What are Pete Buttigieg’s politics?
If you read CBS, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Guardian, and a host of their friends, the former mayor is decidedly a moderate. According to The Washington Post and a few more, he’s “a traditional centrist” who embodies “the Democratic primary’s rightward drift.” And if you listen to the left-wing activists trailing him around, he’s “Wall Street Pete” and “will kill us.”
His supposed moderation and support (almost solely) among white liberals torments Lucy, a white liberal who graduated high school more than a decade ago but writes for Teen Vogue. “Why I’m Not Here for Pete Buttigieg’s Moderate Politics in the 2020 Primaries,” she proclaims in the delightfully self-serious magazine.
But just what is so “traditional centrist” or “moderate” about Mayor Pete? From health care and abortion to guns and immigration, and from the Supreme Court to the Electoral College, the man is decidedly a radical. Behind all his carefully selected scripture quotes that so easily confound coastal reporters is a politician whose justifications are difficult to recognize through the eyes of any of the world’s major Christian religions.
But let’s start with health care, where Buttigieg has rejected his prior embrace of the socialist-favored “Medicare for All” in favor of a “glide path to Medicare for All” that, The Washington Post reports, “hinges on [a] ‘supercharged’ version of [the] unpopular Obamacare mandate.” The individual mandate, you might recall, was the most hotly debated aspect of President Barack Obama’s radical takeover of the American health-care system, and was repealed by the 2017 tax-reform bill.
On abortion, Buttigieg leaves even less to the imagination. At Fox News’s Jan. 26 town hall, he assured a lifelong Democratic activist who opposes abortion, “I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you.” Oh, phew. Then he declined to commit to altering the party’s platform language, which rejects Democrats like Kristen Day, the questioner. “He refused — twice — to even answer that part of my question,” she wrote afterward in USA Today, “and instead focused on his unyielding support for abortion and did not really seem to want the vote from me or people who share my view.”
This should not have surprised Kristen very much. At the same town hall, Mayor Pete called late-term abortions “hypothetical.” On the sixth day of Advent the month prior, he told a seven-year-old girl he’s all in for abortion. How adorable.
As the anti-abortion LifeSite News points out, as mayor of South Bend he vetoed the opening of a pro-life pregnancy center near an abortion clinic. When the corpses of 2,246 babies were uncovered at the Illinois office of a deceased South Bend abortionist, he fretted the evidence of abortion’s “disturbing” brutality would impact women’s “need to access health care.”
“There’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath,” Buttigieg said in September, defending late-term abortion with the Bible. This, we can safely agree, is not an endorsed Christian tenet.
“Here’s something to think about this Sunday morning,” he thoughtfully posited on CNN the month prior. “Is a gun a tool or is it an idol?”
“If the gun corporation lobby, which is what the NRA is, now has people viewing guns as a thing to be loved, a thing to be protected, a thing that is the source of our freedom and power and a thing to which we are willing to sacrifice human life,” he continued, “isn’t that the definition of a false God?”
A novel interpretation of safeguarding hard-fought American freedoms? Certainly. Traditional? Not so much.
On immigration, Mayor Pete glide-pathed away from decriminalizing the border toward refocusing “prosecution resources on real criminal threats” and amnesty for illegal immigrants who have not “committed serious crimes.” He also wants to “eliminate the five-year waiting period for green card holders” to get welfare, “withdraw regulations that restrict or deter access” to that welfare, and “expand access” for illegal immigrants to get taxpayer-funded college grants they don’t need to pay back.
“For a party that associates itself with Christianity,” he sneered in a June debate, “to say that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.” The Christian God, of course, is on the record supporting laws, nations, and borders, but it was a good line and the applause was raucous.
“The Republican Party,” Pete explains, “likes to cloak itself in the language of religion.”
Buttigieg supports packing the high court with as many six additional justices, placing him to the left of noted leftist Julian Castro. Court-packing also puts Buttigieg in league with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose Supreme Court power grab so repulsed his Democrat-controlled Congress the policy was rendered politically dead for nearly a century.
The former mayor of a college town in Indiana also wants to abolish the Electoral College, which seems strange as the system is specifically designed to protect the voice of places like Indiana, supported by the rationale that her citizens have an essential right to not be overruled by distant coastal cities. It’s part of a system called a republic, which has been under relentless attack since the Progressive Era, when radicals and presidents decided it was time to dispense with our carefully constructed government and give pure democracy another shot.
“We’ve got to repair our democracy,” Buttigieg declared shortly after announcing his run. “The Electoral College needs to go, because it’s made our society less and less democratic.”
Now, it’s completely understandable that most reporters don’t understand the ancient Greek word “hairesis.” It means “to take, capture,” or “to choose,” and it is the root of the word “heresy.” After all, it’s easy to get lost in the muck. It is more difficult, however, to understand how professional political observers can call any of the above policies “traditional,” “centrist” or “moderate,” yet every day on television and in print those descriptors are repeated and repeated like a drum march into a wall.
To borrow from another media moderate, President Barack Obama, let me be clear: The moderate mayor is no such thing.