Three-term Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke scored a stunning though expected primary victory last night to secure his place in November’s Texas senate race. But even before those results were official, the man Rep. O’Rourke is now set to face off against, the failed Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, took a shot below the belt.
He released what’s essentially an old fashioned radio jingle to officially launch his reelection bid, only this one is rife with equally old fashioned dog whistles and fallacious attacks.
O’Rourke is mounting a strong and well-organized challenge. He’s raised a ton of money and attention to try to unseat the controversial Republican, and Sen. Cruz has been in full panic mode for weeks.
The country music bit, titled If You’re Gonna Run In Texas, opens with the chorus, “If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal, man. ‘Cause liberal thought is not the spirit of a Lone Star man.”
FIRST LISTEN: our new 60-second statewide radio ad introducing our liberal opponent, Congressman Robert O’Rourke, to Texas voters.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 7, 2018
It only gets whackier and more pathetic from there. The next line blatantly mocks Rep. O’Rourke for using a Spanish nickname – ‘Beto,’ short for ‘Roberto’ – even though he’s not of Mexican or Latino heritage and his given name is Robert.
And just to be sure Republican voters are sufficiently scared about the Liberal boogeyman coming to get them, the jingle finishes with a lyric based on classic conservative talking points on immigration and the second amendment: “Beto wants those open borders and wants to take our guns. Not a chance he’ll get a vote from millions of Texans.”
The butchering of rhyme and meter aside, those conspicuous attack lines caught the ear of many in the media. CNN’s Chris Cuomo confronted Sen. Cruz on the blatant dog whistling and called him out live on his show New Day Wednesday morning.
“You go after Beto for his name. Beto is obviously a nickname — why?” Cuomo asked. “You didn’t like that dirty pool when you were running for president and the president called you ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ you didn’t like that kind of tactic…”
“And you know what, your name is Rafael, you go by Ted but your middle name is Edward, that’s a more Anglicized version of it,” Cuomo added. “He went the other way and has a more ethnic version of his name — why go after him? You’re both doing the same thing.”
Sen Cruz just tried to laugh it off as all in good fun humor. Few people are laughing, however, and those that are appear to be laughing at him, not with him.
You can watch Cuomo pick Sen. Cruz apart below.
Chris Cuomo asks Sen. Ted Cruz why he’s criticizing his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke for going by the childhood nickname ‘Beto’ when Cruz’s real name is actually Rafael: “You’re absolutely right. My name is Rafael Edward Cruz.” https://t.co/tkyhJy6DXk pic.twitter.com/l90lFsvNjf
— CNN (@CNN) March 7, 2018