Sunday, July 7, 2019

What, Me Worry?

Pete Buttigieg is not going to be our next President, so just get over that.

The media lives on another planet - planet clickbait.   Every four years, or indeed, every two, they run articles promoting a candidate who has a snowball's chance in hell of winning election to office, claiming that the candidate is viable.  And the flavor-of-the-month this month is Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man to seek the Democratic nomination.

Why is he not viable?  Because he's gay?   That's a small part of it, ironically.   No, it is because he is too young and inexperienced and has no real record of accomplishment.   Now, I know that today, in order to be a superstar in the Democratic Party you have to be a loser - you have to lose a close election to someone else.  So we have Hillary, and Bernie, and Beto, and Stacy Abrams - all of whom lost elections and yet seem to be even louder voices in defeat than in victory.   But who the party faithful think is a superstar (and the media concurs with) is entirely different than the what the general population thinks.   And in order to lead, you have to win.

Buttigieg actually won election to office - as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.  Whoop-de-fucking-do.   If you don't know where South Bend is, don't be ashamed, most Americans don't.   It is a rust-belt city in a rust-belt State.  Home of Notre Dame (to the North) and the old Studebaker corporation.  I recommend seeing the museum when you are there.  But it is a "city" in the sense that Utica, New York is a City.   This ain't New York or San Francisco, or even Indianapolis.   It's the fourth-largest city in the Hoosier State.

Traditionally, Presidential timber has been cut from the cloth of Governors, Generals, Senators, and Statesmen (present President excepted).   Usually you have to have some experience to be President, and the present occupant of the oval office is a prime example of why.   Governor of New York, Ohio, Texas, California, or some other large State is usually a prerequisite.   Mayor of South Bend?   I just don't think so.   Come back when you're elected governor of that State.  Maybe.

The real issue is not his gayness, but lack of experience.  He's only 37 years old, barely two years above the minimum age to be President.  Our founding fathers put an age minimum of 35 on the oval office for a reason - they wanted someone who was not only smart, but had wisdom - someone who had a few scars from living life on this planet, and understood that what seems like bold action one day, is a huge mistake the next.

The image above is of Alfred E. Neuman, the mascot of "Mad" magazine, a humor magazine staple of adolescents and college kids in the 1960's and even 1970's.  Before The Onion, and the National Lampoon before that, there was Mad.   It was juvenile in its humor, and well, sophmoric as much humor can be.  And since the death of its founder, William Gaines, Mad had been in the decline, seeing competition from the more juvenile Cracked (which today is a website) and (slightly) more mature humor from National Lampoon and its attendant movies and other media.  Mad sort of made a comback of sorts, with Mad TV, which had some really humorous bits and launched the careers of a number of popular comics and actors, including Jim Carrey.   OK, well, we can forgive Mad for that, I guess.

A recent right-wing article on Fox News (I am being redundant, I know) blames the demise of Mad on politically correct leftists who can't take a joke and are "triggered" by any sort of thing.  I am not sure this is true, only that time marches on, and humor has a sell-by date.   But one mention in the article astounded me.   President Trump (throw up in mouth a little when I say that) compared Buttigieg to Alfred E. Neuman, and there is a bit of a resemblance.   But when asked about the slur, Buttigieg claimed not to know who the Mad mascot was.  "I had to google that," he reportedly replied.

I realize that someone born in 1982 might not be reading Mad Magazine as a youth in the early 1990's.   But surely he saw Mad TV  when it launched in 1995, although maybe his parents didn't let him stay up that late.   It is hard to believe that someone could be so clueless of the culture of his own county in its very recent past.

I grew up in the 1960's, during the rock and roll era.   I still knew who Tommy Dorsey was, as well as Glenn Miller.   I never heard Amos 'n Andy on the radio, but I knew who they were - my parents, among others, told me about the old time radio shows, and the "serials" played in the movie theaters on Saturday mornings before television was invented.

I know what a petticoat is, even though I never lived in that era.

And therein lies the problem for the current generation.  It seems that "kids these days" have no appreciation for what came before them.   Maybe they no longer teach history in schools, as it would "trigger" the sensitive ones.   No wonder Nazism is on the rise - these kids have no sense of history.

Mr. Buttigieg is a really smart kid, don't get me wrong - Rhodes Scholar and all that.  But he needs more seasoning to be a real leader.   Maybe after he's shown he can turn around a small, rust-belt city with his progressive policies, and get elected to State office, maybe the House or Senate, perhaps Governor, he would be ready to lead the richest and most powerful nation in the world and be the "leader of the free world" and in effect, the leader of our planet.

Mayor of South Bend?   That's not a sufficient credential.   And the fact that he thinks it is, leads me to believe that he is not qualified to be President now - or ever.

Sadly, this is the trend in the Democratic party - and in the GOP.  We don't want tried and tested leaders who actually have records of accomplishment - and failure.   Because you can't have one without the other.  In today's sound-bite and Twitter era, any mistake you ever make in life disqualifies you for anything.   Never mind that this is flat-out wrong, and the greatest Presidents we've ever had, have been collosal failures.  By today's standards, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt (Teddy or FDR, take your pick), and Kennedy would not be qualified to be President, by dint of the failures in their life - failures that gave them character and taught them valuable lessons.

Could you imaging Kennedy running for President today?  He would be "Swift-boated" or "PT-boated" for sure, and someone like Trump would say, "I prefer captains whose boats weren't sunk!" - and Kennedy would lose big time.   We have no patience for failure anymore - we expect perfection 100% of the time, with no exceptions.

So we embrace people with no experience whatsoever in life, such as AOC, or Beto, or Mayor Pete.  These are people who have yet to accomplish anything in government, so they haven't failed.   Their policies are thus unassailable, as they are untried.   We embrace the novel, the inexperienced, the unwise.   The media is agog over a 29-year-old who doesn't know what a garbage disposal is, and probably isn't familiar with Alfred E. Neuman, either.

Wisdom?  Experience?  History?  All that doesn't matter, because in the past, bad things happened, like wars and slavery and discrimination.  So we need put the past onto the trash heap, without examining it to see why it happened the way it did, and whether any valuable lessons can be drawn from it.   Old-school politicians are to be disregarded and held accountable by today's standards for their actions in the past - it is a standard that no one could possibly meet, and one that the newcomers of today will live to regret in 20 years as the kids being born today throw them under the bus in the year 2040.

But what about the gay thing?   That is the least of the problem, but it illustrates how delusional Mayor Pete is.   Yes, we've made great strides in acceptance in the last 30 years.   I never expected gay marriage to be legalized, and quite frankly, I was not in favor of it - I thought we had bigger fish to fry, such as wars and the economy, and that it wasn't the raging injustice the folks on the Left said it was.  But they told me they knew what was best for me, and I went along with it.

Nevertheless, in spite of all this "acceptance" there is a lot of simmering resentment just under the surface, and I think a lot of this in-your-face stuff is partly to blame.  As I noted in an earlier post, the right to be left the hell alone which most Americans would support, is being supplanted by the right to have you accept everyone, whether you like it or not.

It may seem that Mayor Pete is raising a lot of money and has a lot of supporters on the coasts.   But you have to win places like Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Texas.   And while a lot of people are open to tolerating and even accepting gays, they might not be so keen on the spectacle of a "first husband" - particularly when they weren't willing to go along with this when Hillary was running.   There will be a solid group of voters - some of them Democrats, even - who just aren't ready for this.

It also illustrates the fallacy of "identity politics" - the idea that you can slice and dice the electorate and pander to them by putting up a candidate that is "just like you!" in terms of race, gender, nationality, or whatever.   Not only is it impossible to find the perfect candidate that appeals to all demographics (the elusive transgender lesbian Eskimo), the group you are pandering to simply might not like the politics of the candidate you put forward, or simply not like the candidate.   With "Mayor Pete" it is both, with me.   I don't care if he is "one of us" - who he sleeps with is irrelevant in the selection process.

So it fails both ways.   The gay thing turns off one group of voters, but fails to attract another.   It is policies, personalities, and experience that carry the day.    Sorry, but Mayor Pete doesn't seem to have any of the three.

In the coming election, the stakes are too high, let's face it.   We can't afford to lose and have four more years of Trump.   Many on the far-Left see this as an opportunity to elect someone far out of the mainstream of American values, such as Bernie Sanders.   The "slingshot effect" can catapult an extremist into power, once an extremist (from the opposite end of the spectrum) scares the voters to stampede to the other extreme.  This is, in short, why the "Bernie Bros" wanted Trump - so that they could say, "we told you so!" and hope that people would go along with Bernie next time around.  This is how Hitler came to power - and that is never a good thing.

We need a candidate that is qualified and resonates with the majority of Americans, not just the majority of primary voters.   It can't be one of these "Well, our candidate would win, according to the most recent polls!" because the only poll that counts is the November 3, 2020.   And no, Beto, "a close second" is not the same as winning.

We need to stop screwing around with these fringe candidates and get serious.   But that ain't likely to happen, it seems.  Gird your grid for four more years of Trump, my friend, it is inevitable!

P.S. - One candidate is dropping out of the race, the aptly named Mike Gravel from Alaska.