Mayor of America’s 306th largest city, Buttigieg brings the hauteur of Harvard to the heartland. He brings his passive-aggressive style to South Bend and French Lick, misrepresenting the goodness of Indiana by attacking the state of mind of his fellow Hoosier, Vice President Mike Pence. He brings this attitude to the campaign trail, where he looks like a fired contestant from “The Apprentice” and sounds like a book on tape.
He sounds like what he is: the narrator of the audiobook of his memoir, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future.
His challenge is to repeat his adolescence by leaving his hometown, going from Leverett House to the White House, going from living with a future tyrant of the digital world to dealing with real-life tyrants who seek to conquer their respective parts of the world.
To go from the Midwest to the West Wing of the White House, Buttigieg has to do what he dislikes on behalf of whom he seems to disdain. He has to ask people for what his former housemate requisitions without request: power.
He has to pretend that he likes listening to people. He has to emote when he prefers to expound. He has to tolerate the complaints of voters who trust in divine providence but distrust the divinations of a politician whose faith in himself is absolute.
He has to learn what he does not know, which is a lot.