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Beto O’Rourke questions relevance of Constitution, principles ‘set down 230-plus years ago’

January 16, 2019

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke recently questioned the modern-day relevance of the U.S. Constitution and whether the country should still be governed by “the same principles that were set down 230-plus years ago.”

“I think that’s the question of the moment: Does this still work?” Mr. O’Rourke asked during a taped conversation with two friends, which he aired to thousands in response to President Trump’s Oval Office address to the American people about the border wall, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

“Can an empire like ours with military presence in over 170 countries around the globe, with trading relationships and security agreements in every continent, can it still be managed by the same principles that were set down 230-plus years ago?” Mr. O’Rourke reportedly asked.

The former Democratic congressman, who lost his Senate bid last year to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has been eyed as a potential Democratic hopeful to face Mr. Trump in the 2020 presidential election. It’s clear from his interview with The Post this week, however, that giving specifics isn’t his strong suit. His answers to questions about visa overstays, Syria and the “Green New Deal” all produced the same answer: Let’s have a conversation.

Mr. O’Rourke’s own ad attacking Mr. Trump’s border wall noted that most illegal immigrants in the country are those who overstayed their visas, but when asked what should be done about the problem, the former congressman told The Post: “I don’t know.”

He later suggested that the U.S. could harmonize its visa system with Mexico’s to keep better track of people’s whereabouts.

“That’s an answer,” he said, “but that’s something that we should be debating.”

Former Rep. Luis Gutierrez is just happy that Mr. O’Rourke, who represented a border district in the House for six years, is finally paying attention to the immigration issue. Mr. Gutierrez told The Post that he was “very pleasantly surprised” to see the former congressman suddenly interested in immigration last year.

Mr. O’Rourke, however, still doesn’t have an answer on the best way to tackle the border crisis.

“That’s a problem when you’re like, ‘It will be a wall,’ or ‘It will be this,’ or ‘We can only do it with this,’” he told The Post when asked why he doesn’t have firm stances. “The genius is we can nonviolently resolve our differences, though I won’t get to my version of perfect or I, working with you, will get to something better than what we have today. It’s rare that someone’s ever been able to impose their will unilaterally in this country. We don’t want that.”

When asked whether he agrees with ending the U.S. military involvement in Syria, he said he would like to see “a debate, a discussion, a national conversation about why we’re there, why we fight, why we sacrifice the lives of American service members, why we’re willing to take the lives of others.”

“There may be a very good reason to do it. I don’t necessarily understand and I’ve been a member of Congress for six years,” he said. “We haven’t had a meaningful discussion about these wars since 2003.”

Mr. O’Rourke also had praise for a sweeping economic and energy reform plan pushed by leftist Democrats called the “Green New Deal,” but added that there’s more room for debate.

“But, thank God the work has been done to articulate the goal, the vision, the means to achieve it, and that’s a perfect point from which to start a conversation,” he said.

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