But here’s a fact about Pete Buttigieg: He picks up languages quickly.
March 30, 2019 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Before I dive into Shortest Way Home’s account of the life and career of Peter Buttigieg, let me be up front about my bias. I don’t trust former McKinsey consultants. I don’t trust military intelligence officers. And I don’t trust the type of people likely to appear on “40 under 40” lists, the valedictorian-to-Harvard-to-Rhodes-Scholarship types who populate the American elite.
Is the charmingly multilingual mayor of South Bend all he's cracked up to be?
posted by MartinWisse (284 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
See the way Buttigieg thinks here. He dismisses student labor activists with the right-wing pejorative “social justice warriors.” But more importantly, to this day it hasn’t even entered his mind that he could have joined the PSLM in the fight for a living wage. Activists are an alien species, one he “strides past” to go to “Pizza & Politics” sessions with governors and New York Times journalists. He didn’t consider, and still hasn’t considered, the moral quandary that should come with being a student at an elite school that doesn’t pay its janitors a living wage.

Yep. Not voting for this one.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:53 PM on March 30 [70 favorites]


Oh and later in the article- it gets *much* worse.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:55 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


All it took to convince me not to support this guy is the cover of his book
posted by edeezy at 4:56 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Yeah, progressive activists definitely should not support Buttigieg. Instead we should all support the DSA, and their candidate.... checks newsletter... Bernie Sanders.

Wait y’all I think there is a problem with telling progressive activists who we should or should not support.
posted by weed donkey at 5:16 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


“Looking up overhead, I could note the time on a lighted display over the Cambridge Savings Bank building. I felt that telling the time by reading it off a building, instead of a watch, affirmed that I was now in a bustling place of consequence.”

Jesus Hayseed Christ, they had one of those in Tomah, Wisconsin. It even changed colors according to the weather forecast.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:23 PM on March 30 [22 favorites]


Post-AOC, I just can't take politicians like this seriously anymore.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 5:24 PM on March 30 [45 favorites]


I don’t think it’s likely nor desirable for someone to go from mayor of a small city to president. I think even someone not as monumentally clueless as the current chief executive should have more experience at an executive or national legislative level. It’s not gatekeeping so much as desiring basic competence.
posted by rikschell at 5:25 PM on March 30 [60 favorites]


Wait y’all I think there is a problem with telling progressive activists who we should or should not support.

Matt Yglesias tried this angle and got absolutely rinsed for it today.

Luke Savage had a good thread last night on why liberals seem to get so mad at criticism from their left. Link.
They're totally unaccustomed to being confronted with a left that's intellectually confident and politically ambitious and harbour a deep resentment towards it...

not only for occupying oppositional space they incorrectly regard as their's alone, but for exposing their general incoherence and lack of any discernible spine

This is what I think is behind a lot of left-punching today. During the Clinton, Bush, & Obama presidencies the limits of "left" politics in the US mainstream consisted of of Michael Moore films & fleeting bursts of false consciousness like the short-lived Dean candidacy of 04

he left's main utility to liberals during this long night was to be an occasional punchline: a lazy foil by which they could liturgically bolster their Very Serious bona fides (Dennis Kucinich believes in UFOs!) and they were more than comfortable with this arrangement
posted by Space Coyote at 5:30 PM on March 30 [53 favorites]


A very careful reading and takedown. Thank you for this, MartinWisse.
posted by doctornemo at 5:43 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


(Also thanks to Space Coyote for introducing me to one British slang sense of "rinsed")
posted by doctornemo at 5:43 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


This is quite the hit piece (as the author basically admits-- I could see him writing the same story about Beto, and many of the points would be the same) Buttigieg's life story appears to be a collection of elite signifiers and he looks to be the kind of old school centrist that thinks everyone on the other side of the isle is decent if you just give them the chance. That's not the attitude we need to right the ship. I think the author is spot on when he talks about the Dem establishment checking off boxes about candidates rather than on progressive values and how they connect to voters.

Also I think the title of this post should have been "Is your hate pure?"
posted by gwint at 6:01 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


Best quote:
I try my best to be fair, though. I thought former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed was suspect because of his shiny résumé. But after examining his proposals and listening to his speeches, I realized he was the real deal. He had done well in school, but he was genuinely outraged by preventable human misery, talked openly about taking on corporate oligarchy, and had bold plans for revolutionizing health care, environmental policy, and just about everything else. I have lots of friends who are the products of elite institutions, but became critical of those institutions after being exposed to their inner workings. If Pete Buttigieg is one of those, great!

Pete Buttigieg is not one of those.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:09 PM on March 30 [20 favorites]


(Abdul El-Sayed lost that race)
posted by gwint at 6:18 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


This seems like a good case that Democrats who see Barack Obama as a lousy president would probably also see Pete Buttigieg as a lousy president.
posted by escabeche at 6:26 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


To see Pete use "SJW" unironically is an instant disqualification for me. Since I first ran across the term in 2014, just shortly before gamergate, I've made it a rule to automatically dismiss anyone who ever used it sincerely. That instinct has never been wrong before, and I doubt it's wrong now.

Even if his intention was purely innocent, it still betrays a gross ignorance. That term is the exclusive property of the chans, the gamergaters, the Reddit Red Pill / MGTOW / Incels. A term favored by the alt-right and the fucking nazis. What the hell was Pete even thinking? I wouldn't expect someone like Biden to understand the nuances of online right wing culture, but Millenial Mayor Pete should.

And then to see Pete approach the Trump voters as if "economic anxiety" was a serious thing...

Like Beto, the more you get to know him, the less appealing he seems.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 6:33 PM on March 30 [128 favorites]


It’s gonna be a long primary.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:51 PM on March 30 [68 favorites]


When will experience be an asset in politics? I’m looking forward to that time.
posted by vorpal bunny at 6:55 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


(Abdul El-Sayed lost that race)

That doesn't mean anything, since he was a true Progressive.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:04 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


he looks to be the kind of old school centrist that thinks everyone on the other side of the isle is decent if you just give them the chance.

Yep. And with modern Republicans in government, bipartisanship = passive fascism.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:35 PM on March 30 [25 favorites]


I feel compelled to say out loud a thing I've been thinking for a while, and that I feel like I'm going to have to keep saying this whole primary season and (god forbid) every one going forward:

There is a sizable contingent of the left that does not believe that the left can win except through white men. They feel this so deeply that they will jump on literally any remotely plausible looking white man as their savior before they will deign to consider a woman or person of color.

Both Beto and Pete are absurdly unqualified for the presidency. Literally the only reason they're getting play is that white people on the left will cling to them like a raft in a fucking river, hoping to god they can ride this white man through these times, and praying most of all that they don't have to give up control to the "others".
posted by tocts at 7:54 PM on March 30 [114 favorites]


[Hey, Barack Spinoza, we've talked to you a whole bunch of times in the past about not being noisy in the politics threads and not throwing tantrums when people disagree with you or when mods delete content-free one-liners from you that you've been repeatedly asked to pull back on. A couple deleted from you, and take a day off.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:01 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


this article is absolutely seething with resentment and cannot be taken seriously. the notion that buttigieg can't be trusted because his book is maybe a bit glib and elides issues of social justice seems very unpersuasive. it's also wrong to say that he's bad on policy specifics, especially compared to the other candidates. the Weeds podcast forum with him was excellent and lengthy and specific. (although, for this author, i can only imagine the horror of horrors the other candidates, maybe someone like kamala harris, would inspire.)

buttigieg seems like a very thoughtful, very mainstream dem well within the vein of a barack obama-- who handily won twice. if you think that'a way too far right, that'a fine. but the tone of this article is so aggressive and hostile, it is exactly what the fascists want us to do.

in short, if this author was in charge, trump or his ilk would be president for the remainder of all time.
posted by wibari at 8:24 PM on March 30 [27 favorites]


If I were one of the other candidates I'd be really fed up:

BERNIE SANDERS: I support the creation of well-paying jobs through infrastructure repair.

ELIZABETH WARREN: We need to embrace community policing and criminal justice reform.

KAMALA HARRIS: We can combat climate change while improving our economy.

MEDIA: "LOOK! MAYOR PETE IS GIVING CPR TO A KITTEN!"
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:28 PM on March 30 [42 favorites]


but the tone of this article is so aggressive and hostile, it is exactly what the fascists want us to do.

in short, if this author was in charge, trump or his ilk would be president for the remainder of all time.


can we maybe just not do this during this election cycle?
posted by JimBennett at 8:37 PM on March 30 [25 favorites]


Is electability really on topic here? The article is mainly about Buttigieg's character.
posted by great_radio at 8:42 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


buttigieg seems like a very thoughtful, very mainstream dem well within the vein of a barack obama-- who handily won twice.

But he doesn't seem thoughtful at all. There are a lot of valid criticisms of Obama as a politician and leader but his history in community organizing demonstrates he can see outside himself. Buttigieg's entire story is he went to an Ivy and worked for McKinsey and then decided he should be mayor.
posted by edeezy at 8:42 PM on March 30 [65 favorites]


re: Buttigieg and the takedowns of non-Sanders dems.

Nate Silver: If I were, like, Booker or Castro or Inslee, I'd be worried that no one is bothering to write takedowns of me.

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, I guess.
posted by Justinian at 8:47 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


But he doesn't seem thoughtful at all.

sorry, i should've linked the interview i mentioned above. all policy talk here, no electability.
posted by wibari at 8:48 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the post. I hadn't read his book and am alarmed by this writer's analysis of it.

That said, I do think there is a danger of this level of hostility towards any potentially candidate who is viable and at least on the progressive side. For all his weaknesses, Bootigieg has spoken for many important issues that we need to address (e.g. climate change). I'd like to more even-handed criticizing candidates, less "this person is the last person we would want as a president" kind of tone.

Relatedly, Bill McKibben made a point to say something nice about every candidate.
posted by bread-eater at 8:50 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


in short, if this author was in charge, trump or his ilk would be president for the remainder of all time.

donald trump is president right NOW. it stands to reason that it is the time to look at how that occurred and vociferously shout down people who will continue to enable the ideology that led us here. weird how it's always the left wing of the party "giving them what they want" for having strong beliefs and sticking to them. what the fascists want is fascism. vetting our potential leaders is not fascism. being critical about the flaws of our potential leaders is not fascism. it's actually essential that we do this if we want to combat fascism. and for the record, being mean to our potential leaders (though it may not be helpful) is also not fascism.
posted by JimBennett at 8:54 PM on March 30 [63 favorites]


sorry, i should've linked the interview i mentioned above. all policy talk here, no electability.

Care to link a transcript, instead of an hour-long podcast you claim contains excellent progressive policy in defiance of this article's thesis?
posted by kafziel at 8:59 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


buttigieg seems like a very thoughtful, very mainstream dem well within the vein of a barack obama

He evicted people from their homes because he had a 1000 houses fixed or demolished in 1000 days policy and seems to be glibly unaware of how racism and poverty might feed into the fact that some houses are falling apart. That does not seem thoughtful to me.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:00 PM on March 30 [82 favorites]


There are a lot of valid criticisms of Obama as a politician and leader but his history in community organizing demonstrates he can see outside himself.

The same guy that promised to stand with public sector workers if their collective bargaining rights were threatened, then did nothing when exactly that happened in Wisconsin in 2011. That made enacting a health care plan rooted in policy proposals from the Heritage Foundation a centerpiece of his administration. Etc., ad nauseum.

Working people in the US are pinioned between the utter nihilism of the GOP and the center-right technocracy of a Democratic mainstream that sees them as useful idiots at best, and hayseed dinosaurs on the verge of extinction at worst. Neither represent a path to a better, more livable future for the majority of us.

Buttigieg is charismatic and extremely quick on his feet, but he does strongly appear to represent the latter part of that political divide.

Absolutely nothing is going to get us out of the excruciating, time-consuming work of movement-building to develop a genuine leftist alternative to the DNC/DCCC iron cage, and it's certainly not going to happen between now and 2020. It's exhausting just to think about.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:02 PM on March 30 [40 favorites]


That made enacting a health care plan rooted in policy proposals from the Heritage Foundation

Every time somebody says this I know they are more interested in scoring points than the truth. Obamacare is not a Heritage Foundation proposal. The individual mandate is a tiny part of Obamacare. Yes, it's important in that it lays the groundwork for making the progressive backbone of Obamacare economically viable but it's like saying that somebody who proposes to cut taxes for everyone by 1% by cutting military spending by a third is making a Heritage Foundation proposal because they proposed tax cutting. You... you skipped the important part.
posted by Justinian at 9:07 PM on March 30 [41 favorites]


If the MeFi position is now that Barack Obama would be an unacceptable Democratic candidate, I think we need to reconfigure our expectations.

I don't care about establishing a beachhead for Leftism in the Democratic Party. All I want, at this date in 2019, is Trump and his administration and their changes to the country reverted. Status quo ante Trump is 100% fine with me now.

Pete Buttigieg sounds like an ordinary middle-aged liberal small-town Midwestern mayor. I'm a middle-aged small-town Midwestern liberal I have no problem with his political beliefs, but I don't think he can win, and that's literally all I care about anymore.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:10 PM on March 30 [78 favorites]


The author of this piece quotes a comment from Pete's memoir that particularly annoyed me, where he contrasts the PSLM (Harvard's Progressive Student Labor Movement) with Zuck et al. in terms of their effect on society. I guess it's possible that he meant this in a more equivocal way than it came off, but I kind of doubt it because I remember the PSLM's sit-ins being derided as simplistic, embarrassing, SJW-y avant la lettre, etc. by other students I met who described themselves as "liberals." The protests were loud and obnoxious and not Reasonable. And yet, of course, those sit-ins actually were pretty effective! They got Larry Summers, not exactly a champion of labor rights, to agree to hike wages and to equalize benefits for directly-hired and subcontracted workers. It wasn't a complete victory, it didn't change the whole world, and there were disciplinary consequences for the students involved, but the PSLM was doing local organizing around the misuse of subcontractors to circumvent fair pay back in 2001 before the "gig economy" was a phrase on everyone's lips, and got results.

I'm not going to hold one comment against someone forever obviously, nor do I really think Buttigieg is just a charismatic sociopath based on this one article. But having been around when that above scene was unfolding, the way he talked about it really resonated in a distasteful and personal way for me and I felt like I really got where the author of this piece was coming from.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:11 PM on March 30 [71 favorites]


Every time somebody says this I know they are more interested in scoring points than the truth.

I'll be plain: I want a Medicare for All, and I view Obamacare as a gigantic, tax-payer funded handout to a private insurance industry that is spreading unnecessary death and misery for profit *every single day*.

I don't give a shit about "points". All I have seen the Democratic mainstream - or liberals in general - do in my lifetime is slap band-aids on a fundamentally, cruelly broken system in order to maintain the status quo, its class hierarchies, and its profiteering. I want change.

So, I'm personally done with half-measures. I understand that we have to build the movement to make that happen, but don't tell me this medieval, plantation garbage that we have - that any other wealthy nation would be ashamed of - is "progressive" in any meaningful sense of the word.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:16 PM on March 30 [42 favorites]


I knew he wasn’t the candidate for me because he’s a gay assimilationist.
posted by Automocar at 9:19 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


I don't care about establishing a beachhead for leftism in the Democratic Party. All I want, at this date in 2019, is Trump and his administration and their changes to the country reverted. Status quo ante Trump is 100% fine with me now.

this is simply not a practical or acceptable option. trump is here in part because the previous status quo has failed. if you think the current wave of right wing reaction is scary wait until you see what it's going to look like after another neoliberal president fails to actually make peoples' lives any better (assuming a neoliberal president could even win an election against trump, which i really don't think is a given). yes, obviously trump isn't making anyone's lives better, but he has convinced enough people their lives are bad because of immigrants and democrats that it doesn't really matter. we don't have that option. the only way to win this culture war is to fight for a more fair, more just, and more equal society. anything less is worthless.
posted by JimBennett at 9:19 PM on March 30 [47 favorites]


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG ON TRUMP, ISLAMOPHOBIA, AND HIS PRESIDENTIAL BID, Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept
MH: So, abolish the Electoral College? Yes or no?

PB: Yes, been saying that since day one.

MH: Abolish the Senate filibuster, yes or no?

PB: We should consider it. I mean, that’s something the senators have to figure out but it’s got to be on the table because our sense of fair play among Democrats has bitten us far too many times for us to be naive about it.

PB: Add new justices to the Supreme Court to balance it out given the stolen seat?

PB: So, we definitely need to do structural reform on the Supreme Court. Adding justices can be part of the solution but not in and of itself, it’s not enough. It’s neither necessary nor sufficient. What we’ve got to do is depoliticize it and one solution that I’ve been discussing in recent weeks is structuring it with 15 members but five of whom can only be seated by a unanimous consensus of the other 10. Anything that would make a Supreme Court vacancy less of an apocalyptic ideological struggle would be an improvement.

MH: Okay, a rider on that then: term limits for Supreme Court justices?

PB: Potentially. But it’s not a cure all because it creates some problems too.

MH: Okay, statehood for Washington D.C.?

PB: Absolutely.

MH: Statehood for Puerto Rico?

PB: If they want it
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:31 PM on March 30 [25 favorites]


Care to link a transcript, instead of an hour-long podcast you claim contains excellent progressive policy

sorry i dont think there is one. i prefer written transcripts too. he's in favor of (1) medicare for all (2) government led action to stop climate change (3) and relief for dreamers. that right there is more than enough to expend a president's entire political capital in one term, given the fact the republican party still exists and is likely to hold the senate.

i think the left is correct to say that obama politics, to say nothing of bill clinton politics, was kowtowing to the right in large part. and i respect people like bernie for moving the center of gravity back to the left. my point was just that i wish left commentators wouldnt go in all fire and brimstone on a candidate like this.
posted by wibari at 9:39 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


@fimoculous: I would not have guessed that the two candidates leftist twitter would hate the most are the punk rock hacker and the gay mayor whose dad translated Gramsci into English.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:47 PM on March 30 [24 favorites]


I guess we can look forward to more hot takes on how Buttigieg just isn't gay enough.
posted by No One Ever Does at 9:48 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


I don’t hate this article, but Cockburn’s “is your hate pure” nonsense should be mocked until it falls into the surface of the sun.
posted by corb at 9:50 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


an ordinary middle-aged liberal small-town Midwestern mayor.

According to the OED, “middle age” is between 45 and 65. Let me have this.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:50 PM on March 30 [19 favorites]


When will experience be an asset in politics? I’m looking forward to that time.

Considering the number of people here who see AOC as the political Messiah, I've got some seriously bad news for you....

The fact of the matter is that experience means you will have compromised at some stage with somebody. Even if you've done so to get something important done, you're still going to be considered a Forever Unacceptable Candidate going forward by one or another faction. Experience, for a growing and vociferous minority of voters, is disqualifying.
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:53 PM on March 30 [17 favorites]


Experience, for a growing and vociferous minority of voters, is disqualifying.

the post popular presidential candidate among leftists has been a member of congress for 28 years.
posted by JimBennett at 9:57 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


It seems like we know one concrete thing about Pete, and it's that he successfully removed the "blight" from his town by demanding a thousand dilapidated home owners either pay fees they couldn't afford or have their homes demolished.

I'm trying to see that as an inspiring story and failing.
posted by xammerboy at 10:01 PM on March 30 [28 favorites]


All I want, at this date in 2019, is Trump and his administration and their changes to the country reverted. Status quo ante Trump is 100% fine with me now.

Somebody remind me again what happened right after we had the status quo, ante Trump.
posted by Reyturner at 10:02 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Experience, for a growing and vociferous minority of voters, is disqualifying.

the post popular presidential candidate among leftists has been a member of congress for 28 years.

To add to that point, and under the assumption that Obama didn’t “have experience” (reasonable): all of the non-Trump candidates had experience, (Hillary) Clinton had lots of experience, McCain and Romney in the prior go rounds had experience, Gore had experience, W had experience, (Bill) Clinton had experience…
posted by Going To Maine at 10:03 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


23 years ago, Adolph Reed Jr. wrote this in the Village Voice about someone who ended up president:
In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program — the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.
Buttigieg seems to be cut from much of the same cloth, but nowhere nearly as charismatic or inspiring. His answer about Chik-Fil-A reminds me of that same awful reflexive triangulation too.
posted by Ouverture at 10:06 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


i think the left is correct to say that obama politics, to say nothing of bill clinton politics, was kowtowing to the right in large part. and i respect people like bernie for moving the center of gravity back to the left. my point was just that i wish left commentators wouldnt go in all fire and brimstone on a candidate like this.

what obama proved is that it's very easy to co opt progressive language in order to excite the electorate and then, once elected, not actually enact a particularly progressive agenda. so again, what you call "fire and brimstone" we call vetting. has the candidate made efforts to enact a progressive agenda during their previous political career? in mayor pete's case, i really don't think he's proven himself. he might sincerely intend to reform the electoral college and enact medicare for all, but i really have no way of knowing, because those ideas are contradicted by things he has said and done in the past, which is the entire point of the article. america can not survive another wolf in sheep's clothing.
posted by JimBennett at 10:09 PM on March 30 [38 favorites]


Pete Buttigieg Thinks Chick-Fil-A Boycotters Are "Virtue Signaling"

So this is from Ouverture's article and it's really chilling because this use of "virtue signaling" coupled with the quote from the book where he derides "social justice warriors"... The people who complain of these things are generally really really really shitty people. Like the language Buttigieg is reflexively using reminds me of a channer.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:13 PM on March 30 [69 favorites]


Like the language Buttigieg is reflexively using reminds me of a channer.

The actual quote, which is more nuanced:
“If you’re turned off, as I am, by the political behavior of Chick-fil-A or their executives — if that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, so to speak, and you decide not to shop there, I’d certainly get it and I’d support that. But the reality is, we, I think, sometimes slip into a sort of virtue signaling in some cases where we’re not really being consistent. I mean, what about all the other places we get our chicken from?”
posted by Going To Maine at 10:17 PM on March 30 [15 favorites]


All I want, at this date in 2019, is Trump and his administration and their changes to the country reverted. Status quo ante Trump is 100% fine with me now.

this is simply not a practical or acceptable option. trump is here in part because the previous status quo has failed.


People think this is as bad as it can get. It can get so, so, much worse if the next Democratic president doesn't restore widespread faith in the common purpose and institutions that actually serve the common good. The next Trump won't be Trump. It'll be Rodrigo Duterte, or something even more sinister. We can still fall so much farther, and picking an ineffective centrist with no vision or conviction beyond winning the office, but a really sterling resume stuffed with Ivy League and consultancies seems like a really great way to find that out.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:17 PM on March 30 [44 favorites]


Halloween jack, that clock bit got me, too. I mean, i know it’s small in the context of the rest of his offenses, but he’s talking about 2001! Even my pokey midwestern town had banks with clocks! starting in, what, the 60s or 70s? I guess there’s always a bit of legend-building in politics, but this is absurd. He clearly recognizes his privelege here and takes pains to hide it from...the hayseeds who still use sundials?...but utterly fails to reflect on the benefits he reaps from the gross privelege and inequality buffeting him everywhere else. Though I suppose this might appeal to a fairly wide swath of people for whom “SJW” is an acceptable label of otherism.
posted by stillmoving at 10:18 PM on March 30 [9 favorites]


[Everybody crank it back two notches on going after your fellow Mefites, and as you compose your comments, spare a thought for the moderators who have to read and moderate thousands upon thousands of comments regarding liberals-vs.-leftists divides over the next 18 months or so and maybe try to make our job easier!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:22 PM on March 30 [61 favorites]


Yeah it can definitely get so much worse. We could have Jeremy Corbyn.

There's a lot more to a politician than just being a leftist. They have to be able to do realpolitik. Obama could do that. He was a good president, and a good leader. Trump didn't get elected because Obama failed us; Trump got elected for a number of reasons which include misogyny and the fact that the electorate doesn't give a rats-ass about policy, they rally around personality.
posted by weed donkey at 10:25 PM on March 30 [35 favorites]


but for those of you reading along who might be swayed by this sort of thinking: it's easy to talk about ending the filibuster and DC statehood as litmus-test progressivism. What would be harder is doing something about a doubling of the eviction rate of South Bend while Mayor
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Yeah the conventional left-progressive wisdom seems to be that Trump snuck in because Obama was too milquetoast centrist which left people unenthused about Democrats, but it seems much more likely to me that it happened because Obama was such a calming, competent presence that it left much of the country complacent about politics.

How often did you spend a ton of time talking about, posting about, and reading about politics from 2008-2016? How about now? There it is. (ok, I know some of you weirdos were just as involved a decade ago.)
posted by Justinian at 10:28 PM on March 30 [44 favorites]


There have been a few points brought up today that are a bit concerning. The thread has a chip on its shoulder, but my attention is certainly piqued.

There could also be reasons why this is dropping now, or this early, but regardless, I'm still OK with the one who treats their staff bad and apparently few other skeletons, too.
posted by rhizome at 10:33 PM on March 30


That sentence sucks but I'm not going to abuse the edit window.
posted by rhizome at 10:34 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


The actual quote, which is more nuanced:
“If you’re turned off, as I am, by the political behavior of Chick-fil-A or their executives — if that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, so to speak, and you decide not to shop there, I’d certainly get it and I’d support that. But the reality is, we, I think, sometimes slip into a sort of virtue signaling in some cases where we’re not really being consistent. I mean, what about all the other places we get our chicken from?”


Did you actually read the quote you posted? It is not more nuanced than the thing you're responding to said it was. It is plainly describing protests against Chick-fil-A as virtue signaling. It is explicitly claiming that protests against one thing are just seeking attention and head pats unless you are also protesting against everything else that is bad at the same time. The point of this quote is to delegitimize these protests.

He unironically says "virtue signalling" and "social justice warrior", and uses them the exact same way that fascists use them to mean the exact same thing the fascists mean by them to level the exact same attacks the fascists level. If you want to believe him when he then goes on to say things that sound left-leaning you can, but you really shouldn't be acting like other people are the ones getting suckered here.
posted by IAmUnaware at 10:39 PM on March 30 [55 favorites]


"Yeah the conventional left-progressive wisdom seems to be that Trump snuck in because Obama was too milquetoast centrist which left people unenthused about Democrats"

"Trump didn't get elected because Obama failed us; Trump got elected for a number of reasons which include misogyny and the fact that the electorate doesn't give a rats-ass about policy, they rally around personality."


i think this is a fundamental misreading of what leftists are saying, which is more like: trump snuck in because peoples lives fucking suck in this country, because the SYSTEM has failed us. he gave people a whole bunch of scapegoats to blame for that, and even pretended like he gave enough of a shit about them to fix their problems. it's not really obama's fault that peoples lives suck ass, but he also didn't do a lot in eight years to make peoples lives suck less ass. so he's become a scapegoat among the right, along with immigrants, "the swamp," and democrats. the left just see him as another neoliberal who refused or was unable to challenge the systemic rot that's gotten us into this mess.

the antidote to this is a candidate who actually has serious plans to try and fix those problems, and has the record to back those plans up. yes, that means policy. medicare for all, free college, and legal weed all poll INCREDIBLY well among likely democratic voters. to say that the electorate doesn't care about policy is just insane to me. they certainly ALSO care about charisma, but sanders and biden are the two democratic frontrunners and neither of them embody charisma in any sort of traditional sense.
posted by JimBennett at 10:39 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


they certainly ALSO care about charisma, but sanders and biden are the two democratic frontrunners and neither of them embody charisma in any sort of traditional sense.

Biden's also not a Leftist (nor, at least if we're going by what seems to be this thread's consensus, is the third place candidate). If we're going by polling, I'm not sure the takeaway is "Obama-style Democrats are despised by the electorate". The retrospective view of Obama himself doesn't seem to have have suffered either.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:52 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


well obviously biden's not any sort of leftist, i was just using him as an example of why "charisma" is not the end all and be all among voters like some people argue it is.

I'm not sure the takeaway is "Obama-style Democrats are despised by the electorate".

this isn't really my argument either. i'm just not convinced an Obama-style Democrat who is not Barack Obama is actually capable of winning an election in 2020, and if they do win i think it will probably be actively harmful for the future of the country.
posted by JimBennett at 10:55 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


When was the last President whose policies weren't actively harmful for the country in your view? FDR? Never? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm trying to get a handle on your point of view.
posted by Justinian at 11:01 PM on March 30 [10 favorites]


this isn't really my argument either. i'm just not convinced an Obama-style Democrat who is not Barack Obama is actually capable of winning an election in 2020, and if they do win i think it will probably be actively harmful for the future of the country.

Okay, fair enough. I was offering counter-evidence to the bolded part, essentially. I think victory for such a candidate is entirely plausible, and a better outcome than another Trump victory. But I don't think that Obama-style Democrats are the only plausible candidates at this point, nor necessarily ideal.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:05 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


If the MeFi position is now that Barack Obama would be an unacceptable Democratic candidate, I think we need to reconfigure our expectations.

A possibility: people’s expectations change over time in response to changing circumstances. The state of the economy changes. Demographics shift. What we see from other politicians opens up new possibilities (someone like AOC challenges conventional wisdom about what the public wants from politicians). People can become justifiably frustrated with “good enough.”

There’s a noxious tendency to talk about the left as if they aren’t capable of “real talk,” or “serious politics.” The adults in the room are the ones who recognize the Truth that only an Obama can win, and only that kind of politician is good for the future. Anyone who disapproves of that candidate from the left is simply incapable of understanding basic concepts like electability and the necessity of compromise.

I know that any politician will disappoint me in some way. I expect to compromise on some level when it comes to who I vote for. It’s what we’re compromising on that matters. If you still fundamentally believe that people like me are only engaging in purity tests and setting absurd standards, it will continue to be very difficult to talk about this.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:06 PM on March 30 [31 favorites]


trump snuck in because peoples lives fucking suck in this country, because the SYSTEM has failed us.

Yes, the republican system failed us, and it led to 9/11 and the Great Recession.

People who are mad that Obama didn't wave his magical wand and fix everything immediately really need to see the bigger picture here. Republicans aren't a snake, there is no "antidote" to them... they are a cancer, and like chemotherapy it's going to take many, many rounds to have a chance at survival.
posted by weed donkey at 11:08 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


The point of this quote is to delegitimize these protests… He unironically says "virtue signalling" and "social justice warrior", and uses them the exact same way that fascists use them to mean the exact same thing the fascists mean by them to level the exact same attacks the fascists level. If you want to believe him when he then goes on to say things that sound left-leaning you can, but you really shouldn't be acting like other people are the ones getting suckered here.

So here we have a question - I certainly agree that the quote is dismissive of the protests as “inconsistent” (bleh) and turns up its nose at them. To me, however, the key difference between his statements and how the right criticizes such protests is that he is generally supportive of them on an individual basis:
  • He is overt about having issues with the ownership of Chick-Fil-A ownership and their politics.
  • He supports the choice of folks to not shop there on the grounds that they object to the politics.
The comment to which I was responding characterized this as consistent with, I guess, what you’d find on /pol. That simply seems wrong. But if you’d like to think I’m being suckered by that, ok?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:08 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


When was the last President whose policies weren't actively harmful for the country in your view? FDR? Never? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm trying to get a handle on your point of view.

another Obama (IE, a neoliberal president who won't challenge the interests of capital in any meaningful way) will be actively harmful for the future of the country because it will trigger a reactionary response from the right wing that makes Trump look like nothing. we are so clearly at a tipping point in this country, i don't know how people can't see it, and the only way out, in my eyes, is to do everything we can to make the lives of everyday Americans better, to walk back from the brink of late capitalism by whatever means necessary, all of which would require a massive redistribution of wealth the likes of which we haven't seen since, yes, FDR (i think carter was more or less alright too, FWIW). i think this type of view is a lot less radical in 2019 than some people in this thread might believe.

Yes, the republican system failed us, and it led to 9/11 and the Great Recession.

this is not republican vs democrat. occupy wall street was almost a decade ago, we've been talking about the 99% vs the 1% for almost as long as obama and bush were president for. please, think bigger. and also consider that obama had as close to a magic wand as exists in american politics, the congressional supermajority.
posted by JimBennett at 11:12 PM on March 30 [23 favorites]


> I did not guess that the students poised to have the greatest near-term impact were not the social justice warriors at the protests […] but a few mostly apolitical geeks who were quietly at work in Kirkland House

Is this actually being dismissive of the protesters? Putting aside the poor word choice, it sounds like he expected the protests to exact change, no?
posted by No One Ever Does at 11:13 PM on March 30


i seriously can't tell if it's intentional or not, but mayor pete's use of terms like SJW and virtue signaling reads like such a dogwhistle, it makes me truly uncomfortable.
posted by JimBennett at 11:20 PM on March 30 [39 favorites]


That is a hit piece, but in a good way. It's a satisfying, right on target takedown, not only of one particular candidate but of most of the field of Democratic contenders trying to slouch towards the center while dressing in progressive cliches.
posted by blue shadows at 11:23 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


i truly can't tell if it's intentional or not, but mayor pete's use of terms like SJW and virtue signaling reads like such a dogwhistle, it makes me truly uncomfortable.

This is what bothers me Going to Maine, it's the language he reflexively reaches for. Like, I might even halfway understand his stance on the chik-fil-a thing, but I would never use the term "virtue signaling". Same with "SJW" it's an immediate dog whistle of "I spend my time around and with very bad people or I am a bad person myself" alert which has never failed me. If it was only the one I might be able to ignore it, but the combination of the two is hitting my channer alert button pretty hard. And to be fair, I, way back when, used to pop into 4-chan now and again, before I knew better, so maybe it's just an osmotic thing... but It's really putting my hackles up.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:26 PM on March 30 [35 favorites]


Boy howdy, Pete Buttigieg's voice sure sounds a lot like cortex to my ears.
posted by fleacircus at 11:27 PM on March 30


Same with "SJW" it's an immediate dog whistle of "I spend my time around and with very bad people or I am a bad person myself" alert which has never failed me.

or even worse: a way to signal to the alt right and say "hey guys, i'm running as a progressive so you can tell your friends and families you voted for me and they won't hate you, but i'm actually totally on your side of this whole thing and you're gonna like what i end up doing if i get into office." which probably reads as paranoid, but the idea of it (on top of his other numerous flaws as a candidate) is enough for me to wash my hands of him.
posted by JimBennett at 11:31 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Based on that last Iowa poll, I have a suspicion that Buttigieg will win the nomination because Biden and Sanders are too old for most people, and Buttigieg doesn't promise to raise taxes for ending people's private insurance and choice of doctors, which is what Medicare-for-all means. And he was among the first to point out the absurdity, going against the grain. Buttigieg supports Medicare for all who want it. According to polls, most Medicare recipients will not vote for someone who promises to expand it and then water it down by obvious lack of funding. Also, Democrats are not true-believing leftists, but tend to be pragmatists from city or county machines. Ideology is not their thing beyond caring. Ideologues will not vote for a pragmatist on principle, as impure, and that is why Democrats are not a third party.
posted by Brian B. at 11:38 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


“....But the reality is, we, I think, sometimes slip into a sort of virtue signaling in some cases where we’re not really being consistent. I mean, what about all the other places we get our chicken from?”

What? What about them? Are they also engaged in national campaigns to promote homophobia and racism? How does this point make any sense?
posted by xammerboy at 11:44 PM on March 30 [21 favorites]


It makes sense through the lens of "ethical consumption is impossible in a capitalist system" but I would be surprised if he meant it that way, except unconsciously.
posted by axiom at 12:09 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


It makes sense through the lens of "ethical consumption is impossible in a capitalist system" but I would be surprised if he meant it that way, except unconsciously.

People who mean that know that "virtue signalling" is an alt-right shibboleth.
posted by kafziel at 12:27 AM on March 31 [25 favorites]


I don't care about establishing a beachhead for leftism in the Democratic Party. All I want, at this date in 2019, is Trump and his administration and their changes to the country reverted. Status quo ante Trump is 100% fine with me now.

It's an understandable reaction, but it's the reason the Democratic Party has been content to remain centre right, technocratic and unwilling to actually oppose when the GOP is in power and fucking up the country and the world.

The mainstream Democratic attitude since Reagan has been to be the party of responsibility, 'mum' cleaning up the country once the voters inevitably get sick of the mess the GOP made of it, cleaning up America to make it safe for Wall Street again. It's not actually doing all that much for real people.

The exact same argument was made in 2004 about Bush and we got four more years of Bush. The Dems always want the blandest, whitest safest candidate they can find because it's so important to stop the GOP, then always lose anyway because their own base can barely stomach the guy and the GOP can still attack them on everything that they rejected a more exciting candidate for.

Pete B, Cory Booker, Beto are all empty suits who nobody actually likes once they get a good luck at them, all privileged and deluded enough to think that if only we could get the status quo of October 2016 back, all is well in the US.

That ain't enough, chief.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:37 AM on March 31 [28 favorites]


I would not have guessed that the two candidates leftist twitter would hate the most are the punk rock hacker and the gay mayor whose dad translated Gramsci into English.

That's the liberal fallacy in a nutshell, confusing lifestyle choices or personal background with actual politics. There's nothing virtuous about being gay or a "punk rock hacker"; it doesn't automatically makes you liberal, let alone leftist.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:41 AM on March 31 [78 favorites]


I find if you put the term 'liberal' on mute the level of discourse improves radically. It's almost always being spit out by the 'take the knee' folks.

Also I think literally everyone dislikes Tulsi Gabbard the most.
posted by taterpie at 1:57 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


[OP, please don't threadsit or debate everyone who doesn't line up with your point of view. Posts are supposed to be something offered for other members to enjoy and/or discuss, not the poster's soapbox.]
posted by taz (staff) at 2:32 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


he also didn't do a lot in eight years to make peoples lives suck less ass

OK, I have had many issues with Obama, I really have, but he yanked the country out of the worst recession in decades (methods: C+), signed Dodd-Frank, and...I think there was this thing about health care or something? If your state didn't expand Medicaid to reach many more of your poor, it's because the voters in your state are happy to see you die rather than give benefits to people of color. The effects of the violent obstructionism of any attempt to ease the lives of the poor by the Republicans because it might mean some money accidentally falls into brown hands cannot be ignored.

Obama left office and remains widely popular in the U.S. (59% final approval rating! in the last ten, that's behind only Clinton and Reagan), except for the mouth-foamers, whom we must accept are unwinnable by any minimally acceptable Dem candidate. There's a reason Trump has defined his presidency as gutting just about every Obama-era policy (except for immigration, which he tripled down on). Buttigieg is not even vaguely in his league. And I think a candidate who tried to pretend that it's overwhelmingly about class would be throwing away some major advantages at this point where someone like AOC can rivet people with talk that recognizes the intricate interrelationship between economic and other forms of oppressions.

This is me coming in from the leftist side of the debate. I think a Dem candidate who doesn't galvanize and turn out people of color in this election, in part by recognizing that social justice issues are also economic justice issues, will lose. That's me being practical about who voted for Trump and continues to support him. We are not winning those fuckers on any terms, we can only beat them back into their caves. What we have to do is draw those on the sidelines last term in. (This of course includes fighting voter suppression in all its forms.)

Co-sign all of you talking about shibboleths. Maybe it's because I make my living mostly through manipulating words, but, c'mon, if you're as Online as a Mefite, these are very obvious phrases. They're not even the kind that mean the opposite of their surface connotations!
posted by praemunire at 2:53 AM on March 31 [48 favorites]


Nathaniel Rakich, 538: Is Pete Buttigieg’s Surge Real Or A Mirage?

I linked to this the main US politics thread a few days ago, but it looks like it's worth posting again. Rakich points out that Emerson's Iowa poll we were all talking about last week had some methodological problems. Other polling which shows support for Buttigieg increasing but still in low single digits is probably more in line with reality.
posted by nangar at 2:59 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I'm only partway through the article so far, but Buttigieg's fondness for this phrase is standing out to me.

Graham Greene, who said that innocence is like a dumb leper that has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.

Now, I also don't know much about Graham Greene or where he's coming from. But let's think about this quote that it seems Buttigieg is using as a defense for a variety of things.

(a) It's language is ableist.

(b) The whole forcing people with leprosy to ring bells announcing their presence thing was super shitty and inhumane. Let's not mince words on that. It's part of what makes the imagery of the quote as ableist as it is. But leprosy is a communicable disease, whose exact transmission vector is still unknown. Untreated (and at the time of forcing people with leprosy to go around with bells and not allowing them to interact with the rest of society, no effective treatments were known), it's a very serious disease that is fatal, but makes people suffer a long, painful and debilitating decline to death. In the context of this quote, it seems like the subtext is that the person with leprosy is innocently interacting with others without precautions against transmission of the disease, and thus causing harm (the use of "dumb leper" indicates to me that humane treatment of the person suffering from leprosy is not the foremost concern of the speaker, here). I.e., one can act in innocence, yet still cause harm in the world. It doesn't sound exculpatory; though Buttigieg seems to be trying to use the quote in an exculpatory manner. From which I infer that either (i) his reading comprehension - on his thesis topic, no less - isn't stellar, and also his worldview is that people's intentions matter more than their actions; or (ii) he's well aware of all of this - it being a topic he wrote a thesis on, after all - and, I dunno, thinking that it will be some sort of dog whistle for progressives who will understand that he agrees with their critiques of the organizations he participated in, while still remaining appealing to voters who support those organizations? Or something? But that would then raise further questions about his use of right-wing dog whistles like "social justice warriors" and "virtue signalling": which side is he whistling to, and which is he sincere about? It's unclear to me what he would be trying to accomplish were this the accurate case of the either-or.
posted by eviemath at 4:54 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


South Bend, Indiana is 26.6% African-American, 13% Hispanic, 13% Asian, mixed race and other. Buttigieg won the Democratic primary for his second term by 78% and then re-election by 80%. I don't think that would have happened if Democratic voters in South Bend perceived him as the horrible white-supremist bigot he's been described as by people in this thread.

I'm inclined to trust people in South Bend who are very familiar with him, more than some random people on the internet who went through his 347 page book and managed to find two phrases that could be interpreted as dog-whistles.
posted by nangar at 5:41 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


Now, I also don't know much about Graham Greene or where he's coming from.

It's a quote from The Quiet American. Greene is a pretty major literary figure, and this is one of his more important works.
posted by hippybear at 5:48 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I don't get the impression that the thread here considers Buttigieg to be a "white-supremist bigot". More so that his Graham Greene pull quote accurately describes him.

Well, and this.
posted by eviemath at 5:49 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Greene is a pretty major literary figure, and this is one of his more important works.

That part I knew, yes. Unfortunately, that minor level of detail is insufficient for a particularly accurate or nuanced reading of the quote in question.
posted by eviemath at 5:51 AM on March 31


(As in, I acknowledge that my analysis may be missing something. According to the fpp link, Buttigieg might describe that as false modesty.)
posted by eviemath at 5:53 AM on March 31




(the use of "dumb leper" indicates to me that humane treatment of the person suffering from leprosy is not the foremost concern of the speaker, here)

I think "dumb leper" is meant to imply that the person with leprosy can't speak, so doesn't have any way to alert people to his disease. It's not a reflection on his intelligence.

The quotation hasn't aged well, and Buttigieg isn't doing himself any favours by using it. Society treated people horribly if they contracted leprosy, and the implication of the analogy isn't just that the "dumb leper" is innocent-but-harmful, but that other people are justified in protecting themselves. For instance, the analogy would fit very well in the mouth of a white nationalist.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:56 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


Less snarkily, the quote is about a journalist who feels he needs to protect a CIA agent who is ignorant of the local customs in Vietnam, and at the same time is realizing that this impulse to protect someone ignorant (innocent) is also a self-destructive one because innocence isn't a helpful state of being when being confronted by situations not understood. Here is the page upon which it appears.
posted by hippybear at 6:00 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Joe in Australia, the catch of course is Buttigieg was referring to management consulting firm McKinsey, or its workers and former workers such as himself, in the role of the "dumb leper". Which is why it's so bizarre to me if he is using it with full understanding.
posted by eviemath at 6:01 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Thanks, hippybear, for the additional serious comment. In general, one could avoid mansplaining, or the appearance of mansplaining, in metafilter threads by assuming that we can all at least Google and read the relevant Wikipedia article. More complex or detailed background is helpful, though.
posted by eviemath at 6:03 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


He came across to me as a good-intentioned numbers wank who is too inexperienced to see the downsides of being a good-intentioned numbers wank. In other words, give him 20 years and he may figure it out - or not. Too green for the White House.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:07 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


assuming that we can all at least Google and read the relevant Wikipedia article

That literally doesn't happen here often enough that I find myself posting links to what should be obvious Google search targets. I've been here long enough to never assume anyone does any research outside of reading the comment thread and responding to that. Which includes actually reading the FPP article(s). Because that's how this place rolls. People who read the article before commenting are fewer than those commenting in general.
posted by hippybear at 6:13 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


Actually, the Current Affairs article describes Buttigieg as using the Graham Green quote to describe US foreign policy. "It also treats America as an innocent blundering giant with “the best of intentions.” Buttigieg quotes Graham Greene..." (I don't know if that accurately portrays the context of Buttigieg's use of the quote, or not.)
posted by nangar at 6:17 AM on March 31


I don't think that would have happened if Democratic voters in South Bend perceived him as the horrible white-supremist bigot he's been described as by people in this thread.

You don't have to conclude that he's actually a white supremacist to nevertheless conclude that he's a very bad candidate for the presidency. The guy is 37 years old -- less than 2 years younger than me -- and supposedly pretty savvy with online culture, yet he thinks it's totally normal to use "SJW" and "virtue signaling" as if they're totally neutral terms. Best case scenario, he's a super privileged white guy who is so used to spending time in actual white supremacist or white supremacist adjacent spaces that he's concluded this shit is normal.

"Not white supremacist but unthinkingly picks up white supremacist rhetoric and pejoratives" seems like a pretty poor fit for a Democratic candidate.
posted by tocts at 6:17 AM on March 31 [48 favorites]


I would not have guessed that the two candidates leftist twitter would hate the most are the punk rock hacker and the gay mayor whose dad translated Gramsci into English

Another way of looking at it: of all the punk rock hackers and gay mayors with political aspirations in the country, the party promotes only the most centrist ones.
posted by rhizome at 6:48 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


The McKinsey connection is the big hit against Buttigieg for me. It's interesting that Current Affairs just did a fairly good insider view of McKinsey and the many unappetizing things the company has been involved in over the decades, the article links to it, that separate article itself is worth a read.

A lot of people won't know the long list of potential crimes and scandals that McKinsey has been adjacent to (I mean, I haven't thought about Enron in a long time), but a lot of less-connected people do know about them for one thing. They're a company that shows up to advise other companies on how to do layoffs.

The other CA article gets right to the matter:

In the corporate world, the most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from McKinsey, and I’m here to help. The firm’s appearance is known as a harbinger of layoffs (one of most famous representations of consultants in pop culture is “the Bobs” from Office Space). ... McDonald goes on, “…it may not be too far off the mark to suggest that McKinsey has been the impetus for more layoffs than any other entity in corporate history.”

It's possible the work efforts he was assigned to didn't involve this sort of "consulting". But the connection itself is a big negative, and there are plenty of other candidates who don't have this to answer for.

(Or more snarkily: if I wanted a Mitt Romney, there is another political party with a Mitt Romney in it that's available.)
posted by gimonca at 6:53 AM on March 31 [16 favorites]


I want to know what people mean by "not support". Does it mean not do active support before the election, or not vote for him if he's the Democratic candidate?

For what it's worth, I've seen people describe themselves as SJWs, though perhaps not recently. It's also a slur, but possibly not just a slur.

As far as I can tell, one of the reasons Trump won is that most people thought Hillary had an obvious win.

Which relates to another problem. There are plenty on the left who despise southerners and/or white people. Weirdly, this resulted in white people who thought the left wasn't on their side. Trump at least pretended to like them.

I'm voting for any Democratic candidate who isn't obviously worse than Trump, and I'm not expecting the Democratic candidate to be worse than Trump.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:58 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


The clean-skin candidate isn't a new thing; first there was Obama, then Macron, now Him.
posted by Middlemarch at 7:01 AM on March 31


Personally, I'm leaning pretty strongly towards Kamala Harris. My impression of Buttigieg is mostly pretty positive, and I can see why voters South Bend like him, but my assessment of him as a presidential candidate is similar to dances_with_sneetches's.

I'd like to think we could get through the primary without attacking every other candidate that not the one we're voting for as a manifestation of pure, absolute evil, and the same for other candidates' supporters. Most of you don't seem willing to that.
posted by nangar at 7:01 AM on March 31 [26 favorites]


I really enjoyed this article, thank you for linking it. Buttigieg had been one of the candidates in the field that I had felt better about and might have been more interested in supporting, but the article makes it clear that he hasn't made the choices and said the things that indicate that he shares my vision for America. Not to say that I wouldn't vote for him in a general election, but in a crowded primary, he's just a face among many now.
posted by Kwine at 7:02 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


I want to know what people mean by "not support". Does it mean not do active support before the election, or not vote for him if he's the Democratic candidate?

I will vote for a moldy piece of raisin toast if it gets the nomination. But I'm going to put as much effort as I can during the primary process to making sure we get someone I can have hope for, not just cling to as an alternative to horror.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:15 AM on March 31 [44 favorites]


without attacking every other candidate that not the one we're voting for as a manifestation of pure, absolute evil

Let's be clear: I don't hate Buttigieg. I don't hate Beto. I don't hate Biden. And just so he doesn't feel left out, I don't hate Booker either. My politics are probably an 75 to 90 percent match for any of these people. As bad as they are on some issues, they're all infinitely better than anything the GOP could produce.

But we have an opportunity for a truly progressive candidate. We don't have to settle for yet another bland triangulation. Even if that triangulation comes in a charismatic package. With Trump's deep unpopularity and the surge in leftist ideas in the young, it feels like there's a window where we could nominate someone much more to the left than usual and they would win. Maybe even win easily against this bloated monster of a president.

For me personally, that makes me want to work passionately against the Betos and Buttigiegs. To not lose this opportunity which might not come again in my lifetime.

And if it makes you feel any better, it's far preferrable that the winning candidate goes through the Ring of Fire during the primary season and not the general.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:47 AM on March 31 [35 favorites]


More to the point, the planet can’t survive a milquetoast candidate who talks the talk but does not walk the walk. We are on a deadline.

But all things being equal I have allready written off national politics above the level of say, the house of reps, as being permenatly dysfunctional and useless. Build in your community.

As the article says, in politics I have come to not trust anyone who isn’t angry and who doesn’t seem to have enemies. The great failure of modern liberalism is an inability to indenitfy and harness conflict.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 AM on March 31 [28 favorites]


For me personally, that makes me want to work passionately against the Betos and Buttigiegs. To not lose this opportunity which might not come again in my lifetime.

I think the problem that I see - and it's not just against Buttigiegs, I'm also seeing it in the Bernie-fights on Leftbook - is that we need to find a way to simply say "I do not like this candidate for X reasons" without also either saying or implying "And anyone who does like this candidate is a Y". That stuff divides us at a time we cannot afford to be divided. It creates bad feelings among people who need to work together and will need to unite once this primary field is over.

And does anyone remember last time? The fighting between Clinton and Sanders supporters was so bad that it absolutely affected the general election, because people being human, they had a hard time letting go of epithets and attacks, and it affected their vote.

Buttigieg seems like a kind of meh assortment of beliefs. I'm not excited about him, though I know people who are. But he's also not the antichrist, either, and we shouldn't need to get the anger against him to that level in order to say 'nope, not what I want', because it affects other people who are excited about it by implying they're idiots, monsters, or dupes.
posted by corb at 8:17 AM on March 31 [27 favorites]


that makes me want to work passionately against the Betos and Buttigiegs

There's an actual fascist in the White House, enabled by a party largely composed of elected officials, many of whom are in quite assailable positions. And we're talking about working passionately against possible Democratic candidates to oppose him and his party.

Cool.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:24 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


In my opinion, what this all comes down to is the simple fact that socialists are winning elections in the United States basically for the first time in 90 years and they are feeling their oats and refuse to back down for another neoliberal. The DSA just voted to support Sanders again and Current Affairs is a socialist publication.

This kind of stuff was being written 35 years ago, I assure you. It’s just that no one outside of radical leftist circles ever saw it.
posted by Automocar at 8:28 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Nathaniel Rakich, 538: Is Pete Buttigieg’s Surge Real Or A Mirage?

Has everyone forgotten the last round of Republican primaries? Every two weeks or so in 2015, someone like Scott Walker or Carly Fiorina would get some media buzz and briefly shoot up in the polls. Showing well in a couple of polls after getting a lot of attention because the people who write about politics are exhausted of covering the front-runners turned out to be worth about as much as winning a trophy on Everybody Gets a Trophy Day. Virtually every surge this far out and based on nothing more than a handful of sympathetic interviews is a mirage.
posted by Copronymus at 8:32 AM on March 31 [15 favorites]


There's an actual fascist in the White House, enabled by a party largely composed of elected officials, many of whom are in quite assailable positions. And we're talking about working passionately against possible Democratic candidates to oppose him and his party.

The president who occupied the White House before Trump used drones to murder children who were American citizens without trial, sold cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia and enabled a genocide in Yemen, and built up the deportation machine that Trump amplified into something even worse.

Given that awful reality, "not being an actual fascist" is simply not enough for a lot of people when it comes to expect from a president.
posted by Ouverture at 8:48 AM on March 31 [23 favorites]


I don't believe that many of these people, including but not limited to Buttigieg are truly running for president as much as they are attempting to raise their profiles within the party and build a sizzle reel. In light of that, it's not so much pointless infighting as seeing it for what it truly is and making decisions on/having conversations about what we want the future of the party to be years down the line, when some of these people are sufficiently qualified.
posted by Selena777 at 8:54 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I simply don't understand making one's mind up about any of these Democratic candidates so long before the election. They all have strengths and liabilities and we will learn more about all of them as the months go by.

The electorate has made it pretty clear they don't prioritize someone's lack of political experience, same as how they don't care about a lack of military experience anymore. I don't know why certain Democrats still make this a point.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:04 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


> And does anyone remember last time? The fighting between Clinton and Sanders supporters was so bad that it absolutely affected the general election, because people being human, they had a hard time letting go of epithets and attacks, and it affected their vote.

I feel like this has become the accepted wisdom, but I'm not actually sure it was the case. This 538 article about Sanders' potential 2020 road to victory also touches on some of the outcomes from 2016. Nearly 75% of them voted for Hillary. 12% voted for Trump, but the article makes a decent case that those people were essentially always just voting against Hillary, rather than for anyone else.

Also, I guess I've never really gotten either A) the idea that leftists shouldn't critique Democrats from a left perspective or B) the idea that people shouldn't be subjecting politicians to intensive, potentially bruising critique as often as possible. If those of us on the left weren't trying to pull the world in that direction, if we were comfortable with the direction Democrats have gone in/are going in, we would just...be Democrats. And if Buttigieg's candidacy falls apart because it can't hold up to an aggressive critique, isn't that a good thing?

The presidential race is a series of aggressive critiques, with the end result being that you get to take over the most powerful job in the world. The vetting process for that should be incredibly difficult. I share a lot of Robinson's priors, and I think his criticism of Buttigieg, that he's basically an empty collection of elite signifiers without any real beliefs beyond "I should be the president and I'll say what I need to say to get there," is pretty accurate, and I do not want a person like that anywhere near the presidency.
posted by protocoach at 9:40 AM on March 31 [26 favorites]


I don't believe that many of these people, including but not limited to Buttigieg are truly running for president as much as they are attempting to raise their profiles within the party and build a sizzle reel.

Yep. Buttigieg and Beto (I'd make an exception for Stacey Abrams, if she jumped in the fray) both seem to me to have not demonstrated at all that they're worthy of a Dem primary vote. Beto lost, and has no legislative accomplishments to speak of. Pete is cute, has a fab husband (hubby is worth a Twitter follow if you're at all interested in how fame affects loved ones) but has demonstrated very little of the commitment to progressive policy ideas this country needs, and has demonstrated quite a bit of the mealy-mouthed centrism it doesn't need more of at all. I make an exception for Abrams not because she's a black woman, but because she's able to sharply lay out clear, understandable rationales for specific leftist policies in ways that are accessible to the mainstream. There's a reason folk are laughing at Beto's vague platitudes, and pointedly noting the increase in eviction rates in South Bend under "Mayor Pete's" watch.

I"m a 55-year-old gay man; believe me, I'd love nothing more than to whole-heartedly vote for a fab queer couple for President. But nothing Mayor Pete is talking about during his moment in the sun comes close to the specific, useful policy proposals Elizabeth Warren has been releasing regularly (wtf do Beto and Pete think about right-to-repair rights for farmers who own tractors, e just one g?), and I can't see a single reason why they're getting more attention in the press than she does.

Except that they're good-looking young(ish) white men, of course. The male-dominated political journalist class loves those, for some strange, inexplicable, completely unfathomable reason.
posted by mediareport at 9:45 AM on March 31 [46 favorites]


i am so tired of the narrative that we cannot critique any democrat. these people want to be arguably the most powerful person in the world. shit like this? it’s a job interview. if mayor pete can’t hold up to scrutiny he’s not fit for the job. that simple.
posted by JimBennett at 10:11 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


Preach on, fellow Mefite.
posted by mediareport at 10:31 AM on March 31


There's an actual fascist in the White House, enabled by a party largely composed of elected officials, many of whom are in quite assailable positions. And we're talking about working passionately against possible Democratic candidates to oppose him and his party.

You clearly didnt read the next sentences in the comment you're quoting: "To not lose this opportunity which might not come again in my lifetime. And if it makes you feel any better, it's far preferrable that the winning candidate goes through the Ring of Fire during the primary season and not the general."

No one here is talking about working to reelect Trump over Beto or Baby Pete in the general. This is the primary. These are the discussions we get to have to pick who is the best person to face Trump. This has to happen now, and it's already proceeding in a more substantive and positive fashion than I can ever remember in my lifetime.

Would I vote for a return to Obama or for Beto or even Biden over 4 more years of Trump, yes, obviously. But that brand of status quo perpetuating is not sufficient to address the scale of the problems we face. That's the concerns with Buttigieg, and equating that critque with a refusal to unite behind the eventual nominee is just as divisive as you're accusing progressives of being.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:35 AM on March 31 [15 favorites]


I guess I just don't believe that this is going to be any better than the last election, based on what I've seen. People discrediting Buttigieg for saying SJW, discrediting Harris and Warren for their past statements against allowing trans people in prisons to get reassignment surgery, etc. People can evolve beyond past views or poor word choice, and it feels like people are going to hold all these grudges into the general, again.
posted by No One Ever Does at 10:45 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Buttigieg is well within my rules this election. Between 35-45 and not a Republican.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 10:46 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Saying "virtue signalling" as a liberal is such an unforced error since we have the word "performativity" to mean the exact same thing.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:58 AM on March 31 [21 favorites]


People discrediting Buttigieg for saying SJW, discrediting Harris and Warren for their past statements against allowing trans people in prisons to get reassignment surgery, etc.

What if you think of it as holding someone accountable? It's unacceptable that someone would push against trans rights for prisoners. It's unacceptable from an Attorney General, and it doesn't stop being unacceptable once that person decides to run for higher office. Same with other issues.

There will be a Democratic candidate. I just want the best one we can get, and that means not holding my nose until I need to.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 11:02 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]


People can evolve beyond past views or poor word choice, and it feels like people are going to hold all these grudges into the general, again.

Sure, they can, over time. Buttigieg published this book literally right now. Not like, 10 years ago. Not, "I was a different person". He's running for president and this is how he wants to present his current self.

When people tell me who they are, I believe them. When people tell me they will change, I believe it when it happens, and not before.
posted by tocts at 11:03 AM on March 31 [31 favorites]


I guess I just don't believe that this is going to be any better than the last election, based on what I've seen. People discrediting Buttigieg for saying SJW, discrediting Harris and Warren for their past statements against allowing trans people in prisons to get reassignment surgery, etc. People can evolve beyond past views or poor word choice, and it feels like people are going to hold all these grudges into the general, again.

there weren't really any grudges being held. polling shows that only 12% of sanders voters went for trump in the general, compared to 15% of clinton voters who went for mccain in 2008. these are pretty normal numbers. i know we're all battle scarred from 2016 but let's not forget that the entire point of the primary process is to figure out who the best person for the job is.

obviously no candidate is perfect. sanders and warren both voted for SESTA, for one recent example. but they also have congressional voting records that for the most part back up the progressive agendas they say they intend to implement. within the last decade buttigieg was evicting poor people from their homes and harris was putting single mothers in jail because their children were truants. i'm a little more skeptical of them*. delineating those differences is the why we have primaries at all.

*if they want to spend the next 10 years building up a progressive resume i'm happy to support their primary runs in 2028, assuming we're all still alive.
posted by JimBennett at 11:05 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


structuring it with 15 members but five of whom can only be seated by a unanimous consensus of the other 10.

So, 10, then? What we gonna do when it’s 5-5?
posted by spitbull at 11:27 AM on March 31


Oh, there were grudges being held. Not so far as Bernie voters going for Trump as much as Bernie voters not voting for Hillary. Anyone who went door to door in the early voting days of 2016 can assure you that was a real thing. Let’s NOT do that again, mkay?
posted by rikschell at 11:29 AM on March 31 [14 favorites]


(In an extreme conservative tone, he suggests there was no excuse for a student like him not to voluntarily join the armed forces.)

So... he's a gay man who saw "no reason" he shouldn't join the armed forces while DADT was still in force? I tend to see assimilationism as a form of self-hate, but this is an extra level of hate for all of us who can't or won't stay in the closet.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:48 AM on March 31 [10 favorites]


But all things being equal I have allready written off national politics above the level of say, the house of reps, as being permenatly dysfunctional and useless. Build in your community.

Unfortunately, and with deep respect to community organizing, I'm not sure we can solve the problem with the deadline without coordinated national, and indeed international, action.

I guess I just don't believe that this is going to be any better than the last election, based on what I've seen. People discrediting Buttigieg for saying SJW, discrediting Harris and Warren for their past statements against allowing trans people in prisons to get reassignment surgery, etc. People can evolve beyond past views or poor word choice, and it feels like people are going to hold all these grudges into the general, again.

The weird purity hunts don't help us, I agree. But identifying the flaws in a candidate only becomes a purity hunt if your mindset is such that finding that one a-ha! j'accuse!!! flaw is the goal and the desired outcome is casting the flawed person into the outer darkness. It would be great if we could act as if the primary process wasn't a struggle session, but a way of uncovering and evaluating the relative importance of various strengths and weaknesses in the candidates. I have very serious concerns about Harris's record on criminal justice; I haven't written her off as a candidate (though I'm leaning Warren). I don't think the general public is paying enough attention at the primary level that we usually have to worry about people wholly disengaging due to general negativity, though it's always a tempting easy somewhat lazy analysis to deploy.
posted by praemunire at 11:58 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


sanders and biden are the two democratic frontrunners and neither of them embody charisma in any sort of traditional sense.

I'll admit I don't get political charisma (I can't see why anyone likes Trump), and that Sanders's personal vibe is broadly grumpy-old-man, but isn't Biden more or less a pile of charisma given human form? He's Diamond Joe/Uncle Joe/that outrageous guy who spent 8 years as Obama's wingman. He's irascible but in a roguish way rather than a grumpy way. Isn't that sort of the core of his popularilty? It's certainly not his policies.
posted by jackbishop at 11:58 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


but let's not forget that the entire point of the primary process is to figure out who the best person for the job is.

Okay, but it's also about creating a four-year plan for what the Democratic Party intends to do if they're in power. And that's usually something that's supposed to be more collaborative and less "go home loser".
posted by FJT at 12:02 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I'll admit I don't get political charisma (I can't see why anyone likes Trump), and that Sanders's personal vibe is broadly grumpy-old-man, but isn't Biden more or less a pile of charisma given human form? He's Diamond Joe/Uncle Joe/that outrageous guy who spent 8 years as Obama's wingman. He's irascible but in a roguish way rather than a grumpy way. Isn't that sort of the core of his popularilty? It's certainly not his policies.

That's a persona you get from reading his portrayal in the Onion, and which he's latched on to to cover the fact that in policy, action, and entire career, he's a racist groper who's the reason Anita Hill never got a fair hearing.
posted by kafziel at 12:13 PM on March 31 [22 favorites]


in policy, action, and entire career, he's a racist groper who's the reason Anita Hill never got a fair hearing

This is inconsistent with personal charisma how?
posted by praemunire at 12:26 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


In my opinion, what this all comes down to is the simple fact that socialists are winning elections in the United States basically for the first time in 90 years

. . . Didn't most of the Progressive candidates actually lose their primaries in 2018?

That's a persona you get from reading his portrayal in the Onion

Personally I think charisma is partially a construct built by both media coverage and personal biases:
  • Do people perceive your personal faults as lovable peccadilloes or as proof of your unsuitability as POTUS? For example, does your grumpiness make you a grandpa-like figure or a bitch? Do your demands on your staff mean you have high standards or does it mean you're abusive?
  • How do your traits on the campaign trail reflect your personality? Does shouting indicate enthusiasm or being a harpy? Does a focus on policy make you serious or boring? Do the long hours on the trail indicate your commitment to the country or are they desperation--or maybe an indicator you don't love your family?
  • If something negative or positive happens, does it get blown up or brushed away? Anita Hill, who's Anita Hill? What rape essay? Does a vote for a crime bill matter? Does getting sick mean they're weak or working hard? They comforted a little girl, when? Hey, was that a bird on their podium?
Content and the ability to read a crowd and people skills are a part of charisma, certainly . . . but so are our preconceived notions about different aspects of a person's identity, because those things influence what we pay attention to and what we dismiss.
posted by schroedinger at 12:33 PM on March 31 [15 favorites]


. . . Didn't most of the Progressive candidates actually lose their primaries in 2018?

There are a non-zero number of socialists in the House. That's a big change from even 10 years ago. A 100% success rate is not expected and is in fact a highly damaging way to denigrate the gains socialists have made.
posted by Automocar at 12:53 PM on March 31 [16 favorites]


It's easy to believe charisma is a construct until you meet someone who has it.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:31 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Triangulation is a major reason why we ended up with a racist, psychotic game show host in charge (not the only reason, but a major one). On the other hand, perhaps a downside in going too far in the other direction is that every candidate who describes themselves as progressive, whether or not they are truly progressive to the observer, appears to have some history of behavior that someone, somewhere, will describe in various fashions of severity as "not to their taste". Information and informed criticism are good for a healthy democracy, but the world is running out of time to solve some existential problems that are going to be difficult to fix, to say the least. We may need to consider serious support for anyone who will steer the politics of this part of the world in a different direction, whomever that person ends up being, even if they fail to be to everyone's taste along the political left.

I look forward to voting for whomever comes out of the primaries against the game show host, warts and all.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:37 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


It's easy to believe charisma is a construct until you meet someone who has it.

Well, that's why I included "ability to read a crowd" and "people skills". I've met charismatic people, and there is definitely an "it" there, but I don't think we can pretend it isn't helped by personal biases just as those affect us in every other aspect of our lives.
posted by schroedinger at 3:01 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


That's a persona you get from reading his portrayal in the Onion, and which he's latched on to to cover the fact that in policy, action, and entire career, he's a racist groper who's the reason Anita Hill never got a fair hearing.

It's really amazing that the idiotic idea that Biden is some sort of cool old badass has caught on...the reason The Onion went for this as a joke is, it is so incongruous.
posted by thelonius at 3:10 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


See, that shows how much worldviews can differ. I think it's fairly obvious that the Onion joke caught on not because it was incongruous but because it seemed plausible. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people don't actually know much about the real Joe Biden. So you can say "but how could you think that about a guy who did X, Y, and Z"... except most people don't know Biden did X, Y, and Z. They only really know him as the jovial blue collar seeming beer guy who rides the train to and from Washington.

Is he a lot more complicated than that? Absolutely. But the Onion parody wasn't incongruous, it was an exaggeration of what most people saw in Biden.
posted by Justinian at 3:23 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Also, a dude who pounds Coors while hand washing his Camaro shirtless in front of the White House with a boombox blasting 80s hair metal isn't exactly a cool badass?
posted by Justinian at 3:25 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


I grew up in a red state too, but not in a college town, and personally don't see how Buttigieg could grow up gay in a red state and think that the GOP and their voters are just swell people, that Trumpism is a "hostile takeover" of the GOP and not just what has been there all along. I haven't been to South Bend, but my feeling is that he sees the midwest through the thick film of a college town bubble.
posted by fleacircus at 3:28 PM on March 31 [13 favorites]


I don't think Buttigieg is secretly lurking on pol; I think he's probably a pretty middle-of-the-road Harvard Democrat. I even think it's slightly unfair to hold his joining the armed forces during DADT against him; it seems as though part of his rationale for joining was that in a post-draft world, children of privilege never have to think about military service, while for a significant fraction of their struggling counterparts, enlisting has become the de facto price of a safety net. That's certainly true, though I agree with the article's author that there is plenty that is problematic about how he views his time in the military. But I still totally agree with Teegeeack AV Club Secretary that it would be a real missed opportunity for him to win the nomination. I don't want to pre-emptively foreclose on the possibility of our next president being someone who didn't feel embarrassed by people protesting in solidarity with underpaid janitors.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:52 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


As with so many things in the political realm lately, I find that none of the things mentioned about Buttigieg are automatically disqualifying (save the whole business about evicting poor people from dilapidated homes), because maybe he really is so clueless about, say, the mechanisms of political activism or the fact that "virtue signalling" and "SJW" are terms that have been thoroughly captured by the far-right. But the second someone asks him about those things and he doubles down? That's your disqualification right there.

I am open to the possibility that he doesn't really understand the things he says, or that those things happened long ago. (Though that does raise the question of whether he's ready to be President yet.) But I have to know that he's trying to understand and trying to change. Without that, what's the point?
posted by chrominance at 5:41 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


And reading back my comment after posting, it occurs to me that this is still a pretty low bar to set.
posted by chrominance at 5:42 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


> They only really know him as the jovial blue collar seeming beer guy who rides the train to and from Washington

Except that Biden famously doesn't drink.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:03 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


> I find that none of the things mentioned about Buttigieg are automatically disqualifying

To be honest, the McKinsey background is pretty close to an instant DQ for me - they're awful, a genuine moral anchor on massive swathes of the world, and I really don't understand how someone with anything resembling genuine progressive values could sign on to work there. The evictions, as you mentioned, are also a major moral failing on his part.

But this might be a little bit of "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts"; there's just a bunch of evidence that he's mediocre on the actual policy and mostly wants power for the sake of wanting power, and we're not in a place where there's only one option that can possibly defeat Trump and it's good ol' mayor Pete, the ex-consultant. There are a bunch of potential options out there, many of whom have more impressive resumes when it comes to actually being progressive.
posted by protocoach at 7:16 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]


The "Biden is cool" thing started on Parks & Recreation, and the Onion ran with it.
posted by rhizome at 7:20 PM on March 31


rhizome: "The "Biden is cool" thing started on Parks & Recreation, and the Onion ran with it."

I don't think so -- the iconic Biden-washing-the-Trans-Am piece was published May 2009, just a month after Parks & Rec premiered, which didn't even mention Biden during its first season.
posted by crazy with stars at 7:30 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


But nothing Mayor Pete is talking about during his moment in the sun comes close to the specific, useful policy proposals Elizabeth Warren has been releasing regularly (wtf do Beto and Pete think about right-to-repair rights for farmers who own tractors, e just one g?), and I can't see a single reason why they're getting more attention in the press than she does.

Except that they're good-looking young(ish) white men, of course. The male-dominated political journalist class loves those, for some strange, inexplicable, completely unfathomable reason.
posted by mediareport at 9:45 AM on March 31


So much this! I've seen him on a few interview shows and the contrast with Trump feels sooooo good - Buttigieg is smart and articulate but so far I've seen nothing that rivals Warren's policy chops and her record from any of the other contenders.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:58 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Busted! Sorry about that, I didn't think it would even be close.
posted by rhizome at 8:01 PM on March 31


To be honest, the McKinsey background is pretty close to an instant DQ for me

Yes, McKinsey is not a place aspiring Democratic candidates should go to work.
posted by great_radio at 8:10 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I listened to the Vox podcast with Buttigieg. When asked for his policy positions he blew through them with one or two word answers. It's pretty clear he would rather talk about almost anything else.

One thing I will say about him. I cannot imagine him losing to Trump. He sounds smart, capable, and talks about values in a way middle America will love. I think the talking points he brings to the debate will strengthen the Democrat field.
posted by xammerboy at 8:26 PM on March 31


Biden is positively oozing with charisma
posted by moorooka at 10:39 PM on March 31


McKinsey is not a place aspiring Democratic candidates should go to work.

It's a place people go to work when they graduate from college. I wouldn't hold a normal-length stint at such a place against a person who had gotten more thoughtful about the world since then (especially if they were burdened with student debt). Not every middle-class kid has the world properly worked out at that age.
posted by praemunire at 11:36 PM on March 31 [9 favorites]


Yes, but the article points out Pete went to work there immediately after becoming a Rhodes Scholar with his pick of being able to work virtually anywhere doing anything.
posted by xammerboy at 4:32 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


praemunire: "McKinsey is not a place aspiring Democratic candidates should go to work.

It's a place people go to work when they graduate from college. I wouldn't hold a normal-length stint at such a place against a person who had gotten more thoughtful about the world since then (especially if they were burdened with student debt). Not every middle-class kid has the world properly worked out at that age.
"

But we're supposed to hold grudges against candidates forever and never forgive with the exception of the candidate that we support for whom we'll overlook any transgression.
posted by octothorpe at 4:56 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


The "Biden is cool" thing started on Parks & Recreation

I wonder if Leslie Knope would still be for Biden at this point.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:47 AM on April 1


Leslie Knope would be one of those people who yell at Susan Sarandon on Twitter whenever Trump does something bad.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:11 AM on April 1 [8 favorites]


>fleacircus

South Bend isn't just a college town in a red state, I think. You really can't underestimate the impact of Notre Dame, and more widely, both Catholism and general religious fundamentalism here. And there's still a lot of old-time union support ... this was a huge union town. In a lot of ways, the Democratic Party here is the Democratic Party of the '60s and '70s. Our mayors and other local elected officials are predominantly Democrats, but we continue to send Tea-Partier Jackie Walorski to the House.

I've lived here for almost 30 years, and I still can't grasp the interplay between religion and politics that this area is steeped in. I don't think Mayor Pete should be running for president -- I'd love to see him take on Walorski next -- but I'll probably vote for him whatever he does.
posted by worldswalker at 7:20 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


It's a place people go to work when they graduate from college. I wouldn't hold a normal-length stint at such a place against a person who had gotten more thoughtful about the world since then (especially if they were burdened with student debt). Not every middle-class kid has the world properly worked out at that age.

It's a very typical upper middle class thing to do. (The vast majority of the middle class would never have access to jobs at McKinsey). A Rhodes scholar doing it reminds me of people who clerk for the US Supreme Court and then go on to some biglaw firm to do litigation. Like...okay, I guess that's an option if you really cannot think of anything else to do. But it's depressing to see so much talent directed primarily at enrichment of (1) one's self and (2) people with a lot of money.

And I do think it speaks to someone's character if they claim to be invested in public service but didn't actually do any public service until it meant being in the spotlight as a young, innovative, mayor. The trenches were there the whole time.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:35 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]


McKinsey is not a place aspiring Democratic candidates should go to work.

1. Not everyone can be a red-diaper baby.

2. In seriousness, there's a problem with the idea that if you want to be a candidate for a supposedly accessible-to-the-working-class party, you must have known from your very first moments that you wanted to be a candidate for national office and conducted your life accordingly.

3. Assuming that people choose jobs based on how good they are for the world is a luxury not available to everyone, and also is what allows jobs that are good for the world to get away with paying starvation wages and not having to offer competitive benefits, because 'aren't you here to do good, rather than to make money and feed your family'?

It's perfectly reasonable, imho, to say "This guy RIGHT NOW is not a progressive and I don't like his actual stated policies." But this thing about 'They didn't have a unified focus in life' is...just not a reasonable expectation if you actually want leaders to reflect the population they serve.
posted by corb at 7:42 AM on April 1 [15 favorites]


But we're supposed to hold grudges against candidates forever and never forgive with the exception of the candidate that we support for whom we'll overlook any transgression.

there are plenty of people in this thread explaining why this isn’t what we’re doing but if you want to continue to paint us all with a broad brush because we don’t like the white guy who evicts people from their homes go off i guess
posted by JimBennett at 7:49 AM on April 1 [23 favorites]


In seriousness, there's a problem with the idea that if you want to be a candidate for a supposedly accessible-to-the-working-class party, you must have known from your very first moments that you wanted to be a candidate for national office and conducted your life accordingly.

That's not the idea being expressed by Robinson in the FPP and I don't think anyone here. I would not hold McKinsey employment against the author of this piece linked in the FPP, for example. I will absolutely hold it against someone whose signature accomplishment as a government official is demolishing 1000 houses and who puts forward his McKinsey experience as a reason to vote for him or to justify his desire to be a politician.
posted by edeezy at 8:08 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


But this thing about 'They didn't have a unified focus in life' is...just not a reasonable expectation if you actually want leaders to reflect the population they serve.

Except when there are very viable alternatives that have exactly this resume.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:12 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


2. In seriousness, there's a problem with the idea that if you want to be a candidate for a supposedly accessible-to-the-working-class party, you must have known from your very first moments that you wanted to be a candidate for national office and conducted your life accordingly.

Character is what you do when no one is looking, isn't it? Or when you don't think you have a shot at national office. And character matters.

He is a really smart guy. We all know that. He had options that most of us could only dream about. The reality is that given a choice between a lot of options, he chose to do something that pays well and helps rich people stay rich. That's reflective of his character.

It is very funny to me that people want to paint a Harvard grad, Rhodes scholar with two professor parents (meaning free tuition and no appreciable student loan burden) as some kind of naive babe in the woods.

Assuming that people choose jobs based on how good they are for the world is a luxury not available to everyone

It was a luxury that was available to him. Again, character is what you do when you have options. Character matters.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:22 AM on April 1 [20 favorites]


People keep mentioning the evictions and 1000-homes-in-1000-days thing, then moving past it again. For me, that is the thing I can't just add to a list -- that's the complete deal breaker minus any of the rest of this.

On its face, it is incredibly unjust. And for anyone who doesn't know that innately, any City Planning History 101 course or book will spend a few weeks on how the idea of "blight" was used to terrible ends. There's no excuse for not knowing.

It is one of his most recent and most "significant" policy / leadership "achievements." It's not long enough ago to think "maybe he's changed," not subtle enough to think "well maybe he didn't mean those words the way I hear them." Sure, upgrading sewer technology is fine, but just getting things to keep working isn't notable; the real question is "what change did you use your power to bring about?" He literally oversaw the taking and demolishing of low-income people's homes. And points to it as an accomplishment. That's his idea of economic revitalization: Getting low income homeowners to lose their property to make way for moneyed developers. (Someone correct me if I've misunderstood.)

Given that, and the presence of people like Elizabeth Warren in the race, I have no idea why anyone who cares about justice would contemplate supporting him in the primary.
posted by salvia at 8:42 AM on April 1 [21 favorites]


I think there are two slightly different focuses of concern being raised, the main one about Buttigieg's character, history, and actions and a second one about how we look at any candidate and, by extension, others we might be talking about/with. The first set of concerns are certainly legitimate to consider regarding Buttigieg as to how he presents his case for governing, but the second set of concerns are also worth thinking about in a broader sense when discussing candidates and what that suggests about how we judge them and perhaps each other.

One can come to beliefs early or late, have made mistakes, not been tested, or held firm to beliefs, one can be of the strongest moral character and still not be a good leader for lacking other talents, some will lie, some will pander, some will be wishy washy but honest, and so on and so on. While it's fine to evaluate the people running and assess the claims they make for themselves and that are made about them, being too dogmatic about the path can carry its own limitations. Not so much about Buttigieg, who I don't care much about or for as a candidate, but the process and people involved more generally as people can reach the same place from a wide variety of directions.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:46 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I'm a few years younger than Buttigieg. My family was totally middle class (immigrant parents with some post-secondary certifications). I frequented protests and socialist meetings in college and identified as a progressive. From the very top of my engineering class, only one didn't go to graduate school, and he went to McKinsey. Call me ignorant, but I didn't know about their dark side until a few years ago. McKinsey to me was as much of a sell-out as any other corporate job. What set it apart was that they clearly got the best people who wanted to work in that category of jobs. The desire to go there is like a continuation of wanting to go to the best college. The assumption was that you will learn the most working with other very smart and ambitious people, taking on challenging projects and solving hard problems. And this is a capitalist society -- that's where you will learn ALL about what drives capitalism. It's one of the highest paying jobs you can get as a college grad, and working there opens a lot of doors. Did Buttigieg think of McKInsey as being a big bad corp (like tobacco, big oil, Monsanto, weapons) and yet still chose to go there because he wanted to help rich people make money? I doubt it. And if his ambition was to make a lot of money, he wouldn't have left to go be mayor. It's not unreasonable for college grads to build a little base for themselves from a well-paying (likely corporate) job so they have the security to pursue greater dreams. A lot of people I know did consulting as a stepping stone.
posted by bread-eater at 9:13 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


On its face, it is incredibly unjust. And for anyone who doesn't know that innately, any City Planning History 101 course or book will spend a few weeks on how the idea of "blight" was used to terrible ends. There's no excuse for not knowing.

It's straight up Robert Moses, and it's appalling.
posted by Mavri at 9:41 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I listened to the Vox podcast with Buttigieg. When asked for his policy positions he blew through them with one or two word answers. It's pretty clear he would rather talk about almost anything else.

Or maybe he prefers direct, succinct answers about policy to the five minutes of tap-dancing many other candidates revert to. Just saying this is not assumption I think you can make.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 10:01 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


I don't love that the Pete Buttigieg FPP here is just a total hit piece. It would have been interesting to match it with a profile from another angle, but whatever. I don't hate the guy as much as most of you I guess.

If you're itching to call me a monster for that: can it. He isn't my favorite, but he'd probably be a fine VP (depending on the candidate he'd be with, obvs. Also I would die to see him debate Pence) or state-level politician. To me, this run reads like a way to get his name out there at a national level and make it easier to raise funds for future efforts (governor/house/senate).

We need to build a base of younger Dems (yes and DSA and further left) running for office. All these old people running, someone has to replace them. I'll be watching with a somewhat skeptical eye, but I do look forward to watching how his career progresses. There's obviously a lot of room for him to move leftwards. He's a smart guy, he should be able to see which way the winds are blowing.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:03 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


... I'd love nothing more than to whole-heartedly vote for a fab queer couple for President. But nothing Mayor Pete is talking about during his moment in the sun comes close to the specific, useful policy proposals Elizabeth Warren has been releasing regularly ...

... in politics I have come to not trust anyone who isn’t angry and who doesn’t seem to have enemies.

My feelings exactly, in both instances. At the moment, I think a major unspoken divide among Democrats and between Democrats and those to their left is between those who believe/hope that electing a Democratic President will make it 2012 or 2008 again and those who believe/fear that the apocalypse has already happened and that it's necessary to talk about politics in wholly new ways. I'm not pointing to anyone here, but I've been watching my friends and acquaintances straddle this divide for the last year or so. And while I still believe that absent a couple of major mistakes Barack Obama probably governed as well as cirumstances allowed, I'm pretty firmly on the post-apocalypse side here. Barack Obama was mostly adequate to his moment; facsimiles of Barack Obama seem entirely inadequate to the wreckage we find ourselves in at this moment. And Buttigieg's whole narrative, background, and skill set seems prepared to cast him as a kind of liberal-ish "America's Mayor"—the man who can just make things less darn scary. (Buttigieg as the candidate from Queer Eye is definitely a vibe I get—Beto, OTOH, reminds me of no one so much as Gary Hart (with less experience). Even the old phrase "Atari Democrat" seem natural to him.)

I find that none of the things mentioned about Buttigieg are automatically disqualifying ...

There's no single thing about Buttigieg that turns me off him, but everything taken together—the lack of any political experience beyond the local, the weird grasping after some kind of populist cred, his resume—suggests to me that Pete Buttigieg is probably a very smart person who isn't dumb enough to know just where he isn't smart at all. (The "SJW" and "virtue-signaling" remarks are examples here: my concern isn't that he's some closet channer, but rather why he thinks those are clever things to say in any conversation at all.)

(Ha. Not sure who would be more formidable at talking left and hewing center than a Harris/Buttigieg ticket so of course that's gonna happen. You heard it here first!)
posted by octobersurprise at 10:03 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


There are a lot of leftists who were disappointed in Obama's neoliberal actions in protecting the bankers, failing to help homeowners and embrace of austerity in order to balance the budget. But theshouldn't have been. That was exactly how Obama described himself over 20 years ago. Journalists wrote articles explaining this. But many people got caught up in the charisma and chose to ignore who Obama said he was.

When people tell you who they are, believe them. Don't be blinded by the charisma.
posted by JackFlash at 10:21 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


When people tell you who they are, believe them. Don't be blinded by the charisma.

That's fine, but the charisma is them too and a major part of what gets them elected. That's unfortunate perhaps, but it is what it is. I would dearly love a Warren presidency. Her unyielding focus on policy first is what I think is most needed, but I'm also deeply concerned she might not be able to sell that to the public in a way that would make her likely to be elected. Being able to handle the public presentation part of the campaign is as vital to getting elected as knowing the policy details one would implement once one did get voted in.

How Warren handles herself in the debates as to that latter regard is of crucial importance for her campaign. She obviously knows how policy works, but can she convince people that those policies are the right thing to do? Can she engage and energize the public to demand those ideas be passed into law? And most importantly can she handle the lies and misdirection Trump and the republicans throw her way if she is the candidate?

I know Harris can handle Trump and that Sanders has a passionate base, but both Harris and Sanders have other things about them that concern me as well at this early stage. They and others are all far better and more plausible candidates than Buttigieg right now as he's mostly just a curiosity at the moment, but I'm not willing to rule out anyone running right now as there's a long time to go before the election. Nonetheless, the information is good to have to give some early idea of who all these would be presidents are and where they're coming from to get a sense of the ideas and personalities that will inform the election.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:00 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Not sure who would be more formidable at talking left and hewing center than a Harris/Buttigieg ticket so of course that's gonna happen.

This is my preferred combo at the moment.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 12:05 PM on April 1


McKinsey is an interesting place---full smart hard-working people, some of them mercenaries, others genuinely good-hearted people trying to balance paying off loans, figuring themselves out, and making the world a better place. Most of the latter end up leaving after a couple of years, and almost all of them will have serious reservations/qualifications about their time at "the Firm". The knock on Pete is not that he worked at McKinsey, it's that he professes such a sunny and uncomplicated relationship with the work he did there.
posted by rishabguha at 12:24 PM on April 1 [14 favorites]


One thing Buttigieg said on one of the interviews I watched was that policy statements plus implementation statements (how we gonna pay for it) have been missing a middle layer of 'how is this going to directly effect me, the poor, the middle class, upper middle class voter'. In the ACA, keeping your kids on your policy until they're 26, not permitting pre-existing conditions as disqualifiers are two of the really popular aspects of ACA that had direct, easy to see implications, that directly impacts on people and I think that's one of the reasons why these provisions are so popular. (the kids on your policy aspect is one of the few times in my life that the government did something that actually helped me and my family. When it was implemented, I kept waiting for the gotcha followup and it never came! Usually the government does stuff like - can't deduct your donated car at blue book value, can't donate more than $250 per trip to Salvation Army....).

I'm keeping an open mind too - it's early. But I think Buttigieg was right on the above.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:30 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Nate Silver: Pete Buttigieg is more likely to be the Democratic nominee than Joe Biden, according to PredictIt.

The Invisible Hand at work.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 PM on April 1


PredictIt also says that Julian Castro has the same chance of becoming the nominee as Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey.
posted by box at 1:09 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I mean all this is a fun thought experiment except that what we're going to end up as some sort of Sanders Warren or Warren Sanders ticket that will lose to Trump in 2020 unless he resigns or strokes out
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Have You Heard? Pete Buttigieg Is Really Smart:
The question of what “smart” even means and why this type of smart should matter in a presidential race got less attention. One person rightly asked, “are you sure he’s not just smart in the ways you also fancy yourself to also be smart.” No one asked why this particular form of well-credentialed “smart” should “count for quite a lot.”

That’s because while the [professional managerial class] are often eager to be more inclusive about who gets to be “smart” — women, black people — they have tremendous faith in the concept itself. They love rich people whose intelligence has made them prosper: they may cringe at the science-denying Koch Brothers but they went into deep mourning when Steve Jobs died. They devour Malcolm Gladwell’s veneration of the wisdom of genius entrepreneurs over the plodding, clueless masses.

This notion of “smart” allows elites to recast inequality as meritocracy. In this narrative, you’re rich because you did well in high school and went to Princeton, not because capitalism has taken something from someone else and given it to you. Yet the culture of smart is not all smugness; it also contains a heavy dose of fear. The PMC understands that while it’s fun to brag about having a kid like BOOTedgeedge, it’s not optional (like, say, having a pet that can do weird tricks, a cat that can use a human toilet, for instance). In the neoliberal order, if you’re not born into the top 0.1 percent, you have to be “smart” and unusually talented and motivated, otherwise you will not only lose what privileges you have, but possibly not even survive. As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman once gleefully proclaimed, “Average is over.”
I sometimes see this cult of meritocracy on here and it's kind of chilling, but I couldn't put it to words until this piece articulated it. Some of the smartest people I went to school with now are working at consulting and defense companies, relentlessly optimizing war crimes and political/labor repression for the worst companies and regimes in the world.
posted by Ouverture at 1:26 PM on April 1 [22 favorites]


PredictIt also says that Julian Castro has the same chance of becoming the nominee as Dwayne Johnson and Oprah Winfrey.

Unfortunately for Julian Castro this doesn't sound terribly off-base to me.
posted by dreamlanding at 1:30 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


[Harris/Buttigieg] is my preferred combo at the moment.

I mean, between the two they have the experiences to speak from a point of view that isn't merely a straight, white, man's, yet both appear to be fairly cautious, ameliorative liberals, so I'm not being facetious when I say I think it would be a formidable ticket. The combo of being perceived as appealingly liberal and different, but not too different, worked for Bill Clinton. And, of course, at this point, even a second Bill Clinton admin would be almost immeasurably better than what we have. OTOH, whether you think, at this point, that the candidacy of either represents a sufficient response to the crises we face probably has a lot to do with how endangered you think the country/world is and how deeply you believe the rot goes.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:48 PM on April 1


that the candidacy of either represents a sufficient response to the crises we face probably has a lot to do with how endangered you think the country/world is and how deeply you believe the rot goes.

The entire northern Midwest is flooded and the downstream is going to destroy the south, every farm in that wake is going to be destroyed and beef prices are about skyrocket not to mention feed and corn. The loss of topsoil is going to make these flood much more likely and make farming in the breadbasket of America much harder.

We are not at If or When we are at Now. The conditions we are facing involve famine. You have at be at least that serious.
posted by The Whelk at 2:22 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Have You Heard? Pete Buttigieg Is Really Smart: Also from that link...

This Democratic primary lineup is not the worst, and within it, neither is Mayor Pete (the term used by those not quite smart enough to pronounce BOOTedgedge). He seems to support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal in some form.

Good lord, what a classic jacobin piece. No, sorry, he supports Medicare for All. He supports the Green New Deal. Forcing "seems" in there to make him look like a phony...that piece ends with all you need to know about it: Bernie Sanders, instead of showing off his University of Chicago education, touts the power of the masses: “Not Me, Us.” I like Sanders a lot, but this is clumsy as hell. We get it, jacobin, and it's exhausting. Repeatedly referring to Buttigieg by how he pronounces is name is childish, too.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:23 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


I mean all this is a fun thought experiment except that what we're going to end up as some sort of Sanders Warren or Warren Sanders ticket

Not sure if serious? The odds of Warren picking Sanders as a VP are roughly zero? The odds of Sanders picking Warren are only slightly higher? People pick VPs to balance the ticket either geographically or ideologically or both and both of them are on the left end of the progressive wing of the party and from neighboring New England States. Also one is super extra old and the other just regular old.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


BOOTedgedge

I think all these journalists are trying to be the one to take credit for the inevitable Chan/Reddit support base that will call themselves the Buttigieglords.
posted by FJT at 2:45 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


We are not at If or When we are at Now. The conditions we are facing involve famine. You have at be at least that serious.

Yeah, I don’t disagree with you here; as I said I’m pretty firmly in the we’re-in-the-post-apocalypse camp. That comment’s more a reflection on the kind of appeal Buttigieg might have.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:12 PM on April 1


No, sorry, he supports Medicare for All.

There are a number of reasons why Medicare for All-Who-Want-It (the Sanders bill that Buttigieg is on record supporting) is not the same as Medicare for All. I get that Buttigieg is looking at the "for all who want it" aspect as a gradual inroad toward full single-payer but in reality any opt-out is likely just to undermine the whole system from the start.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:21 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Without downplaying the very real concerns about eviction rates and gentrification, though, the "1000 homes in 1000 days" initiative is being painted here as Mayor Pete forcing 1000 impoverished people of color from their homes in the dead of night and, like most things, and like 100% of things having to do with gentrification, it is more complex than that.

1000 homes were not demolished.

Many of the people being interviewed as victims of this over-aggressive policy are absentee investor owners who bought handfuls of buildings to flip and then for one reason or another...didn't.

Yeah it sounds like some of them are regular-ish middle class folks who got in over their heads, bought properties and then couldn't handle them. That's a drag. But "I didn't get to flip the FOUR HOUSES I BOUGHT and make a killing" isn't the same as "They kicked me out and bulldozed my home."

I am sympathetic to people who, for example, inherit property and then cannot afford to actually occupy or maintain it, but 1) that doesn't make abandoned buildings sustainable for a city indefinitely and 2) it sounds like once these alarms were raised, city officials began working more closely with individuals on plans for remediation. Even the lady trying to replace Buttigieg as mayor admits that he heard community concerns and altered course.

Hit pieces gonna hit tho I guess.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:44 PM on April 1 [18 favorites]


Buttigieg's "for all who want it" addition is pretty slimy.
posted by fleacircus at 3:45 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Buttigieg's "for all who want it" addition is pretty slimy.

Agreed, but he didn't invent it. It's in fact the position of most of the likely Dem field right now. Only Sanders, Harris, and Gillibrand are staunch on the question of abolishing private insurance and going full single-payer, with Klobuchar kicking the can down the road.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:01 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


"for all who want it" is the new "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


The article in the OP really picked and chose from the IndyStar article, the basis for its criticism of the 1000 homes in 1000 days. It is not 1000 demolitions/evictions. Notable points:

- "South Bend City Council President Tim Scott, a task force member and fellow Democrat, said many houses had become a safety concern. He said no one lost the homes in which they were living and the city made every effort to reach and work with homeowners."

- Stacy Odom, wanting to redevelop her historically black neighborhood: "She asked the mayor for $300,000 for a grant program to help homeowners with repairs. He countered, she said, with $650,000."

- "South Bend began providing more incentives for people in poorer areas to fix up their homes, she said, including a $2 million grant program for home repair and a $2 million program to provide affordable housing."

- He made changes after hearing complaints from low-income communities. "Most significantly, he told the city's code enforcement agency to measure progress by the number of violations that were addressed by property owners. The agency had been measuring success by the number of citations it issued. "

And from the HUD article:

- "The city also used its Vacant to Value Matching Repair Grant program, which offers owners of vacant and abandoned properties a $10,000 grant if they match at least 20 percent of the grant, address all code violations, and agree to live in the house for at least 3 years."

I'm sure some people unfortunately suffered some hardship from the program, but overall the article actually seemed pretty positive about it. If anyone can point me to more damning criticism of the project, I'd like to see it.
posted by bread-eater at 4:08 PM on April 1 [38 favorites]


I get that Buttigieg is looking at the "for all who want it" aspect as a gradual inroad toward full single-payer but in reality any opt-out is likely just to undermine the whole system from the start.

That's the misunderstanding in the debate apparently, because M4A it isn't an insurance policy. It is a full payment for all, projected to cost about 33 Trillion over ten years. That means it doesn't matter if anyone keeps their health insurance, because it's full free on the other side, and the insurance keepers would be opting to pay privately. It's no more than a play on words, because realistically their insurance would go away completely, with no option offered by their companies, unless a hybrid approach to payments was worked out (and hybrids make sense because controlling costs only requires a law, not full payment). The misunderstanding arises because they only named it Medicare-for-all because studies showed more people like Medicare than public options or single-payer. As an aside, he claims it is pronounced Buddha-judge.
posted by Brian B. at 6:52 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


also consider that obama had as close to a magic wand as exists in american politics, the congressional supermajority.

He had a supermajority for 4 months, that's it. It's a miracle he was able to get anything passed at all.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:50 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


BOOTedgedge

Booty judge and I will die on this hill.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:56 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Also, bootigang. OBVIOUSLY bootigang
posted by Going To Maine at 7:57 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


As one of the people who really focused on the 1000 homes thing, I appreciate the two recent comments adding detail there. I'm tempted to quibble -- 1000 homes weren't demolished, but 689 would or will be -- but still, there is important detail in some of the links above, so my opinion has softened. Thanks for bringing those details into the conversation here.
posted by salvia at 11:35 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Her unyielding focus on policy first is what I think is most needed, but I'm also deeply concerned she might not be able to sell that to the public in a way that would make her likely to be elected.

Have you ever watched her work a room for five minutes or more? She is charismatic and compelling. If she were a man, there would be no question of this, none. If she's defined as not charismatic, it's because we do not allow serious women politicians to be considered charismatic.

The McKinsey thing--what was he, 25, 26? Heck. I worked for a law firm which was out there defending multinational corporations from even having to appear in U.S. courts for their support of appalling human rights violations in poor countries when I was in my early thirties. Admittedly, I was facing serious economic constraints that he was not, but if you want to say I am forevermore disqualified from being progressive, you can, I guess? I just don't know where it gets you. (I do agree with rishabguha that a failure to recognize the problems with working at such a place now is a more meaningful concern.)
posted by praemunire at 12:30 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Have you ever watched her work a room for five minutes or more? She is charismatic and compelling. If she were a man, there would be no question of this, none. If she's defined as not charismatic, it's because we do not allow serious women politicians to be considered charismatic.

I find her charismatic for the very things that seem to turn many off, a deep intelligence that doesn't waste itself on bullshit, lies, and pandering one side or on comforting inspirational generalities on the other. Those things appeal to a lot of people, just look at who has been elected for evidence. Warren's response to Trump's taunts over her heritage wasn't good at all and it leads to concern that away from her own strengths she might not be very good at dealing with trolling and bullshit since it is so alien to her own manner of engagement. That's something I can't see being a problem at all for Harris, say, so it isn't just a gender thing.

There've been a lot of really awful Democratic campaigns where the candidates couldn't match the ease in communication of their opponents and lost even though they were clearly the better choice by any other measure, and the D's that won did so largely on the strength of their ability to relate to voters on a "gut level" not just a intellectual one.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:57 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Or to put it a different way, I thought Hillary ran a fantastic campaign from the convention onwards in how she communicated her vision and self, so that isn't my point of comparison, more Al Gore or any of the many others who stumbled badly in seeming "presidential" in the vague wholeness of how people relate to that term.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:36 AM on April 2


Admittedly, I was facing serious economic constraints that he was not, but if you want to say I am forevermore disqualified from being progressive, you can, I guess?

Do you really think people think that your situation is the same or that you’re forever disqualified from being a progressive? I get the defensiveness, but it seems misplaced.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:55 AM on April 2 [7 favorites]


Regarding McKinsey in a general way, one of the most telling passages in the piece is this one

If you don’t notice the Machiavellians at McKinsey, you’re probably one of them.

It is such a workdview! I'm not particularly objecting to Nathan Current Affairs' analysis, which is as frustrating and insightful a close reading of a book as ever. But the assumption that if you're unconcerned or unaware about your job you're actively engaged in evil schemes is just such a strange pattern of thinking to me.

The correct view here, IMHO, is the old MLK saw about how the white liberal is the larger stumbling block to racial justice than the hardcore racist. That isn't an exoneration, but it's a fundamentally different, and one that I'm much more open to for someone fresh out of college and apparently blind to their own privilege at the time.

The question also seems to be at least in part: when do you want a candidate to be a formed person? NCA nicely makes the case that Buttigieg hasn't formed himself into a progressive figure, but the general implication of the piece as a whole is that if you didn't notice what was up by the time you got out of college, you're irredeemable. (This also feels very Current Affairs. But you will be so many different people in that intervening time, and will slip around so much. Your general mold may have been cast, but there is freedom in that space.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:36 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


(I do think I am reading my own interesting ambiguities and questions into a piece that is designed to be a knife, so please don't mistake this fascination with the handle as ignoring its very effective edge.)
posted by Going To Maine at 5:45 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


That comment’s more a reflection on the kind of appeal Buttigieg might have.

David Brooks in saying the quiet parts loudly non-shocker!
" ... he is young and represents the rising generation, but he is also an older person’s idea of what a young person should be. He’d be the first millennial president, but Buttigieg doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes that have been affixed to America’s young people ...

Second, he is gay and personifies the progress made by the L.G.B.T.Q. movement, but he doesn't do so in a way that feels threatening or transgressive to social conservatives. He has conservative family values; it’s just that his spouse is a husband, not a wife. He speaks comfortably about his faith and says that when he goes to church he prefers a conservative liturgy to anything experimental ...

... he has the trauma of Midwestern deindustrialization in his bones. He lives in a house near his mother where the mortgage comes to about $450 a month. On the other hand, he was friends with Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard, earned a first at Oxford and thrived as a corporate consultant.
Not surprised to learn that David Brooks reads my metafilter comments, but obviously I wasn't clear enough that I meant my reflections as criticism!

(Bonus!
"They are sick of the moral melodrama altogether. They just want a person who is more about governing than virtue-signaling, more about friendliness and basic decency ...
writes the columnist who left his wife for his research assistant while writing The Road to Character.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:49 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


Chris Cillizza: The $12 million for Harris makes Buttigieg's $7 million look that much better

So, a black women does twice as well as a white guy and the white gets the praise.
posted by octothorpe at 7:53 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]




O, David Klion! His angle will also be nice and sharp, but the take seems unsurprising. Is the venue fresh for him?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:46 AM on April 2


Brooks: "On the other hand, he was friends with Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard"

No, they were not. Buttigieg graduated in 2004, the same year that Zuckerberg, a sophomore dropped out. They lived in different dormitories. They may have been vaguely aware of each other but they were not friends.

And Buttigieg's story that "I did not guess that the students poised to have the greatest near-term impact were not the social justice warriors at the protests [PSLM] but a few mostly apolitical geeks who were quietly at work in Kirkland House [Zuckerberg et al.]."

That's a fabrication. The PSLM sit-in occurred in 2001 when Zuckerberg was still in high school at Phillips Exeter Academy. He didn't create The Facebook until 2004.
posted by JackFlash at 8:50 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


That's the misunderstanding in the debate apparently, because M4A it isn't an insurance policy. It is a full payment for all, projected to cost about 33 Trillion over ten years.

Which, as your link notes, is actually a savings of 2 trillion in total US health care costs.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:28 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I get the defensiveness

Honestly, I'm not feeling defensive. What I am feeling (not for the first time) is a certain impatience with grown people who seem stuck on a teenager's level of nuance when it comes to moral judgment, because it's harmful to our side. I am not a particular Buttigieg fan but I meant it when I said above we should be carefully weighing strengths and weaknesses, not looking for one "gotcha!" to disqualify someone indefinitely.

The number of Mefites for whom, as young college graduates, Wall Street, Biglaw, consulting, or the Big Five accounting firms would have been readily available career choices and who would have turned them down on anti-capitalist principle to go and, like, be community organizers, is, I'm going to venture, pretty small. Let's focus on tests we would expect people to pass. Those are the useful ones.
posted by praemunire at 11:27 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Nathan Robinson’s response to his Mayor Pete deep dive : Why Bother Trying To Persude Anyone?
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


But again, praemunire we have multiple other candidates who did just that as young people (plus I'm sure I'm not alone among Mefites in this). It doesn't necessarily have to be a moral judgement, but:

1. If Buttigieg were older, we also would likely not rely so much on what he did immediately after university, since he'd have a longer track record that we could rely on beyond his immediately post-college experiences.

2. We can say that Buttigieg's progressive bona fides are weaker than some of the other Democratic candidates in the current primaries.
posted by eviemath at 11:48 AM on April 2 [10 favorites]


The number of Mefites for whom, as young college graduates, Wall Street, Biglaw, consulting, or the Big Five accounting firms would have been readily available career choices and who would have turned them down on anti-capitalist principle to go and, like, be community organizers, is, I'm going to venture, pretty small.

The number of Mefites who are qualified to be president is, I'm going to venture, pretty small. If you think that any test that would filter out a lot of Mefites is clearly not workable, naive, or whatever, then we really don't have a lot to discuss. We are vetting people for the most institutionally powerful position in the world. The person who gets elected President should be exceptional. Your argument against holding candidates to a high standard is, essentially, that the standard would disqualify too many people like us. This approach to vetting presidential candidates is seriously lacking in humility and perspective. This election is not about whether educated UMC 30-somethings can get a break and feel good about themselves even though they worked at Goldman. It is literally a matter of life and death, not a theoretical referendum on whether or not you're "allowed to be progressive."
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:04 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


The question also seems to be at least in part: when do you want a candidate to be a formed person? NCA nicely makes the case that Buttigieg hasn't formed himself into a progressive figure, but the general implication of the piece as a whole is that if you didn't notice what was up by the time you got out of college, you're irredeemable.

I expect them to be a "formed person" by the time they are running for president. And that means owning up to some possible mistakes in your earlier life. Instead we have Buttigieg, today, in the present, casting shade on "social justice warriors" and extolling the achievements of Zuckerberg - just as you would expect of a McKinsey consultant.
posted by JackFlash at 12:20 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]


Robinson's response is weirdly meh to me. His case against Buttigeig is very obviously a hard left case against Buttigeig. If you don't think that the things Robinson believes are disqualifying are de facto disqualifying (e.g. working at McKinsey, being a technocrat) his piece isn't much. It very much read as a progressive rallying cry - here's what a candidate should be, here's what he is not- rather than a general proof that Buttigeig is bad.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:44 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


During a recent Trump-stressed-induced-allnighter, I stumbled on videos Buttigieg, and was initially really excited about him - there's interview with him championing the Green New Deal and talks about the importance of climate change as someone who will be living through so much of it - and then, in trying to find out what he was actually like as mayor of South Bend, I stumbled on the article in the post.

I was pretty turned off by the whole McKinsey/Rhodes scholar trajectory thing (not a lifepath that necessarily puts you on the side of empowering people), and disturbed by the eminent domain/gentrification approach to revitalization. The weird scandal with the recordings of the cops saying racist things also disturbs me. The IndyStar article tells a more complex story, which is that it took PoC female activists pushing back against his policies for him to change and adopt a better approach.

He strikes me as a talented retail politician - charming, bright - and also as someone who might be able to learn from activists about the right course to take, at least as a mayor. But I think I'd rather have someone who actually gets it, who doesn't need the pushing back to see how his policies might help the image of his town at the expense of the people living there. Maybe he's on his way to being that kind of person, and could be in the future, but some of the existing candidates seem to get it more instinctively, to degrees, and have track records in which they were some of the people doing the pushing.

I know it sounds weird but it makes me really happy to see such a long and contentious thread about a Democratic candidate. Nov. 2020 (Jan. 2021?) can't come soon enough but at the same time I'm looking forward to getting to debate and think about so many alternative futures that don't involve the current occupant.
posted by tarshish bound at 1:45 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


If you don't think that the things Robinson believes are disqualifying are de facto disqualifying (e.g. working at McKinsey ...

My own feeling, personally, is that I'm much more put off at this moment by Buttigeig's "I'm just a good ol' boy from the Midwest, not one of those liberals" shtick, than I am by who a rich Harvard grad went to work for immediately after college. Harvard grads are gonna Harvard grad, most of them, even the liberal ones, and that doesn't surprise or even dismay me, particularly. But when the fascists are on the march and you're a privileged Harvard grad, the son of privileged grads, and you can't wait to validate the right-wing culture warriors to try to buy yourself some wholly unbelievable populist cred, well, that's when I tune you out. (And frankly, I could even overlook that if it came with extraordinary charisma and/or boldly-stated progressive goals, but alas! AFAICT, at this point Buttigeig seems determined to run a slightly more cautious iteration of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:45 PM on April 2 [8 favorites]


What I am feeling (not for the first time) is a certain impatience with grown people who seem stuck on a teenager's level of nuance when it comes to moral judgment, because it's harmful to our side.

but enough about mayor pete
posted by edeezy at 1:58 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


Also, it might just be some propaganda, but in my internet wanderings I stumbled on this story of Buttigeig serving as an impromptu Arabic translator at the South Bend ER for a sick child.

Also also, Nathan Robinson is right, in that I'm much more skeptical of Buttigeig as a result of reading his article than I would have been if he just said "vote Bernie."
posted by tarshish bound at 2:02 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Buttigieg reminds me of nothing more than Macron. We're going to find out if 5 years of Macron with his 30% approval rating was enough to stave off a Le Pen presidency the next time in France, but the US has to make the same choice before then. Is the American Macron enough to restore democracy and prosperity such that we're not looking at Trump on steroids in 2024? That's the proposition we're gambling on with Buttigieg.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:11 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


The McKinsey thing--what was he, 25, 26? Heck. I worked for a law firm which was out there defending multinational corporations from even having to appear in U.S. courts for their support of appalling human rights violations in poor countries when I was in my early thirties. Admittedly, I was facing serious economic constraints that he was not, but if you want to say I am forevermore disqualified from being progressive, you can, I guess? I just don't know where it gets you. (I do agree with rishabguha that a failure to recognize the problems with working at such a place now is a more meaningful concern.)

Dunno how many times folks have to say it. It says in the article, we've said in our responses. It's not working at McKinsey that's the dealbreaker. It's sketchy, but it's not a death knell.

It's the fact that he worked there for so long, and all he came away from it with was memories of a wonderful experience. No reflection, no cognizance of what he was a part of. You say you kept multinational corps from appearing in courts for appalling human rights violations? Like, okay, that's pretty not great, but you realize that, right? You're not saying this to brag about it. And that's the big difference. Buttigieg just published an entire book about who he is as a Presidential candidate that's bragging about this shit, that's saying that the stuff he did there makes him a better candidate because it was good work. That's what makes this whole "actually I'm a progressive" schtick that he spun up as soon as he declared his candidacy ring really false.
posted by kafziel at 4:15 PM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Which, as your link notes, is actually a savings of 2 trillion in total US health care costs.

The link was fact checking that claim and quoted its author saying he doesn't agree with it, because demand will rise 11% and services will fall due to 40% lower payments, putting many hospitals out of business. The savings came from noting the decrease in paperwork and other direct savings, but not highlighting the diverging payments and demand. The way it will end up will be longer waits and different doctors each time, while the wealthy keep their premium services. This will create health care jealousy all over again. The warning from the future is to be sure that what we really want is in fact better than Obamacare, which currently subsidizes insurance and allows preexisting conditions, and lets you in the door at any clinic on time. The reason this matters is because we will have Trump for four more years if liberals turn away the senior vote that protects existing Medicare as is.
posted by Brian B. at 4:55 PM on April 2


that's bragging about this shit,

Uh, is it? I haven't read the book, and Robinson doesn't actually say anything about what Buttigeig did while at the firm. I'm not saying it was great, or if it was bad (and it seems like the book obviously trips lightly over the various dubious things McKinsey has consulted on, but there's literally nothing in here about what his work was.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:05 PM on April 2


Like, as enjoyable a teardown as the essay was, it feels like something is revealed where Robinson quotes from the text versus where he challenges you to look it up and calls the damnation self-evident.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:09 PM on April 2


The link was fact checking that claim and quoted its author saying he doesn't agree with it, because demand will rise 11% and services will fall due to 40% lower payments, putting many hospitals out of business.

Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers on Medicare-for-All
Politifact pointed to the alternative scenario to declare the claim that the Mercatus study says M4A will save $2 trillion “Half True.” The AP, which I didn’t even realize did fact-checking, called the claim “spin.” And the Washington Post gave the claim 3 Pinocchios out of a possible 4 Pinocchios, which apparently means it is a “significant factual error” or contains “obvious contradictions.”

Think for a second about how completely absurd these three suspiciously identical fact-check pieces are. They acknowledge that Sanders and others are right that the Mercatus estimate does say there will be $2 trillion in savings. But then they say Sanders is mostly lying because he does not also talk about alternative scores of totally different plans that are not his plan.

It would be like if Sanders released a plan to raise the top tax rate to 70 percent and then a study came out that said the hike would raise $1 trillion of revenue but that a 60 percent hike would only raise $800 billion. Then Sanders said “good news, my 70 percent tax rate raises $1 trillion in revenue” and the fact-checkers wrote pieces saying he was lying because he failed to mention that a 60 percent tax rate would raise much less. That is how ridiculous the argument of these pieces are.
posted by edeezy at 6:06 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


it feels like something is revealed where Robinson quotes from the text versus where he challenges you to look it up and calls the damnation self-evident.

god forbid we should do anything so onerous as look something up. I don't own the book so I'll have to resort to an equally authoritative source:

"But, in the end, when you have an apparatus like that that is so woven into the American private sector, it’s going to be as moral or immoral or amoral as the American private sector itself. And what’s interesting is you don’t see blanket denunciations of law firms that serve any number of these clients, because the thought is just, client service is what it is. And you serve people and represent their interest. But there seems to be a higher expectation of consultancies, and it may be because consultancies take a lot of pride in the work that they do with foundations and other great causes. They don’t want to be as amoral as a law firm.

What would you say if a junior at Harvard called you right now and said, “Should I take a job there?


That happens from time to time. And I try to give good advice. My purposes there were mostly educational. I mean, I was earning money and saving money, too, but the reason I was doing that and not something else was mostly educational.


"there seems to be a higher expectation of consultancies, and it may be because consultancies take a lot of pride in the work that they do with foundations and other great causes. They don’t want to be as amoral as a law firm."

"my purposes there were mostly educational."

there you go. I guess you could consider it still an open question how much of this self-justification is a pile of smirks and lawyer jokes, and how much of it is meant sincerely. if you wanted to.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:17 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


god forbid we should do anything so onerous as look something up.

Ah! So you too are not looking it up. Neither am I! I’d rather read interviews and second-hand accounts as well. Which is convenient, because there are going to be a lot of them.

To supplement the one in New York, there’s a new one at The New Yorker too. Buttigieg gets two questions on consulting:
Why did you work at McKinsey, and what do you make of the reporting on McKinsey’s work advising Purdue Pharma on how to turbo-charge—their word—OxyContin sales, and how they counseled dictators worldwide on how to build more efficient autocracies? Is your work for McKinsey something that you’re proud of in the rearview mirror?
I’m proud of the work that I did for our clients. I worked on everything from grocery pricing to renewable energy, and I would not have worked on a client engagement that I didn’t believe was ethical, as well as helpful, or at least not problematic in that way. I went to work at McKinsey because I wanted to understand how the world worked, how people, goods, and money move around the world, and I wanted that kind of private-sector experience, and they were willing to take a chance on me even though I didn’t have an M.B.A., and teach me what I needed to know about business. It was a phenomenal learning opportunity.
But are you angry at McKinsey for their work on Purdue Pharma, and with various dictators around the world?
Of course. I mean, my community has been harmed by irresponsible behavior of corporations of the opioid industry. And I think it shocks the conscience anytime that a murderous dictator can rely on the legitimacy of a Western consulting company, especially the most prestigious company out there, in order to further their goals. And I think that, you know, this firm needs to be a lot more selective and a lot more thoughtful in the work that it does. I mean, client-service firms always have a bit of a tradition of being amoral, and I think that that flows from the legal industry, where, you know, you don’t as often, I think, hold it against a firm if, for example, a criminal-defense attorney at that firm represents a nefarious criminal. But, you know, it is a little different, and should be, when it comes to consulting. There should be a higher standard because, while everybody recognizes there is a right to legal counsel, I’m not convinced that there is any kind of right to management-consulting services.
So he is certainly dancing around the point and attempting to draw the same equivalence with law firms.

there you go. I guess you could consider it still an open question how much of this self-justification is a pile of smirks and lawyer jokes, and how much of it is meant sincerely. if you wanted to.

I don’t quite follow this? From the interviews and the snippets provided by Robinson, it seems that Buttigieg sincerely enjoyed working at McKinsey, takes pride in the work he did there, learned a lot, and has separated his own work there from the very unsavory things done by the rest of the company - something that a lot of people do at a lot of jobs. To me, the essential point of Robinson’s take (and the center of his beliefs) is that someone who thinks that McKinsey is a good company and isn’t interested in doing a lot of public introspection about any time spent working there -or who was even willing to work there in the first place- is a bad candidate for president. That seems like an okay litmus test for a progressive!
posted by Going To Maine at 8:13 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Yes, because the right to an attorney is just like the right to a client consultant who can create a PowerPoint presentation on how to increase your corporation's market share. Read your Constitution!

Pete is telling you exactly who he is. You know exactly what to expect from him when the next national crisis comes.
posted by JackFlash at 8:37 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


To me, the essential point of Robinson’s take (and the center of his beliefs) is that someone who thinks that McKinsey is a good company and isn’t interested in doing a lot of public introspection about any time spent working there -or who was even willing to work there in the first place- is a bad candidate for president. That seems like an okay litmus test for a progressive!

You're being weirdly sarcastic about two completely correct statements.
posted by kafziel at 9:13 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Your argument against holding candidates to a high standard is, essentially, that the standard would disqualify too many people like us.

I'm not very often accused of not holding people to standards. My argument is, frankly, that that particular standard you are attempting to hold people to is stupid morally and harmful practically. I can only laugh wearily at the people who think because they went to work for tech companies after college, their hands are clean. There are a number of reasons to not vote for Buttigieg, I really don't see him as my choice of candidate in any way, but "had standard capitalist job at 26," by itself, is just purity wank.

Dunno how many times folks have to say it. It says in the article, we've said in our responses. It's not working at McKinsey that's the dealbreaker. It's sketchy, but it's not a death knell.

It's the fact that he worked there for so long


I've explicitly said I agree with people who are concerned about his attitude towards his employment there now. That is not the only position people here are taking, or I wouldn't be bothering making the argument. I don't like McKinsey one bit, and it makes me feel a little weird to be "defending" employment there. I just think the Quest for the Perfectly Pure Candidate is both futile and terribly counterproductive, and thus we must have thoughtful standards of judgment for flaws, not kneejerk reactions to buzzwords.
posted by praemunire at 10:41 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers on Medicare-for-All

Think for a second about how completely absurd these three suspiciously identical fact-check pieces are. They acknowledge that Sanders and others are right that the Mercatus estimate does say there will be $2 trillion in savings. But then they say Sanders is mostly lying because he does not also talk about alternative scores of totally different plans that are not his plan.

The "alternative scores" were never about different plans in the link that was responded to. The fact remains that Sanders once touted a claim by an author that the author dismisses, and is a claim that keeps resurfacing in M4A tweets despite the author's take down, though the number is still useful as the projected savings that less paperwork and shared operating costs might generate. Here is what the author believes:

Or, as Blahous told us via email, achieving a 40 percent reduction in reimbursement rates is an “unlikely outcome” and “actual costs are likely to be substantially greater.”

“To argue that we can get to that level of savings by getting rid of the health insurance middleman is inconsistent with my study,” Blahous said. “To lend credibility to the $2 trillion savings number specifically, one would have to argue that we can make those 40 percent cuts to providers at the same time as increasing demand by about 11 percent, without triggering disruptions of access to care that lawmakers and the public find unacceptable.”

The report similarly uses assumptions in the Sanders bill about savings on administrative costs and on the cost of prescription drugs. Blahous describes these assumptions as “aggressive” and his report includes arguments that suggest they are unlikely.

Said Blahous: “If you ask somebody ‘How much would something cost?’ and if they responded with, ‘Well, if you assume X the cost would be Y, but that’s an unrealistic assumption, actual costs would be higher’ – it’s not accurate to say ‘He says the cost is Y!’ When I wrote that ‘actual costs’ would be higher, I meant it. And I haven’t simply said that in response to comments like the candidate’s – I had previously put it front and center on the study itself.”

In his report, Blahous provided an alternative-scenario estimate, one that assumed instead that payments to health care providers would “remain equal on average to the current-law blend of higher private and lower public reimbursement rates.” Under that scenario, there would be a net increase in health care spending.

posted by Brian B. at 11:26 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Yes, because the right to an attorney is just like the right to a client consultant who can create a PowerPoint presentation on how to increase your corporation's market share. Read your Constitution!

Isn't that what he's saying, though?

you don’t as often, I think, hold it against a firm if, for example, a criminal-defense attorney at that firm represents a nefarious criminal. But, you know, it is a little different, and should be, when it comes to consulting. There should be a higher standard because, while everybody recognizes there is a right to legal counsel, I’m not convinced that there is any kind of right to management-consulting services.

(I'm not informed enough to have much opinion on Buttigieg yet one way or another, but I was thinking the same thing as you when he brought up the comparison to law firms in that answer, and then got to the next sentence where he explained how that comparison fell down.)
posted by trig at 12:45 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


You're being weirdly sarcastic about two completely correct statements.

I'm not being sarcastic! I'm sorry for the confusion. I'm being emphatic. I think that the strength of the essay is that it outlines a criteria for being a progressive candidate and makes a cleverly designed case for why Buttigeig doesn't meet that requirement. I think Buttigeig is being quite candid as well, and himself makes clear why he isn't a progressive by the Robinson standard. It's a very good alignment of two people being honest about what they want and who they are.

posted by Going To Maine at 7:33 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


One of those trademark Vox "Here's what everyone is saying" pieces. It's hardly as enjoyable or sharp as Robinson's but has some nice features:
  1. A mealier categorization of what it means to be "progressive" for you to love or hate.
  2. Lots of vague statements by Buttigeig that Robinson is concerned with as being his problem.
  3. A slightly deeper discussion of things that Buttigeig did in South Bend.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:47 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Shorter Buttigeig to Robinson: "You may not endorse me, but I endorse you."
posted by Going To Maine at 10:06 AM on April 3


The "alternative scores" were never about different plans in the link that was responded to. The fact remains that Sanders once touted a claim by an author that the author dismisses, and is a claim that keeps resurfacing in M4A tweets despite the author's take down, though the number is still useful as the projected savings that less paperwork and shared operating costs might generate. Here is what the author believes:

Missing from this discussion is that the report was put out by a right-wing think tank as part of a media push against M4A. This is why Sanders and AOC and etc. framed the story as, "Thank you, Koch Brothers, for accidentally making the case for Medicare for All!" The point was not that this study was so accurate so its cost estimates for M4A should be believed. No -- it was that, even though the study was being touted as showing that M4A was unaffordable, its own cost estimates reflected a $2 trillion dollar savings, because the increase in taxes was matched by a decrease in premiums.

Mainstream news was running headlines based on the study like, Medicare for All will cost $32 trillion dollars! The point made by Sanders was that, based on this exact cost projection, Medicare for All would actually save $2 trillion dollars. Sanders and AOC etc. were not saying, "When it comes to Medicare for All, we endorse the reasoning and methodology of the Koch-funded Mercatus Center! Delegate all questions about the fiscal impact of these policies to the Koch-funded Mercatus Center!" They were saying that even this hatchet job, taken on its own terms, was accidentally making the case for Medicare for All.

Once this context is in place, it has no particular significance for the original author of the study to come along and say "oh I didn't intend for this cost projection to be used to make this point."

Ok, let me try this again but less polemically:

It looks like Blahous regarded the $32 trillion figure as one that was already making the assumptions most favorable to M4A. This is of course a standard rhetorical move we all use: Even if you use the numbers most favorable to my opponents, still M4A would cost $32 trillion. It's (among other things) a way of compensating for what others might see as your bias. And, as Blahous will later emphasize, adopting these assumptions rhetorically doesn't mean he's committed to their being true. (Distancing himself from them also doesn't imply that he has "dismissed" or "taken down" his original conclusions -- in his later statements, what he's doing is clarifying that he was only using them for the sake of argument in the first place.) Ok, cool.

The report then goes out into the news media world. It contains multiple sets of assumptions, corresponding to multiple sets of findings, but the finding that gets reported is the $32 trillion government spending figure based on the assumptions friendly to M4A. A bunch outlets misunderstand this number. A wave of coverage comes out based on a misleading framing: the $32 trillion figure measures the costs of the plan in terms of government spending, but doesn't include the cost saving in terms of health insurance premiums. When you fix this but otherwise use all of the same numerical assumptions, you get $2 trillion dollars in savings instead of $32 trillion dollars in costs, as Sanders and AOC gleefully pointed out. This difference of $34 trillion dollars in net fiscal impact is a pretty big deal.

The "fact checks" of Sanders and AOC reveal an irony. Like Blahous, they were using the rhetorical device of, "Even if you use my opponent's projections, my plan will save $2 trillion." And they were correct. But their opponent's projections in the first place had been framed to be friendly to them. What a misunderstanding! It's like "The Gift of the Magi"! Now into this little meet-cute stumble the "fact check" columnists from various outlets. "Aha," they point out. "Blahous doesn't actually believe in the cost projections that support the claim of $2 trillion dollar savings, he thinks they are too optimistic. Therefore, 3 Pinocchios! The left is discredited once again!" Two problems with this conclusion:

1. It falsely implies that the truthfulness of Sanders etc. has to be measured relative to what Blahous thinks is true. This might be the case if Sanders and AOC were endorsing Blahous's expertise in their statements. But they weren't doing that -- they were explicitly identifying him as an ideological opponent, and using the "even our opponents" rhetorical maneuver. What they were saying was true about the numerical assumptions underlying the widely reported $32 trillion figure. It doesn't matter that what they were saying didn't accurately characterize Blahous's actual beliefs, or that the paper also included other models that used different assumptions.
2. It glosses over a much more important point: that the $32 trillion figure was a massive distortion because it completely ignored the fact that tax increases would be offset by premium decreases at all. (This error is not in the original paper, although one suspects that the press releases from Mercatus didn't discourage it.) So we've got the fact checkers handing out Pinocchios to Sanders and AOC because they were (supposedly) off by perhaps a couple trillion in net fiscal impact, while what they were really doing was correcting reporting that was off by more than $30 trillion in net fiscal impact.

What the actual fiscal impact of Medicare 4 All would be is of course a different question from all of this. It might very well be that Blahous is right and the numerical assumptions he used were unrealistically favorable to M4A. Or he might be completely off base! The fact checkers don't know this and make no attempt to determine it; how could they really?

tl;dr: Sanders and AOC based their statements on the widely reported cost projections from the Mercatus paper; fact checkers call them out for not using a different (not widely reported) set of cost projections that the Mercatus author likes more; no reason they should have done this.
posted by grobstein at 11:12 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Without downplaying the very real concerns about eviction rates and gentrification, though, the "1000 homes in 1000 days" initiative is being painted here as Mayor Pete forcing 1000 impoverished people of color from their homes in the dead of night and, like most things, and like 100% of things having to do with gentrification, it is more complex than that.

Thanks for the link to those interviews.

Odd that the op-ed author points readers to the same interviews with people involved. It seems to complicate the intended take-away, which is that you should believe 1000 families were kicked out of their homes, which were then subsequently demolished. This appears not to been what happened.

The author either read that article and included a link to it anyway, without being honest about its content, or he didn't read it at all. It seems he hoped readers would have an emotional response to how he framed it, without going into specifics, and that worked.

Either way suggests to me even more strongly that the op-ed writer wrote something that would be called, maybe less charitably, a "hit piece", or maybe being more charitable, at least somewhat manipulative and loose with facts.

In any case, thank you for giving important context and background. 2016 proved that misinformation campaigns work, so vigilance is useful.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:09 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


“BUTTIGIEG on free college: Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don't. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea a majority who earn less because they didn't go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did - Politico” “ “ah ok he's stupid, not a wonk @BillHumphreyMA”
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Nate Silver thinks Buttimentum is real: 8. Subject to all the caveats and limitations above, of the various candidates I've covered, the Buttigieg surge feels pretty darn organic and not especially media-driven. People are genuinely interested in him to an extent that's surprised me..
posted by Justinian at 3:20 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


When I asked where the Democratic Party errs, he said that too many Democrats “are not yet comfortable working in a vocabulary of ‘freedom.’ Conservatives talk about freedom. They mean it. But they’re often negligent about the extent to which things other than government make people unfree.”

And that is exactly why the things we talk about as Democrats matter,” he continued. “You’re not free if you have crushing medical debt. You’re not free if you’re being treated differently because of who you are. What has really affected my personal freedom more: the fact that I don’t have the freedom to pollute a certain river, or the fact that for part of my adult life, I didn’t have the freedom to marry somebody I was in love with? We’re talking about deep, personal freedom.”

posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:43 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Sanders and AOC based their statements on the widely reported cost projections from the Mercatus paper; fact checkers call them out for not using a different (not widely reported) set of cost projections that the Mercatus author likes more; no reason they should have done this.

He used the assumptions based on the current payments blend of private and public, minus the private, which as higher payments, and more of them, offsets the public low payments. He made it clear in his reply as to what he did and why and hasn't changed anything. Again:

Said Blahous: “If you ask somebody ‘How much would something cost?’ and if they responded with, ‘Well, if you assume X the cost would be Y, but that’s an unrealistic assumption, actual costs would be higher’ – it’s not accurate to say ‘He says the cost is Y!’ When I wrote that ‘actual costs’ would be higher, I meant it. And I haven’t simply said that in response to comments like the candidate’s – I had previously put it front and center on the study itself.”
posted by Brian B. at 3:47 PM on April 3


“BUTTIGIEG on free college: Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don't. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea a majority who earn less because they didn't go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did - Politico” “ “ah ok he's stupid, not a wonk @BillHumphreyMA”

Yeah, it's really the same shit as the article. He's couching shit in progressive language - he's very gifted at languages, after all - but this is a horrifying concept, telling the business class that he's 100% their friend.

If you don't go to college, you don't benefit, but you're paying to benefit the people who do go to college, and the people who don't go to college tend to be lower class than the people who do, so this is regressive. Right? It almost makes sense if you ignore the concept of an income barrier to college, or the idea that everybody is in that first category until they transition into the second, or any number of reasons why the entire idea is being put forth in the first place. It's a nightmare take, and if you're any sort of progressive or leftist it's obviously nowhere near where you are, but this snake is very, very good at languages.
posted by kafziel at 5:15 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


The only way it makes sense if he was running on a plan of preventing exploitation by instituting mass wage equality.

Which still wouldn’t make sense cause the rich have so much hoarded assets.

How do you get this far without knowing the concept of taxation is that those with more pay more to support the people with less?
posted by The Whelk at 5:49 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


How do you get this far without knowing the concept of taxation is that those with more pay more to support the people with less?

By knowing and disapproving. By not actually being progressive, in the least.
posted by kafziel at 7:04 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Rising Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg said ‘all lives matter’ in 2015, putting his record on race in the spotlight

From his speech:
There is no contradiction between respecting the risks that police officers take every day in order to protect this community, and recognizing the need to overcome the biases implicit in a justice system that treats people from different backgrounds differently, even when they are accused of the same offenses. We need to take both those things seriously, for the simple and profound reason that all lives matter.
Pushing past "bad at shibboleths" into "born to triangulate".
posted by fleacircus at 5:54 AM on April 4 [9 favorites]


The lede is kind of buried there

“Buttigieg’s comments could also put a spotlight on one of the more controversial aspects of his tenure as mayor of South Bend, involving secret recordings allegedly made of South Bend police officers at the direction of the city’s first African-American police chief, Darryl Boykins. Buttigieg demoted Boykins, who ultimately obtained a $75,000 settlement from the city after suing over what he described as Buttigieg’s “racial animus. ”

The officers believed to be recorded in the tapes also obtained a settlement from the city, for $500,000.”

As the kids say, yikes.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]




"Since learning about how that phrase was being used, I have stopped using it." ... His clarifying statement just makes it worse.

Buttigieg really strikes me as someone who is at the "triple point" of privilege where he's just privileged enough to recognize it and just decent enough to care about it and want to do better, but not quite up to the task of interrogating his own assumptions unless challenged. So yeah, I totally believe that he didn't realize "All Lives Matter" was rotten from its very beginnings.

And being at that triple point is fine; I'm there on a lot of things too, and have spent a lot of time trying to get better. But I'm not running for the presidency of the United States and trying to position myself as [insert your own term for farther-left-than-centrist here] to do it.
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


The Current Affairs podcast did a big two-parter rounding up all of the Democratic 2020 candidates, and you can listen to the Buttigieg section here from 1:14:30 to 1:28:00 or so. They mention another few things in there, such as his position on Chelsea Manning and the hospital story linked upthread, but the overall consensus of the panel is that he is "tolerable" and several panelists speak admiringly of him in various ways. Nathan Robinson, having not read Buttigieg's autobiography at the time they recorded the podcast, complains about the book's cover.

I hadn't listened to their podcast before, but I think a lot of lefty MeFites would probably enjoy the entire candidate round-up, which is a lot funnier than I would have expected from the publication.
posted by whir at 11:57 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Buttigieg strikes me as Clinton 25 years on, probably not a lot different than how Chelsea would campaign if she were going down the same path. Still able to call her mom a square, but also still not quite sure about those people.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


But I'm not running for the presidency of the United States and trying to position myself as [insert your own term for farther-left-than-centrist here] to do it.

Buttigieg definitely identifies with the left on several key issues, but I have not seen any use of the word "progressive" on his campaign website, or by him specifically in interviews on the web. I do see many pieces from the media about how he is a progressive or that he has progressive ideals, with the odd piece about how he isn't (such as the one linked up top). I don't know much beyond what I've read. Has anyone seen anything quotable from him directly?

I voted for President Obama in both terms. I don't regret those votes, at all, but I was left disappointed with some of his decisions in office, where environmental policy and civil liberties were concerned.

Looking back, I think I had an idealized image of Obama in my head that took hold in 2007. I realize now in 2019 that he had not let me down, so much as that is was that the ideal-Obama did not line up with the real-world-Obama. I was disappointed in the ideal-Obama.

But the real-world-Obama was always there, and thinking back on it, he was generally up-front about who he was. Maybe I ignored that real person because of the romance of voting for the ideal.

In Buttigieg, it would be easy for me to identify with and support a gay man running for President, and so I have expectations of that person based on my own lived experience. But Obama taught me that my perception of that person is invariably derived from the fantasy land up in my head, as it is for everyone, and that perception is almost certainly not going to line up with who that person is and what they really stand for.

Independent of whether or not I think he is a good candidate and bringing up issues that need to be brought up in the Dem primaries about healthcare, jobs, tuition reform, etc., maybe if I thought Buttigieg was a progressive — or demanded that he live up to my progressive ideals — and he hasn't explicitly said he is one, that would be on me and about my failure to listen, not on him.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:58 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


"Since learning about how that phrase was being used, I have stopped using it." ... His clarifying statement just makes it worse.

I'm looking forward to similar statements about 'SJW' and 'virtue signaling' (but I don't really expect to see them).
posted by box at 3:00 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I have not seen any use of the word "progressive" on his campaign website, or by him specifically in interviews on the web

In the free college quote he does say, "As a progressive..." and you can see video of it here. Apparently he also said, "I view myself as a progressive but these labels are becoming less and less useful."
posted by fleacircus at 3:02 PM on April 4


I have not seen any use of the word "progressive" on his campaign website

Yeah, you won’t see any use of it in the comment you were quoting, either. I did that just as purposefully as Buttigieg seems to.
posted by Etrigan at 4:22 PM on April 4


That's fair. I apologize for making that assumption.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:31 PM on April 4


I have to confess that this is pretty sweet: @jbillinson
Pete Buttigieg ran into a couple at his office in South Bend this morning and officiated their wedding on the spot because they wanted to get married before their c-section appointment 45 minutes later
I'm still holding out for the kitten and CPR story though.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:31 PM on April 4


Pete Buttigieg Calls For Death Penalty To Be Abolished
“As we work to end mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenses, as we work to put an end to prolonged solitary confinement, which is a form of torture,” he said, “here too we must be intentional about fixing disparities that have strong and deeply unfair racial consequences.”

He added: “Speaking of sentencing disparities, it is time to face the simple fact that capital punishment as seen in America has always been a discriminatory practice and we would be a fairer and safer country when we join the ranks of modern nations who have abolished the death penalty.”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:37 PM on April 4


Pete Buttigieg’s Favorite Book Is Ulysses, and That’s Great (Vulture)

In which the author contrasts Mayor Pete's Ulysses fandom (quoting Buttigieg in an interview: "you get into this other guy’s life and you learn about the things he cares about, and why he cares about them") with Beto's fondness for The Odyssey and Joseph Campbell (about which he writes "We don’t need a fucking hero right now. We need an adult. If the presidency is a stage in Beto O’Rourke’s hero’s journey, he should not be president.")
posted by box at 11:45 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


What’s most intriguing about Pete Buttigieg choosing Ulysses as his favorite novel in several media venues, which caused tiny but very loud eruptions yesterday on the internet, is that it was the “wrong” choice, in a lifetime that seems largely unblemished by those

LOL, as a class-mobile person who has learned how to fit in with the educated UMC, Ulysses is the book I always refer to as my favorite when I need to blend in. It's hard and long enough to be "classy" but no one has ever read it and so no one will try to do that thing educated UMC people do where they try to out-intellectual you by picking a fight over it. It's not "ethnic" like my other favorites (Love in the Time of Cholera; Beloved). It doesn't require you to deal with racism or sexism when you describe why you like it, and unlike American novels, it can avoid race without that avoidance being an issue. It's not something someone would get the chance to read in a mediocre public high school, like Steinbeck or Shakespeare. It references classical mythology, which is another thing mediocre public schoolkids typically don't get much of. I could go on.

His reasoning for liking it is goofy af, though, if I may say. It's not the poetry of the language or the imagery or anything like that, no, it's that it's about an everyday guy! Just like the everyday voter! I can't believe people compare this guy to Obama. He's a bit of a hack with stuff like this, tbqh.

These are minor but telling facts, and when it comes to the men and women who want to be president, now more than ever, the very finest calibrations seem worth considering.

We get it, he's an educated UMC guy
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:04 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I've seen some commentary on twitter about his utterly absurd book list. It's ... hard to believe he's even read them. He says about Ulysses that "in a way, it's very democratic: a story about what it is to be human as one middle-class guy goes about one day of his life in Dublin."

HE’S NOT ‘ONE MIDDLE CLASS GUY’ HE IS A CIPHER FOR MEDIOCRITY. HE IS THE MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES AND I THINK IT’S VERY REVEALING THAT YOU THINK OF THAT AS DEMOCRATIC - @AliceAvizandum

And, of course, his much vaunted thesis text. "I wrote my thesis on this prophetic Graham Greene novel about the dangers of American involvement in Vietnam, set in the 1950s before most people knew we were operating in Vietnam at all. In a very jaded, British way, Greene points out the dangers of well-intentioned interventions."

not to hammer on the ‘Pete Buttigieg is the fucking Smiler’ thing but I think the only way you can write a thesis on The Quiet American and believe that Pyle is well-intentioned is to be possessed of entirely the same character as him
Greene’s criticism of American empire is that it lies so effectively about not being malign that even its adherents almost believe it, but only *almost*
I’ve made fun of the thesis of Greene’s empire novels before as ‘like the empire, I am a sclerotic drunken paedophile’ but I give him some credit for understanding Americans
- @AliceAvizandum

Fun how the authors on his 10 Favorite Books List are 9 white men and 1 white woman, too.
posted by kafziel at 12:34 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Fun how the authors on his 10 Favorite Books List are 9 white men and 1 white woman, too.

You have to stretch your definition of "white" at least a little to fit Naguib Mahfouz and Orhan Pamuk into it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:44 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


It's not the poetry of the language or the imagery or anything like that, no, it's that it's about an everyday guy!

Really looking forward to hearing Buttigieg talk about his love of grilled mutton kidneys which give to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine. Even more looking forward to Bloomsday becoming a national holiday.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:54 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


This whole discourse about his favorite book list is bizarre. What's with all the "no one actually reads Ulysses!" takes? Are people confusing it with Finnegan's Wake? Tons of people actually read Ulysses.

Say what you will about his choices, but they do seem like an actual list of favorite books someone might plausibly have which I can't say about the obviously-curated-to-portray-a-narrative lists of this type we see from most politicians.
posted by dreamlanding at 3:37 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


This whole discourse about his favorite book list is bizarre. What's with all the "no one actually reads Ulysses!" takes? Are people confusing it with Finnegan's Wake? Tons of people actually read Ulysses.

No, I was not using hyperbole, I literally think that no one has read Ulysses. It could be one long recipe for bean salad repeated thousands of times, and no one would be the wiser. Alternatively, it's a long, dense, impressionistic sometimes-slog of a novel which has a lot of cultural cachet but which is not actually all that appealing to most novel-readers. (I loved it, of course. Because it's all about your average guy just going about his day.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:24 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


I literally think that no one has read Ulysses

Indeed, scholars doubt that Joyce ever read Ulysses. As Joyce once wrote, “All I ask of my readers is that they spend their lives pretending to have read my work.”
posted by octobersurprise at 5:53 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Pete Buttigieg on How He Plans to Win the Democratic Nomination and Defeat Trump

How you are going to win is to put forward something better, and to remind people that this Presidency is going to come and go, that it’s not all about him. It’s one of the reasons I talk a lot about my concern for what the world will look like in 2054, when I come to be the age he is now. We need to treat this Presidency as a symptom, not a cause. And, you know, even though it can be mesmerizing, as many grotesque things are, at the end of the day, pointing out all the ways in which he is terrible does not amount to a message. A message is something that would make as much sense ten years from now, or in 2054, as it does today, which means it can’t revolve around the personality or the deficiencies of the President.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:15 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


After the third instance of Buttigieg dunking on Mike Pence, I'm guessing he's positioning himself for a VP nomination.
posted by peeedro at 11:49 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Stories about him coming out later in life always put me in the super weird position of feeling extremely sympathetic to him personally (having also grown up in a homophobic place and really getting the emotional barriers to coming out) while, at the same time, finding his personal history really lacking for him as a potential pres/VP. He stayed out of the gay rights fray for a long, long time even though he could have provided a lot of leadership and smarts to activist efforts. I think I could be okay with that if he didn't also do this kind of "one of the good ones" stuff like knocking chik-fil-a protests as "virtue signaling" and making it clear that he's personally "conservative" about sex. We get it, you're not a promiscuous loud activisty-type. But that "type" did a lot to get you where you are, so maybe it's not necessary to throw them under the bus whenever the issue comes up.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:15 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]




To maybe add a different context, efforts from the "quieter" side of the LGTB community have done a lot to secure political influence behind the scenes at national and local levels, like the Gill Foundation, GSBA, GLAAD, HRC, and local youth community centers, like the William Way in Philadelphia, among others. Not that Buttigieg hasn't gotten help from the "loud activisty types", but sometimes affecting political and social changes can also come from other less combative approaches.

He's in a tough spot between the "he's too gay" and "he's not gay enough" extremists, but I don't get the sense that Buttigieg would actively or deliberately take away or trade our basic civil rights away, the way that a typical closeted Republican would, or certainly as Pence would, were he President.

He's not going to get support from the "he's too gay" types, but I haven't seen anything from him that suggests he would use government to take away our rights and freedoms, so I hope people on the other side of that axis might think carefully about that, were he to somehow reach the general election.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:30 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I initially was very positive about Mayor Pete, but the fact that all the worst media/establishment figures love him has really chilled my enthusiasm.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:16 AM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Wait a second -- he announced yesterday? All of this has been about someone who wasn't even actually running yet?

Fucking hell I hate this timeline.
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


Well, he's a nice boy with midwestern values (which is not somehow an anti-Semitic and/or racist dogwhistle because it's just not, okay, we just like "midwestern" values) who is civil (not a dogwhistle I promise stop being so sensitive) so he is the solution that we need to fix all the angry (not a dogwhistle no need to be paranoid) polarization in Washington (which is only due to the personalities of the people involved and not the fact that anyone without healthcare or housing might be a tiny bit reasonably angry I mean gosh there's no need to be so loud about it [not a dogwhistle either sheesh we're not registered Republicans back off])

In other words, he's the sort of answer to AOC (and to a lesser extent, Sanders) except he doesn't threaten the winners of today's societal order and he is a white guy there is just something charming and trustworthy about him and his midwestern values, you know?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:32 AM on April 15 [6 favorites]


Wait a second -- he announced yesterday? All of this has been about someone who wasn't even actually running yet?

He's been making clear that he's been running for a while now, whether or not he technically, officially announces. You have to know that this is a thing.
posted by kafziel at 12:16 PM on April 15


Wait a second -- he announced yesterday? All of this has been about someone who wasn't even actually running yet?

He's been making clear that he's been running for a while now, whether or not he technically, officially announces. You have to know that this is a thing.


I know that people starving on the streets of the richest nation in the world is a thing, too. Knowing that doesn't make it less bullshit.
posted by Etrigan at 12:24 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]




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