Mayor Howdy Doody Finally Gets the Training Wheels Off

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As my colleague Becca Lower reported, South Bend, Indiana Mayor and Democrat Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg has been tapped to be Joe Biden’s Secretary of Transportation.

“President-elect Joe Biden has picked former Democrat primary opponent and staunch campaign surrogate Pete Buttigieg as his transportation secretary, according to multiple sources Tuesday afternoon, including CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and Reuters. Buttigieg formerly served two terms as mayor of South Bend, Indiana.”

I’ve always known Mayor Pete—soon to be Secretary Pete—was being groomed for higher office of some kind, and the run for the presidency was just a way to garner him a national presence. He hits most of the intersectional points: Gay, progressive, handsome, and affable, like the combination of a game show host and your favorite grandson. But he also spoke to more conservative values, like military service. Buttigieg did a tour in Afghanistan, but never saw any combat.

Buttigieg had the capability of sounding weighty, while saying absolutely nothing. Go to Twitter and type the search string, “Deep Thoughts Pete Buttigieg”. Your search will produce a mind-boggling assortment of tweets from Buttigieg along with responses that range from idol worship to target practice.

Bill Clinton made an art form of this too. Barack Obama was less skilled than Clinton, but he also had the gift. Must be a Democrat politician requirement.

It’s also a Democrat penchant to fail upward, and Buttigieg is a poster child. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was rumored to have wanted this very cabinet position, is also a poster child. Obviously Mayor Pete hasn’t driven half his citizens into homelessness, so I am sure that factored into why he edged out Garcetti. Still, Buttigieg’s only solid experience at governance is his two-terms (2012-2020) as the mayor of South Bend. For all intents and purposes, his tenure was an abject failure of leadership; so he and Garcetti have even more in common.

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When Buttigieg was running for President, the New York Post had a conversation with some of the residents of South Bend, and the reviews were less than favorable:

“ ‘He couldn’t run our city. How can he run the United States?’ said Michelle Burger, 42, a stay-at-home mom who lives in South Bend’s impoverished and predominantly black West Side.

“ ‘Look at all the crime — he didn’t do anything about it. Look at our quality of life. If he becomes president, the United States will become one big South Bend — a giant sinkhole. We’ll be in a new depression.’ ”

With this glowing (full sarcasm) testament to Buttigieg’s time in office, one wonders how he is even able to ride a bike, let alone attempt to run a city. I suspect if he is riding, the training wheels are still in place.

More from the Post piece,

“But some in South Bend describe Buttigieg’s mayoralty as a nightmare during which FBI data show that violent crimes surged from 622 in 2012, his first year, to 1,088 in 2018, the latest for which statistics are available.

“ ‘We had a record number of homicides during his time as mayor, and it didn’t seem like he was feeling the people’s psychological, emotional and spiritual needs,’ said the Rev. Sylvester Williams Jr. of the Interfaith Christian Union.

“ ‘It seemed like he was focused on creating a progressive city, that he was above tending to those basic needs.’ ”

But isn’t this the progressive way? Lofty ideas about how to include everyone, and floss with overpriced programs that are supposed to address inequality, while ignoring the very factors and basic things that are the cause of division, distress, and inequality in the first place. Newsflash: It’s not the police, who Buttigieg also had his issues with during his term as mayor.

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The Wall Street Journal did a glowing write up about this appointment, saying,

“Leading the Transportation Department, he is expected to play a prominent role in the incoming Biden administration’s push to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges.”

I hope he’ll have a second in command that’s moderately competent. When it came to infrastructure in South Bend, Mayor Pete couldn’t even fill the potholes. It took a grant from a pizza delivery company to make this happen.

“Many residents feel the city has the worst pothole situation in the state. So many, in fact, that they reached out to Domino’s Pizza to do something about it. And Domino’s agreed.

“On Monday, the national pizza company announced the city of South Bend will receive a $5,000 ‘Paving for Pizza’ Grant to fill in potholes.

“The grant, created in 2018, asks customers to nominate their hometown to repair potholes so carryout pizza can have a smooth delivery ride home. Domino’s consumer public relations specialist Danielle Bulger said only one grant is given per state. South Bend was named Indiana’s recipient.”

But as my colleague Robert Hahn noted,

“The transportation gig is perfect — hardly anybody knows what goes on there, so he can learn how to run a big bureaucracy without much risk of getting caught up in some debacle. A cabinet gig will also qualify him for his next step, to get ‘moneyed up.’ After being Sec’ty Trans, he’ll be offered seats on the boards of CSX, AMR, maybe even Uber. Two years after that he’ll have $10 million in the bank and be ready for the Democrats to decide where he goes next.

“We need to watch out for that guy. He’s like the White Obama.”

Hopefully, Mayor Pete will have a better handle on riding that bike after January 20, because now the training wheels come off, and Secretary Pete will be doing wheelies with the big boys.

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Good luck, America!



 


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