Biden Unleashes an Attack of Pete Buttigieg That He May Not Be Able to Survive

Pete Buttigieg by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

If you watched the Democrat debate last it accentuated what the Iowa Caucuses had made clear. Joe Biden is a spent force. He’s a tired, worn out old man whose entire campaign is fueled by a fantasy life that would boggle the mind of Walter Mitty. The main candidate pressuring Biden is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In recent polling, Buttigieg has jumped into a strong second-place position in New Hampshire and one poll, that by Suffolk, give him a 1 point lead over Sanders. If Biden is to survive, he has to knock off Buttigieg and count on Buttigieg supporters coming home to him.

Last night’s debates showcased two very effective lines of attack against Buttigieg. First and foremost, he simply does not have the experience to be president. Mind you, there are lots of different kinds of experience but Buttigieg really has none of them. The best you can say is that he’s a tyro who has skimmed across the surface of life–a short stint as a business consultant, an undistinguished ticket punching exercise as a Navy JAG, mayor of a failing Rust Belt city with one-party government–gathering enough participation trophies to give the illusion of accomplishment.

The attack that seems the most potent in a Democrat primary, especially one where Joe Biden is relying upon black voters pulling his chestnuts out of the fire in South Carolina, was a surprise to me:

This is how The Hill describes it:

Pete Buttigieg faced questions Friday over the rise in arrests of black residents in South Bend, Ind., for marijuana possession during his eight years as mayor.

Pressed by ABC News correspondent and moderator Linsey Davis about the increase, Buttigieg insisted during the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire that the “overall rate” of arrests “was lower” in South Bend while he was in office.

“No, there was an increase,” said Davis. “The year before you were in office it was lower.”

“One of the strategies that our community adopted was to target — when there were cases where there was gun violence or gang violence that was slaughtering so many in our community, burying teenagers, disproportionately black teenagers, we adopted a strategy that said that drug enforcement would be targeted in cases where there was a connection to the most violent group or gang connected to a murder,” Buttigieg said.

“These things are all connected,” he added. “But that’s the point. So are all of the things that need to change in order for us to prevent violence and remove the effects of systemic racism, not just from criminal justice, but from our economy, from health, from housing and from our democracy itself.”

The best answer that Buttigieg could stammer out, as best I could interpret it, is that black people who use marijuana are inherently violent so it is necessary to jail them. White folks, not so much.

Now the Biden campaign has launched their first intramural attack ad and I think it is devastating.

VOICEOVER: Barack Obama called Joe Biden

OBAMA: best vice president America’s ever had.

VOICEOVER: but Pete Buttigieg doesnt think much of the Vice President’s record. Let’s compare.

When President Obama called on him, Joe Biden helped lead the passage of the Affordable Care Act which gave health care to 20 million people.

When park-goers called on Pete Buttigieg, he installed decorative lights under bridges giving citizens of South Bend colorfully illuminated rivers.

Both Vice President Biden and former Mayor Buttigieg have taken on tough fights.

Under threat of a nuclear Iran, Joe Biden helped to negotiate the Iran Deal.

And under threat of disappearing pets, Buttigieg negotiated lighter regulations on pet chip scanners.

Both Vice President Biden and former Mayor Pete have helped to shape our economy.

Joe Biden helped save the auto industry which revitalized the economy of the Midwest and led the passage and implementation of the Recovery Act saving our economy from a depression.

Pete Buttigieg revitalized the sidewalks of downtown South Bend by laying out decorative brick.

And both Biden and Buttigieg have made hard decisions. Despite pressure from the NRA, Joe Biden passed the assault weapons ban through Congress. Then he passed the Violence Against Women Act.

Even when public pressure mounted against him, former Mayor Pete fired the first African Amerian police chief of South Bend and then he forced out the African American fire chief, too.

We’re electing a president. What you’ve done matters.

Beyond the juxtaposition of the rather fanciful recitation Biden’s central role in events where he was, at most, a bit player–I was sort of surprised they omitted the part about him being the second guy through the door when bin Laden was killed–with the locally important but nationally ridiculous accomplishments of a small town mayor, note how Biden is all ways “Vice President,” present tense, and Buttigieg is always “former mayor.”

There is quite possibly a good reason why Buttigieg fired both the police chief and fire chief. But when you put that fact along with the marijuana arrests and the imagery of a privileged, upper-class gay white guy who as the mayor of a majority white city, connecting the dots is not hard. Unless Buttigieg can answer this, ‘racist’ will be baked into his resume by the time he gets to South Carolina. If he starts looking real serious, you can bet the Trump campaign is going to use the material much better that the Biden campaign.

New Hampshire is quite possibly key this year in a way it hasn’t been before.

Unless Klobuchar kicks major butt, I think she flames out just because she won’t have the money to continue to actually contest elections. Both Biden and Warren are on the cusp of being out of the race. Warren seems to think she can survive by doing what she’s doing. Biden is at least smart enough to know what he has to do. If he nukes Buttigieg and Klobuchar flames out. He’s in a strong position to defeat Sanders. I suspect that if Biden is in the lead come Super Tuesday, the Bloomberg candidacy, which is really the Democrat establishment’s “stop Bernie” plan, will go away.