You just can’t make these things up. The new enemy within for the Democratic Party’s radicalized base, worthy of all the venom it can muster, isn’t House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her caution on giving the green light to impeach President Donald Trump. It isn’t Joe Biden for attacking Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as so far left they’re unelectable. It isn’t even Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who’s announced he will vote against impeaching Trump and will probably switch parties – spurring six of his staff members to quit.
Instead, the populist left’s heavy artillery is now aimed at, of all people, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who, as an unapologetic homosexual with husband in tow on the campaign trail, is, in social terms, the most radical presidential candidate ever.
Does this make any sense? Buttigieg has one of the most far-left agendas ever offered by a presidential candidate. Some of what he proposes would make Barack Obama blush.
Included in what Mayor Pete estimates to be $5.7 trillion in new spending is free child care, pre-kindergarten education (i.e. indoctrination) and after-school and summer care for low-income children, with a pay version of these schemes for others, costing $700 billion. There’s free public college for 80% of the middle class, with an estimated price tag of $500 billion; $430 billion for low- and middle-income housing; and a $400 billion increase in the earned income tax credit, a disguised welfare program, which would hand $1,000 each to 35 million poor families, which mostly, if not all, pay no income taxes. Plus $200 billion in worker training and a $15 minimum wage.
He would pay for all this by soaking the rich with an increase in the capital gains tax on the top 1%, eliminating $2.2 billion in Trump’s tax cuts, squeezing $675 billion out of the pharmaceutical industry via drug price regulation, and yanking $100 billion from the banking industry through a forced crisis insurance program.
Buttigieg’s solution to racism is his “Douglass Plan” to hand $25 billion to black schools and colleges, have the federal government radicalize the way slavery and other race-oriented subjects are taught, “end the hyper-criminalization and mass incarceration of black Americans,” and authorize Washington to set the rules of engagement local police use against violent criminals – or as Buttigieg puts it, “require de-escalation efforts and limit lethal force to circumstances when it is absolutely necessary.” One can only imagine how many cops would be murdered.
This is just a taste of the many extremist measures he has planned, including “a nationwide gun licensing system” and “climate security as a key basis for diplomacy.” And yet, the recent attacks against Buttigieg from purists within his party would make you think they had just caught Bill Clinton in the Oval Office study, triangulating.
Too White, Too Male, Not Extreme Enough
Since Buttigieg has some lucrative work for the McKinsey consulting firm on his resume, he’s being pegged as a corporate shill. A #NeverPete hashtag has emerged on Twitter, copycatting #NeverTrump in 2016. Recently featuring it was Vox tech writer Teddy Schleifer, who shared “some photos of the Buttigieg fundraiser in Napa – with the famous wine cave and the chandelier with 1,500 Swarovski crystals.” In another, a filmmaker and Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter opines that he and other NeverPeters “take issue with his neoliberal, centrist, pro-corporatist stances that will do next to nothing to help the working and middle class of this country.”
All because of things such as the fact that rather than support Warren and Sanders’ Medicare For All, Buttigieg proposes a still-astronomically expensive “Medicare For All Who Want It.” The left has gone from seeking a “public option” that would be a slippery slope to European socialized medicine to demanding that no one even be allowed a “private option” to choose non-government health insurance.
“He’s phony,” Adam Jentleson, a now quite far-left ex-senior aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, tells CNN. “He’s been validating Republican lines of attack consistently in ways that, if Warren and Bernie were the nominee, will give Trump a lot of footage to use in ads against them.”
In fact, with the all-too-willing help of the establishment media, Buttigieg might be exactly what Democrats need to defeat Trump next year – a nominee perceived as a moderate who defeated two candidates of the left, Warren and Sanders, but whose radical plans actually don’t stray that far from theirs, either in cost or in revolutionary effect, thus placating the party base. Buttigieg also has a (probably practiced) Obama-esque earnestness, which some find charismatic, others sanctimonious.
But some activists, who still feel the sting of establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton “stealing” the nomination from Bernie in 2016, then allowing their worst nightmare, Trump, to come into power, have no use for such conjecture. Jodi Jacobson told CNN that Biden and Buttigieg were “both white guys” and “they both get away with saying stuff that we wouldn’t abide by other people.”
As odd as it may seem, for Buttigieg not to be straight is not enough for his party’s left, to which he unquestionably belongs. He’s still white and he’s still male. And he’s not quite full-bore socialist enough. (Or at least pretends too much not to be.)
— Written by Thomas McArdle
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