Beto urges Biden to treat Texas like segregationist Arkansas in 1950s, send in troops
01/30/2024 // News Editors // Views

There are plenty of takes on the showdown between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and President Joe Biden’s administration over the situation at the nation’s southern border. As always, some of these takes are good, some are bad.

(Article by C. Douglas Golden republished from

But why am I not surprised that arguably the worst take came from a man who — in spite of every reason for him to disappear from our public life — refuses to go away: former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke?

O’Rourke, as you may remember, was campaigning to be Texas’ governor during the 2022 midterms. Texans had other plans, handing the Republican Abbott a third term by a margin of nearly 11 percent.

Abbott’s third term has inarguably been his toughest, and for reasons beyond his control: Thanks to the Biden administration’s de facto open borders policy, Texas has been swamped with illegal immigrants.

The governor and other Texas Republicans have employed a number of measures to try and stem the flow when it became clear Washington wasn’t going to do anything — which caused the Biden administration to take them to court repeatedly, claiming it had responsibility for the border even as it was obviously abdicating that responsibility.

The latest salvo came in the form of a Supreme Court decision on Monday, in which the high court ruled 5-4 that the Biden administration had the authority to remove a temporary barbed-wire border the state had put up to deter illegal crossings.

As is fitting for a state where the unofficial motto is “molon labe” — “come and take it” in Greek, used as a rallying cry during the Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution — Abbott and the Texas National Guard are standing their ground.

“Under President Biden’s lawless border policies, more than 6 million illegal immigrants have crossed our southern border in just 3 years,” Abbott wrote in a Wednesday letter in response to the decision. “That is more than the population of 33 different States in this country. This illegal refusal to protect the States has inflicted unprecedented harm on the People all across the United States.”

The letter went on to note that Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that the federal government “shall protect each [State] against invasion” and that Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the document recognizes “the States’ sovereign interest in protecting their borders.”

“The failure of the Biden Administration to fulfill the duties imposed by Article IV [Section 4] has triggered Article 1, [Section] 10, Clause 3, which reserves to this State the right of self-defense,” the letter continued. “For these reasons, I have declared an invasion … to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself.”

As of Friday morning, 25 Republican governors had pledged to stand with Texas’ efforts to defend itself:

Naturally, this could go a number of ways. To Beto O’Rourke, it should go literally the worst, bloodiest, most divisive way possible: with Biden treating this as President Dwight Eisenhower treated the state of Arkansas when it refused to abide by Supreme Court-ordered desegregation.

“Abbott is using the Texas Guard to defy a Supreme Court ruling,” O’Rourke said in an X post on Wednesday evening.

“When Gov. [Orval] Faubus did this in 1957, Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas Guard to ensure compliance with the law,” the Democrat said.

“Biden must follow this example of bold, decisive leadership to end this crisis before it gets worse,” he concluded.

Now, a little bit of a history lesson for you young’uns who might not be familiar with just what kind of force O’Rourke is suggesting Biden use here: In 1954, the Supreme Court issued Brown v. Board of Education, which ordered public schools to desegregate. The Jim Crow South didn’t like this much, and Faubus — a Democrat and consummate racist of the highest order — decided that he would use the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from attending Little Rock Central High School.

Yes, Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard — and sent in an escort from the 101st Airborne Division to ensure integration happened, for good measure. This, for those who haven’t seen it, is what that action looked like:

Just so we’re clear, this is the level of force and chaos that Beto O’Rourke believes is necessary to preserve the right of criminal cartels and migrant caravans to illegally cross into the United States.

This is “bold, decisive action” on the part of a president to allow people to break the law — the same level of force that was necessary to break the massive resistance of the Jim Crow South to public school integration.

Rest assured, Dwight David Eisenhower didn’t use this level of force because he merely felt the need to show “bold, decisive action.” He did it because he had to.

He did it to prevent violence and lawlessness, which is what the minatory, bigoted mob that was opposed to integration promised to inflict upon the black students and the city of Little Rock.

He did it because Orval Faubus — a witless Dixiecrat demagogue who would have gladly lit the powder keg of racial resentment he was sitting atop if it increased his chances at re-election in 1958 — was doing nothing but stoking racial resentment for his own personal gain. And to do it, he violated the law of the land.

Abbott is defending Texas’ border because Biden refuses to — and, in doing such, refuses to enforce the law of the land, or even recognize that land has actual borders that must be legally crossed.

Biden, like Faubus, is stoking lawlessness and violence for his own cynical political benefit — “demographics is destiny,” after all, and pro-amnesty groups have been breathing down his neck since day one in the White House for him to pass progressive immigration reform legislation that would legalize illegal aliens.

The president has no interest in carrying out the dictums laid out in the Constitution, the ones that say it’s Washington’s job to defend the individual states from those who would illegally enter them.

And despite all this, Beto O’Rourke thinks it’s high time that Eagle Pass in 2024 looks like Little Rock in 1957 — all so people can enter the country illegally. That, to him, is presidential strength and boldness of character.

Thank heavens that Democrats had the good sense to reject this man as their presidential nominee in 2020. Thank heavens, too, that Texans have had the good sense to reject his bids for senator in 2018 and governor in 2022.

This is an unserious attention-grabber whose ill-considered, daft ideas would have devastating real-world consequences — as evinced by his suggestion that the mere enforcement of border law requires force commensurate to that used in Little Rock in 1957, or that the use of such overwhelming, divisive military force in wildly differing situations is justified by the same moral principle.

O’Rourke’s “solution” to the impasse isn’t just dangerous, it’s shameful, and politicians of all stripes should condemn his disgraceful suggestion.

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