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As we mentioned in our piece about Pete Buttigieg's interview on the Morning Joe Coffee Achievers Show of Shows, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, also did an interview with Esquire magazine, published yesterday. And wouldn't you know it, the magazine's choice of a pull quote has led a whole bunch of people on Twitter to decide that Pete Buttigieg shat all over Hillary Clinton and everyone who supported her, so fuck him, that fucking entitled millennial piece of shit.

Twitter being Twitter, there is not a hell of a lot of nuance in the discussion. And that's why Yr Wonkette, just last week, inaugurated what we're afraid will have to be a regular feature during Campaign 2020: "That's Not What She/He Said," in which we take various chunks of the Dems In Disarray Narrative and give 'em a good hosing-down. So let's take a look at the idea that Pete Buttigieg is a snotty terrible man who trashed Hillary Clinton, shall we? We shall!


First up, one of several tweets accusing Buttigieg of just LOVING the glass ceiling and wanting to keep women in their place. (For those keeping score at home, this is actually the position we hope to debunk):

Gosh, that DOES look terrible! And if it had been all he'd said, then it would be terrible. Except it's a pull quote that pulls the quote right out of any context. Here's the full question, and Buttigieg's answer, and we think the context matters more than a little:

One of the hallmarks of the campaign so far has been a really rich and detailed debate about policy within the Democratic Party. Is that what's important right now? Or should the Democratic Party simply be organized around the simple premise that Donald Trump is a national emergency and must be defeated above all else and that the policy particulars should take a back seat to that?

So actually I don't agree with either of those approaches. The problem with making it all about him is that's what we did in 2016, and when we make it all about him, then there's a lot of voters in places like the industrial midwest, where I live, who say, "Okay, but who's talking about me?" Part of how we lost our way in 2016 was, first of all, it was all about our own nominee. "I'm with her," was literally the button.

Then when we realized who the Republican nominee was going to be, the message became, "Don't vote for him." And we just left a lot of people out because it didn't seem like we were talking about the lived experience of Americans.

For the same reason I don't think that we should do the usual Democratic thing, which is experiencing your competition through competing policy proposals. I think that policy matters, I'm a policy guy. But I think that you need our altitude to be both higher and lower. Higher in the sense that I think we need to talk about values and principles, that's why I'm out there talking about what freedom and democracy and security mean before we get into the depth of any policy idea. And at the same time also be talking in terms that are nearer to the ground, really explaining what we believe in in terms of everyday lived experience and how different under us it will be than under them. And that's how good political narrative works.

So the context is not "Why do you hate Hillary Clinton and all the women who supported her," but rather "should Democrats focus on the threat of Donald Trump to the exclusion of all else?" AND ALSO "what should the role of policy arguments be in this election?" It's rather a lot. Notice that, in the discussion of how much to focus on Trump, most of his answer is about why making that the sole focus would be a bad idea. The bit about "I'm with her" is hardly the main point, but there it is, highlighted BY ESQUIRE in both the pull-quote (worse, in the middle of an unrelated question) and the freaking subhed, as if slagging Hillary had been Buttigieg's whole reason for doing the interview.


To be sure, it's not a completely unproblematic remark -- Clinton's campaign truly was historic, and "I'm with her" wasn't merely about a cult of personality, but about women identifying with, yes, her -- and what she stood for. So sure, that definitely WAS talking about the lived experience of a hell of a lot of Americans -- who were happy to give Clinton the popular vote, not incidentally. But it's also very worth noting that Buttigieg was answering a question about whether focusing on Trump should be a Democratic strategy, and for the most part, that's what he was talking about.

We're pretty sure Pete Buttigieg does not hate Hillary Clinton, or women, and this whole Twitter blowup seems like a good chance to remind y'all of Hillary's OTHER campaign slogan: "STRONGER TOGETHER."

Yes, we like utopian dreams.

[Esquire]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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