Just as a picture can be worth a thousand words, a simple statement can be worth a thousand (hopefully) clever leads. So I’ll just come right out and say it: A report I just came across about a truly epic effort at pandering by Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is the flat-out side-splittingly funniest thing – and unintentionally most degrading spectacle – I have seen in years and possibly decades.
You know Buttigieg. He’s the mayor of South Bend, Indiana whose career has been a model of office-seeker’s credentials harvesting – Harvard degree, Rhodes Scholarship, McKinsey & Co. consulting stint. It’s all been so calculated that it’s almost legit to wonder if being gay and serving a short tour of duty in Afghanistan has been part of the plan.
Not surprisingly, then, “Mayor Pete” has given the nation its best imitation of an obsequious student politician since Animal House’s Greg Marmalard (perhaps best known for dodging Dean Wormer’s question, “What is the worst fraternity on this campus?” with the classically base-covering, “Well that would be hard to say, sir. They’re each outstanding in their own way.”)
Except the brown-nosing that Buttigieg’s been getting best known for is shameless pandering aimed at neutralizing charges that he’s not sufficiently woke on racial issues. He’s apologized for embodying “white privilege.” He’s apologized for insisting that all lives, and not simply black lives, matter. He’s apologized for allegedly underestimating the obstacles faced by students of color. And he’s sought to take the offensive by alleging that many of the nation’s institutions are afflicted with “structural racism.”
Reasonable people can disagree about the appropriateness of these Buttigieg genuflections and positions. But only a complete stick-in-the-mud would deny that Mayor Pete’s June, 2019 effort to relate to the black community was a display of bad-boy worship (I refuse to dignify it even with a faux academic construct like “cultural appropriation”) as unwittingly humiliating and preposterous as it was hilarious.
The specifics? With his image among African Americans already sorely in need of repair, Buttigieg launched an effort at rehabilitation featuring an appearance on a cable TV show with a significant following in the black community. Since I couldn’t possibly improve on this below account of the segment and its aftermath, I’ll simply present it (along with a priceless photo – complete with Book of Mormon-like attire):
“Buttigieg was on the Showtime late night program Desus and Mero recently, appearing in a scene in which he chugs liquor from a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag on the streets of the Bronx with the two co-hosts.
“‘Oh my goodness, that is good stuff!’ Buttigieg exclaimed upon taking his first swig of the bottled whiskey.
“‘Keep it low in case the cops go by,’” one of the hosts warned. “They be trippin’ at the end of the month, bro.’”
Unfortunately, though, for Mayor Pete, these ingratiation efforts seem to have gone for naught, and as the crucial Iowa Democratic caucuses approach, he’s facing allegations that his top aides essentially treated its few African American and minority campaign staffers like tokens. Maybe it’s time for him to break out a do-rag?