Vote for a law that makes the death penalty more likely for those who kill police officers? "A bad decision on my part." Credential testing authorization programs such as social security? "I've become much smarter." A single planner "Medicare for All"? The former Texas Congressman is no longer the "fastest and safest way" to get comprehensive coverage.
In the early days of his presidential campaign, the Democratic presidential candidate of 2020 quickly gave up some of his previous political stance. In some cases, O & Rourke has explained why he changed his mind.
"Listening to people, seeing and owning things from a different perspective, when they've made a mistake," is "part of my being," said O & Rourke to CNN recently when he looked at his reversals was asked.
It is also what he wants from other candidates and elected representatives.
"I just want to know who they are, what they really think ̵
O & Rourke insists that voters interpret his setbacks as refreshing honesty. But the risk he faces is that the Democrats see him as a political cipher in a field of candidates such as US President Senator Elizabeth Warren, who offers a detailed economic policy platform, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which has held many of them, will see progressive positions for decades.
The recent presidential campaigns have shown the political drawbacks of allowing mistakes and changing positions and keeping them in those positions for fear of appearing weak. In 2004, Democratic nominee John Kerry was used as a "flip-flopper" against the war in Iraq. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was attacked for having been at war in Iraq, and although she said she had chosen differently "to know what we know now," she would not call it a mistake, and later lost the nomination the then US Senator Barack Obama, who from the beginning began his opposition to the war (though Obama never had to vote on the issue). During her second presidential run, Clinton made sure she emphasized her apology.
"I can only tell you, I am the one I am," he said. "I try to be very honest and transparent about it, I do my best to listen to the people I want to serve – otherwise, in my opinion, there is no reason to advertise, because you have nothing to learn."
"I still have a lot to learn, and I also want to be clear if I've made a mistake or if I can do something better," said O & Rourke. "I think that this is the only way to improve and survive not just in a campaign, but to build the consensus or the movement or the coalition to achieve something."
But his approach still has critics.
"This is a choice of great ideas, and so far he has only apologized," said Jess Morales Rocketto, a Democratic strategist vociferously critical of O & # 39 ;. Rourke's approach to the presidential campaign.
"When I work on his campaign, I would be quite worried that he talks so early about just about the positions he needs to defer to his ideas about America," she said. "Everything he has done is to apologize or turn around."
"I regret that this vote has taken place"
O & Rourke spent the first days of his presidential campaign through the top four states to participate in the presidential nomination process – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada – as well as in the upper Midwest to choose.
Although he has set some clear priorities – granting citizenship for "dreamers", extending Medicare and legalizing marijuana while marijuana-ownership-related beliefs were discarded among them, he did not enter into detailed political plans the race Some Democrats have brought them into the 2020 competition.
Instead, at each event, he took questions from the audience and told the masses he wanted to learn from them and turned their experiences into his platform.
This Blind Slate approach has prompted opponents, activists and journalists to review O Rourke's previous comments and voices. In some cases, he quickly said that these positions were wrong.
In May 2017, he supported the Thin Blue Line Act, which made the death penalty more likely for those convicted of murdering police officers. The legislation was passed by the parliament, but was never taken up by the senate.
Last week O & Rourke was asked by a reporter in Orangeburg, South Carolina, if he regretted his vote.
"I regret the vote," he said. "That was a bad decision for me, I never advocated the death penalty, I think killing an attack on a police officer should be a complicating factor, but I do not think that will help change someone else's life And so, that was a mistake of mine, and if I had this vote again, I would not vote for it. "
"You asked the question, did my opinion change? Absolutely," he said. "I think I've gotten smarter listening to the people I've represented in Congress and others who understand this topic better than me."
He said he now supports the lifting of the cap on social security taxable income. Currently, individuals pay only social security taxes on the first $ 132,900 they earn. O & Rourke said instead of testing funds, he would tax money above that limit.
He pointed to his co-sponsorship of a bill that did exactly that in the House, saying that it would "ensure that this program lasted well into the next century," without "the commitment we have some way to affect our American Americans who have invested in this program every day of their lives. (This bill was never in the position when O'Rourke was in the house and has since been re-inducted into the current Congress.)
In his bid to defeat Republican Senator Ted Cruz last year, O & # 39; Rourke a "Medicare for All" "Health Insurance Program for One Person." Now that he is applying for the president, he has told the masses that he is no longer sure that supporting such a program is the quickest way to Instead, he said, he now supports "Medicare for America," a measure proposed by Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro maintain private health insurance for those whose employers they provide, but relocate all other Americans to Medicare.
He also holds his position in the impeachment of President Donald Trump has been postponed. During his Senate run, O & Rourke said he would vote to accuse Trump. "There is enough there to go to court," he said in a CNN Town Hall in October.
Now, O Rourke rejects the question, saying that it is up to the Congress where he is no longer a member and that the best course of action for Democrats is to defeat Trump in 2020.
"I have to look long and hard at my actions"
Along with the reversals to previous political positions, there have been excuses for his personal behavior.
On the second night of his campaign, O 'Rourke apologized twice in a matter of minutes while recording a podcast in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He said he was upset at several events in the first two days in Iowa because his wife raised her three children "sometimes with my help." He said the joke was "ham" and he should have acknowledged his privilege. O & Rourke later told reporters that he had called his wife Amy, who told him his joke was "flip" and that he should take the matter seriously.
"Not only will not I say that again, but I will be more thoughtful in the way I talk about our marriage," he said.
He also apologized for his writings as a teenager when he was a member of a group of activist hackers. These writings, which contained a bit of fiction under the pseudonym "Psychedelic Warlord" and from the point of view of the killer, were revealed in a Reuters report.
He said he was "humbled to read it now, unbelievably embarrassing." Whatever my purpose as a teenager was, it does not matter. "
" I have to look long and hard at my actions and the language I have used, and I have to constantly try to do better, "he said.
O & Rourke has his attitude as well He was a prolific launcher of F-bombs, as politicians accompany during his Senate campaign, but this language has been largely missed ever since he launched his presidential campaign, in Madison, Wisconsin Voters no longer use the F-word during the election campaign – and O & Rourke agreed.
"I do not intend to use that word in the future," he said.