A barroom tussle? Drinking beer on a weeknight? That’s nothing. How about the time the 19-year-old wrote a theater review in which he lamented the cast of “perma-smile actresses whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.” What sort of vile misogynistic brute would say such a thing? Get him out of here!
Oh, wait. That wasn’t Brett Kavanaugh. It was Beto O’Rourke—or rather, Robert O’Rourke, according to the byline—writing in the Columbia Daily Spectator, Columbia University’s student newspaper, in 1991.
Predictably Rep. O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, issued a groveling apology: “I am ashamed of what I wrote and I apologize. There is no excuse for making disrespectful and demeaning comments about women.” The article was turned up by Politico, but all fair-minded people must regard this mildly amusing wisecrack from a college student as morally and politically insignificant. O’Rourke had no need to apologize.
What he hasn’t apologized for, but ought to, is his frequent use of a bogus story about a girl the U.S. government supposedly deported. Until recently O’Rourke liked to tell the story of an unnamed “Dreamer,” someone who came to the United States illegally as a child, who had recently become salutatorian of her high school. The feds found out about her and, according to O’Rourke, she was deported to her country of origin, Mexico, despite not knowing Spanish.
A sad story but, as a report in the Dallas Morning News revealed, a fictional one. The congressman had relied on what he’d been told by someone else. The actual woman did speak Spanish and was not deported, and it didn’t happen recently but a decade ago. Also, she was valedictorian, not salutatorian, and she’s now a citizen. (Other than that, as they say, the story was accurate.)
Robert/Beto is rather less inclined to say sorry for that one. His spokesman insists that the congressman was “going off what he was told.” A Capitol Hill Democrat repeating uncorroborated anecdotes? If O’Rourke wins in November, please don’t put him on the Judiciary Committee.