by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Robert Francis O’Rourke is white. If it’s any consolation, he’s very sorry about that.
“Beto” has been running from his Irish ancestry for some time now. Long before the Left fell headlong into the logical termini of its triune fascination with race, power, and privilege, O’Rourke sensed that there was a currency to be had in becoming “Beto” rather than “Robert Francis.” For one, the latter was imbued with a stench of Gaelic papism that made him sound more like a rosary-wielding Catholic school boy than a dyed-in-the-wool radical. More damning for a would-be Democratic upstart, though, were the privileges that attended to his birth name: O’Rourke grew up a white male — itself a capital offense in the progressive universe — with plenty of money, and a boarding school education that would later lead him to the Ivy League. How could he rid himself of the odor of privilege, that stench which would only become more of a hindrance as his party grew in its disdain for (forgive the phrase) people like him?
Beto’s father Pat O’Rourke was an El Paso county judge who envisioned a future in state politics for young Robert Francis; it would be useful, Pat decided, to give his son a moniker that would afford him a cache and rapport with the local Hispanic population, which comprised an outsized share of the electorate. The Dallas Morning News reported Pat O’Rourke’s comments on the matter this way: “Nicknames are common in Mexico and along the border, and if [Robert] ever ran for office in El Paso, the odds of being elected in this mostly Mexican-American city were far greater with a name like Beto than Robert Francis O’Rourke.”