Category Archives: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Buttigieg’s rise highlights the travesty of the Democrat field

Pete Buttigieg is an intelligent man who has accomplished much in 37 years, is a doctrinaire Leftist, and is totally unqualified to be president.

When Trump first rode down the staircase in 2015 to announce his candidacy, the media considered him the biggest joke around. They gave him hundreds of hours of free air time because they thought it would be the best thing ever — for Hillary — if Trump were to become the Republican nominee. At the same time, large numbers of conservatives (myself included), where occupying “anyone but Trump” territory.

There was no doubt, of course, that Trump was a master showman and a truly charismatic speaker, something that caused Mark Steyn to realize as early as January 2015 that Trump could win.

Showmanship and charisma. They’re real and they’re matter. Moreover, Trump had then, as he continues to have, a genuine belief in America and Americans that couldn’t be faked.

But in the beginning, Trump also had something else to offer, something that most in the media ignored, but that the American voters valued; namely, Trump had vast executive experience. Paul Solotaroff, writing in September 2015 for Rolling Stone, was one of those who “got it.” In an article entitled “Taking Trump Seriously,” Solotaroff, after noting Trump’s loopy style coupled with his razor-sharp brain, pointed out something Democrat wished to forget (h/t Don Surber):

In all the hysteria, however, what’s often missed are the qualities that brought Trump here. You don’t do a fraction of what he’s done in life — dominate New York real estate for decades, build the next grand Xanadus for the super-rich on the far shores of Dubai and Istanbul, run the prime-time ratings table for more than 10 years and earn a third (or sixth) fortune at it – without being immensely cunning and deft, a top-of-the-food-chain killer.

Yeah. Trump’s good at business. Really good. Moreover, he didn’t make money the new way, by pushing or facilitating information (Bloomberg or the dot com guys), but the old fashioned way by building brick and mortar things. There’s nothing ephemeral about what Trump did, and it took a lot of knowledge, wheeling and dealing, and political acumen at home and abroad.

Sure, Trump filed for bankruptcy, but he did so (a) as a smart business decision because he was reorganizing his finances and (b) because he followed bad advice — and learned from that, vowing never to make the same mistake again (or at least to pull out before going into too deep a dive given that it’s not always clear until later whether advice is good or not).

And yes, Trump’s hurt people on the way up, but it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t want to hurt the American people, something that was much less certain with Hillary. The voters might as well have said out loud, “He’s a shark, but he’s our shark.”

Voters were very clear on the fact that, while Trump may not have had political experience, he knew politicians, he was vastly accomplished in the world of business and negotiations both at home and abroad, and he had a stunning record for getting things done. Most politicians can’t make that boast because they’re herd animals who move in little circles with their fellow beasts. Trump, who was 69 when he entered the White House, was a blazing whirlwind of accomplishments, Americanism, charm, charisma, and experience. Because president of the United States is a managerial position as much as anything else, Americans went for a successful manager.

I won’t spell out here Trump’s pre-election accomplishments (and failures) for they’re well known. I will note that it’s both refreshing and instructive to see what he’s achieved in less than three years in office despite the bogus Russian hoax and now the bogus Ukraine impeachment.

But what about Pete Buttigieg, aka, “Mayor Pete.” Should he be the Democrat presidential candidate and actually win, he will be 39, making him the youngest person ever elected president of the United States. What will he have accomplished in his 39 years before arriving at the White House? Because his CV is less well known than Trump’s was at this stage in the primary process, let me recite some of Buttigieg’s career high points:

Buttigieg was his high school’s valedictorian, chosen from a field of around 200 students.

While in high school, Buttigieg wrote an essay praising Bernie Sanders, the man who refuses to abandon communism despite more than 100 million communism-caused deaths in the 21st century. Buttigieg won a John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum “Profiles in Courage” award for that essay.

As an undergraduate at Harvard, Buttigieg majored in history and literature, and was president of the Student Advisory Committee of the Harvard Institute of Politics.

Buttigieg’s bachelor’s thesis was based upon Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, an anti-American novel about the earliest years of the Vietnam War. Greene’s general attitude (also seen in The Third Man) was that Americans ranged from dangerous because of naive stupidity to dangerous because of criminal venality. He didn’t like Americans. (This is not just my bias; even Slate concedes Greene’s hostility to Americans.) The essay was also based upon the work of Perry Miller, one of the first revisionists of American history. As an aside, Margaret Atwood dedicated The Handmaid’s Tale, the book responsible for all those idiot women wandering around in cloaks and hoods since Trump’s election, to Miller.

Buttigieg received a Rhodes Scholarship in 2004. On the one hand, good for him. Its a mark of his real intelligence and his being adept at the academic game (something he probably learned from his father, a professor at Notre Dame). On the other hand, keep in mind that, consistent with John O’Sullivan’s law, the Rhodes Scholarship is increasingly a vehicle for promoting Leftist ideology.

Buttigieg went to Oxford, receiving a BA with first class honors in philosophy, politics, and economics. Again, good for him. No one can or should question Buttigieg’s academic abilities. Everyone should keep in mind that being good at school does not necessarily translate into being effective outside of school.

During college, Buttigieg held the following jobs:

  • A student “investigative intern” at an NBC news affiliate in Chicago.
  • An intern for Democrat Jill Long Thompson’s unsuccessful congressional campaign.
  • A volunteer for Joe Donnelly’s successful congressional campaign.

After leaving Harvard, Buttigieg did the following:

  • A conference director for The Cohen Group, a business that helps businesses with overseas expansion. For those wondering, a conference director is responsible for the logistics of putting a conference together.
  • A policy and research specialist for John Kerry’s failed presidential campaign.

After leaving Oxford, Buttigieg’s days as a volunteer and minion were over and his real career began:

  • Buttigieg worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company for three years in the areas of energy, retail, economic development and logistics. His company’s nondisclosure policy means that he cannot (and probably doesn’t want to) talk about the clients for whom he worked and the specifics of his research. It appears, though, that he did work for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, Best Buy, Loblaws (a Canadian supermarket chain). several government agencies (EPA, Energy Department, Defense Department, Postal Service), and a couple of environmentalist groups. Rather amusingly, he’s now getting heat from the Left for being connected with Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s decision to fire people to decrease costs, a charge he denies.
  • Buttigieg took a break to work on another unsuccessful Jill Long Thompson campaign, this time for Indiana governor.
  • In 2007, to his credit, Buttigieg enlisted in the Naval Reserve, where he trained to become an intelligence officer. He spent seven months in Afghanistan in 2014, assigned to a unit identifying and disrupting terrorist financial networks. He also was an armed driver on more than 100 trips to Kabul. Kudos to Buttigieg for being one of many brave Americans who put their lives on the line for us — in a war, incidentally, that the Obama administration consistently lied about to the American people, at the cost of thousands of people killed and wounded.
  • In 2010, Buttigieg ran for Indiana state treasurer — and lost.
  • In 2011, Buttigieg successfully ran for mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of slightly over 101,000 people. Out of the 14,883 people who voted, Buttigieg got 10,991 votes. He was reelected in 2015, receiving 8,515 votes from those South Bend residents who bothered to cast their ballots.

Regarding South Bend:

While mayor, Buttigieg can point to the following accomplishments:

  • Shortly into Buttigieg’s mayoralty, it emerged that the South Bend police had illegally recorded telephone calls. Buttigieg made what some would consider a reasonable decision, which is to conclude that the buck stops at the top. In line with that thinking, he demoted the police chief and asked for his resignation. The problem was that, in a city that is approximately 25% black, Buttigieg had turned on the first black police chief in a force that was only 6% black, and he did so right around Ferguson / Black Lives Matter. Buttigieg has since apologized for his managerial decision, but blacks remain hostile to him. It seems to me that, as a manager, Buttigieg made the right call. As a Leftist politician, he did not. And as a person of backbone, his subsequent abasement is unappealing.
  • Throughout his mayoralty, Buttigieg presided over redevelopment of abandoned sites and sold city-owned properties to private developers. While these projects may have been good for South Bend overall (and I don’t know whether that’s true or not), because many blighted properties were in primarily black communities, homes and buildings in those communities vanished, leading to further black dislike for Buttigieg.
  • Buttigieg was a major figure in creating nightly laser light show, paid for with privately raised funds.
  • In his proposal for the 2014 budget, Buttigieg proposed combining three separate departments into one to save costs and improve efficiency, but his proposal failed.
  • In 2015, Buttigieg came out against Indiana Senate Bill 101 (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act), which allows individuals and companies to assert as a defense in legal proceedings that charges against them or demands on them violate their religious freedom. Both before and after its passage, it’s been perceived as a bill hostile LGBTQ-etc people. In addition to coming out against the Act, its passage prompted Buttigieg to come out as gay. Ever since, Buttigieg has been openly hostile to Vice President Mike Pence (who, as Indiana governor signed the bill into law).
  • Buttigieg proposed and mentored a “Smart Streets” urban development plan to turn one-way streets into two-way streets, widen sidewalks, plant trees and install decorative brickwork, add bike lines and roundabouts, and “calm” traffic. This is credited with spurring private development, although the article claiming this is remarkably lukewarm when it comes to facts. One major developer who was planning on building anyway said it was a nice idea, a professor said it was a nice idea too, and another developer said he thought the street modification was really helpful.
  • Buttigieg invested in city parks and leveraged federal funds to help prevent sewage overflow.
  • Buttigieg launched a “home repair” initiative, making funds available to residents wanting to do home repairs, especially Green repairs.

We’re getting into minutiae now. I’ll end by saying that, if you go to Wikipedia, you can see details about the above initiatives and several others that Buttigieg led or in which he participated, all aimed at bringing in money and reorganizing the city government. The penny ante stuff mostly went through while Buttigieg struggled with larger initiatives, whether they passed or not. The pattern seemed to be that the city’s Deep State resisted re-organization and, if Buttigieg was successful in pushing through urban redevelopment, they displaced minority communities.

My sense is that Buttigieg was neither a bad mayor nor a good one. He was a decent mayor who was trying to make his city a more attractive place, with mixed success. Typical for Leftists, he was very gung-ho about combining government and private assets, and then was surprised and dismayed when the people bullied by the combined forces of government and big developers reacted badly.

For a 37-year-old, Buttigieg’s political accomplishments are decent, his military service is laudable, and his intelligence is real. He’s also a smooth and articulate speaker. I disagree strongly with his politics — for he has shown unswerving devotion to the modern, hard Left Democrat party throughout his life — but even that’s not the real issue.

The real issue is that there’s absolutely nothing in Buttigieg’s resume, whether his good grades, his 7-month military tour, his short stint in the private sector, or his average service as mayor, to indicate that he has the experience or the ability to take on the role of senior executive officer for the entire United States of America.

Boiled down to its essentials, all that Buttigieg he has to offer is being the gay version of Obama. After all, Obama had nothing to offer in terms of experience or expertise for the role he took on and, once in that role (i.e., as President) his accomplishments were dismal, to say the least. In fewer than three years, although Trump hasn’t been able to undo all the damage Obama caused, he’s been able to dismantle just about everything Obama put in place. Indeed, the only thing Trump couldn’t fully dismantle was Obamacare, and that failure was on McCain, a petty, vindictive man who put his private grievances ahead of the nation.

Democrats loved Obama’s policies so much they’ve now rank him higher than George Washington (who was a slave owner and a war monger, right?). I have to believe, however, that it was his melanin that gave him a special place in Leftist hearts. That is, Leftism alone wasn’t enough. Obama had the race factor.

In 2019, for all that the Left adores the LGBTQ etc. agenda (which it sees as a battering ram for its control over American culture), I don’t see that slavish devotion transferring to Buttigieg just because he’s gay. It’s one thing to write devotionals about Jesus Obama or the Magic Negro, given America’s long and complicated relationship with American blacks.

It’s another thing entirely to get ordinary Americans on board with the Magic Homosexual. After all, while gays have in the past been derogatorily called “fairies” (and drag queens revel in the image), I don’t think calling Buttigieg a “Magic Homosexual” has quite the same connotation as the Obama worship we saw.

It says a great deal that Buttigieg has emerged as one of the front runners in the Democrat primary race. The more senior people in the race (i.e., Warren and Sanders) are so hard Left that the same more moderate Democrats who madly embraced Obama are likely to be less enthused about embracing a little gay guy, with a mediocre record, whom African-Americans (the single most important voting block in the Democrat party) dislike.

Image credit: Pete Buttigieg caricature by Donkey Hotey; Creative commons, some rights reserved.

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No. 3 Bookworm Room Podcast — Michelle Obama, Tulsi Gabbard, and cat ladies

It speaks to our vapid celebrity culture that Michael Moore believes that talentless, accomplishment-free Michelle Obama is the Democrat Party’s only hope.

I am having fun figuring out more efficient ways to do the podcast. My first podcast, in addition to the days of trying to figure out how to record, edit, and publish it, took five hours to create; podcast No. 3, the one that is the subject of this post, took only 2 hours. I’m not saying that it’s a better interface from the audience viewpoint but it was definitely a better experience on my end. Here are the ideas I developed in the podcast. Alternatively, just listen to the podcast itself, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post:

Help us, Michelle Obama; you’re our only hope.

My starting point in the podcast is a Michael Moore appearance on MSNBC (h/t American Thinker) in which Moore said, with perfect, almost tearful, sincerity that Michelle Obama is the only one who can win the election for the Democrats and save America from more Donald Trump. His desperation is both charming (from a conservative point of view) and pathetic (from any point of view):

What fascinated me was the fact that Moore doesn’t make any claim that Michelle has the skills to be president. He simply argues that she can debate Trump (I think he’s wrong) and that people like Michelle Obama. In other words, if this election were held in high school, where popularity is everything, Michelle would win.

It’s no surprise that Moore doesn’t point to any of Michelle’s actual accomplishments, because she has none. She spent some time as a junior associate in a law firm, then went to work in Chicago city politics and then, as her husband’s star began to rise, got a make work position at the University of Chicago. Apparently she broke some fundraising records there, but only the naive would think this had to do with her charm and skills rather than scoring points thanks to her husband’s political trajectory. Once she was First Lady, her signature accomplishment was making school children hate lunch.

Michelle Obama is nothing more than a media product: From the very first day, the media has been singing her praises. She’s the new Jackie O, she has the most gorgeous arms, she’s incredibly stylish, she’s brilliant, she’s hip, she’s charming. Peel away the slavish praise and there’s no visible there there. Indeed, the only way in which Michelle Obama compares to Jackie O isn’t about style; it’s about the fact that, like Jackie, Michelle married well and then, after leaving the White House, became fabulously rich and started leading a louche Rivieria lifestyle, something I find decidedly at odds with American values.

Once upon a time, we elected presidents based upon their accomplishments, whether in or out of politics, before they got to the White House. Washington led the Continental Army to victory. Adams, Jefferson, and Madison were towering intellectual giants of the Revolution. Jackson was a war hero. Lincoln was a successful lawyer and effective politician. Grant won the Civil War. Teddy Roosevelt won everything. Wilson (a vile man) was president of Princeton and governor of Virginia, Truman was a successful WWI commander and had a long political history (one that was fairly clean despite the dirty Democrat Midwestern political machine), Eisenhower helped win WWII, Kennedy served with honor in WWII, Reagan had a long career in politics and served as California governor. I could go on but I hope I’ve made my point. Even George Dubya, while a disappointing president, wasn’t elected just because he was H.W.’s son. He also served successfully as Texas’s governor and was an experienced businessman.

And then there was Obama, whose only accomplishment was . . . being Obama. When he took the White House, he’d never achieved anything significant for anybody but himself by constantly attaining higher and higher positions in which he did nothing of note. That didn’t matter, though, because Obama — handsome, Ivy League educated, well-spoken, and hard Left — was part of America’s new aristocracy.

The old aristocracy, the British kind that we broke with in 1776, ignored accomplishments and looked to lineage. For example, that’s how Charles II finally won the throne, long after his father was executed and Cromwell died. He got it because he was born to it. As a ruler, though, he left much to be desired, with a courtier writing of him:

Here lies our sovereign Lord the King,
Whose word no man relies on.
Who’s never said a foolish thing
Nor ever done a wise one.

The list of foolish monarchs, men and women who got power because they were part of the ruling class, is legion. Sometimes they surprised people by ruling well and wisely; more often than not, people were lucky if these “in crowd” rulers at least had the wisdom to choose good advisers.

America, as I noted, has now developed its own aristocracy, one made up, not of blood, but of the “proper” beliefs and connections. I learned this in 2008 when a Leftist friend told me that it was irrelevant that Sarah Palin, who was running for Vice President, was a much more accomplished executive and politician than Barack Obama, who sought the Oval Office. The problem with Palin, he said, was that “she’s not one of us.” She’s not a graduate of a prestigious college (preferably with a graduate degree), she’s not driving a hybrid car and, most importantly, she doesn’t hew to the Democrat party platform. Not only do “we” dislike her politics, she is not worthy of political victory.

Same goes for Trump, one of the most successful men ever to sit in the Oval office. All that kinds for Moore and his ilk, though, is that Michelle is a new American aristocrat. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and all the other Founders, the ones who fought for a true republic, must be weeping in their graves.

Don’t get fooled: Tulsi Gabbard is just another Leftist

Tulsi Gabbard is a beautiful woman. She’s easily the most beautiful person ever to run for president. She’s also proven that she has the killer instinct to strike like a rattlesnake (witness her recent attack on Kamala Harris). Moreover, her military record and hostility to Islamism make her appealing to centrists. Unlike the other vet on the Democrat stage — Buttigieg — she lacks the poorly disguised existential anger that hides behind his cute little chipmunk face. Buttigieg knows that his Christian God doesn’t approve of his lifestyle and is busy trying to rewrite his faith to suit his desires. It’s not a good look.

Don’t be fooled, though. Just as Williamson, behind the New Age gibble-gabble, is a generic Leftist, the same is true of Tulsi. Just look at her official website.

As is true for all the top tier Democrat candidates, Tulsi supports socialized medicine, although she pays lip service to keeping some sort of private insurance around (probably for the rich people). She voted for the Medicare for All Act of 2019 and mounts the usual attacks on insurance and pharmaceutical companies:

No one should be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying for life-saving medication. But that’s exactly what’s happening to millions of Americans as a result of Big Pharma’s chokehold on Medicare. They’ve managed to buy access into Congress, barring the government from negotiating cheaper prices for consumers, so they can continue to price-gouge those trying to buy life-saving medication and rake in profits at the expense of the American people.

It doesn’t seem to occur to any of these Lefties that bringing companies into the government fold is fascism. If you’re scared of corporations now, just wait until they’re in bed with government. Then they’re really scary and there’s no free market to protect you.

Also like her fellow Dems, Tulsi wants to socialize American higher education by forcing American taxpayers to fund community and two year colleges and to pay for “middle-class students” at public universities. This is free money for Leftists.

More scarily, publicly funded higher education is a way to complete the indoctrination of all American young people. Colleges are Ground Zero for every crazy idea floating around now: socialism, identity politics, virtue signaling, and the general insanity that we see about race, gender, feminism, etc. Colleges are why corporations are virtue signaling themselves into bankruptcy (see Gillette’s ill-advised ads) — college grads with useless Queer, or Gender, or Race degrees eventually leave Starbucks for mid-level management jobs and destroy companies from within. They also infest the social media companies that are trying to destroy American political discourse.

Tulsi is an abortion extremist. She doesn’t say so explicitly, but she supported 2013’s “Women’s Health Protection Act” which would have removed all state mandated limits on abortion. This means abortion up to and even after the moment of birth.

When it comes to so-called “climate change,” Tulsi checks the “generic Dem” box there as well:

Here are a couple of other Tulsi climate sound bytes, all of which are aimed at returning us to a pre-modern era of green landscapes and starving people:

As president, I’ll tackle climate change by ending subsidies to big fossil fuel and agribusiness corporations, ban offshore drilling, harness innovation to create jobs in renewable energy, provide better opportunities for our farmers, and ensure every American has clean air and water.

And

We need to invest in 100% renewable and safe energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal. I also support a ban on fracking, ending the $26 billion/year in fossil fuel subsidies, as well as all subsidies or waivers to the nuclear power industry, which should itself be completely responsible for paying for its own insurance and paying the long term cost for safe storage of nuclear waste over centuries. I will also work to provide other incentives for a renewable energy economy.

On race, Tulsi voted yes on the “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals.” No, it’s not voting for reparations, but it’s getting the ducks in a row to vote for reparations. My parents came to this country in 1954 and struggled, always. Most of my classmates growing up were the children of people who had escaped Communist China or Communist Vietnam with the clothes on their backs. Why any of them, who had nothing to do with slavery, should pay reparations to people who were not themselves slaves is beyond me.

On immigration, Tulsi talks about border security, but it’s pretty clear that she wants to fast-track citizenship (that is, voting status) to those who cheated:

The only area in which Tulsi sounds actually conservative is that her passionate anti-War stance is combined with a desire to strike back at radical Islamism. In that way, she’s somewhat like Trump insofar as she and Trump have broken with both the Wilson doctrine and the Obama-led peace movement. I’ve written about Trump’s stance at some length here, so I won’t repeat it now. I’ll just say that, as between Leftist Tulsi and promising-keeping, conservative Trump, I’ll keep Trump for foreign policy, thank you very much.

The Rule of Law applies even to cat ladies

The last thing I want to blog about is a bit random. You may have seen the story from Garfield Heights, Ohio, about a 79 year old woman being sent to jail for 10 days for feeding stray cats.

At first glance, it sounds like government run amok, but it’s really not. Feeding feral cats is not innocuous. Feral cats have lots of nasty diseases and the food you put out for them brings in other animals, such as rats and raccoons. I know this because, about 15 or so years ago, I spent two years of my life working on a crazy cat lady case. She’d started putting food out for cats and was eventually feeding every raccoon and rat within an umpteen block radius. These animals, some of which could have been rabid, were breaking into surrounding homes and threatening children.

Heck, just think about what’s going on in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, San Francisco, and all those other Leftist-run cities that allow human behaviors that encourage rats and raccoons. Those cities are starting to have medieval diseases. There’s nothing cute about engaging in behaviors that encourage vermin.

I don’t care that this gal is a cute little cat lady. What matters is that she refuses to stop illegal behavior that civil government rightly discourages. It’s a step in the direction of public health and the rule of law to make her take things seriously (something she clearly hadn’t done after numerous citations).

If you want to listen to the podcast, which roughly parallels the post above, you can click on the player below. Alternatively, here’s a link in case you can’t get the embedded link to load. I really would like to make a go of it, so assuming you find the podcast somewhat meritorious — I’d appreciate it if you’d spread the word:

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