The Beto/Bobby Connection

Beto O’Rourke supporters debuted signs at Saturday’s Polk County Steak Fry which mirrored those from Bobby Kennedy’s storied 1968 run.

‘Beto is good’ and ‘Leader for the 20s,’ were phrases held up on homemade wooden posts, imitating Kennedy’s ‘Bobby is good’ and ‘Leader for the 60s’ signs — a stark contrast to the modern, mass-produced displays of his Democratic counterparts.

But the parallels between the candidates both named Robert Francis don’t end with campaign marketing — O’Rourke supporters have before referenced similarities between the two politicians.

“I’m a huge fan of Bobby Kennedy, and I see a lot of Bobby Kennedy in Beto,” Alison Ver Schuer, an attorney from Urbandale Iowa said.

Photo by Greg Hauenstein

The two both have Irish Catholic backgrounds, the same dusty grey hair and a thoughtful demeanor. Some supporters say O’Rourke’s mannerisms and his ability to connect with people reflects that of Kennedy.

O’Rourke has even referenced the late politician on his campaign route.

“We must heed the words of Robert Kennedy, who in 1967, the time of division and polarization, reminded us that no matter our differences, we share one precious possession, and that is the name ‘American,'” the former Texas congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said earlier this year in South Carolina.

Ryan Holliday, a Galveston, Texas resident, hosts a podcast in support of O’Rourke’s campaign called ‘Looking Ahead to Beto Days.’ Holliday was at the Steak Fry when he interviewed Bill, a Des Moines resident who worked on Bobby Kennedy’s campaign in 1968, for the podcast.

Bill said he hasn’t been involved in politics Kennedy’s assassination, though O’Rourke has pulled him back in.

“Beto to me is the reincarnation of Bobby Kennedy. Their ideas, their manners, it’s like being able to do it again,” Bill said. “After what happened there, I lost interest in politics.”

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Bill said O’Rourke connects with all types of people, just like Kennedy did.

“I was there the night Bobby addressed the black crowd. I’ll tell you what — a white guy standing there right beside a trailer — you feared you were going to get your rear end kicked,” he said. “Bobby Kennedy had that crowd right in the palm of his hand.”

Ver Schuer went to law school in Boston, MA, and worked alongside the late Sen. Ted Kennedy when she worked for Sen. Tom Harkin. She said Beto’s overall sense of humility and need to directly connect with people reminds her of Bobby.

“Like Bobby, Beto always travels in a way that allows him to directly connect voters. Whether it be a BOLT bus, flying by Coach or riding around in a Dodge Caravan minivan, Beto is always accessible and can stop and directly talk to voters versus riding in a big campaign bus with press or flying everywhere in a private jet,” Van Schuer said.

O’Rourke’s Steak Fry speech is penned the ‘No Fear Speech,’ where he said: “PACs, NRA, or even fellow Democrats tell us what is and what is not possible.”

Ver Schuer said the speech reminded her of Kennedy’s ‘Mindless Menace of Violence’ speech.

“Whoa is it similar,” she said. “RFK delivered that speech the day after MLK was killed in Cleveland and called out the unnecessary violence and hate that had taken over the country. When I listened to Beto’s Steak Fry speech…. it was the same cry, just over 50 years later.”

Kennedy’s presidential run ultimately ended in his assassination–  he was shot and killed in 1968 as the lead candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination that year.

O’Rourke has been outspoken about gun control, especially in the wake of a string of United States mass shootings which included his hometown of El Paso, where 22 people were gunned down at a Walmart in August.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!” Beto shouted on stage, in reference to his support for a mandatory gun-buyback program and his breakout moment from the September debate stage.

“Beto said it best at Steak Fry: this campaign is about having no fear in confronting our biggest challenges, and fighting for those who have been left out of our democracy,” said Norm Sterzenbach, O’Rourke’s Iowa state director. “From ending the gun violence epidemic to stopping climate change, Beto’s leading the field in a way not seen in decades. RFK is a hero to all of us, and in his campaign, he gave voice to so many who didn’t have one. We’re working to follow his example.”


by Isabella Murray
Featured photo by Julie Fleming
Posted 9/25/19

21 Comments on "The Beto/Bobby Connection"

  • Beto engages with communities wherever he goes. He LISTENS and learns about the specific challenges facing Americans across the country. Beto has this become the voice of us, Americans, needing our country to be restored to the Great country we remember. Beto is fearless and is really the only one with backbone demanding changes to gun laws and initiating a buyback of military grade rifles. It happened before and everyone survived. Killings went down. Media and Politicians from both sides try to demean him for this act of courage. Washington DC stays quo isn’t working. Our country, our children need Beto as President considering all issues of climate change, health insurance, equality in jobs, reparation action, and preservation of the middle class by empowering unions and ending tariffs hurting farmers. If you love America help elect Beto! Please! If is

  • One coincidence you missed: Bobby Kennedy had a sister with intellectual disabilities – Rosemary. So does Beto O’Rourke. Having a sibling with such challenges either makes you very bitter or very empathetic. I think Beto’s championing – like Bobby – of vulnerable people is motivated by having seen in his own family just what a struggle life can be for people with few defenses.

  • Beto’s approach to politics is based on giving everyone an equal footing and an equal say in America. This is how Robert Kennedy viewed his constituents as well. They both are approachable to anyone anywhere. They both have messages of hope and leading us to be our best selves. They spend more time with those less fortunate than those who have all of the power. Beto is that hope for 2020 and beyond.

    • There is nobody more compassionate than Beto running. He says exactly what he thinks so there is no doubt where he stands on issues. This is what I want from a candidate.

    • Beto has inspired me and given me hooe again for this country. I listened to his live feeds every single day for over a year when he ran against Cruz in Texas and my spirit was always uplifted This is what this country needs now. Someone who actually says what he believes instead of what is best for him politically, someone who is not beholding to anyone other than the people and someone who puts this country first. I am from Texas and all in for Beto.

  • Beto is my choice. He listens to the concerns of all people not just supporters and democrats. He’s not afraid to go against the status quo. He is a representative of the people and would make an excellent president. He is passionate in his beliefs, has empathy, and I believe he is a unifier not a divider. I think he has the ability to bring in people with synergy that will work together to tackle the big issues facing our country

  • I am old enough to remember RFK and the empathy and passion he displayed. I became active politically because of his inspiration. A piece of the soul of America died in 1968 along with MLK and RFK but I am seeing a reawakening of that soul in young activists and in the passion of some candidates around the country. I saw it in Beto O’Rourke in Texas last year and the more I see him in this primary the more I am reminded of the hope RFK inspired, the nobility of true public service and a desire to right the wrongs in our country. He makes me hopeful again and in the darkness of this current administration hope is a wonderful thing!

  • Beto is genuine and will not promise things just to get your vote. He is the real deal just like Bobby was. I want Beto as my president for so many different ways but mostly because he is the polar opposite of we what we have now. He appeals to all Americans and has to guts to say what we are thinking. He has proven he can go toe to toe with Trump and fight like hell for us all!

  • I remember Bobby. I remember him as a profound inspiration, as a (so cliche’ed now) beacon of hope and right direction in an era of churning unrest and challenge, a time of revolutionary divisiveness, a period we seem to be reliving today. And out of the field of contenders, only Beto stands true and solid, like a lighthouse, there to guide us all to return to our Best. I live in MAGAland. I know in my heart my neighbors are good people, but they’ve been so entranced by the glittery circusmaster that their usually clear eyes have been blinded and dulled. Beto’s beam of honesty and integrity, and his promise of moral leadership, is their rescue. And ours.

  • Beto is what all politicians should be- a humble public servant. I like that he includes everyone, whether they agree or not. He is honest and speaks truth to power, regardless of political party.

  • Beto inspires hope and trust. He brings everyone into the conversation and, not only listens, but actually hears them. Beto is compassionate, authentic and speaks from the heart. I was not old enough to vote when Bobby Kennedy began his campaign but my parents supported him and I remember him well. He, too, inspired hope. Beto is truly a leader who can unite us, who will ensure the voices of we the people will be heard, and who will give us hope again. Beto is the hope we need for us, for the country, and for future generations.

  • Beto has a kind and compassionate heart just like Bobby. The world is so lucky to have leaders like these who are so rare.

  • I’ve been following Beto since his Senate run in Texas. These days too many politicians are full BS. Never in my lifetime have I seen a politician that was so caring, honest, and down to earth. He’s not afraid to say what he believes in. He takes no donations from pax’s or major corporations. His campaigns are filled by the people for the people. He listens and let our voices be heard. Watching other presidential candidates out there seems like the same dog and pony show. Beto is so different. I don’t think that big media companies are treating him right. I met him once in Texas and fell in love with his way of doing things. I hope as he travels throughout the United States and meets people they will save the Beto I know. Andnd fall in love with a new way of moving forward in this country. Hope eve everyone has a BETO day.

  • Beto O’Rourke has rekindled the values of what the Democratic party has always been. I knew he had the heart and soul to lead not just the party but America when I heard his first speech. I’ve been a loyal supporter since then. If you know his policies they are supporting working people, disadvantaged and even more he’s concerned about the future generations. He will make a great President. He will put America back on track and hopefully heal this country from the atrocities thrown upon its citizens. If one does not want to read his policies, just listen to a speech, and you will hear exactly the values that we as Americans hold. He should be the Democratic nominee, he should be the one to face Donald Trump (if that’s who the Republicans choose as their candidate) and he will be the President to restore America back to being the people we are known in the world.

  • My first election was in Louisiana for governor. David Duke was running against Edwin Edwards. That election outlined my thoughts about politics. For years (decades), I have seen the worst that politics has to offer, and the election of Donald Trump was, while devastating, just another example of the fact that politicians are not there to support you, help you, or even basically represent you. They are in politics for money, power, and fame, and nothing more. But then I learned about Beto. I was lucky enough to get to see his campaign kickoff rally in El Paso in person. He is literally the only politician I have encountered at the national level that is genuinely concerned about representing the people, no matter the cost. He spent 6 years in congress, doing the right thing, following his gut, and not the allmighty dollar. Beto is what this country needs. It’s what we are starved for.

  • Beto was a city councilman in my hometown, later he was my Congressman, and I love his message of equality and hope, which has never changed. His insistence on meeting and learning from those he served or wants to serve is inspirational and never ending. It’s what those who serve us should do. He invites everyone to the table. He’s my choice for President.

  • Beto has been the boldest in his support of gun control BY FAR. He has detailed plans for health care, legalization of marijuana, and climate change. He has charisma and energy to spare. And He’s our best bet.

  • I’ve been following Beto since his time in the House representing Texas. He first got my attention because of his efforts to help veterans. Then I went to some of his rallies when he ran for Senate. The first time I heard him speak I thought, “this guy is going to be President.” His authenticity is incredible and he is always willing to listen to everyone. He focuses on what people need rather than what sounds good in a poll. I believe he is the real deal and wish that all of our politicians could be so caring and inclusive.

  • Beto stands for all that is good in America. He stands up and speaks out for the Downtrodden, the Disadvantaged, the Undeserved and the Forgotten. What makes him stand apart from the other contenders is that he doesn’t want to compromise his decisions and actions by taking donations from PACS, Corporations, Lobbyists and the like. All contributions are from individuals/people.
    Beto is the ideal leader of this country: young, vibrant, compassionate, unifying, decent, articulate, intelligent and much more. That he is Unfazed, Fearless and Relentless in his pursuit of the Presidency of the United States makes him such an inspiration. I hope and pray that we don’t pass up the opportunity of a President Beto O’Rourke in our lifetime. Because I want to live in Beto’s America! Together with my children and grandchildren.

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