Pete Buttigieg is a bad mayor, so how could he be a good president? – Washington Examiner
At first glance, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg seems like the perfect presidential candidate: articulate, intelligent, and charismatic. Too bad he’s also awful at his job.
Buttigieg is polling at 7% according to RealClearPolitics polling average, fourth place in the Democratic primary race. Yet it’s a shame that so many Democrats are falling for his ruse. Not all residents of South Bend are as fond of their mayor as the liberal media is. Hosting a town hall in his community over the weekend, Mayor Pete tried to calm his constituents down in the aftermath of a local shooting of an African American man by a police officer. They weren’t buying it.
One woman yelled out, “We don’t trust you.” Another resident taunted: “You gotta get back to South Carolina like you was yesterday?” In a video of the scene, Buttigieg is shown reading talking points blankly off a sheet of paper to an angry crowd, in what’s an obviously tone deaf display of poor leadership.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “I do not have evidence that there has been discipline for racist behavior…”
Protester: “You running for president and you expect black people to vote for you?”
Buttigieg: “I’m not asking for your vote.”
Protester: “You ain’t gonna get it either.” pic.twitter.com/tK1Ys0Yvfc
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin)
June 22, 2019
And he doesn’t seem to care. As The Blaze reported, someone demanded: “You running for president and you expect black people to vote for you?” He responded, “I’m not asking for your vote.”
Both Buttigieg’s record on race relations and his management of the South Bend Police Department are seriously questionable. This most recent incident aside, Buttigieg removed the city’s first African American police chief, naming a white replacement, and the whole department has grown less diverse during his tenure.
South Bend Police Department veteran Derek Dieter had this to say to CNN: “He [Buttigieg] took a passive approach with the police department. I’ve gone through four or five mayors, but this has taken a certain turn. Qualified minority officers leave, because there is no avenue of advancement or promotion.”
Now, it’s true that Buttigieg won reelection in 2015 by a large margin. But that stamp of approval may not last long now that this latest fiasco has been added on to his poor track record as mayor.
When CNBC interviewed residents of South Bend’s poorest neighborhoods, many weren’t exactly impressed. One local, Shawn White, asked: “Ain’t s–t changed. … How is he gonna run the whole country if you can’t get your city right first?”
That sentiment isn’t completely unfounded. In one of Buttigieg’s signature accomplishments, the “1,000 houses” initiative, he sought to bulldoze or repair 1,000 vacant homes in 1,000 days, all in an effort to fight the city’s housing crisis. But critics say it just further fueled the gentrification of African American and Hispanic neighborhoods. Worse, it led to lead and asbestos contamination, animals wound up in some people’s homes, and, as CNBC put it: “empty lots sit undeveloped, economic opportunity remains minimal and crime rates are up from 2012. Shootings, on the mind of many, have not decreased.” There were actually 11 shootings in South Bend in 10 days at the beginning of June, and there were apparently 11 more (with one fatality) over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Buttigieg is touring the country, campaigning for a promotion. His constituents don’t all appreciate their mayor’s ambition. As White said, “I ain’t ever seen the dude. Tell him to chill with us for three or four days.”
It’s true that there has been some improvement in South Bend during Buttigieg’s tenure, with increases in both population and employment levels during the last half-decade. Yet critics credit that more to the nationally fuelled economic recovery than any particular genius by their mayor.
The bottom line is that Buttigieg has a lot of work to do before he deserves a promotion.