Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is attacking a Democratic contender for some dubious reasons.
Cruz certainly has some disagreements with his opponent over policy issues, but his recent beef with U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke isn’t over policy statements or ideological concerns. Rather, it’s regarding his decision to go by his nickname “Beto.”
In a musical radio advertisement released after O’Rourke won the party’s nomination contest on Tuesday, earning him the right to become the Democratic challenger to Cruz in November, the latter’s campaign chastised O’Rourke for changing his name to “fit in.”
“... Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin,” a line from the song states.
FIRST LISTEN: our new 60-second statewide radio ad introducing our liberal opponent, Congressman Robert O’Rourke, to Texas voters.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 7, 2018
Help #KeepTexasRed: https://t.co/PVsiCtbbyL #CruzCrew #TXSen pic.twitter.com/OxK61gZ0ek
The song also says that, “If you're gonna run in Texas, you can't be a liberal man.”
CNN host Chris Cuomo took Cruz to task for the song, pointing out that he’s been on the receiving end of such gimmickry himself — and that his first name isn’t his real name, either.
“You didn't like that dirty pool when you were running for president, and [current President Donald Trump] called you 'Lying Ted,'” Cuomo said. “You didn't like that kind of tactic. And, you know, look, your name is Rafael. You know, you go by Ted. Your middle name is Edward.”
Chris Cuomo Destroys Ted Cruz making fun of Beto's name— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) March 7, 2018
“Why are you making fun of Beto for his name? Your name is Raphael. You go by Ted. Your middle name is Edward” pic.twitter.com/1wsDh99DKJ
Cruz tried to defend his attacks on O’Rourke’s nickname by suggesting he was just joking around.
“In terms of the jingle, some of it is just having a sense of humor,” Cruz said. “... We had some fun with it.”
O’Rourke refused to respond directly to Cruz’s jingle, according to CNN. In an interview following his primary win, he explained his nickname of “Beto” was bestowed on him as a child.
“My parents have called me Beto from day one, and it's just — it's kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso. It just stuck,” he said.
It’s sad to see that politics in America has sunk to such a level. Certainly we’ve seen politicians go low before — but thanks to Trump, childish name-calling and attacks on another person’s nickname have become the norm. Cruz is continuing that “tradition” in his hypocritical radio attacks.
He can claim he’s just having a bit of fun, but campaigns are run by people who want to win, not joke around. Cruz’s attack was purposeful, and it’s evident he’s hoping to use viciousness to propel him to victory come November.