Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Won't Get Fooled Again?

Derek Robertson in Politico Magazine asks

Why is the enmity from young, left-wing activists toward Buttigieg so visceral? It’s true that they favor Bernie Sanders, but Buttigieg comes in for a type of loathing that surpasses even that they hold for Sanders’ older rivals, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

He observes

it’s especially galling that the first millennial to take a serious run at the presidency is nothing like the left’s imagined savior. Buttigieg is a veteran, an outspoken Christian, a former McKinsey consultant, and, frankly, closer to Mitt Romney than Sanders or generational peer AOC in his aw shucks personal affect. In the eyes of radicalized young leftists, Buttigieg isn’t just an ideological foe, he’s worse than that: He’s a square.

Being a veteran probably is not much of a net negative or plus for Buttigieg nor, for that matter, for Tulsi Gabbard. Nonetheless, he is "closer to Mitt Romney than Sanders or generational peer AOC in his aw shucks personal affect" is even more insightful than it appears, given the temperament of the leading candidate.  When Joe Biden noted the misogyny Donald Trump demonstrated in the Access Hollywood tape, in March 2018 in Florida the former vice-president boasted "They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, 'If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'"  (On the campaign trail, he has challenged one man to a test of IQ or pushups, and his lead in polls has only grown.)

CNN noted at the time that Biden received "laughter and applause from the crowd at the University of Miami." And Sanders, currently second in polling only to Biden, always looks like he's ready to haul off and punch someone, or at least tell them to get off his lawn.

Being an "outspoken Christian" probably would be a negative, were the South Bend mayor actually outspoken.  He has spoken of his religious beliefs (or "faith" as current lexicon requires) but mostly to contrast it with Trump Administration policies which contrast sharply with Jesus' compassion toward the refugee, the poor, and the outcast generally.

Pete Buttigieg is not an evangelical.  He has not specifically declared a faith in Jesus Christ as his lord and savior; or that everyone sins and therefore is not worthy of heaven; nor that his salvation comes through grace alone without regard to works.

Buttigieg was raised as a Roman Catholic and is now an Episcopalian. This being 2020, the primary distinction between Roman Catholicism and Episcopalianism (or perhaps in identifying as one rather than the other) is arguably the stark difference between the two on the matter of homosexuality.  The Human Rights Campaign explains that in addition to permitting the ordination of gay and transgender candidates for priest

The Episcopal Church supports non-discrimination and has canon laws specifying that everyone has access to the governance of the church and lists “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” as specifically protected from discrimination. In 2018, the church committed to oppose all legislation that restricts public restroom, locker room and shower access for transgender and gender non-conforming people.

The new year should bring with it a determination to speak more honestly, notwithstanding the exquisite sensitivities of many people. Ignoring the strong probability, as Robertson does, that a gay male candidate married to a man probably has something to do with his theological affiliation and even beliefs is dishonest or strikingly naive.

Nevertheless, Robertson does understand that Buttigieg is viewed as a "square" He is "the "type that gets elected mayor of a small Midwestern city" (blogger's note: South Bend is not small, but whatever) "is inherently far more likely to be an institutionalist, more a do-gooding Leslie Knope than a radicalized version of Bart Simpson" (or Bernie Sanders, but that's repetitive).

However, he's not only a "square" or an "institutionalist." He's also a traitor to his sexual orientation, or at least appears to be, by being moderate and institutionalist.  He ought to know better, the unspoken theme is, because he himself is an outsider to American tradition and polite society. He is by nature a noncomformist- yet by nurture seemingly unwilling to challenge the conventional centrist beliefs underwriting government and corporate policy.

As (bad) luck would have it, we have recent experience with a minority- in this case of sexual preference- aspiring to the highest office of the land.  There were high hopes of "change we can believe in" followed by support for the rogues on Wall Street, record numbers of immigrants being deported, increased income disparity and growing chasm between rich and poor, and a general unwillingness to tackle racial inequality.

He was both a community organizer and black. Yet- or maybe "because"_ liberals and leftists have avoided acknowledging that we were fooled into believing the vacuity of "we are the ones we've been waiting for." Nonetheless, they realize, whether on a conscious or sub-conscious level, that we were let down and the left-wing critics of Buttigieg are determined that it will not happen again.

It may be unfair to Pete Buttigieg that he is paying for the sins of President Barack Obama, though he may be able to overcome it.  If not, he will have met a similar fate as the candidate who thought she could avoid paying for those failures in a general election until Donald Trump proved she could not.

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