I have been increasingly disillusioned with the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg who is revealing himself to be yet another standard-issue Democratic party establishment candidate, seeking money from big financial interests and sniping at the progressive policies of people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in favor of the ‘middle ground’ that is so favored by the oligarchy. He is increasingly becoming a smug defender of the status quo. But it was his statements about Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden that drove me over the edge. These comments were made back in March but I was not aware of them until yesterday.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who launched a an exploratory committee in January to run for president in 2020 as a progressive Democrat, is criticizing former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for disclosing classified information.
Buttigieg told CBS News Radio on the sidelines of the South by Southwest Festival where he spoke over the weekend that he was “troubled” by former President Obama’s decision to commute the 35-year prison sentence for Chelsea Manning days before he left office in 2017.
Manning was treated appallingly and tortured by the US government for her courageous act of exposing US military abuses. The clemency given by president Obama only partly made up for the cruel way that Obama’s s justice department had prosecuted Manning earlier. But what ‘troubles’ Buttigieg is not the torture that Manning was subjected to but the clemency shown at the end of Obama’s term?
As for Edward Snowden, he too was a courageous young person who risked a lot to make people aware of the abuses that the US government and its allies were committing all over the world. He has to be in exile in Russia because if the returned to the US, he would be charged under the Espionage Act that would strip him of pretty much all legal rights that we take for granted.
The attitude of someone towards people like Manning, Snowden, and all the other courageous whistleblowers is a litmus test of where they stand on civil liberties and human rights. Anyone who takes the stance that Buttigieg did is someone who is subservient to the national security state.
Alexis Grenell writes that at the last debate, one of the moderators Andrea Mitchell pointed out what to Grenell was an obvious double standard by which it does not take much to be considered a serious contender if you are a man.
At the first Democratic Debate free of male moderators, Andrea Mitchell opened up by calling bullshit on Pete Buttigieg: “You were elected mayor in a Democratic city receiving just under 11,000 votes and in your only statewide race you lost by 25 points. Why should Democrats take the risk of betting on you?”
It was a particularly sweet moment to see a 73-year-old woman pointing out the sexist double standard Pete’s been riding. Voters judge men on potential regardless of their puny qualifications. Women have to have qualifications, and receipts.