WASHINGTON: He has a stunning resume the likes of which no US Presidential aspirant has ever had, although the buzz largely centers around the fact that he will be the first openly gay candidate to run for the White House and would be youngest ever President should he win the race. Once they get the hang of his name, Americans are quickly learning that there’s far more to Pete Buttigieg (pronounced Boot-Edge-Edge) than his sexual orientation or his youthful looks.
In fact, his resume is so good that comedians are begging “Mayor Pete” to make some mistake so joke-writers can get their teeth into him. At this rate even the skeletons in his cupboard will be singing his praises, one late night TV show host lamented.
So what’s so great about his CV? Well, for starters, he’s a graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University, having attended the latter as a Rhodes scholar. He served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve from 2009 to 2017, attaining the rank of lieutenant and deploying for the War in Afghanistan in 2014.
He was elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in 2011 when he was 29, and was reelected in 2015, and his policies are widely credited with restoring what was once a deadbeat town ranked at the bottom ten in the United States
Not enough? His forbears are from Malta (therefore Maltese-American) and he’s a polyglot who speaks Maltese, Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic, Farsi — and to top it off, Norwegian, which he learned just so he could read a Norwegian book, or so he told a Norwegian journalist, in Norwegian.
Can “Mayor Pete” clinch the Democratic nomination in a crowded field and win the White House against a President who spares no slight towards opponents and critics, including those who are different, let alone differently-abled? Arguably the most unusual Presidential candidate in US history is married to Chasten Buttigieg (né Glezman), his male partner of four years who he met on the dating app Hinge.
Well, stranger things have happened in America, including the election of a mixed-race freshman senator of Kenyan origin in 2008 and the triumph of a thrice-married reality star who has a problem with facts. So why not a polyglot homosexual with a sparkling resume, military service, and executive experience?
He’s already creeping up in the polls. Three recent polls (albeit small ones from early primary states) show him trailing only vice-president Joe Bided and Senator Bernie Sanders in a crowded Democratic field of nearly 18 aspirants. He’s ahead of betterknown candidates like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.
He’s inviting criticism that he’s sketchy on policy, but the broad outlines he has spelled out is already resonating among young liberals: universal healthcare, abolition of the death penalty, universal background checks for firearms purchases, federal legislation that would ban job discriminationagainst LGBT people, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsprogram for children of immigrants, tackling wealth inequality, and more affordable college.
More to follow …
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