- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Pollster Frank Luntz went on Fox News and said that basically, looking at the numbers, Beto O’Rourke was running the dumbest presidential campaign, well, ever.

There’s an understatement, if there ever was one.

“All of Beto was about him,” Luntz said on Fox. “It wasn’t about policy, it wasn’t about politics. It was cult of personality.”

His personality, that is. His “look at how great I am” personality. His “enough about me — tell me what you think about my looming win of the White House” personality.

And all that, thus, has led to O’Rourke’s big campaign reboot.

Even his reboot, though, is less-than-believable — and definitely, less than stellar.

For example: O’Rourke went on “The View” and admitted, yes, his “Vanity Fair” cover appeared “elitist” — but then he tried to slide in a bit of dishonest spin about his previous grand pronouncement of being “born” to run for the White House.

“I think [the Vanity cover] reinforces that perception of privilege,” O’Rourke said. “[But I] was attempting to say that I felt my calling was in public service — no one is born to be president of the United States, least of all, me.”

How nice of O’Rourke to finally admit what the rest of us have been thinking all along.

Yet one can’t wonder about the timing of his admissions.

It doesn’t escape notice that this newer, less prideful version of O’Rourke, the one that says he “has a lot to learn,” is only coming to the political scene on a roll of poor poll showings.

Back in “Vanity Fair” days, O’Rourke was the talk of the Democratic ticket. Now? Mayor Pete Buttigieg is kicking his butt, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is kicking his butt, Joe Biden is kicking his butt.


O’Rourke’s suddenly eating some humble pie.

Other Democrats like Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have also had their eyes widened to the realities of crowded political fields and falling star power, and announced campaign reboots of their own.

But it’s Beto who crowed about being “born to be in it.” It’s Beto who rather lamely told a nation of informed female voters that he sometimes, sometimes has not helped his wife take care of their kids.

And now it’s Beto who, as Luntz said, did “the dumbest thing you could possibly do” by announcing a campaign reset.

“[That’s like] acknowledging that your politics don’t work,” Luntz said.

And that right there is quite possibly the most honest message O’Rourke has yet offered.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter @ckchumley.

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