Share This Article with a Friend!

Assault on America, Day 323: ‘Ol fashioned Butt-igieg kicking in Atlanta leaves voters guessing

Pete Buttigieg
It was a good 'ol fashioned butt-kicking. Or more apropos for the current times, a good ‘ol fashioned Butt-igieg kicking.

As the proverbial target-on-the-back shifts from candidate to candidate in this year’s Democrat party presidential nomination campaign, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg became the latest recipient of concentrated (and maybe lethal) sniper fire from his competitors -- and assail him they did on Wednesday night in Atlanta. The only other politician in America that probably felt as violated by this eclectic collection of liberal extremists was Donald Trump himself, but the president was safely somewhere else shielded from the pointed verbal slings and arrows of his Democrat antagonists by distance and an electronic TV screen.

Buttigieg enjoyed no such similar fortune in the Peach State. It wasn’t a total pile-on -- there just isn’t time in a two-hour, ten candidate program to do a thorough undressing -- but the 37-year-old (he’ll turn 38 in two months) appeared rattled by the increased focus. The Democrat boy wonder likely anticipated he’d draw more than his fair share of attacks from his increasingly impatient fellow party-members, but did he figure it would be this bad?

To synopsize the tone: you’re a mayor of a piddly little town in nowheresville, U.S.A. What business do you have thinking you can be president over us, the elite class? Even Rachel Maddow said, “I need you to answer the question” after the mayor dodged a question on farmers.

Ever since recent polls showed the mild-mannered midwestern pol having established a firm foothold in Iowa (and it looks like New Hampshire, too) he’s attracted reporters in droves and ever more dirty looks from liberals who consider him too “moderate” to represent the latest fashions in Democrat-land. The far left-wing, represented by angry septuagenarians Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, don’t take kindly to implications from the others that their plans are untenable (and “Mayor Pete” has all but said they are).

The “moderates” don’t appreciate being lectured either, so there’s a conundrum here. The “moderate” type is perhaps best embodied by former Obama veep Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The latter keeps being floated as a possible sleeper in the Democrat nominating scrum but opinion surveys are yet to confirm the insinuation (and, if anything, deny her such elevated stature because she’s nowhere near the top).

Klobuchar was either very nervous on Wednesday night or she naturally shakes like a frozen rodent on a winter day. It was almost painful to watch. What’s the deal? Is she afraid her campaign is on the edge of failure?

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard would also be placed in the “moderate” camp strictly because she’s expressed hesitation about unfettered abortion and had the impudence to suggest President Trump was legitimately elected three years ago. She’s also implied Trump’s efforts to scale down American military troop commitments were good ones. Even partially agreeing with anything Trump’s done or reportedly believes in is taboo to Democrat elites as well as the foaming-at-the-mouth party base.

Gabbard’s also said nice things about Republican voters and appears semi-regularly on Fox News (which Harris attacked!). It could be why she hasn’t caught on with the Antifa crowd as yet. Just saying. Plus, the others hate her! Look at the exchange between Gabbard and Kamala Harris on Wednesday night. The California senator was dripping with contempt!

The others on Wednesday night -- New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Harris, billionaire businessman and activist Tom Steyer and entrepreneur Andrew Yang fall somewhere in between the others ideologically, though in Yang’s and Steyer’s cases it’s because no one’s really sure what they believe (other than giving full credence to all the perfunctory Democrat standard issue requirements such as climate alarmism and favoring government transfer payments for all). Booker and Harris, the two most noticeable Democrats of color on stage are fading lights in the overall picture. One wonders how much longer either will remain in the conversation.

When Booker receives a question (hey! They’re actually talking to me!) his eyes light up and he starts smiling -- which is nice, and rare in this group -- but he’s certainly realized his campaign is going nowhere and he’s barely hanging on. Is Cory staying around for possible VP consideration? Ditto for Harris, though her ego wouldn’t willingly allow her to accept a demotion to the number two spot on the ticket. Would she bring anything valuable to the 2020 party combo? Doubtful.

In his second debate appearance, Steyer seemingly has taken over the Marianne Williamson “climate change is everything” wingnut role in Democrat events, leaving people wondering why he’s there. Even with all the money he’s dumped into Iowa attempting to acquaint the voters with his coocoo platform, Steyer’s still only registering at barely over two percent there (and one percent nationally). As was made clear on Wednesday night, he’s not going to break into the top tier with debate performances, that’s for sure. He’s as flavorful as civil war hardtack and entertaining as a physics lecture. Bleah.

In contrast, Gabbard strikes me as someone who’s interesting and it’s more than just her attractive surface characteristics that’s appealing about her. If she were a conservative, I could see Tulsi being a good Republican candidate because she speaks plainly in measured sentences and genuinely appears to believe in what she’s saying. And she doesn’t pull punches. If nothing else, Gabbard’s a likeable politician, which is a rare commodity where Democrats are concerned. It’s unfortunate that she hasn’t yet taken off nationally… and it doesn’t seem like she ever will. A shame.

I’m not a Democrat but I wonder why Yang isn’t receiving the same type of upward poll pressure Buttigieg is getting in recent surveys. Maybe it’s because Yang didn’t even get a chance to talk until the program was a half hour old. How can you make headway if everyone else hogs all the speaking time?

Yang checks a number of important boxes ideologically and his non-threatening debate demeanor matches the Indiana mayor’s in many respects. Yang isn’t a politician, which a lot of common folks relate to -- and his crazy (universal income) ideas aren’t any more “out there” than Medicare for All (or Buttigieg’s “Medicare for all who want it”). Maybe Yang isn’t getting the backers because he’s too “normal” in orientation.

After all, Buttigieg always has the gay thing going for him -- and Atlanta’s audience was responsive to it, as every Democrat gathering tends to be. To his credit, Pete doesn’t wear his sexual preferences on his sleeve while constantly playing the victim card. He’s no Hillary in 2016 talking about being the most qualified to be the next president because she’s a woman, though take Buttigieg’s LGBTQ membership away and he becomes just another short (5’8”) goofy nice white bread guy with impossible proposals.

No doubt each Democrat was hoping for his or her own breakout moment in Atlanta -- but none really had one, at least in the eyes of this observer. The party subject matter’s become much too mundane and stale for any of them to set themselves apart from the pack and Wednesday’s all-female questioning panel didn’t branch out from the usual topics (impeachment, healthcare, climate change, etc.) or get them pitted against each other.

Biden is what he is -- a well-known face, recognizable voice and signature directness. Every viewer’s already made up his or her mind about him long ago. Joe must detest these obligatory made for TV media one-minute answer show events because he knows he won’t gain any additional support from them.

He can only lose, no matter what the moderators or talking heads have to say elsewhere. He appeared to have a few brain slowdowns again… especially when trying to describe his climate change ideas opposite Tom Steyer. Ugly.

Bernie doesn’t get anything out of these debates either. He’s reached a ceiling of voter support from which he cannot breach. Sanders was his typical self on Wednesday, which is to say he’s at least managed to establish that he’s healthy enough to continue campaigning. And he appears to have gotten over his hoarseness too! Remember last month he’d just gotten out of the hospital -- now hardly anyone talks about his heart attack (outside of Republicans, that is). But who would possibly flock to Sanders after we’ve heard his socialism-is-great spiel for the better part of four years now?

With the debate viewing audience’s focus on Buttigieg in Atlanta, Warren was free to be more like she’d been in the previous debates. She still won’t/can’t explain whether middle class taxes will increase to pay for her healthcare takeover proposal, but the unkindly granny didn’t get as flustered as she did last month when cornered by several of her competitors. Warren can lay somewhat low again and perhaps rebuild some of what she’s squandered in recent weeks.

Needless to say the Democrat party establishment’s looked on with more than a token amount of concern at “Mayor Pete’s” ascension, since nominating an under forty practical no-name with a featherlight professional resume sounds like a recipe for disaster. Let’s not forget that up until a half-year ago no one outside of his home hemisphere had even heard of the guy. But Buttigieg’s fundraising prowess and uncanny ability to place himself outside -- or above -- the petty bickering of the others has put him in a good position in the long race. It confounds the other Democrats too, especially the ones with Washington experience.

For now at least, Buttigieg is the “star” of the show, the lead ringmaster in the Democrat presidential nominating circus. Move over Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, for one night every month (the party presidential debate), the 2020 Democrats are the lead item in the news! Not even impeachment overrides the candidate forum coverage.

Thus far, Buttigieg’s strategy has been to draft behind the leaders (ostensibly, Biden, Sanders and Warren) like a race car tailing the pace setters at the Indy 500, seemingly content to allow them to squirm under a heat lamp of scrutiny and doubt while he turns the criticism screws a little tighter. Warren in particular had her own turn as the Democrat punching bag last month after Biden endured blows and “I was that girl” unwanted jabs (from Kamala Harris) in preceding events.

It all seems like a long time ago now -- Biden’s national polling lead has shrunk to mid-single-digits (over Warren and Sanders) and Iowa surveys show the race’s lone openly homosexual candidate is at or near the top within its borders. The others grasp what it would mean to cede a crucial initial victory to an upstart challenger in the first-to-vote state, having witnessed a then wet-behind-the-ears Barack Obama besting Hillary Clinton there in 2008. The rest is history…

But with the impeachment histrionics taking place in Washington, it will be hard for Buttigieg -- or any Democrat candidate -- to wrest much attention away from the nation’s capital until the spectacle is over. This may turn out to be a positive for the non-Biden challengers as they’ll be able to tweet and add timely comments whenever the former vice president’s Ukraine role is raised in the news. Judging by the stupid public hearings thus far, Biden has a lot to worry about.

Is his campaign over? Not according to the numbers. Biden’s positioned himself as the party establishment candidate, just as Hillary Clinton did in 2015/16. But there’s only one 2020 Democrat who is inexorably tied to the Ukraine mess -- and it ain’t Cory Booker or Tom Steyer. Biden’s come to represent much of what the rabid anti-Trump Democrat base despises most, a corrupt Washington lifer politician who’s used elected office to better himself and his family. They don’t appear to hold Bernie Sanders to the same self-enrichment standard, probably because Sanders has always positioned himself as an outsider.

Biden doesn’t and never has. And he was once again proud of his “service” on Wednesday night, cheerfully talking about his past experiences and repeatedly tossing out the notion that he’s the one who can bring both parties together in this time of enormous division. But they all claim the healing mantle. It’s laugh-instigating when Democrats talk about bridging the partisan divide and in the next breath drone on about how Trump and the Republicans are awful and not above the law.

Republicans aren’t immune to excessive hyperbole either, but at least they tend to stick to critiquing policies and leadership inadequacies rather than personal digs and genuine mean spiritedness. If any of these Democrats overcomes the odds and ends up beating Trump next year, they’ll have a heck of a time dealing with all the animosity they stoked on the other side of the spectrum. Debate moderators offer the “healing” topic with some regularity yet the candidates themselves don’t provide any hope that they’ll actually work with opposing viewpoints in a meaningful way.

But “working together” isn’t part of the Democrat lexicon. With several -- if not all -- of the candidates having advocated for impeachment (for months) it’s hard to see where any reconciliation between their side and Republicans happens. They (like Warren and Klobuchar) started the whole thing long before “Ukraine” even became part of the discussion by fanning the non-existent flames of “Russian collusion.” Everyone who looked at the evidence recognized the accusations weren’t true, yet the charges and accusations persisted.

How will Democrats get beyond it now? “Hi, I’m President Klobuchar. Sorry about that impeach-Trump stuff. How about we go and talk about my alcoholic father and my rough working-class upbringing and how we’re going to bring Americans a better life instead.”

Um, no. I’d rather not.

Elections are about winning voters, not only shoring up your base but presenting something for the undecideds to help move them into your camp. Did any of the Democrats do that on Wednesday night? It’s almost like these people keep regurgitating the same issue-spittle hoping voters will swallow it like a cat consuming its own vomit. What’s new? By choosing to browbeat Buttigieg this time instead of Biden, Warren, Harris…or Trump -- did any of them win converts?

After seeing the sorry cast of Democrat political characters perform again in Atlanta one can see why there are potential “white knight” candidates like Michael Bloomberg or “cherry picker” losers like Hillary Clinton and Deval Patrick contemplating getting in the race -- or, as in Patrick’s case, jumping at the chance. Who knows -- maybe there will be more late arrivals.

For now, we’ll see if Wednesday’s Butt-igieg flogging will make a difference in the overall race. I’m guessing no, but it’s always hard to read the mood of the Democrat electorate. Simply put, liberals look for different qualities than Republicans and conservatives do, and emotional appeal weighs much heavier than common sense in the liberal party. To them, it looks perfectly plausible to hoist a late thirties mid-size city mayor to the national party presidential nomination.

Have we seen crazier things happen? If so, I can’t think of a scenario. Democrats will debate again a week or so before Christmas. Stay tuned for the riveting excitement! Who will get bashed next time? Will it be Buttigieg again? How about Tulsi Gabbard?

Pop quiz: which one of these bozos can you see as president? Anyone? Anyone?

Share this