Wednesday, April 17, 2019


We're having another wave of Buttigiegmania. Politico's Playbook reports, breathlessly:
BUTTIGIEG SHRUGS OFF ANTI-GAY HECKLERS: “South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg swept into Iowa on Tuesday, drawing some of the biggest crowds of the 2020 race so far in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He faced anti-gay hecklers at two events, including in Des Moines where a man in the crowd shouted ‘remember Sodom and Gomorrah!’ just after Buttigieg talked about marrying his husband, Chasten, who attended the event.

“The man kept shouting but the crowd chants of ‘Pete! Pete!’ drowned him out. Buttigieg calmly looked on as security escorted away the individual. ‘The good news is, the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, but the Iowa caucuses are up to you,’ Buttigieg said to laughter and cheers.

“In all, three hecklers over two Iowa events were taken away and each time Buttigieg unflinchingly carried on after cracking a joke or commenting on freedom of expression. A campaign aide said it was the first time the mayor faced such security incidents since touring nationally.”
Here's the video:

Also from the Playbook:
BUTTIGIEG EDGE: “Two days after officially entering the presidential race, Buttigieg was expecting 50 people at a Polk County meet and greet. As RSVPs rolled in, organizers moved it from a small gym at Franklin Junior High to the large gym, to an auditorium and finally moving it outside. A good thing: a stunning 1,650 people showed up in the end.

“It isn’t just the number of people that stands out: Buttigieg has yet to staff up with organizers in Iowa, so this turnout was mostly organic. Buttigieg spoke to a progressive Iowa group in December and has visited the earlier this year but this crowd was exponentially larger.”
The Washington Post has "Pete Buttigieg: Why He's So Dreamy" -- no, sorry, that's not the correct headline, it's actually "Why Is Pete Buttigieg So Popular? Here Are Some Theories." The theories, which overlap, are: Buttigieg is a novelty for Democrats (i.e., not an Eastern Democratic senator), aspects of his profile excite liberals (he's gay, he's young), Dems haven't had a clear leader post-Obama (I'm not sure why that should enhance the popularity of Buttigieg and not one of the several thousand other Democrats running for president), Buttigieg seems like a good matchup against Trump (he seems unflappable, he's a white guy after a woman lost), and he has "intangibles." In other words, nobody knows.

Oh, and:

So Mayor Pete might really be the nominee, hunh? I have my doubts. Steve Kornacki tosses some cold water on that idea:

If there's ever a revival of the old Stuff White People Like blog, Buttigieg should be the first new entry. Also -- and I hate to say this because I don't really dislike him -- he seems to embody every stereotype in every David Brooks column ever: a meritocratic striver and a person who's come to the life-altering realization that meritocratic striving won't bring true happiness, and who's decided instead to "give back."

At some point, the race will leave all-white Iowa and New Hampshire and head into states where Buttigieg is less relatable, and where "non-traditional résumé for a presidential candidate" doesn't carry with it the delightful frisson of alternativeness. (I think a lot of white people look at Buttigieg's lack of standard presidential credentials and see him as a really cool band that puts out lo-fi recordings, or an awesome restaurant that looks like a hole in the wall.) Buttigieg will eventually have to sell himself to the entire Democratic base. Barack Obama did it as an insurgent; in addition to the candidates Kornacki names, Bernie Sanders didn't in 2016. We'll see how this unfolds, but I suspect Buttigieg will fade eventually, unless he finds a way to be more than the cool kids' favorite obscure craft beer.



Did I say "Stuff White People Like"?

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