Next week, wannabe ruler Pete Buttigieg will hold a fundraiser at an undisclosed location in Portland. Or, as my local paper put it:
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, will hold a “grassroots event” in Portland on Aug. 22, marking the first Maine visit by a presidential candidate ahead of the 2020 election.
Buttigieg, 37, who is one of 24 well-known Democrats running for the nomination to face President Donald Trump, announced this weekend he would hold an event in Maine’s largest city. His campaign is releasing the name of venue only to people who have bought tickets, but one attendee said it would be at the State Theatre.
The mayor’s candidacy has been a surprising one, so far besting that of three senators and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, which is nearly 84 times more populous than the Indiana city of just over 100,000 that Buttigieg has run since 2012. He is polling fifth in the Democratic field
Note the language: “grassroots,” “37,” “well-known,” “surprising.” The BDN, or at least this semi-prominent BDN political reporter, is completely in the tank for Mayor Pete. Subtext: “He’s listening to us. He’s young and vibrant, but still electable. And he’s one of us, as much as the guy destined to rule America could possibly be one of us.”
Side note: the State Theatre has a little under 2,000 seats. Is this endearing optimism, unseemly optimism, or delusional optimism? I can’t tell, because I’m too nauseated by this story.
Note the other language, the squeeing undertone: “Ooh! He noticed us! He noticed us!”
Up to a point, this is understandable. Maine is a political backwater, and most people who write about politics genuinely love politics and want to get up close and personal with it. This isn’t the only way to approach the subject – mine is usually “let’s look under this rock” – but for fans of politics, this is the second-best thing that could possibly happen to them, right behind Buttigieg going on from his Portland fundraiser to win the White House and then coming back to Maine for another event.
So that’s why the BDN is head-over-heels for Buttigieg this week. Next week, if another candidate deigns to notice Maine or if they decide early which Democrat to support, or if Buttigieg flubs hard enough at his fundraiser, they might mention his fumbling attempts to ride out anger over a South Bend police shooting or that micro-scandal where his campaign paid for its staffers’ health insurance in a not-centralized-enough way or the intermittent muttering that his campaign wouldn’t have survived this long without media favoritism. But that’s next week.
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