Buttigieg’s Judgement and Articulation Are Exceptional Enough to Deserve Consideration
No, I am not going to tell you who to vote for. You are big boys and girls – you can figure that out yourself. But for a few upcoming posts, I am going to highlight strengths some candidates may not be getting credit for. I will also point out some weaknesses in some candidates that we ignore at great peril. Let us start with the former Mayor of South Bend, IN.
What Makes Us Nervous?
I can understand people being nervous about so young a person running for President. Likewise, some think a gay man cannot yet be elected in America. Others think his lack of national level experience is a handicap. All valid concerns, but we may be making too much of them.
It is possible that America is not ready to elect a gay man president. Then again, no one thought we were “ready” to elect a black president either. We won’t know until we do it. I have been struck how little his sexual orientation seems to have been an issue to date. Opposition forces will work to stir that pot should he be the candidate. Still, painting a dark picture of a man devoted to his marriage, which by all appearances is as solid as they come, may be tough.
Add to that his deep and articulate religious convictions. They will have a tough fight trying to paint this guy as the devil’s tool. Lastly, anyone inclined to vote against him because he is gay is unlikely to vote for any Democrat. Let’s not sacrifice a potentially good candidate in the chase for unlikely votes.
The lack of national level experience is also valid. The current White House occupant demonstrates that failing every day. But good judgement, including who he surrounds himself with, can fill that void. As Buttigieg himself points out, he has 8 years more governmental experience and 100% more military experience than the incumbent. This is not to be disregarded.
By most accounts, he did an excellent job with a city on the way to the graveyard. He did so with a state government that shared nothing with him in values or priorities. Where he has not succeeded as fully as desired, such as race relations, he has owned up to the shortfall. No excuses, no redirecting. Kind of refreshing, don’t you think?
What Gives Us Hope?
So, the areas of potential concern are real, but seem addressable. Far more important in my book is how good a mind, how strong a character is being offered here? On this count, I must say I find Buttigieg head and shoulders above pretty much the entire field.
There are areas in which I disagree with him. I have listened to hours of his speaking and read much of his writing. I find material that is thoughtful, well focused, properly prioritized, and workable. He presents a vision that is uplifting, but doable. He seems genuinely interested in getting things done. But he seems equally interested in healing the divisions that so plague us. The last candidate I recall who seemed to hit that balance of inspiration and focus was John Kennedy
Lastly, I would want a president who could handle the worst pressure and one who knew how to build a team of excellence. On the first of these points, we have some hints. The killing of a black man by a police officer in his city could have turned into riots in the city. It could also have been a disaster for Buttigieg. He had some rough times, but he handled it about as well as anyone could. Later in the campaign, when he became a leading candidate, he was beat upon in the debate. He never got flapped and gave better than he got. Not the same as a nuclear crisis, but I see a coolness under pressure that will rise to the occasion.
About who he picks, people will be looking for names if he is still in the top echelon through Super Tuesday. I bet we will like what develops.
Overall, this seems an exceptional individual in important ways. He is one who could serve the country well. We could do worse in a candidate.
Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar.
What are you folks thinking about Pete, for starters?
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