followed by 89 second diatribe about Beto’s support for left-wing activist judges]
BETO: Cruz supports whack jobs for judicial nominees. Kavanaugh is not for Texas.
CRUZ: See, i told you, he didn’t deny it, he likes liberal whack jobs. [on a roll, escalating] He wants to write the 2nd amendment out of the constitution
BETO: No i don’t
CRUZ: You endorsed Hillary who promised to ban guns
BETO:

Question: Is Texas ready for a senator who is ready to roll back gun rights?

BETO: I visited folks Santa Fe High School after the shooting there – the students *all* want universal background checks. Will result in fewer boyfriends killed by their girlfriends. Weapons of war do not belong in school.
CRUZ: School shootings are caused by the removal of God from the public square. [WTF??] *I* visited folks at Santa Fe High School and every single student said “Gun control won’t work, we need armed guards in schools”
[Ok, only *one* of these statements can be right]
BETO: My marksman friend said guns don’t make classrooms safe.

Question: In the last election, Trump called you names, insulted your wife and accused your father of treason. Now you seem to be best friends. Where are your balls?

CRUZ: I put on my big boy pants and did my job [this was one of his better answers of the evening]
[…of course, followed by more theater]
BETO: Trump is a crackpot, why didn’t you stand up to him Mr. Junior Senator?
CRUZ: Don’t listen to Beto, he wants to impeach Trump

Question: Despite you answering this question several times before, I am going to find yet another way to ask you about your ’98 DUI… you tried to leave the scene of the accident right? WTF?

BETO: Nope, that didn’t happen. I got a second chance. I am privileged as a white man. Black people often don’t get those chances. Criminal justice reform. Your mistake as a kid should not define you for the rest of your life.
[That last statement seems to undercut his opposition to Brett Kavanaugh]
CRUZ: Beto wants to legalize heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. [non-sequitur bonus points]
BETO: No i don’t, I want to legalize marijuana. [Not entirely convinced this was the best save]

Question: What would you do to fix Healthcare?

CRUZ: Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad, Obamacare bad… [89 seconds later] We need more choice and competition.
BETO: You can’t repeal Obamacare and keep protections for preexisting conditions. Let me tell you about all of my friends with miserable conditions who will die without healthcare. Medicaid for all!
CRUZ: See, he wants socialized medicine!

Question: Why should voters think you can get Trump to change tack on trade?

BETO: Confused rambling rant… something about war, his farmer friends and unions in Mexico. Uh yeah, I can stand up to Trump, really I can.
CRUZ: Free trade is good. You’re a wacko leftist and will attack the president.

Question: This is a close race… why do you represent Texas values?

CRUZ: Beto is an extreme left-wing wacko.
BETO: I’ve been to every county in Texas [a fact he has highlighted several times already]. I am a man of the people. Ted never shows up to Senate votes. Who can miss half the days at work and still get the job? Ted Cruz gets his money from PACs.
CRUZ: something something something Nancy Pelosi something something George Soros something something other scary liberals that I want to link Beto to.

Question: Texans love tax cuts, WTF’s wrong with you?

BETO: I know how to pay my bills, balance a checkbook. I want to invest in the people, not in corporations and special interests. [Frankly, this was one of Beto’s better answers this evening]
CRUZ: Beto wants to increase your taxes like the left-wing liberal wacko that he is.

Question: Say something nice about your opponent.

BETO: I respect your service and the sacrifice you make.
CRUZ: I appreciate that and I agree, I respect your beliefs… you left-wing, liberal, socialist, wacko you.

Condensed closing statements:

CRUZ: Beto will put the illegal aliens on your healthcare and you will pay for it.
BETO: We are human beings, we will start acting like it.

So which is it? Scaremongering car salesman or nice-guy socialist?

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