Beto, Beer, and Benster

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Hey man, pull my Beto:

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s livestreamed New Year’s Eve chat — featuring the former Harvard prof cracking and swigging a beer — is being widely panned as inauthentic pandering, with some political operatives calling it a desperate effort to compete with young contenders.

“It’s called ‘pulling a Beto,'” Democratic consultant Scott Ferson chuckled, referring to up-and-coming progressive Beto O’Rourke, a possible 2020 rival of Warren.

When you're less authentic than the fraud from El Paso, that's saying something. There's more:

Ferson and others noted that the 69-year-old Warren has not been known for the down home, digital fireside chat approach, and it seemed contrived.

“She’s never really made this type of appeal,” GOP strategist Ryan Williams agreed. “She’s nervous about newer younger faces in the Democratic party. She’s making a pretty desperate attempt to make it look like she’s cool.”

“Elizabeth Warren seems more like a chardonnay senator than a beer senator,” quipped Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University politics professor who was a longtime Democratic communications specialist. “It’s just sort of trying too hard … and people have pretty good radar for that sort of thing.”

Two years into the Trump administration, there's one thing he does that's consistently amazing -- he makes all his opponents look terrible. They denounce, they flail, they pretend to be something they're not. It's difficult to suss out how much of that is Trumpian bad juju and how much of it is simply people revealing themselves when the cameras arrive. But I have a suspicion.

A story: when Benster was young and playing Little League baseball, he didn't have a particularly strong arm, which limited his ability to progress much beyond that level. Because he didn't have a strong arm, his coaches generally didn't think to use him as a pitcher. As a result, Benster only got to pitch a few times, but when he did pitch he could be pretty effective. Why? Because he didn't have a strong arm, his pitches almost seemed like lobs to the kids he was pitching to. They would just about fall out of their shoes trying to kill the ball as it approached. He would strike out a few kids and most of the ones who did hit the ball tended to hit weak ground balls to the second baseman. Almost no kid he faced had the patience to wait on the pitch long enough to hit it hard, even though they would take ferocious swings. As long as Benster threw strikes, he'd get kids out.

As we watch the lineup of Democratic candidates come up to the plate in this cycle, watch what happens. I predict a lot of them will be taking ferocious swings, but won't make solid contact.