Primarily Speaking

Welcome to another edition of Primarily Speaking, because presidential primaries now begin fully one million years before the election!

Lots of people are really loving this clip of Mayor Pete Buttigieg talking about Mike Pence, former governor of his home state of Indiana. See if you can guess why I hate it before I tell you!

Video Description: Pete Buttigieg stands on a townhall stage for a CNN broadcast with Jake Tapper.

Tapper: Do you think Vice-President Pence would be a better or worse president than [Donald] Trump?

Buttigieg: Ugh! Ummm... [audience snickers; Buttigieg rubs his face, deep in thought, then rolls his eyes; audience laughs] Does it have to be between those two—

Tapper: Politics is about choices, man! You know that!

Buttigieg: I mean, I don't know, it's really strange, because I used to at least believe that he believed in our — I disagreed with him ferociously on these things — but I thought, "Well, at least he believes in our institutions and he's not personally corrupt."

But then, um, but then how could he get on board with this presidency? How could somebody who, you know— His interpretation of scripture is pretty different from mine to begin with, okay? My understanding of scripture is that it is about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea of welcome. [audience applause] That's — that's what I get in the gospel and when I'm in church.

And his has a lot more to do with sexuality and, uh, I dunno, a certain view of rectitude. But even if you buy into that, how could he allow himself to become the cheerleader of the porn star presidency?! Is it that he — is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump? I don't know. I don't know. [audience cheers and applause]
Woo, okay. It is just aggressively stupid for Buttigieg to be promoting a message that Mike Pence used to respect democratic institutions and was somehow corrupted by Donald Trump.

As someone from Indiana, he should be making it plain that Pence was a shitty authoritarian governor who would be a shitty authoritarian president. If he's going to mention Pence's religiosity at all, it should be in the context of making the point that Pence has always used his claims of piety as a veneer behind which he hides his agenda of malice.

I am filthy pissed that Buttigieg, who saw Pence's governorship up close, is suggesting that Pence was once a sincere Christian who respected our democratic institutions and only became a cruel, authoritarian shitwheel because of his proximity to Trump. Goddammit.

Get this garbage out of your mouth, Mayor Pete, and get the name Glenda Ritz in it.

* * *

[Content Note: Sexual harassment] Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is the focus of a big hit piece at Politico, alleging that her office mishandled sexual harassment allegations made by a female staffer against a male staffer. Naturally, this is meant to paint her as a hypocrite because of her hard line against Al Franken, for which people still hate her, and we're not supposed to notice that she was criticized for not allowing Franken "due process" (this is a lie; he resigned) but now she's being criticized for allowing her male staffer due process.

Reading the piece, I came away with the impression that they could have fired the accused harasser way back when if other people he'd harassed had come forward, but they didn't, and, when they did, he was fired. That said, the accusers' complaints about how the investigating staffers treated her sound as though they have merit, but that is different than whether they took her complaints about being harassed seriously.

The problem is that it's difficult for me to know what to make of this, because, honestly, I'm never going to be able to fully trust the reporting on any sexual harassment incident when the reporting is not being done primarily out of concern for the person who's been sexually harassed but to hurt someone else.

I believe the woman who says she was harassed. That is not a question. I have major reservations, however, about how this story is being reported.

That is a distinction that Politico (and Gillibrand's detractors) hope we will not make.

* * *

[CN: Slavery] Julián Castro is not having it with Bernie Sanders' position on reparations:
Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, the former San Antonio mayor questioned why Sanders [who characterized reparations as "writing out a check"] would oppose [giving reparations to descendants of slaves] when his agenda already consists mostly of "writing a big check."

The candidate was asked by CNN anchor Jake Tapper to respond to Sanders, who called Castro and Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) support for reparations vague. "It's interesting to me that, when it comes to 'Medicare for All,' health care, the response there has been, 'We need to write a big check. When it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been, 'We need to write a big check.'"

"So, if, under the Constitution, we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn't you compensate people who actually were property?" he said.
Welp. What say you, Bernie?

* * *

There are already 14 people running for the Democratic nomination — Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Sanders; Buttigieg; Castro; Governors Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (ugh); former Rep. John Delaney (who?); businessman Andrew Yang (what?); and author Marianne Williamson (why?) — and so of course there are still white men debating whether to jump in!

Former veep Joe Biden something something so close to a decision blah blah fart!

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio something something president even though people around him think it's a terrible idea argle bargle!

And Beto O'Rourke something something big announcement something looking for staffers in New Hampshire yadda yadda!


Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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