Tough Town Hall Rattles Pete Buttigieg

In the wake of a police shooting of a citizen last week, and then a bar shooting last night, South Bend IN Mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg faced a really emotional and angry crowd at a town hall today.

Buttigieg answered questions at a frequently raucous and angry meeting with South Bend residents in which he was heckled, booed and screamed at by a minority of audience members. He admitted efforts to make the city’s police force more diverse had failed, “and I take responsibility for that.”

.... Buttigieg, 37, remained calm throughout the town hall meeting even as he struggled to make himself heard, shouted down by mainly black protesters, some of whom shouted “liar!” as he sought to explain how he will deal with the shooting investigation, and as he promised transparency.


I listened to a portion live on the car radio. To his credit, he didn't interrupt those who used their microphone time to blast him rather than ask a question. After listening to one woman's screaming tirade, he thanked her for bringing to his attention a tool to use in efforts to eliminate those with racist tendencies from the police force. (I didn't catch what the tool was because she was screaming so loud I tuned her out).

In a post town hall interview, his voice was shaky. This may not be a good sign for his campaign.

Mr. Buttigieg’s political identity is facing its most trying test so far, as the steely, cerebral manner that has made him a sensation on the campaign trail collides with a moment of mourning and anger in the city that has twice charged him with administering its government.

< Trump Cuts Aid to Central America, Ramps Up Surveillance in Ecuador | Monday Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    a political identity centered around (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Mon Jun 24, 2019 at 06:03:26 AM EST
    "young, handsome, glib and smart" doesn't count for much when all Hell breaks loose.  This, particularly when an angry crowd leaves your voice shaky.  

    Recall, Senator Muskie (who might have been an excellent president) blew his chances when he shed a tear about something or other.

    Buttigieg seems, so far, to have gotten a pass on developing a spine and has managed to get over based on his smarts and glib elision.  (Much like Obama was able to portray himself as fighting for civil rights in court without ever going before a jury with any of his cases.)  So far, things have moved aside of their own accord for Buttigieg but, it would appear, delegating mayoral duties while campaigning everywhere else may have run its course.

    More importantly for the particular case in Indy, if the police conduct is to be subjected to transparency, will the Mayor direct the police department and individual officers to waive the defense of qualified immunity so in-depth, adversarial discovery can take place?  Recall, the defense of qualified immunity, which has insulated the vast majority of killings by police from civil judicial review, is a defense to suit which is interposed before any discovery takes place.  The result is that when someone sues the police the case is almost always dismissed before the facts can be ascertained in a transparent manner.

    Will the police resist disclosing body cam footage and all the rest of the information they have, or will the mayor compel them to release it immediately?

    Are the cops involved still on the streets, or have they been moved to flying a desk?

    Calming words are easy, cheap and mean little - it's Corporate America's approach to bad customer service - but action has "risks":  he might offend the police.

    I don't think he has the spine to do right.

    While it is fair (none / 0) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 24, 2019 at 04:05:06 PM EST
    to assess Mayor Buttigieg's handling of this situation, it seems unduly harsh, at this point, to be severely critical. Mr. Buttigieg's response is at the start not the end. Calming words can not be underestimated in times of tragedy. We know, only too well, from the Trump Administration, the immorality and inflamatory proclamations of, for examples, "fine people on both sides", and immigrants are "rapists and murderers".

    True, there are questions raised not only for the instant case, but also, for the underlying institutional challenges in South Bend and nationally. It is fair to criticize his actions or inactions since his presidential campaign harkens back to his experiences. But, it seems, to me, to be unfair to prematurely consign him to the invertebrate class. He is not just another pretty face. He is a candidate of substance and a person of character.

    For purposes of clarification, Mr. Buttigieg is not my choice in the Democratic primary. As I have written before, I see him as a rising leader in the Democratic Party and may well be considered for a critical cabinet position in a Democratic Administration, such as Secretary of State.

    However, I try not to loss sight of the goal, to defeat Trump.  Weaponizing accusations of insensitivity to, and irresoluteness for, American struggles is as deadly a Democratic Party exercise as a circular firing squad.