Secretary Mayor Pete Is Biggest Star Who Makes All The Republicans Cry
He’s the go-to campaign surrogate for a reason.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is the Biden administration’s breakout star.
CNN reports that Buttigieg is in high demand as a surrogate for Democratic candidates on the campaign trail.
With invitations flowing into the White House and the Democratic National Committee, a relatively low-ranking Cabinet secretary’s staff has to choose between Democratic candidates trying to chase him down. There’s no precedent for this. But there’s also no precedent for the winner of the Iowa caucuses becoming Transportation secretary and proving more agile on camera than the vice president and Biden.
Writer Edward-Isaac Dovere overloads on the faint praise here. It’s true that Buttigieg is only 14th in the line of succession, just below HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. However, President Joe Biden’s top legislative achievements so far are the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Neither Secretary of State Antony Blinken nor Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo are ideal choices to discuss bridge construction projects in a swing district.
A couple weeks ago, Buttigieg visited King County, Washington, and toured a culvert replacement project near Issaquah. Here he is explaining what a culvert is and why we should care.
Buttigieg sounds like the host of an edutainment series for kids of all ages — "Secretary Mayor Pete’s World.” He's a master at breaking down complex issues, and his enthusiasm for the work is infectious. Democrats are wise to have him selling their constituents on the significant investments in infrastructure the Biden administration has spearheaded.
Dovere notes that Buttigieg receives more campaign surrogate requests than Vice President Kamala Harris, which is not surprising. I would’ve had Harris more closely involved in the infrastructure negotiations rather than saddling her with the border, the political equivalent to Vietnam. Infrastructure is a palpable success. Republicans shamelessly criticize the bill while sticking their hands out for a taste of that infrastructure socialism.
Buttigieg isn’t sheltered from Republican bile. He’s been the subject of several sick homophobic attacks from such bigots as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. The less-than-esteemed representative from Colorado had the gall to personally write Buttigieg and request $33.1 million for a bridge in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, after publicly calling the infrastructure bill “wasteful” and “garbage.”
One Democratic operative involved in several House races said “in the context of what people have to pick from, [Buttigieg’s] very popular.” He’s a Democrat from the Biden administration, but he doesn’t have the low approval rating of Biden or Harris.
Some folks might read this as a “hit” on Harris specifically, but I think that’s an overreaction. It’s easier and less expensive to fly in Buttigieg for an event than to absorb the costs for the vice president’s significant security footprint.
It’s also fine to admit that Buttigieg is a talented public speaker, who’s always fully prepared and rarely rattled in interviews. Watch Buttigieg in action during an appearance Sunday on CBS's “Face the Nation.”
“Pete Buttigieg to Margaret Brennan when she suggests Democratic divisions killed paid family leave: "Hold on. But if even one Republican were prepared to support paid leave, we'd be in a different territory. So let's not let 50 Republicans off the hook."”
— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1665933377
Host Margaret Brennan tried to corner Buttigieg on the failure to pass paid family leave, but Buttigieg wasn’t going to let her blame Democrats for Republican obstruction. Yes, Joe Manchin and (especially) Kyrsten Sinema are annoying, but there are 50 Republican senators who probably would’ve have taken credit for family leave if Democrats had managed to pass it. They just refused to help directly because they’re awful.
"Hold on,” Buttiegieg said, patiently but firmly, “... if even one Republican were prepared to support paid leave, we'd be in a different territory. So let's not let 50 Republicans off the hook because we couldn’t get alignment with one or two Democrats.”
Pete Buttigieg is very good at what he does, and that’s very good for Democrats, no matter who’s the presidential nominee in 2024 or 2028.
[ CNN ]
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