Buttigieg gets the comeuppance he deserves

One of the things that is often overlooked about Sanders is that, along with Elizabeth Warren, he is a sharp debater. This is because they both have key facts at their fingertips and use them effectively, and also because they do not pull their punches. This, along with his policies, is another reason why I think Sanders is the best person to challenge Donald Trump. His relentless focus on the important issues means he will not be distracted by Trump’s clownish antics and name-calling. But most importantly, he quickly recognizes bullshit and calls it out in no uncertain terms, which will be very effective in countering Trump who as we have seen is full of it.

Here is Bernie Sanders during the last debate rebutting Pete Buttigieg’s repeated assertions that he is a ‘polarizing’ figure.

Buttigieg has also been called out for using Fox News propaganda tactics in ominously referring to the grassroots organizations supporting Sanders as ‘dark money’ groups, without naming them.

“With Michael Bloomberg in the race, and with nine dark money groups supporting Bernie Sanders, the goal posts have changed,” Buttigieg said of his campaign’s need to raise more money.

The nine groups, as the Democratic Socialists of America pointed out in a tweet, are grassroots organizations powered by “POC, immigrants, youth, working class people, and democracy defenders.”

Buttigieg’s comments came in for harsh criticism online, with activists, advocates, and journalists calling the Democratic candidate out for his dishonesty.

“This tweet is disingenuous and you know it,” said journalist Michael Salamone. “Groups like the Sunrise Movement and National Nurses United are not dark money and you know it. You put your greedy aspirations for power above integrity and that’s why you will never secure our party’s nomination.”

Political activist Ryan Knight accused Buttigieg of parroting right-wing talking points.

“Calling groups like the the Sunrise Movement and National Nurses United ‘dark money groups’ is Fox News type propaganda, but I expect no less from Pete Buttigieg,” tweeted Knight.

After getting his ass kicked in Nevada and coming in third, Buttigeig has upped his rhetoric, increasingly revealing his establishment-protecting bias.

Buttigieg, who is currently in fourth place with 8.82% of the vote and 4% of precincts reporting, is attacking Sanders as supporting “an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans”.

CNN just cut away from the speech, but according to prepared remarks provided by the campaign, Buttigieg will go on to accuse Sanders’ campaign of having “the tenor of combat, division, and polarization, a vision where whoever wins the day, nothing will change the toxic tone of our politics”.

“That is the choice before us. We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new, broad, big-hearted American coalition.”

Others are noting how Buttigieg is trying to have to both ways, harshly attacking Sanders and his supporters, while claiming to be a unifying figure.

Buttigieg’s shtick is that he is the nice, gentle, centrist who will bring people together unlike the others who are either extremists or polarizing or otherwise unelectable, even though his policies are vague and he attacks others. His vacuous assertions that he is the only unity candidate is becoming laughable and is quickly devolving into caricature, and cartoonists are noticing.

(Jason Adam Katzenstein)

(Matt Bors)


  1. says

    I think Sanders wins because he doesn’t really have to engage in debate. He’s like arguing with Noam Chomsky, who can sigh and say “I have been saying this for 50 years now.” And -- like Chomsky -- good luck catching him in a major contradiction or unforced error. By “major” I mean “compared to everything Biden or Buttigieg says.”
    You’ll note that Warren’s support immediately began to wane when she changed her tune about medicare. Whether it was right or not, or possible or not, by changing her tune (or allowing herself to be perceived as changing her tune) people immediately oriented on Bernie, who hasn’t.
    Meanwhile, does Buttigieg have a tune?
    He seems to be a very personal fellow but as someone who worked with big consulting companies (Perot Systems, INS, PWC, and Arthur Andersen) at various times in my career, I recognize him immediately as a “sharp shooter” -- one of those corporate animals who has a snappy, energetic, pert, and vacuous answer for everything. They’re the guys who are running ahead of you to take credit for your solution to the problem, so they can pad their resume and blast their career off to the next way-point. Buttigieg makes me profoundly nervous because I don’t trust corporate ladder-climbers as far as I can comfortably spit a live rat and he looks like one of the smoothest and most successful I’ve ever seen. So, when I look at him and think “what a nice guy!” part of my mind is screaming “it’s a traaaaap!”

  2. Sam N says

    I think I would have been considered a very typical Warren supporter (regarding that, I need to remember to cancel my monthly donation and start throwing it Sanders’ way). Terminally educated, white. I’m an Urban dweller more-so than suburban, so maybe off there, I dislike the extraordinary waste of space suburbia forces, making me drive an hour to get out to good hiking spots instead of the 15 minutes it should be.

    Where Warren completely lost me, and what reminded me of her problems in the past, is when she was asked about the cost of medical care for everyone. Just own that the costs will increase taxes, but decrease the total cost for most, and stop disastrous financial ruin for the least fortunate among us. Just own it. Don’t evade, be genuine. It is her evasion that turned me off, the complete opposite of Noam or Sanders. I still thin Warren is far more intelligent than Bernie when it comes to understanding policy, but with her waning support, I have completely switched over. She lost me before backing off (we just made things worse, I really don’t know about her advisers). Did she think the idiots that view any increase in taxes as necessarily an evil had any chance of voting for her, anyway? She has great policy intelligence, but awful political intelligence.

    It will be fascinating to watch valueless-clown Trump go up against someone with as solid values as any human I’ve observed Sanders. I think Trump will do better if he takes the hit of cowardice and avoids any debate should it come to Sanders vs. Trump.

  3. Sam N says

    I shouldn’t say Trump has no values. Loyalty to Trump is a rock-solid value he holds. He also values not punishing corruption. He clearly views a corrupt Democrat as something much more similar to himself than the rare exemplar of an honest Republican.

  4. says

    Sam N @#2:
    Just own that the costs will increase taxes, but decrease the total cost for most, and stop disastrous financial ruin for the least fortunate among us.

    Or decrease military spending or subsidies for fossil fuels. But she didn’t have the guts and it was obvious that she’s just another politician trying to trick her way into office.

  5. Sam N says

    @5, ok, that one was a joke, right? It can be hard to interpret text.

    @4, I don’t know what to think of my dreams of gutting US murdering random people and old white dude support fund, ahem, ‘defense’ spending. It seems like the one thing I actually have in common with my conservative uncles, is that we both are disgusted by wasting our money interfering in other countries. They hold a very different view than me. They don’t call our drone program an absurd counterproductive murder program. But they still have some sense that maybe we should spend our money on building things. Useful things. It pisses them off that some of their paycheck might go to someone who didn’t need the food stamps eating well? How do you fucking think I feel about some of my paycheck going to murdering people? Fucking asshole fuckfaces who support that shit.

    Eh, I just got angry, and now I’ll stop typing.

  6. says

    No, I was serious. For all intents and purposes, Bloomberg scored a zero. He got zero delegates and zero votes. It ought to be counted as a huge shellacking but because he’s still paying the media they are just reporting that he missed the event.

    Like if one of the contestants in a heavyweight semi final decided to sit one of the stages out…

  7. Sam N says

    Yeah, but he was always going to get 0%, like, that’s his strategy. His shellacking in the debate was far more a bloody nose for that goon than getting the anticipated 0 in Nevada, no? OK, but you’re amusing ‘I lie less than Biden’ as suggested campaign material was a joke? Am I misunderstanding what a joke is?

  8. says

    like, that’s his strategy

    If anyone but a billionaire who was feeding the media huge piles of money did that, everyone would have written them off. Imagine if Mayor Pete no-showed in Nevada; they’d be heaping flowers on his campaign’s grave.

    Debate performance is important but delegate votes in primaries actually count, and Bloomberg scored worse than Klubuchar. They should be listing him on the returns as 0%

  9. file thirteen says

    @Marcus #5

    I was just happy to see Bloomberg take a shellacking. 0%! All your money is worthless!

    Only the shellacking happened in the Democrat debate. Bloomberg got so hammered there that he was unable to regather himself enough to contest Nevada. But you’re not wrong, it’s still a 0%.

    His scriptwriters will be working overtime trying to come up with believable ripostes to use the next times he’s criticised, and his personal political trainers will be trying to drum them into him until they become second nature. But first the viewers have to be given enough time to forget his thumping.

    The other delegates will be happy to refresh the voters minds though. The question “where were you in Nevada” and its derivates “are the people in Nevada too insignificant for you to care about” and “is this your idea of what is presidential, to hide after the going gets tough” will probably be insurmountable.

  10. sonofrojblake says

    Immediately post-Clinton/Trump, I said (here, I think, among other places) that Warren was the Dem’s best chance and the one I’d vote for. I said that on the assumption that someone who’d got as far as Sanders in one round of primaries generally doesn’t sustain their momentum long enough to feature in the next election. Sanders has. I’d vote for him.

    I don’t get a vote, obvs, but just saying.

  11. says

    I gather Bloomberg is going to be in the Carolina debate. Someone’s going to sink him with a quip like “nice to see you again, we missed you in Nevada.”

  12. says

    I also see that Buttigieg is asking for a recount of the Nevada results (in spite of his campaign knowing how hard that is) because when you come in 20 points behind the leader, it was clearly rigged or something. That’s it, Mayor Pete, time to spin down your campaign. Enjoy one more debate. Time for unity. Remember unity? That means being a good loser.

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