Pete Buttigieg Is Still Fighting the Last War | The New Republic

The Mayor Pete rising now is not the candidate who initially broke out with praise of the Green New Deal and decriminalizing illegal border crossings. In his place, we find something more conventional. “While he hasn’t pivoted 180 degrees on policy proposals,” The New York Times recently reported, “Mr. Buttigieg has gradually reinvented himself as more of a moderate.”

…In 2003, his senior year at Harvard University, he took the Democratic Party and its standard-bearer at the time, John Kerry, to task in columns for The Harvard Crimson. Timid and tired messaging, he argued in one, put Democrats at risk of “losing a critical, though unseen, fight—the struggle over the language of American politics.”

“The real challenge for the Democratic Party, and its presidential candidates in particular, is to figure out how to reverse the Right’s stranglehold on our political vocabulary,” he wrote.

…Buttigieg’s donors have discouraged him from promoting institutional reforms. “Multiple financial bundlers told the campaign that the Supreme Court and Electoral College proposals were not popular, according to people familiar with the discussions,” the Times’ Reid Epstein wrote. “Mr. Buttigieg has since quietly dropped them from his stump speech.”

…In a 2005 piece, the Forward’s E.J. Kessler referred to the Truman Project as “a new generation of hawkish Democrats rethinking security questions in a post-9/11 world.”

…The central irony of the Buttigieg candidacy is that his array of meritocratic credentials has set him on his way towards becoming one of the least formally qualified presidents in American history.

…On foreign policy, Buttigieg’s background suggests a preoccupation with strength and a confidence that American military power can be wielded responsibly and unashamedly with the right person in charge, that person preferably being Pete Buttigieg.

This is among the many things about Buttigieg—next to the talk about freedom and security, the educational credentials, the military service, and his invocations of religion—that make it seem as though he’s been engineered as a response to Republican Party of 2004.

Pete Buttigieg Is Still Fighting the Last War | The New Republic


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