Dave Begley: Live from Carroll

Robert Francis O’Rourke brought his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Iowa. We had Dave Begley on hand to cover the festivities. Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. He is also our occasional presidential campaign correspondent. Dave has filed this report on O’Rourke in Iowa. This time around Dave again took his life in his hands to ask an unfriendly question from the Democratic crowd (thumbnail photo and photo below courtesy of Dave):

I saw Beto O’Rourke speak in a Carroll, Iowa bar on Thursday morning. His good looks and a firm handshake are his two best qualities as a candidate. Beyond that, not much. Right now he is third in some polls and third in fundraising, but I don’t expect him to last. As I told Bill Finnegan of The New Yorker at the event, I think Beto is a flash in the pan and an unserious person. I can’t see O’Rourke dealing credibly with Russia or China and I certainly don’t see him as Commander in Chief and leader of the free world even if he exceeded expectations when he moved from the El Paso City Council to the House of Representatives.

One may doubt O’Rourke’s seriousness if only because of news reports that he ate “magic” dirt recently in New Mexico and the account that he served his wife green feces in a bowl and told her it was avocado.

It is exhausting to watch O’Rourke speak. He sweated through his shirt in a 45-minute talk in a cold room. He constantly waves his arms. He also does this little hopping thing. He moves like a poorly operated marionette.

O’Rourke and other Democrat candidates repeatedly cite all the things that are wrong with America. In Carroll we heard about how rural America doesn’t have reliable broadband internet. Americans are unable to see doctors. There is voter suppression in Texas based on race or national origin. My first thought always is: What was Obama (or Biden) doing for eight long years?

I asked the first question. Since he is for tearing down the existing wall and for open borders, what would he say to Iowa Angel Mom Michelle Root whose daughter Sarah was killed by a drunk illegal alien right after she graduated from college?

His first words were that he was “deeply sorry for her loss.” Stop right there. Sorry doesn’t cut it. The first duty of any American politician is to protect the American people. If illegal aliens weren’t in the United States, these Angel Moms would still have their children with them today. But to the Democrat Party, these American deaths are just collateral damage in the service of a greater cause.

O’Rourke asserted that a wall is a “twelfth-century solution” and that the government’s taking of some real estate via eminent domain was somehow bad. He also equivocated and backed off open borders and tearing down the existing wall. “I’m not for open borders. I do think there are places where physical barriers along the two thousand-mile US-Mexico border makes sense.”

Mr. Waffle pronounced his support of comprehensive immigration reform and recited the bring them out of the shadows mantra. He then went off on a tangent about his bill to invest in technology and staff at the ports of entry. Earlier in his speech he claimed that “the success of Carroll, Ames, and almost every single community in this country is contingent upon its renewal through immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees….” That’s absurd.

A bearded young man stated that he worked for a local billionaire who draws a $100,000 salary. For some unknown reason he couldn’t utter the words “Warren Buffett.” The guy said he makes $50,000 per year. His question? “How will you redistribute wealth from ultrarich people to the working people like myself?”

Stop whining, bub. There’s no constitutional right to a six-figure income. Be thankful for what you’ve got and if you want more, get a better job or, better yet, risk your own capital and start a business. That’s what Buffett did.

In his answer, Beto babbled on about how our political democracy is somehow dependent upon “economic democracy.” I have no idea what “economic democracy” is but it apparently involves a fifteen-dollar minimum wage, paid family leave, “free” community college, “free” public college education, an increase in the estate tax and “doing more to tax wealth in this country.” Your 401k has just been targeted.

O’Rourke asserted that blacks have been “effectively prevented from acquiring any meaningful wealth” in this country. In New York, he came out in favor of reparations. The black alums of Creighton haven’t been prevented from earning money. Arnold W. Donald is a black alum of Minnesota’s Carleton College. He’s the CEO of Carnival Corporation. According to the proxy statement released this March, he earned $13.5 million last year. Given the market capitalization of his company, his own achievements and the compensation of his peers, his pay is at the market rate. But some Democrats want to pay Arnold W. Donald reparations because he had the terrible misfortune of being born in America.

O’Rourke is uninformed about the reality of today’s farming and ranching. Lowering the exempt amount of assets for estates would either force the sale or require borrowing upon the death of the owner. He also had the wrong-headed notion that all sorts of manual labor is needed to run a farm or ranch. Other than branding or harvesting, many ranches and farms need only one or two people for day-to-day operations. It is all mechanized.

In a bizarre claim, Beto asserted that the recent flooding in Nebraska and Iowa was “in part connected” to climate change. According to O’Rourke, we only have ten years to act. I thought AOC gave us twelve years. And I wonder if we get our money back if the apocalypse fails to materialize. (Answer: No, and you don’t get your freedom back either.)

He told the story of a third-grade Mexican-American child who made a Valentine’s Day card for delivery to the VA hospital. She asked him, “Why does the President not like me?” Drawing on the Trump-is-Hitler narrative, he responded:

The President called asylum seekers “animals, an infestation.” We would not be surprised if in the Third Reich other human beings were called an infestation, as a cockroach or a pest that you would kill, but to do that in 2017, 2018 in the United States of America, uh, doesn’t make sense…. Calling Klansmen, white supremacists, Nazis “very fine people.” …. There’s an effect of that rhetoric. We don’t put kids in cages under an Administration except when the Administration signals it is okay to do that….

Note that the Trump quote referred to Democrats and reads as follows: “They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13.” There is a reason that you have to look it up. The full quote is not even unreasonable, let alone shocking.

At the end of his stump speech O’Rourke asserted that he could unify America if he wins. There were about 50 to 75 people at the event, but Bill Finnegan recognized many of them as media. I’m mystified by what people see in O’Rourke.

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