Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, best known for not winning an election, announced he was running for president and Vanity Fair's Joe Hagan was on Thursday's installment of MSNBC's Morning Joe to fawn over the newest 2020 Democratic candidate.
Hagan was on to talk about O'Rourke and his glowing Vanity Fair profile of the ex-congressman. O'Rourke was quoted by Hagan as saying, "Man, I'm just born to be in it." The media love O'Rourke as much as he seems to love himself and Hagan is no exception. Yesterday, on MSNBC, Chris Matthews approvingly referred to Hagan's article as, "the best kiss I’ve seen for a candidate in a long time."
Asked by co-host Willie Geist what O'Rourke meant by that, Hagan recalled trying to get O'Rourke to tell him what his plans were as he played the "will he, won't he" presidential game. "Tell me what you're going to do. Tell me what you're going to do," Hagan recalled, desperately trying to get an answer out of the failed Senate candidate.
Hagan then fawned over O'Rourke's "charisma that he has on stage" and that when the cameras are on "that was that moment where he felt he had some kind of destiny." Eerily similar to the media's gushing over of Obama's on screen personality, Hagan extolled, "He has that gleam in his eye." He recalled, "Evan Smith at The Texas Tribune said, 'Seeing him, it's like a Jesus Christ Superstar seeing this guy in front of people.' He's got that celebrity aura about him and in that moment he was owning that. You could see 'I want to do this. I feel I have this destiny.'"
It's bad enough when politicians disguise their lifelong ambitions for power that they believe to be their destiny as public service, but a roughly 8,700-word "kiss" only makes it worse.
Here is a transcript of the March 14 show:
7:14 AM ET
WILLIE GEIST: Joe, before we let you go, the pull quote on the cover of Vanity Fair from Beto O’Rourke quote, “Man, I’m just born to be in it.” What does he mean by that?
JOE HAGAN: You know, at that point it was not yet clear what he was going to do and I had sort of boxed him in, “tell me what you’re going to do. Tell me what you’re going to do” and finally when he just sort of let himself tell me that he was going to run for President, I think he, you could see the charisma that he has on stage, that whatever you get a camera on this guy, he has this charisma, that was that moment where he felt he had some kind of destiny. He has that gleam in his eye. Somebody, Evan Smith at The Texas Tribune said, “Seeing him, it’s like a Jesus Christ Superstar seeing this guy in front of people.” He’s got that celebrity aura about him and in that moment he was owning that. You could see “I want to do this. I feel I have this destiny.” Now, we'll see how long that lasts.
GEIST: And we'll see the criticism, obviously from Susan Page laying that out from the RNC, but from a lot of people, maybe hear it from Democrats as well: that he is just a celebrity that some people are not going to want to call Jesus Christ Superstar.
HAGAN: That’s right. That’ll be his challenge. That’ll be his challenge to kind of prove as she was saying “where’s the beef?” Where going to find out?