O'Rourke Has the Vision Thing, Voters Say, But Without 10-point Plans Is That Enough?

DUMFRIES, Va. -Five weeks into his presidential campaign, Beto O'Rourke still hasn't shaken the rap that he's a bit of a lightweight.There are no white papers. He's delivered no major policy speeches. The section of his campaign website devoted to "vision" reads like a cut-and-paste version of comments he delivers on the stump -- more flowery eloquence than nitty gritty.The El Paso Democrat's top line principles are fairly clear, and party activists find both the vision and its messenger appealing. He takes climate change seriously. He wants to limit access to military-style firearms, supports wider access to health care and favors a more compassionate immigration policy.O'Rourke's agenda includes plenty of ideas he credits to others. But generating detailed proposals of their own is important for candidates, to signal how they would wield power, and give benchmarks to see if they deliver on promises. Avoiding creative and off-putting ideas may risk a tepid response in a competitive primary."I see a lot of people with generalized plans and then nothing much comes of it," said Molly Bensinger-Lacy, 74, a retired elementary school principal, after hearing O'Rourke at a backyard campaign event in suburban Alexandria, Va.She favors Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "I love the way she comes out with very specific plans," she said. "For him to be viable he's going to have to be substantive in the debates."Late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon skewered O'Rourke last month with an arms-flailing send-up of his announcement video. "I'm like if your friend's hot dad had the energy of a golden retriever," Fallon says. "Are there more experienced candidates out there with clearer policy ideas? Sure."  Continue reading...

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