Yep, it could be a tough row to hoe for the GOP, but luckily for them, Texas Republicans have a cunning plan: Tell voters that Beto O'Rourke, the man looking to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, was once a smokin' hot bass player in a punk band. And include pictures.
Psst ... hey, Texas GOP, haven't you heard? Rock and roll is here to stay. You should know that, since Danny & the Juniors released that song in 1958, which is about where the hearts, minds and policies of the Republican Party still dwell — at least among the more enlightened party members, that vanishing breed.
Not up on your social media? Let us 'splain.
Wednesday was a good day to be on Twitter if you like O'Rourke. Similarly, it was a good day to be on Twitter if you don't like Cruz. Most of all, though, it was a good day on Twitter if you enjoy reveling in political trolling attempts gone horribly wrong.
Here's the setup. Throughout his campaign against Cruz, O'Rourke has pushed the senator for multiple debates. Last month, Cruz agreed, sorta, to five debates but insisted on the time, location and topics of each of the showdowns. O'Rourke balked, specifically at the Cruz team's requirement that each of the debates be held on a Friday night and limited to one topic of Cruz's choosing.
Hah, like a punk rocker is going to be tied by rules from the man. In the words of Sid Vicious, any self-respecting punk like O'Rourke will sing out, "Uhdiditmwahwaaaay."
Anyhow, the sides have yet to come to an agreement — although both Cruz and O'Rourke have said in recent days that their camps are getting closer to reaching a deal — but the Texas GOP decided this week that it was going to go after O'Rourke anyway, once it became clear that the first Cruz-proposed debate, which would've been Friday night, wasn't going to happen.
Which is fine, not exactly in good faith, but fine by the standards of political campaigns. Boy, did they screw it up, though. Instead of making O'Rourke look chicken, Texas Republicans made the already Kennedy-esque O'Rourke look even sexier in a series of tweets. The message, apparently, was that O'Rourke is just too cool for Texas voters.
That's right Texas voters, while Cruz made enemies for life during his undergrad years at Princeton, O'Rourke played bass in a band with At the Drive-In frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala. While they never made it big, Foss were a bit of a thing in the early '90s, as demonstrated by a couple of raucous performances on a local TV show in El Paso. O'Rourke's in red. (Warning to elderly Republicans: play this with the sound muted. We don't want to kill anyone's grandma.)
Maybe Beto can’t debate Ted Cruz because he already had plans... pic.twitter.com/LdqKTh3yK4— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) August 28, 2018
OK, so we're not saying the music was good. But for reference, below is a clip of what Republicans look like when they play guitar. We believe the man on the left is Ron Wood. The guy on the right making the embarrassing bass face is late GOP dirty trickster Lee Atwater.
The Texas GOP also tweeted O'Rourke's mugshot from a 1998 DWI arrest, which might have been a good idea had O'Rourke not already addressed the two arrests on his record — university police picked him up after he crawled under a fence on the University of Texas-El Paso campus in 1995 — repeatedly.
The Texas GOP's tweets, as anyone who knows anything about Twitter would've guessed, backfired brutally. Many, including vox.com's Matt Yglesias, questioned Texas Republicans' decision to contrast O'Rourke with their candidate.
There's always the chance that Robert “Beto” O’Rourke won’t debate Senator Cruz because he got into a hazy situation... pic.twitter.com/4nmd42AEkl— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) August 29, 2018
Is the theory of this tweet that the cool guy in a band typically loses a popularity contest to an unpleasant debate nerd? https://t.co/7AX1AK6ypk— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 29, 2018
here’s what ted cruz and beto o’rourke were doing to unwind during roughly the same period pic.twitter.com/yxsXGaaF0y— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) August 29, 2018
This is so good. Beto was in a band while Ted Cruz was busy being a friendless ambition monster practicing his inaugural address in the Princeton dorm mirror. https://t.co/tdQjz5gJ64— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) August 29, 2018
“Beto thinks Texas wants someone who was popular in high school and has MULTIPLE friends— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) August 29, 2018
Ted knows better”
Many Twitter users simply took the chance to bask in O'Rouke's devastating good looks.
Keep pointing out that Beto is cooler than you though. Good plan. pic.twitter.com/eEuBZ1zP5b— Schooley (@Rschooley) August 29, 2018
Why is the GOP trying to make me have a crush on Beto https://t.co/WLYnx7zYpi— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) August 29, 2018
Not sure posting photos of Beto O'Rourke looking super hot in the '90s is the best strategy, but I'm gonna assume the Texas GOP know what they're doing.— Maggie Serota (@maggieserota) August 29, 2018
Ernie Luckman showed everyone, again, that The Simpsons have already predicted everything.
why'd they tweet this photo of beto looking hot as fuck https://t.co/bX4rJIknpj— libby watson (@libbycwatson) August 29, 2018
The best tweet of the bunch, however, and there was an avalanche of them, was an inside joke from journalist Jules Suzdaltsev.
GOP Texas criticism of Beto like pic.twitter.com/QkillYK6Qg— ernie luckman (@ErnieLies) August 29, 2018
That GIF, you see, is the first couple seconds of pornographic video liked by Cruz's Twitter account on a very funny night in 2017. Cruz blamed the "like" on a staffer, but the idea of Cruz saving a little porn for later has lived on. (Kinda makes us wonder what Cruz is doing on those lonely Friday nights when nobody wants to debate him. Ick! No! Cancel that!)
me finding out Beto was in a band pic.twitter.com/BZ00s8gFRM— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) August 29, 2018
Keep up the good work Texas GOP. O'Rourke needs every vote he can get.