Congressman Beto O'Rourke may not be the next U.S. senator from Texas. I wouldn't bet on it either way at this point, which is in its own way a considerable achievement for O'Rourke, who stepped up strongly when other people didn't have the sand for the campaign and now is without question a national political figure.
For his efforts, however, O'Rourke also has built a lovely vacation home in the Wernicke Area between the ears of Tailgunner Ted Cruz. So far, the Cruz campaign has attempted to damage O'Rourke by reminding voters how cool O'Rourke always has been, by picking a fight with Willie Nelson, and by sending out a fundraising mailer disguised as a summons. To say the Cruz campaign is floundering is to insult flatfish the world over. And now, as the Austin-American Statesman reports,
Appearing at a packed campaign event at Schobels Restaurant in the South Texas town of Columbus on Saturday, Cruz said, “When I got here someone told me that even PETA was protesting and giving out barbecued tofu, so I got to say, they summed up the entire election: If Texas elects a Democrat, they’re going to ban barbecue across the state of Texas.”
“You want to talk about an issue to mobilize the people, and I’m talking everybody,” Cruz said to appreciative laughter. “So I want to thank PETA and I do want to tell PETA you’re going to have to disclose to the FEC that by coming and protesting and giving away tofu, that you have given an in-kind contribution to my campaign by demonstrating just how bad things can get.”
OK, it was a joke, or as close to one as we're likely to get from Ted Cruz. But he was, as Al Franken used to say, kidding on the square. He's got nothing left except culture-war gibberish, which may be enough to push him over the line. That, and his plaintive request that the president* who insulted his wife and traduced his father come to town to pull his burnt ends out of the fire. It's cool and breezy in the Wernicke Area and Beto O'Rourke has just fired up the grill. It's going to be a fun evening.
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