Et tu, Jared? Roger Stone tells Alex Jones that Kushner is conspiring with Morning Joe and the globalists against Trump

 

Good day Austin:

Forget small-screen reality TV.

Seventy-five days in office, and President Trump is emerging as a tragic figure of Shakespearean dimensions, worthy of Macbeth, Hamlet or Julius Caesar.

And who is the Bard of Trumpland?

Well, Alex Jones of course.

And it is on the Alex Jones Show that the political spectacle unfolding before us is recorded, evaluated from a Trumpian perspective and recapitulated in hoarse-throated iambic pentameter for all the world  – or at any rate his vast audience, especially including Donald Trump – to hear, ponder, absorb, tweet and share.

So, imagine you are Donald Trump, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, learning along with the rest of us, as perhaps your oldest and most trusted political confidante – Roger Stone – reveals to Alex Jones – your fiercest ally in what Jones properly labeled the Infowars – that your beloved son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the young prince to whom you have entrusted more power than any other person in your administration or perhaps any person in any administration ever – that, yes, dearest Jared is, in effect, plotting against you, or at any rate conspiring to promote his own interests over your  best interests, and, oh the villainy, conspiring with the man on the sacred box – Joe Scarborough – who you believe more than any other, betrayed you and your friendship and all those exclusive phone-ins during the primary campaign, and who now, the ingrate, begins each day before dawn setting the world against you.

Imagine what it must be like for President Trump to process the idea –  because this is what it comes down to – that his beloved daughter, Ivanka, is sleeping with the man who is now revealed to be the enemy within.

From the teaser at the beginning of the video:

Roger Stone: Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and perhaps the one person in the White House who can’t be fired, is now in regular text-message communications with Joe Scarborough. Many of the anti-Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on Morning Joe, are being dictated by Kushner, and while Mr. Kushner’s plate is very full with Middle Eastern peace and the China visit and so on.

In this case I think he is disserving the president.

 

Alex Jones said Stone was there “to cover the waterfront with big breaking news on what’s actually happening in the White House.”

Roger Stone: You’re right Alex. There are so many developments in Washington that it’s hard to keep track.

Let’s start with the fact that legitimate, totally credible sources (say) that my name is among those that Susan Rice unmasked, that my name is among those where she was searching for the intelligence. This is of course using intelligence agency material from surveillance for strictly political purposes. It is also a felony.

Alex Jones: It’s ultra illegal.

Roger Stone:  Strictly illegal, at two levels.

One, the request, and secondarily, the dissemination. There are clearly leaks in the New York Times and in fake news sites like The Smoking Gun and Raw Story. These people are guilty of a felony, are recipients of information, raw information.

Alex Jones: And by the way, I noticed that even PolitiFact and other groups that are normally pretty liberal, they put out articles that OK, Roger Stone never said that he was talking to these people beforehand, he talked to them afterward publicly, he wrote articles for Breitbart. Everything Roger Stone said has come out. Congressman (Adam) Schiff (the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee) is lying. I couldn’t believe that.

Note: Jones was referring to a piece by Robert Farley at FactCheck.org, not PolitiFact, that begins as follows:

Rep. Adam Schiff laid out a series of “coincidences” to build a circumstantial case that President Trump’s campaign associates may have colluded with the Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. But one of his “coincidences” is not an established fact.

 “Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that [Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman] John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published, and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?” Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in his opening statement at a March 20 hearing.

There is nothing in the public record so far that proves Stone, a political operative and longtime Trump associate, predicted the Podesta email hack.

And here is a piece from RealClear Politics noting that Schiff is sounding tentative about what has been proved so far.

On Sunday’s edition of ‘State of the Union’ on CNN, House Intelligence Committee top Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) explained that so far his investigation has turned up no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election.

“I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point,” Schiff said. “We are still at the very early stages of the investigation. The only thing I can say is that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this. We really need to find out exactly what the Russians did. Because one of the most important conclusions that the intelligence community reached is that they are going to do this again to the United States. They are doing it already in Europe. So we can say conclusively this is something that needs to be thoroughly investigated but it’s way premature to be reaching conclusions.”

 

Back to Stone and Jones.

Roger Stone: Well KABC, perhaps the most powerful drive time station in LA, invited both Congressman Schiff and I on for a faceoff. I don’t have to tell you he was a no-show. Of course, he could have called in as I did. I’m still waiting to hear from either the House or Senate committee.

But let me reiterate, I don’t need a subpoena. I’m not asking for immunity and I want to testify to both committees, in public, not behind closed doors.

We now know that the president has gone to war with the Freedom Caucus. This makes little sense to me because the Freedom Caucus is made up of libertarians.

Alex Jones::It’s his backbone, it’s the people that brought him here.

Roger Stone: That’s right, these are his natural allies. And while it’s true you can never completely please them, that’s the way some of us libertarians are, you could at least be giving them enough from a policy point of view that they would be your backbone, and then you only have to convince the establishment Republicans to join you.

Much easier than the other way around.

Here is the sad truth. The president’s health care bill was drafted by former Speaker John Boehner and a team of lobbyists. It was passed to Ryan. Ryan passed it to (White House Chief of Staff Reince) Priebus. Priebus passed it off to the President and did him a disservice. This is not the best bill that could have been presented. If I were the president, I would simply say, `Well, now that the Ryan bill has failed, I’ll introduce my own bill.’

Now, Alex, please understand. Anytime I criticize the president, and his administration, it’s out of loyalty to the president, and my sincere desire that he succeed.

Alex Jones: Absolutely, and it’s a no-brainer that he’s getting bad advice. He can disagree with the Freedom Caucus and trying to get a better bill than Obamacare passed, but he can’t sit there and say they’re the enemy and watch the Democrats celebrate. I think he figured that out by this weekend, meeting with Sen. (Rand) Paul – (who) hinted at this a few weeks ago when he was on (Infowars) – and through some other channels.

Trump just wants this to be on Congress and wants to get it repealed, period. But that he is actually looking now to work with Paul to try to craft something. So that’s the word. Meanwhile, Rand Paul is very optimistic about repealing it after golfing with Trump. What do you make of that?

 

Roger Stone: He got there before I did. I was delighted to hear that those who were advocating for the president to (meet )with Sen. Paul, bury the hatchet and work together and that has happened.

There was, of course, resistance to that by some on the White House staff. Then you had this bombshell story yesterday of the deputy chief of staff, Katie Walsh, leaving the administration after her financial disclosure forms showed that she was paid $300,000 from the Republican National Committee, on top of her salary of $300,000. That’s $600,000. But the $300,000 was paid to her through a dummy company controlled by her mother.

This was the kind of person that was promoted to the White House, coming over from the Republican National Committee. Has now been discharged.

It is vitally important that the president surround himself with loyalists – people like Ed Martin, people like David Urban,, people like Wayne Berman, are people that played a vital role in his election. They don’t need government jobs. They don’t seek  government jobs, but would join the administration if asked,.and I just use them as examples of people with enormous qualifications and experience, but are committed to the Trump agenda.

Alex Jones: Absolutely, but let’s just move back to some of the bigger issues here.

Trump just has to make the decision to kick out more of these establishment Republicans and realize that he can’t make them do his will to restore the Republic and they’re going to backstab him at every turn, and after 74 days I think he’s finally starting to get that.

But going back here, but, what about the intel I’m getting, and I talked to you last night and you confirmed some of this and you can’t get into some of it because obviously it’s a conversation for the president, and others, but looking at this, (Nunes actually had to actually be told about some of the things that were going on by only a few patriots that were in the White House because (House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin) Nunes didn’t even know where to look so that just shows that Trump is surrounded by either a bunch of ignoramuses or people that are out to sabotage him.

I mean in ten minutes I could give Trump advice that if he followed it, that the American people would be screaming for the heads of all these Democrats. It’s simple and we have them, we have them, we have them, if we simply pull the trigger.

Roger Stone: Well Alex, since we talked last night, we’ve actually learned more. The reason two junior aides in the White House took this bombshell evidence to Chairman Nunes is because they knew Chairman Nunes could not be blocked from communicating it to the president. They did so because they did not believe if they passed it up the chain of command, they did not think that if they passed it up the chain of command that  some of the establishment Republicans  at the top of the White House food chain, that the information, vital information, would get to the president.

This is why they gave the information to Chairman Nunes. None of this makes this information  less accurate nor less true, so it give you an idea of the kind of treachery we see among some in the Trump White House.

Here’s another piece of news Alex, and I think this is key. There’s no question now that, sources tell me, the president’s son-in-law enjoys a very lively text exchange with Joe Scarborough and that Scarborough’s repeated attacks on Steve Bannon, not to mention some of his attacks on the president, clearly are being manipulated by Jared Kushner for his own internal purposes.

Now any criticism I have of  Trump administration or any members thereof, which Mr. Kusher is one, are meant to be constructive, not destructive, but this time, Joe Scarborough is no friend of the president. He revels in passing on fake news. He himself, has more scandals than you can shake a stick at, that he is sitting on.

Alex Jones:  Roger, let me stop you. Is this in the news or is this from your sources? What the hell is Jared Kushner doing talking to a guy who has a dead intern in his office and is an absolute scumbag.

Roger Stone: Well, I didn’t say those things, you did. But this has not hit the news. It is breaking right now on Infowars, and that is the back channel between the president’s son-in-law and Joe Scarborough.

Alex Jones:Hold on. let’ talk about this when we come back. I don’t want to run down Jared. He looks like a smart guy, good-looking guy, clearly, they’re grooming him to be president. Great, but not if he’s not smart enough not to play patty-cake with Joe Scarborough, some of the lowest trash on Earth

Alex Jones: Roger Stone has breaking, bombshell news about Jared Kushner, exclusive, on Jared Kushner, there in the White House, the son-in-law of the president, who is at he center at basically everything now, and his communications with Joe Scarborough, a Democratic Party operative, conservative turncoat basically in my opinion, but here is those bombshell developments that Roger tells me are just sensational.

Please continue.

But let’s pause here to underline how central Kushner is to the Trump presidency.

From Bruce Bartlett, domestic policy adviser in the White House to President Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush, in Monday’s New York Times:

President Trump has made his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a White House assistant with an exceptionally broad portfolio. Mr. Kushner has been charged with at least three major tasks, any one of which would be a full-time job: working on Middle East peace, preparing for a state visit by President Xi Jinping of China and overseeing a broad effort to reorganize the federal government utilizing business techniques. And on Monday, he accompanied Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a visit to Iraq.

Offhand, I am not aware of any White House staff member in recent history who has had such an important and diverse array of responsibilities. One would have to go back to Harry Hopkins, one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s closest advisers, to find someone similar. But although Hopkins worked on both domestic and foreign policy, he didn’t work on them simultaneously, as Mr. Kushner appears to be doing.

I have no idea if Mr. Kushner is up to any of these various jobs, let alone all of them.

And from columnist Frank Bruni in today’s New York Times:

Why don’t we just stitch him a red cape, put him in spandex, affix a stylized “S” to his chest and be done with it?

SuperJared has taken flight.

He’s President Trump’s point man with the Chinese, having finalized the details of the big meeting at Mar-a-Loco later this week. He was Trump’s middleman with the Mexicans not long ago.

“A shadow secretary of state,” The Washington Post called Jared Kushner, and that was well before he traveled to Iraq on Monday, beating the actual secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to one of the most consequential theaters of American foreign policy.

Kushner’s to-do list, not Tillerson’s, contains the small, pesky item of brokering a durable truce between the Israelis and the Palestinians. “If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump said to the 36-year-old real estate scion, who has absolutely no background in diplomacy, from the stage of an inaugural party.

The precise strategy is under wraps. As Henry Kissinger, an informal adviser to Kushner and others in the Trump administration, told Annie Karni of Politico in mid-February: “It’s not clear to me in what way he’s in charge of it, whether he’s in charge of it with supervision from the White House, or whether he’s supposed to be the actual negotiator. Nor has it been defined what they’re negotiating about.”

Mere details! Just leave things to Kushner. He’ll figure it out in those down moments when he’s not supervising the brand new Office of American Innovation, whose modest ambition is a full-scale reorganization of the federal government that makes it more efficient.

His plan on that front is clear. He’ll simply do everything himself.

Back to Roger Stone on Infowars yesterday.

Roger Stone: Alex, first of all, let me say that any time I level an accusation at the Trump administration, or even rarely at the president himself, I do it so out of loyalty to Trump himself and to his agenda. I want to help the president beat back the globalists and to make America great again.

My experience with Ronald Reagan and before that with Richard Nixon, tells me that a White House divided against itself cannot stand, and the internal squabbling between the establishment wing and the diminished true believers continues inside the White House.

Jared Kusher, the president’s son-in-law, and perhaps the one person in the White House who can’t be fired is now in regular text-message communications with Joe Scarborough. Many of the anti-Steve Bannon stories that you see, the themes that you see on Morning Joe are being dictated by Kushner, and while Mr. Kushner’s plate is very full with Middle Eastern peace and the China visit and so on, in this case I think he is disserving the president.

Scarborough himself is a badly flawed carrier for this message. He is bitter with jealousy since he wanted to run for president. He nurses ideas of coming back to Florida and running for governor. I’d have to jump into the Republican primary to stop him if he tried that ,though are certainly far, far better candidates than Joe Scarborough or Roger Stone.

So there you have it, and more of this story as it develops.

 

Alex Jones: This is just incredible. So Joe Scarborough -and I know your sources are impeccable, you’ve never given me a story that didn’t turn out to be true, Roger – is the main leaker against Bannon. I know you can’t get into your sources Roger, but you were telling me off-air this is very extensive, you don’t want to talk about it over the phone but this is really confirmed and that it’s really, really bad. were you speaking during the break, because we really didn’t have time to get to it, on what Kushner is doing or what Scarborough is doing?

RS: Well, Kushner is clearly feeding the lines and the intel to Scarborough and then Scarborough is visiting those on Kushner’s internal rivals and those who are arguing against the globalist agenda.

If you go back to some of our earlier conversations here at Infowars, I’ve said repeatedly my greatest fear is not liberal Democrats but establishment Republicans who would undo the Trump Revolution.

 

Alex Jones: Roger Stone, let me ask you this. Do we think it’s Kushner – because we thought it was Priebus from our sources – that’s going around the telling the press that the president is like a small child.

Roger Stone: I think it’s people below Priebus but people that Priebus has selected, because that is neither in Kushner nor Priebus’s interest, and these are not stupid people.

Alex Jones: And then the question is, if Kushner’s not dumb what the hell is he doing sitting there pen-palling with that piece of garbage Scarborough?

I just finished watching Morning Joe. Not a single mention of Roger Stone or Alex Jones or the terrible things they were saying about Joe Scarborough. The Morning Joe talk was devoted to a stern and urgent description of Trump as a failed president, his poll numbers sinking into historically low terrain as he fails to cope with international crises in North Korea and especially Syria beyond blaming former President Obama.

Yet, there is no way that President Trump can avoid hearing about the Stone-Jones conversation regarding his son-in-law.

What would Julius Caesar do?

From  New York Magazine: Alex Jones and Roger Stone Are Starting to Think Jared Kushner Is Illuminati

Alex Jones knows how to sell snake oil. The Infowars host has convinced much of his audience that the Sandy Hook shooting was a false-flag operation; Obama brought Ebola to the United States; the CIA rigged the 2016 presidential debates against Donald Trump; and if you spend $59.95 on a small glass bottle full of ginseng extract, your ex-wife will love you again.

But there are some truths that no “alternative facts” can obscure. And even Jones can’t pretend that Trump’s first months in office have been especially successful.

This presents Jones, and his fellow thought leaders in the far-right fever swamp, with a bit of a challenge. On the one hand, in the trenches of the information wars, Trump’s greatness cannot be questioned. On the other hand, failing to even secure a House vote for the Obamacare repeal — and then going on Twitter tirades against the far-right darlings of the Freedom Caucus — is not very great at all.

Conservative infotainers have resolved this conundrum by channeling the fever swamp’s disappointment and confusion onto the “Establishment” wing of the White House — and the “bad advice” that it keeps feeding to our dear leader.

Most of the reactionary populist pundit class has painted the bull’s-eye on Reince Priebus and/or Paul Ryan. But on Tuesday, longtime Trump ally Roger Stone informed Alex Jones that this scandal goes all the way to just beneath the top.

xxxxxx

In the early days of the Trump White House, Kushner and Bannon were rumored to be engaged in an unlikely bromance. “For a guy who was a progressive, he really gets this grassroots populist movement in a huge way,” Bannon told New York of the president’s son-in-law.

But last month, the Washington Post suggested that Bannon and Kushner may now find themselves on opposite sides of growing divide at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

An unexpected political marriage has formed between Bannon, with his network of anti-establishment conservative populists, and Priebus, who represents a wing of more traditional Republican operatives. They are often at odds with the New Yorkers, led by Cohn and Powell, who are close to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, arguably the most powerful White House aide.

Regardless, one should, of course, take anything Roger Stone says with a couple kilos of salt. But the fact that the far-right’s frustration has already led it to turn on Kushner — arguably the president’s most trusted aide and one of the few Jewish members of the West Wing — is a testament to how fractious Team Trump is, both inside and outside the White House.

Meanwhile, here from last Thursday, another remarkable exchange between Stone and Jones, the transcript courtesy Media Matters for America.

And this comes with an extreme language warning.

JONES: In fact, let me say this right now. Let me tell — I’m not against gay people. OK. I love them, they’re great folks. But Schiff looks like the archetypal c***sucker with those little deer-in-the-headlight eyes and all his stuff. 

And there’s something about this fairy, hopping around, bossing everybody around, trying to intimidate people like me and you. I want to tell Congressman Schiff and all the rest of them, “Hey listen ass****, quit saying Roger and I” — and I’ve never used cussing in 22 years but the gloves are off — “listen you son of a bitch, what the f***’s your problem? You want to sit here and say that I’m a goddamn, f****** Russian. You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of s***. You f****** goddamn f******. Listen f*******, you have f****** crossed a line. Get that through your goddamn f****** head. Stop pushing your s***. You’re the people that have f***** this country over and gang-raped the s***out of it and lost an election. So stop shooting your mouth off claiming I’m the enemy. You got that you goddamn son of a bitch? Fill your hand.”

I’m sorry, but I’m done. You start calling me a foreign agent, those are f***** fighting words. Excuse me.

STONE: Yeah, I don’t think I have ever been in a campaign in which we disparage the patriotism of our opponents. Now, I’m not going to go there. But I think Adam Schiff has acted irresponsibly and I think he needs to be confronted with his exact words.

JONES: He’s sucking globalist dick.

But yesterday, Jones described the attack on Schiff as just another example of one of his “art performance … rants.”

From Media Matters:

Jones later claimed that his anti-Schiff remarks were “clearly tongue-in-cheek and basically art performance, as I do in my rants, which I admit I do, as a form of art. And they turn that into a premeditated plan that I’m trying to influence that chicken neck Schiff, who has made up all this crap about Trump and Russians, and has been caught lying. Saying that [Susan] Rice wasn’t spying. This guy is a loser. When I say, ‘I’m going to kick your ass,’ it’s the infowar. I say every day we’re going to destroy you with the truth.”

He later said:

ALEX JONES: I just want to be clear: I mean no violence against Mr. Schiff. I know the guy’s a liar. I know that he is an attack dog of the Democrats. I know that he’s really trying to hurt this country so I dislike him, but I wish no harm on him or his wife or his children or anybody else — so this is not a retraction, this is a clarification. Yes, I don’t want violence. You guys are openly calling for it everywhere so I think then you should ask yourselves what hypocrite planet you woke up on when I say 1/10th of what you said clearly jesting and then you take it as serious and call for my incarceration for six years in federal prison.

Meanwhile, from yesterday’s show: Putin Calls For Meeting With Trump To Fight The Globalist Empire. Two of the world’s most powerful men stand up to the global elite

Beto from the get-go. O’Rourke gets running start in campaign against Ted Cruz

Good morning Austin:

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic congressman from El Paso, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Ted Cruz Friday in his hometown and then traveled to Dallas, Waco, Austin and Houston to meet with voters.

Saturday afternoon he was at Scholz Garten on San Jacinto Boulevard.

 

 

Later, I told O’Rourke that I may have indulged in a little hyperbole in tweeting the size of the Scholz crowd.

“Donald Trump would have called it enormous,” O’Rourke reassured me.

I felt better.

Suffice to say, O’Rourke drew good, enthusiastic crowds on his announcement tour.

O’Rourke:

It’s clear, everywhere across the state, folks are ready and they want somebody to show up and get after it and we’re doing that. Now we’re  going to follow through. A lot of people when they shook hands and posed for pictures said, `Don’t let us down. You said you were going to do this, do it.’

 

 

Here was his announcement in El Paso.

Here is his appearance in Dallas. (Language note: O’Rourke uses the F-word three times in his Dallas remarks. They add a bit of emotional punch to what he is saying, but they are a bit jarring, particularly at a daytime appearance before a large audience of people of all ages and backgrounds.)

He did not Facebook Live his Waco stop.

Clearly, there is a lot of energy among Texas Democrats 70-plus days into the Trump administration and O’Rourke is tapping it.

There are, of course, reasons to be skeptical about his chances.

From R.G. in Texas Monthly: Is Beto O’Rourke On a ‘Suicide Mission’? The El Paso Democrat faces long odds against Ted Cruz.

In announcing his candidacy, the 44-year-old Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke declared in his hometown that he will serve the state rather than run for president and promised to counter the “fear and paranoia” coming for President Donald Trump’s White House.

But O’Rourke is not only from a different time zone than the rest of the state, he may be from a different political reality. “I know Beto. And he’s a good guy. But I think this is a suicide mission,” Texas’ other Republican senator, John Cornyn told Politico.

O’Rourke said Friday he will run for the office by refusing to take either political action committee money or corporate money. Cruz starts the race with $4.2 million in his campaign account, while O’Rourke starts with a little less than $400,000. During his presidential campaign, Cruz’s loosely affiliated Super PACs raised more than $38 million for his campaign. Texas is a state with about 25 media markets. Running a statewide campaign usually costs $1 million to $1.5 million a week, and $30 million in spending is not unusual in a general election. O’Rourke begins by limiting his ammunition. “It’s bear your throat to the wolf,” Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson told me. “[the wolf] may have pity on you but probably not.”

O’Rourke did not specifically rule out having a Super PAC, and in fact one was associated with his 2012 upset primary defeat of incumbent El Paso congressman Sylvestre Reyes. The Super PAC was partly financed by O’Rourke’s father-in-law, El Paso developer Bill Sanders. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Reyes said at the time that Sanders “is using the super PAC to help influence the outcome of this election while circumventing loopholes in campaign finance law to buy Mr. O’Rourke a seat in Congress.” If O’Rourke has a primary opponent, that Super PAC might become an issue because it also was used in an unsuccessful effort to unseat U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas.

O’Rourke does have the skills to run a campaign through alternative media, and is known for using Facebook Live to his advantage. House Democrats staged a sit-in last year after Republicans refused to bring up gun control legislation in the wake of the Orlando night club mass murder, but Republicans adjourned the legislative day, prompting the C-Span cameras to shut off. O’Rourke brought the action to national attention by streaming it on Facebook Live. C-Span then picked up O’Rourke’s feed as well as that of another congressman.

More recently, O’Rourke and U.S. Representative Will Hurd of San Antonio charmed the nation with a live stream of their bipartisan road trip town hall from Texas to the nation’s capital after a snowstorm caused the cancellation of their flights. They got stories in The New York Times, Washington Post, and on Good Morning America. One segment of their stream had 1.5 million viewers. Not bad for a free ride.

Cruz is no stranger to social media, though. As a result of his unsuccessful presidential campaign, Cruz has 2.4 million followers on Twitter. O’Rourke has about 10,000. Cruz used his account to tweet: “A liberal Democrat is announcing a campaign today to try to turn TX blue. Stand with us to #KeepTexasRed.”

Yes, O’Rourke voted for Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan, a generational peer, in Ryan’s challenge to Pelosi for speaker, and was very public about it. It’s one of the distinctions between O’Rourke and Castro and one of the reasons why O’Rourke, unlike Castro, does not have much of a future in the House – that and the fact that he has said he would serve no more than four terms and he is already serving his third term.

A Ted Cruz-Beto O’Rourke Senate race would draw tremendous national interest, in no small measure because of how polarizing a figure Cruz is.

 

At Scholz Garten

 

 

 

One might imagine that trying to win a Senate seat in big and expensive Texas would not be high on the national Democratic Party’s to-do list for 2018.

And yet, while Texas Republicans may be better prepared than most to withstand a rising anti-Trump tide, a wave may be coming.

And ….

 

Democrats aim to take out Cruz in 2018. The 2018 map is so bad for the party that to win the Senate majority, they have to prevail in Texas.

The road to a Democratic Senate majority in 2018 runs through Texas — yes, Texas.

Facing a grim midterm map, Democrats are desperately trying to put enough GOP-held seats in play to take advantage of Donald Trump’s unpopularity and carve a credible path back to Senate control. The odds are so long that Democrats must pin their hopes on taking out Ted Cruz in the reliably conservative bastion of Texas.

 Their first ray of hope is the entry of three-term Rep. Beto O’Rourke — a 44-year-old former hard rock musician and internet entrepreneur who speaks fluent Spanish — into the race on Friday. Though Cruz is universally known, Democrats insist he’s not invincible, pointing to the first-term Republican’s poor polling numbers and prolonged focus on running for president.

And they say O’Rourke is formidable enough that they can make a case to donors that they actually have a shot at winning the state — and the Senate overall.

“People want to win and they want to play offense. And Texas represents that,” O’Rourke said in an interview earlier this month. “Texas is how you win back the Senate.”

But first, O’Rourke has to win the Democratic nomination.

Joaquin Castro, the congressman from San Antonio and twin brother of Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, is still weighing whether to enter the race.

There is a line of thought that a primary is just what the Texas Democratic Party needs.

From Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas.

Rep. O’Rourke jumps into 2018 Senate Race as Abbott endorses Cruz. While talk has died down considerably about a 2018 Republican Primary challenge to Cruz in the wake of his non-endorsement of President Trump at the Republican National Convention, Texas Democrats have been introduced to their Senator through his failed presidential bid – and they didn’t like what they saw. This is likely part of the calculus for O’Rourke’s decision-making heading into 2018 (same with Rep. Castro). And while Democrats are likely to be motivated to turn out in somewhat higher numbers next election cycle in response to Trump’s presidency, as of right now, most don’t know O’Rourke — which is an expensive proposition for anyone seeking statewide office in Texas. Setting aside for the moment all of the usual business about how Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in over 20 years, how Republican the state is, how powerful incumbency is, the less Democratic electorate in non-presidential years, etc. etc., the best thing for the Democratic Party in Texas is not unity, in fact, but a hard fought primary by two well-funded campaigns.  This could breathe a little life into the state party – regardless of what happens in November 2018.  

From Noah Horwitz, a first-year law student from Houston and a columnist at the  Daily Texan: O’Rourke needs primary to prepare for Senate race

While there was some grumbling about Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio jumping into this race as well, signs increasingly say that won’t happen. His absence would be a shame. For all the muttering of party elites that a competitive primary would waste resources, a healthy preliminary round would be about the best thing Democrats could get.

This would even be true if, as I suspect, a primary re-litigates some aspects of the Clinton vs. Sanders race from last year. The reminiscence has already emerged in the Democratic primary for Governor of Virginia, for which there is an election in November. In his remarks in Austin on Saturday, O’Rourke waded deep into Bernie-ism, particularly when discussing his eschewing of corporate money.

O’Rourke is a good candidate. He is young and is a dead-ringer for Robert F. Kennedy. He is also passionate about many liberal pet issues. But without a rigorous primary, I fear that he might not quite be ready for prime time, so to speak, in taking on Cruz.

O’Rourke repeatedly mentioned El Paso in his Saturday remarks. He mentioned it was the safest major city in Texas. He mentioned a series of touching anecdotes about it. He mentioned it to the detriment of other parts of Texas, most notably the part in which he was speaking. The speech felt like it had parts copied-and-pasted from his stump speeches for the House. Ted Cruz would tear that to shreds.

Cruz is a masterful debater and brilliant political tactician. I was convinced 100 percent from the moment he took his place in the Senate that he would succeed Barack Obama as president, precisely because of the skills he showed time and time again in the 2012 senate election. Cruz can look you in the eye and say — forcefully, articulately and persuasively — that the sky is red. And in most cases, people believe him.

For all the talk of Cruz being reviled and a joke, O’Rourke and all other Texas democrats underestimate him at their own peril.

To say that O’Rourke faces an uphill climb would be a laughable understatement. The odds of victory are close to zero. The best way for them to tick upward is to have a healthy primary. So run, Joaquin, run!

As it happens, after Sholz, O’Rourke went over the Stephen F. Austin Hotel where the Texas Democratic Party was having a reception featuring new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and the new vice chairman, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who Perez defeated for chairman,

I understand why a Castro-O’Rourke primary could help the eventual winner. But, of course, someone would have to lose, and the net result could easily be knocking both rising stars out of Congress as Ted Cruz rolls to a second term.

At the Saturday reception, O’Rourke invited the prospect of Castro entering the race, while subtly undermining it.

Yes. Imagine. If a Castro-O’Rourke race would draw interest, just think what a sensation a Castro-O’Rourke-Castro race would be.

Beto O’Rourke and Joaquin Castro seem to genuinely like and respect one another. They have both said that if they end up running against one another, they would conduct a campaign that would make Texas proud.

Perhaps.

But, as in sync as the two seem to be, and as much as they might like each other, a primary between the two congressmen in their prime and with everything on the line would  pose a real test of what Freud referred to as “the narcissism of minor differences.”

From Bill Greenblatt last August in the St. Louis American, on Democrats and ‘the narcissism of minor differences’

Aug 4, 2016

We owe to Sigmund Freud the fascinating concept of “the narcissism of minor differences.” He used it to explain the peculiar fact that people who have the most in common tend to have the nastiest and most cruel fights with each other. Freud figured out that we can most deeply despise that which we can most fully understand – and, in human terms, that is people most like ourselves. Among other things, this explains why people are far more likely to be killed by someone they know. In political terms, it explains why primary fights can turn so nasty and leave such deep wounds that continue to hurt long after the party is supposed to band together to defeat the ostensibly common enemy in the other party.

Admittedly, this way of thinking betrays a binary opposition – Democratic versus Republican – that is under a more serious challenge in 2016 than at any time in at least a generation. We understand that many Republicans are defecting from their party’s bombastic presidential nominee, Donald Trump, and many are siding with the Libertarian candidate. And, yes, we suspect that there are Bernie Sanders Democrats who oppose Hillary Clinton so fiercely they will vote for the Green Party candidate in November. We also are familiar with the argument that the general election for president will be decided by how many Republicans vote Libertarian compared to how many Democrats vote Green.

It is our deep conviction that the binary opposition of Democratic versus Republican remains essential to the reality of our political process – even though the narcissism of minor differences has left many of us hating our fellow party-mates so much that we would, for example, risk seeing Trump elected president rather than vote for Clinton.

In other words, however good their intentions, there is some peril in a O’Rourke-Castro primary.

(And, just imagine, if you follow the narcissism of small difference to its logical extreme, how vicious a Castro-on-Castro race would be. There is a movie there.)

While O’Rourke is not nearly as well-known as Castro, let alone Cruz, he does have a deft touch for building a narrative and using social media.

I think this is a smart strategy.

Traveling to every Texas county would give his campaign a story-line, and would reinforce every step of the way a central message – that he is seeking the votes of Texans who his party has mostly given up on the last couple of decades.

“The Ann Richards era was the last era where we truly took  on an all-county statewide initiative,” O’Rourke said Saturday.

But, as recently as 2006, David Van Os, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, visited every county.

From  October 24, 2006, David Van Os – What I Learned About Texas

Dear Friends, Supporters, and Visitors,

I pledged to meet the public at every one of the 254 county courthouses in Texas, and I have met my pledge. The 254th whistlestop was last Friday, October 20, at the Travis County courthouse in Austin. From April to October touring Texas occupied most of the time and energy of my wife Rachel and myself.

Seeing and meeting the good people of Texas in every county, together with absorbing the natural grandeur of our beautiful Texas, was one of the greatest experiences of our lives for both Rachel and myself.

Even more importantly, having learned about the concerns of Texans in every part of the state will make me a much better attorney general and public servant.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Greg Abbott, now the governor, defeated Van Os by 22 points, slightly better than the 20 points by which Abbott defeated Wendy Davis for governor in 2014.

O’Rourke also noted Saturday that when Ann Richards was elected governor in 19990, “she had an entire ticket, it wasn’t just Ann Richards. That’s the example we need to strive for – to find other folks who are willing to run for these other offices.”

Assembling a strong statewide slate would probably do more to improve O’Rourke’s chances in the fall than an invigorating primary challenge.

Meanwhile, this weekend was HONK!TX, the fabulous annual festival of community street bands.