Ted Cruz Comes Out of the Gate With a Swing and a Miss

In the most unsurprising news to come out of Texas on Tuesday, both Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O’Rourke won their respective primaries to face off against each other in November for a seat in the Senate. Cruz wasted no time in going after his opponent with a 60-second radio ad.

In case you missed it, the verse to that song goes something like this, “Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.” That’s because O’Rourke’s given name is Robert. But contrary to what that little tune suggests, Beto has been his nickname since he was born.

“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 in a brief phone interview Tuesday night.

Savvy readers will get the problem with all of that right away. The name of the guy behind that ad is Rafael Edward Cruz, who prefers to go by Ted—perhaps because his family immigrated from Cuba to Canada, where Rafael was born. The guy is just asking for all of that to be resurrected at the beginning of this campaign.

While most commentary on this ad focuses on the ridiculous notion of Ted Cruz mocking Beto O’Rourke for a nickname, I found something else equally interesting. Over and over again, the chorus repeats, “If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.” The question that sprang to my mind immediately was not related to this particular race. I’d want to ask Cruz if a liberal woman can run in Texas. I have heard that there are a few of them on the ballot this November. Perhaps one of them could come up with a catchy tune about how, “If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a 19th century man.” (I know that doesn’t fit the beat, but you get my point.)

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.