Pete Buttigieg? Guyanese may well ask: who is he? He just might be the man come 2020. Not here, but over there in that still promising land called America. That place of dreams, where so many locals still seek a toehold. Some advancing with hope; 70% of the others failing to make the grade for an opportunity at a lottery that, despite all of its mounting conflicts, is the prize to be had. Pete Buttigieg wants his own prize.
So who is Pete Buttigieg? What makes him appealing? Can he triumph in the 2020 race for the White House? This may not be perfect vision, but I will venture a hard prediction. He could be the man. I would vote for him. He reminds of that other candidate from 1960, who was cut short; that one heralded today, but who is now found so deficient in some of the characteristics that count; and this despite the nostalgic horsepower of the Camelot machine.
I think America is tired of septuagenarian Chief Executives and rickety aspirants of the same age bracket. They bring little energy to the most demanding forum; less in new ideas and sharp visions. It is the recycling of musty vinyl records in an Age that has rushed past that of Aquarius. Listen to Sanders and competitors and there is nothing different, nothing new, nothing that imbues with the exciting and surging, if only for being off the worn, tired tracks.
Pete Buttigieg of Indiana has many things going for his soon-to-be announced candidacy; there are also some weighty truths that could be unfavourable. He is young and telegenic; shades of the man from Massachusetts. There is that dynamism about him that is found attractive by the huge voting bloc called millennials. Move over Bernie and Joey. Too stale. Too predictable. Too uninspiring. As a mere mayor, Mr. Buttigieg is distinctly small time, a frail foot soldier, amongst wily, hard charging political swashbucklers, who could go for the gut, and below too, if matters descend to that level. The race for the presidency is not of the avuncular.
Mr. Buttigieg’s has sterling credentials: Harvard, that cradle which has nurtured a long, sometimes illustrious breed of chiefs; a Rhodes scholar, marking him as a man of special distinction; a war veteran, which for many voters means someone, who was ready and willing to make the supreme sacrifice in service of country, and to them represent a rare and extraordinary political virtue. For a candidate, no resume is complete without that credential earned under fire. Being from Indiana, Mr. Buttigieg would be able to project the bedrock values and conservative strain of the heartland. It is a Middle America that believes it is too often lost and forgotten, if not ignored, in the clash of the Eastern Establishment elites and the deep south warriors, who have prevailed at 1600 Pennsylvania. Buttigieg would be a man, who hears their problems, identifies with their fears, and do good for them. He is one of their own. I see his personal charisma serving him well across the broader national landscape for those longing for something fresh and incentivizing.
Mr. Buttigieg must be recognized from the inception as coming with baggage; it is baggage of a nonnegotiable kind. He is gay. Hell and damnation! This would be returning to Sodom for rock-ribbed, red meat conservatives and evangelicals, a considerable and formidable voting bloc, with lots of resources and untold reach. That just might be an insurmountable barrier to scale. That is considered neither godly nor of family. It matters.
I would be keenly interested in learning of details of the programmes and plans of this new kid on the block, this neophyte in shark-infested territory. Social security is a big one; taxes are perennial and problematic for any candidate, a minefield to be cautiously navigated and managed, with countless competing interests demanding their pound of flesh, and the exemptions of rewarding financial indulgences. Then there is gay rights, abortion, and immigration. If locals think Guyana is uncontrollable and unmanageable, then try those tips of the wayward iceberg that is America. And those are some of the tips only, as nothing substantive has been heard yet of the military and foreign relations, inclusive of NATO, and nuclear fears. Who would dare to want such a job? Such an unceasing migraine along with a mouth full of acutely aching teeth? The Guyanese political environment comes to mind.
I wish Mr. Buttigieg the best. I like his candidacy. I fancy his chances with the right blend of idealism and pragmatism. He had better have the stomach to absorb the fusillades sure to be aimed in his direction, if only to teach this youthful whippersnapper, this young Turk to mind his manners, respect his political betters and know his place.