I see that various pundits are competing to write the political epitaph for Joe ‘son-of-a-bitch‘ Biden. That’s entirely understandable. It’s been clear for some time that Biden is on the threshold of senility, and it is only my charitable disposition that prevents me from speculating about which side of the threshold he occupies.
And then there was the desolation wrought by the Democrats’ impeachment entertainment. From the start, it was clear that the chief casualty of that amateur theatrics was going to be Joe Biden and his sniff, sniff, sniffing son Hunter.
Everyone who is not Bill Kristol understood that the bullet of that purely partisan hit job would miss President Trump. I do not understand why it was not also understood that the Bidens, knee- or perhaps even neck-deep in the influence-peddling nepotism-is-neat corruption biz, would be the prime victims of that bizarre soap opera. Or maybe it was understood and the real point was to give old Joe the shove that he required but to do it covertly. Deep waters.
But after the Iowa tech-meltdown and New Hampshire feather-weight boxing match yesterday, I am amused to discover that no one at the political obit desk has been filing away a story even more obvious than the one about Joe Biden. I mean the political obit/epitaph for Mayor Peter Buttigieg.
As Joe Biden once said of his old (but then-future) boss B. Obama, the 38-year-old former Mayor of South Bend is bright, articulate, and cleans up well. But the idea — an idea that is assiduously circulated by his supporters — that he is ‘moderate’ is ridiculous. In fact, those scrambling for the perfect political epitaph for PB might consider ‘moderate’ in scare quotes.
Remember, Mayor Peter is the openly gay son of the editor and translator of Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks. Gramsci’s important contribution to the literature of totalitarian tyranny was his idea that Communist dictatorship could only come to free countries by means of a ‘long march through the institutions’, cultural as well as political. The left has pretty well accomplished this with respect to the universities and the elite cultural institutions of the media and the so-called ‘arts community’. Mayor Pete wants to finish the job through such expedients as packing the Supreme Court with six more seats, abolishing the electoral college (it’s ‘undemocratic’, he says), disarming the populace (a precaution tyrants always take), providing a ‘glide path‘ for the government takeover of healthcare, opening up the borders, and forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for college, even for illegal immigrants, whom he also wants to offer amnesty. It’s a start, Comrade.
The truth is, Buttigieg is about as moderate as Bernie Sanders. He comes off as more reasonable than Bernie because he has a more soothing demeanor. (And he comes off as more reasonable than Elizabeth Warren because he does not sound like a screeching harridan whose hectoring voice is like a witch’s nails drawn across a blackboard.) He quotes — and misquotes — scripture. He sounds reasonable, so long as you ponder the timber of his voice and don’t ponder the substance of what he says.
But at the end of the day, this Ivy- and Oxbridge-educated ‘progressive veteran’ is a Gramscian radical. He is there with with Ralph ‘make-’em-comfortable’ Northam on abortion, though he has gotten pretty deft at avoiding the issue. Abortion, in fact, seems to be the one issue on which he wants the government to stay out of our lives. About everything else, it’s all government all the time.
Mayor Pete will have a scintillating couple of months while the media pretends that he might possibly win the nomination. But he can’t, and that will become obvious, I predict, shortly after Super Tuesday. I am really not sure who would have the best chance against Donald Trump in November. I am confident, though, that the sacrificial lamb will not be Mayor Pete Buttigieg.