MSNBC Worries Beto Not ‘Liberal Enough’ for Democrats

Is a politician who supports government-run health care, major gun restrictions, the radical Green New Deal and abortion liberal enough for the Democratic Party? That was the question MSNBC hosts asked on Thursday as they fretted that former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke may not be far left enough for Democratic voters in the 2020 presidential primary.

“[He] has declined to call himself a progressive because he does this thing where he doesn’t like labels, right? So he has put that away from his campaign,” anchor Hallie Jackson said of O’Rourke during her 10:00 a.m. ET hour show. She then outlined all of the 2020 contender’s policy positions:

He supports things like immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, universal health care, although he has not committed to, for example, Medicare-for-all. He wants to invest in clean energy, says he supports the Green New Deal. Legalization of marijuana, an assault weapons ban, he pro-choice on abortion rights.

 

 

To most, that would sound like quite a liberal platform. However, turning to failed Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, Jackson feared: “Do you think, Wendy, that Beto O’Rourke is liberal enough in this sort of crowded platform?  That he is progressive enough for the Democratic Party that wants to see somebody progressive in place?”

Davis assured her that O’Rourke lost his 2018 Texas Senate race “running on an unapologetic progressive agenda,” and that: “He may not have owned that label for himself, but he ran very much to the left of center here...”

Moments later, Jackson hopefully asked: “You know Texas. Can he realistically – realistically, truly – bring Texas to Democrats in 2020?” Davis proclaimed: “He realistically, truly can bring Texas to Democrats in 2020. I absolutely believe that....if we have a Texan on the ballot, I think Texas is going to go to the blue column in 2020. Mark my words. This is my prediction.”

In the 11:00 a.m. ET hour, anchor Craig Melvin voiced the same concerns as Jackson: “Beto’s progressive – his bona fides. They’ve always been called into question by some.” After noting O’Rourke telling Vanity Fair that he was “not into the labels” when asked if he was “progressive,” Melvin worried: “Is Beto O’Rourke, is he going to be liberal enough to win this kind of Democratic primary?”

Texas Tribune Political Reporter Patrick Svitek replied: “You know, I think one thing that’s for sure is he’s going to face a different level of scrutiny on that question than he did during the Senate race....I think he’s definitely going to face more scrutiny on those kinds of questions.”

Fawning over O’Rourke on CBS This Morning, co-host Bianna Golodryga falsely claimed that his “voting record has skewed more to the center than progressive,” despite a mountain of evidence proving otherwise.

For the liberal media, Democrats can never seem to move too far left, but can always be too “moderate.”

Here are full transcripts of the March 14 MSNBC exchanges:

MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson
10:07 PM ET

(...)

HALLIE JACKSON: Wendy, let me come back to you here, related to Beto O’Rourke, somebody who you know. He calls himself a progressive – or has declined to call himself a progressive because he does this thing where he doesn’t like labels, right? So he has put that away from his campaign.

But we like to talk about where these candidates stand. He supports things like immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, universal health care, although he has not committed to, for example, Medicare-for-all. He wants to invest in clean energy, says he supports the Green New Deal. Legalization of marijuana, an assault weapons ban, he pro-choice on abortion rights.

Do you think, Wendy, that Beto O’Rourke is liberal enough in this sort of crowded platform?  That he is progressive enough for the Democratic Party that wants to see somebody progressive in place?

WENDY DAVIS: Well, I can tell you what we observed here in Texas. And it was really fascinating because Beto managed to excite not just Democratic voters here, but also independents and a fair amount of Republicans, too. And he did it running on an unapologetic progressive agenda. He may not have owned that label for himself, but he ran very much to the left of center here, in a state that you would, as a politician, be advised not to run a campaign that looks like that. And he managed to connect with people in a way that was really rare and quite magical honestly.

And I watched him this morning as he stood in that coffee shop in Keokuk, Iowa on his very first campaign stop. And I saw him doing the very thing there that we observed him doing in Texas and that he’ll do throughout the campaign.

(...)

JACKSON: You know Texas. Can he realistically – realistically, truly – bring Texas to Democrats in 2020?

DAVIS: He realistically, truly can bring Texas to Democrats in 2020. I absolutely believe that....if we have a Texan on the ballot, I think Texas is going to go to the blue column in 2020. Mark my words. This is my prediction.

(...)        

MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin
11:05 AM ET

(...)

CRAIG MELVIN: Patrick, Beto’s progressive – his bona fides. They’ve always been called into question by some. In his first appearance earlier this morning, he was asked about the Green New Deal. Here was his response.

BETO O’ROURKE: So some will criticize the Green New Deal for being too bold or being unmanageable. But I tell you what, I haven’t seen anything better that addresses this is singular crisis that we face, a crisis that could, at its worst, lead to extinction.

MELVIN: He was also asked, Patrick, in that Vanity Fair interview, if he was a progressive. And O’Rourke’s response was, quote, “I leave that to other people. I’m not into the labels.” Is Beto O’Rourke, is he going to be liberal enough to win this kind of Democratic primary?

PATRICK SVITEK [TEXAS TRIBUNE POLITICAL REPORTER]: You know, I think one thing that’s for sure is he’s going to face a different level of scrutiny on that question than he did during the Senate race. He didn’t have much of a competitive primary in Texas, where these kinds of issues would have been raised.

And in the general election, he was running against Ted Cruz, and so, if any liberals or progressives, you know, had any real problems, they kind of stayed quiet about it and they weren’t too bothered because of course he was a much better alternative to Ted Cruz for them.

And so, I think he’s definitely going to face more scrutiny on those kinds of questions.

(...)


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