April 10, 2019

Buttigieg Criticizes Pence

“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

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

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

Regarding the decision to label China a currency manipulator, “traders may fear the tiny devaluation signals trade conflict spreading to currency. [But] this is highly unlikely, because a steep devaluation would be destabilizing for China… If an extended depreciation is encouraged or permitted, RMB holders can only guess what level the government truly wants. Last time around — four years ago — they chose large-scale capital flight rather than trusting the People’s Bank. China’s economy is slower, older, and more indebted than back then. Most importantly, it no longer has the foreign exchange to afford a repeat of 2015–6. That’s why the People’s Bank is likely to continue to defend the RMB near 7 to the dollar.”
Derek M. Scissors, The National Interest

“Trump should be overjoyed. Tariffs are taxes paid by Americans on the things Americans buy. The only way China can be paying any of them is if something else, something extra, then happens — like the yuan dropping. This makes all imports into China more expensive for Chinese citizens. That's China paying for Trump's tariffs when the yuan falls. Without this happening, only Americans pay. With the yuan dropping, China pays as well. This is the claim Trump has been making all along, that China's really paying those trade taxes — now they are… Imposing significant export tariffs on a country should mean the value of that currency falls. This is what is happening. Why is Trump complaining about it?
Tim Worstall, Washington Examiner

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

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

Outside Hong Kong, the silence Is deafening… Some protesters in Hong Kong today are adopting the British Union Jack flag, the American flag and the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ as symbols, yet that doesn’t seem to have stirred our collective imaginations… Americans are preoccupied with fighting each other over political correctness, gun violence, Trump and the Democratic candidates for president. To be sure, those issues deserve plenty of attention. But they are soaking up far too much emotional energy, distracting attention from the all-important struggles for liberty around the world…

“It’s 2019, and the land of the American Revolution, a country whose presidents gave stirring speeches about liberty and freedom in Berlin during the Cold War, remains in a complacent slumber. It really is time to Make America Great Again — if only we could remember what that means.”
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg

On the bright side...

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

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