April 10, 2019

Buttigieg Criticizes Pence

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 presidential hopeful, took direct shots at Vice President Mike Pence Sunday regarding his sexuality… ‘That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator,’ the Indiana Democrat said during a speech at the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s annual brunch.” AP News

“Pence has described himself as a ‘Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order’ and previously voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay U.S. president if elected in 2020.” Axios

See past issues

From the Left

The left is cheering Buttigieg and the growing emergence of a religious left.

“For voters… who gathered to celebrate a record ‘rainbow wave’ of LGBT political candidates—less than five years removed from victory in the fight for same-sex marriage, and fighting the Trump administration’s policies on transgender rights to this day—witnessing a same-sex couple run for president as a team was a powerful sight, a magic that no other presidential campaign can replicate.”
Scott Bixby, Daily Beast

“In my lifetime, it has been illegal for me to serve in the military, illegal for me to marry, illegal for me to adopt children, and even illegal for me to have sex. Society barred me from the first three; until 2003, the fourth meant risk of a fine or a prison sentence in some states. This discrimination did not just happen in a history book—it happened to me, and it happened to Buttigieg, too…

“Identity matters. Like most Democrats, I have not yet decided who to vote for in a primary that is still months away. But I believe it matters that Cory Booker is a black man, that Kamala Harris is the daughter of an Indian mom and a Jamaican dad, and that Buttigieg is gay. These facets of their identities mean that they can understand the powerless, as victims of power, and that they can understand the alienated, having been marginalized.”
Lucas Grindley, The Atlantic

“As interest in Buttigieg grows, so too will interest in his idea that while Trump may be the ‘evangelical dream president,’ he has been a nightmare for Christians whose faith is more liberal when it comes to LGBT issues, women’s rights, racial reconciliation and other topics related to diversity. This approach is not likely to win the white evangelicals and white Catholics who find common ground with Trumpism, but these aren’t really the Americans Buttigieg appears to be targeting. He seems to be interested in winning the majority of Americans who believe that a great America includes a more inclusive Christianity.”
Eugene Scott, Washington Post

“Progressives all over the country are challenging the fundamentalists' [stranglehold] on what it means to be Christian… ‘Nearly 40 years after some prominent evangelical Christians organized a Moral Majority movement to promote a conservative political agenda,’ NPR reported, ‘a comparable effort by liberal religious leaders is coalescing in support of immigrant rights, universal health care, LGBTQ rights and racial justice’... Buttigieg is a symbol for a rising Christian left.”
Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, CNN

“The three Democrats [Buttigieg, Warren, Booker] discussing their faith are right to insist that any fair reading of the Gospels reveals that the Lord Jesus spent far more time urging his disciples to be generous to the poor, welcoming to the stranger, and treat people with dignity than he did discussing any sexual issues. In our day, this focus on sexuality has resulted in a deeply regrettable and disproportionate fixation with homosexuality… Religion provides a critical perspective on society, but if the left uses religion as the right does, to baptize its positions already arrived at by different means, the Democrats will have lost an opportunity in their struggle to hurl Trump from office.”
Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Many note that “Biden’s opposition to [marijuana] legalization… puts him at odds with the great majority of Democrats, 75-plus percent of whom back legalization. Biden’s opposition even puts him at odds with the median Republican, with polls showing that even a majority of Republicans support legalization. Politically, then, legalization should be low-hanging fruit… Yet Biden is not quite there… It’s an especially bad look for Biden. He has a long record of pushing for punitive criminal justice and drug policies — not just supporting but actually writing many of the laws in the 1980s and ’90s that helped shape America’s modern war on drugs. For Biden to hang on to marijuana prohibition, then, just reinforces one of the major concerns that criminal justice reformers like Booker have about him.”
German Lopez, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right defends Pence and criticizes Buttigieg’s comments as opportunistic.

From the Right

The right defends Pence and criticizes Buttigieg’s comments as opportunistic.

“Buttigieg may not have wanted to run as ‘the gay candidate’ in the 2020 primary, but that’s the angle that many national media reporters find most interesting — or perhaps just the easiest one. ‘Young gay mayor takes on a homophobic, theocratic vice president’ is a storyline they’re itching to tell. The fact that Pence never lives down to the stereotype of a sneering hate-monger is immaterial…

“[Candidates] may prefer to discuss their plans for the economy or education or climate change or whatever — to compete for the support of all kinds of primary voters. They may even find the ‘heroic minority stands up to the straight white male bully’ coverage to be a little pigeonholing or stereotyping. But the media knows what it likes, and the Democratic candidates will feel a gravitational pull in the direction of these kinds of familiar narratives.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“Pence has never criticized Buttigieg. He has never attacked Buttigieg for his homosexuality or anything else. When Buttigieg deployed to Afghanistan, Pence phoned to wish him well. The only time Pence publicly referred to the South Bend mayor was to pay him a compliment. ‘I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard,’ wrote Pence in 2015, after Buttigieg declared himself gay…

No politician on either side of the aisle has made an issue of Buttigieg’s sexual preferences. Perhaps that’s why Mayor Pete must tilt at windmills. An unknown, white, male, Ivy League-educated Midwest mayor faces an uphill battle in Democrats’ intersectional presidential primaries… To stand a chance in 2020, the elite young mayor must somehow portray himself as an aggrieved victim. That leaves Buttigieg only one option at the moment: to make his sexuality the central issue of his campaign.”
Michael Knowles, Daily Wire

Buttigieg “holds himself out as a more tolerant Christian than Pence, but reveals his deep intolerance of Pence as a faithful Christian. He uses Pence’s Christian orthodoxy to suggest Buttigieg’s Christianity is somehow better… Buttigieg is just another in a long line of Democrats who are willing to punish Christians for living out their faith.
Erick Erickson, The Resurgent

“It is true that the Democratic Party has become far more secular over the past 30 years. But I’m hard-pressed to see why progressive Christians should be particularly bothered by their relative weakness within the Democratic Party, compared to religious conservatives in the GOP. The Democrats already give them what they want on immigration, abortion, LGBT issues, and economic policies. By contrast, religious conservatives within the GOP have to struggle against the party’s libertarian and business factions

“It is absurd for conservative Christians to believe that Donald Trump is one of them (us) in any meaningful sense… But it is not at all absurd for clear-eyed conservative Christians to vote for Trump, given that any conceivable Democratic alternative — including Pete Buttigieg — is going to be very bad on abortion and religious liberty when it conflicts with LGBT rights.”
Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

It’s worth noting that “conservative ideas were much more popular when not associated with the Republican party. In Washington State, voters narrowly rejected bringing affirmative action back to state contracting and university admissions…

“In Seattle, the self-proclaimed socialist city-council member appears to have lost her seat to a pro-business challenger. In Colorado, voters gave fiscal conservatives a big win by rejecting letting the state keep any tax revenues above the state spending cap, money that the state Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights currently guarantees as refunds to taxpayers. In Sussex County, N.J., voters approved, by a 2-to-1 margin, a referendum directing the local freeholder board to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Washington, Colorado, New Jersey — notice these are places where Republican candidates have had no luck lately.)”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

House sitters report a burglar. It’s a Roomba locked in the bathroom.
Kansas City Star

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