Opinion | Being Gay Hurts Mayor Pete. It Helps, Too. – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

“Pete Buttigieg vaulted into the top four of a crowded Democratic presidential field because he has an agile intellect, is fiercely articulate and both espouses and embodies a fresh perspective that many voters of all stripes crave.

He also got there because he’s gay.

He’d be the first to acknowledge that. In fact he did acknowledge it when we spoke last June about the state of L.G.B.T.Q. rights in America. Referring to his sexual orientation and his marriage to another man, he told me, “It’s safe to say that it led to there being more interest and attention early on.” He stood out among the dozens of Democratic aspirants, each desperate to do precisely that.

But there’s a big difference between winning over enough Americans to land in his current position — he placed second, behind Elizabeth Warren, in one survey of Iowa voters last week — and having an appeal broad enough to nab the party’s nomination, let alone the White House. Is being gay an insurmountable obstacle on the path to those prizes?

Anyone who answers with an unequivocal yes or no is just guessing.

The question is now being asked more urgently than before, as the primary contests draw closer and many Democrats simultaneously assess the risks of the two front-runners, Warren and Joe Biden, and survey the field anew, wondering if anyone in the tier of candidates just below them might be a better opponent for Donald Trump. Their gazes invariably fall on Buttigieg, but their apprehensions include whether America could really elect a gay president.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Frank Bruni.

Here are the top comments, all of which I recommended:

Dave T.
The California Desert
Times Pick

I don’t know whether being gay is a plus or minus for Pete Buttigieg. It’s a plus for me, a gay man, but well down the list of reasons I will vote for him, including having an agile intellect, being fiercely articulate and espousing and embodying a fresh perspective that many voters of all stripes crave (thanks, Frank.) I’d also add reasons like not pandering, not bellowing and not being 70+ (I am 62.) So I’m voting for Pete Buttigieg in California’s primary and I hope he wins. Even if he doesn’t, I’m still voting for whomever the Democrats nominate to defeat the traitor currently in The White House. I hope everyone else will also vote blue, no matter who, because we are teetering on a precipice.

17 Replies812 Recommended

 
SC commented October 29

SC
Midwest
Times Pick

If Ireland, a staunchly Catholic and, for decades, a very socially conservative country, could vote for a young gay prime minister, then maybe the US too could vote for a young gay President. Irish voters looked to someone who had great political gifts, intellect, personality and experience. Perhaps Ametican voters will respond to some of these same qualities in Buttigieg.

7 Replies676 Recommended

 
KJ commented October 29

KJ
Tennessee
Times Pick

When I lived in California I worked with and became friends with many gay individuals, and came to realize that a huge percentage of them combined the best of both sexes. Male nurses with physical strength and the tenderness to work with fragile individuals. Female IT experts with the drive and ambition usually associated with males, but who worked cooperatively rather that coveting accolades. And parents who loved their kids no matter what. Buttigieg is special. Intensely intelligent, nonjudgmental, practical, and just plain decent. His personality or may not be influenced by his sexuality, but it’s beyond hypocritical for philandering, sexist, or racist individuals to make it an issue. Our country needs competence and fairness more than a first lady.

6 Replies660 Recommended

 
JB commented October 29

JB
Los Angeles
Times Pick

Notwithstanding Mayor Pete’s obvious intellectual abilities and communication skills, it is a wonder that people find mayor him to be too inexperienced or too young to be president. Compared to the current occupant of the White House, who had no experience in anything other than grift and a host of other illicit activities, Mayor Pete would be a breath of fresh air.

8 Replies638 Recommended

Opinion | Donald Trump Wishes He Were Running Against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – by Frank Bruni – The New York Times

” . . .  It’s no accident that around the same time that Trump fired off his racist tweet, Democratic strategists were, according to a report in Axios, circulating a private poll of potential swing voters — white people with two years of college or less — that showed that 74 percent of them recognized Ocasio-Cortez’s name but only 22 percent had a favorable view of her, while 53 percent recognized Omar but only 9 percent saw her favorably. If Democrats have numbers like that, Republicans almost certainly do, too. And Republicans know how to pick — and pick apart — their enemies.

But Trump is up to something else as well. He means to send liberals into such a fury that they believe that passionately calling him out and urging the opposite of whatever he’s saying and doing are strategy enough. He’s baiting them.

Why are so many Democratic presidential candidates recommending what sounds a lot like open borders, which won’t go down well with many of the voters the party needs? It’s a response in part to Trump’s xenophobia and cruelty when it comes to immigration.

Similarly, the candidates’ gusto for Medicare for all, whose popularity is highly debatable, owes at least something to Trump’s assault on Obamacare and complete disregard for uninsured Americans. Many Democrats are defining themselves as antonyms to Trump. That’s different from merely opposing him, and it might not be the way to go.

Trump gets that. He’s ignorant, not stupid. And he understands that if he causes enough offense and creates enough melodrama, the screaming in the public square will be so loud that many battered and baffled Americans won’t be able to hear the inner voice that’s telling them what they should and at some level do know: that he must go. That the price of giving him eight years in the White House could be the soul of a great nation. That we can’t afford that.”

Opinion | Joe Biden- Closet Republican – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

He’s the liberal Bob Dole, the looser Mitt Romney, the supposedly safe bet who’s owed a shot.

Frank Bruni

By Frank Bruni

Opinion Columnist

Joe Biden on Saturday at a campaign stop in South Carolina.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

“It didn’t come to me right away, but finally I recognized the model for Joe Biden’s unusual campaign, the former president whose pitch Biden’s most closely resembles:

George W. Bush.

I’m referring to Bush’s first presidential bid, in 2000, which is remembered mostly for its surreal climax: the seesawing returns on election night, the Florida recount, the Supreme Court ruling that effectively decided the contest in his favor. To the limited extent that political junkies recall his slogans and stump speeches, the phrase “compassionate conservative” comes quickest to mind.

George W. Bush, here with his father, former President George Bush, in 2000, sold himself as a traditional Republican brand.
CreditRick Wilking/Liaison, via Getty Images

But Bush’s strategy and success arguably hinged less on selling himself as a new kind of Republican than on being seen as a tested, trusted, traditional brand. His surname did much of that work, and he augmented it with a sustained oratorical emphasis on propriety. He pledged to “restore honor and integrity” to the White House in the wake of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment. He would end the melodrama of the Clinton years and expunge the shame by having the nation essentially pick up where it had left off — with a Bush at the helm.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT |
Draft Two. Frank, I think very highly of you, you are one of the best prose writers at the Times. But I disagree with you on this one. Especially the title. For me, the election is primarilly about climate change, and who can win the electoral college. I agree with David Leonhardt, that Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren are fabulous leaders, but they have to produce poll numbers and results in the red states! Joe has the lead now, in red states, and a lot of progressives are in apparent denial that that is extremely important.The IPCC and the US National Climate Assessment of last October? both found that we only have 10 years to turn our economies around, or we will face a 2-4 degree celsius future. There won’t be anything for progressives to make progressive if that happens. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment and the world at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | Does John Hickenlooper Have a Secret Weapon? – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By Frank Bruni
Opinion Columnist

March 5, 2019

541
Image John Hickenlooper at a campaign event in Manchester, N.H. CreditElise Amendola/Associated Press

“Were they even boots? We couldn’t decide. They occupied some limbo between boots and shoes and were all wrong for the trek that our group of six was taking: seven hours, about 10 miles, over a 12,500-foot-high pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Just a few hours in, he briefly took them off. Dear God. Blisters, blood: Just looking at his feet hurt. But he waved away our concerns, did some crude bandaging, switched into a pair of ordinary sneakers that he happened to have in his backpack and insisted that we press on. He walked more slowly, sure. But he smiled to the end.

That episode, from August 2015, captured Hickenlooper at his best: upbeat, affable and allergic to drama. For November 2020, could that kind of disposition be the ticket?”

Opinion | Save Us Al Gore – by Frank Bruni – The New York Times

“Time and Donald Trump do interesting things to a man.

They make Al Gore glitter.

It’s almost impossible not to be thinking of Gore this week, with the words “Florida” and “recount” so prominent in the news, and it’s hard not to credit him with virtues absent in Trump and increasingly rare in politics these days.

Grace in defeat, for one. For another: a commitment to democracy greater than a concern for self.

Sure, the review of ballots that Gore’s campaign demanded in 2000, as he and George W. Bush waited tensely to see who would get the Sunshine State’s electoral votes and become president, was a rancorous affair lousy with recriminations.

But after the Supreme Court halted it, Gore didn’t reject that ruling as partisan, rant about rigged systems, rail about conspiracies or run around telling Americans that he was their rightful leader, foiled by dark forces. He felt that the stability of the country hinged on the calmness of his withdrawal. So he told Americans to move on.

Then he did likewise, a decision that seems positively exotic in retrospect.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Al Gore is an important leader. Frank Bruni, thank you for another sparkling piece of writing. I owe a debt to Al Gore. His movie, of his slide show and interviews of scientists, An Inconvenient Truth, was what woke me up on Climate Change. It cleared out the confusion caused by articles in the right wing business press, about how equally scientists were divided. We now know that that idea was disinformation, inserted into politics by a few scientists on the payroll of the oil, gas and coal industry.
I hope Al Gore runs again for president. I will work hard for him. I worked for Hillary Clinton, but I do not support any woman candidate in this next election. We need beyond anything, to win, to get the country back on track with a host of problems. Climate Change and overpopulation are probably the greatest threats to our democracy and way of life. Al Gore’s big negative, that he is such an ardent environmentalist, has become a plus, now that the predictions of global warming are coming to pass before our very eyes. Al Gore, please run for the presidency again.

Opinion | The Internet Will Be the Death of Us – by Frank Bruni – NYT

Quote

Nora Ephron once wrote a brilliant essay about the trajectory of her and many other people’s infatuations with email, from the thrill of discovering this speedy new way of keeping in touch to the hell of not being able to turn it off.

I’ve come to feel that way about the whole of the internet.

What a glittering dream of expanded knowledge and enhanced connection it was at the start. What a nightmare of manipulated biases and metastasized hate it has turned into.

Before he allegedly began mailing pipe bombs to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others, Cesar Sayoc found encouragement online — maybe not in the form of explosives instructions, but in the sense that he could scream his resentments in a theater that did the opposite of repudiating them. It echoed them back. It validated and cultivated them. It took something dark and colored it darker still.

“By the time he was arrested in Florida on Friday,” The T

via Opinion | The Internet Will Be the Death of Us – The New York Times

Opinion | Trump Can’t Unite Us. Can Anyone? – By Frank Bruni and Ross Douthat – The New York Times

By Frank Bruni and Ross Douthat
Mr. Bruni and Mr. Douthat are opinion columnists. They converse every other week.

Oct. 30, 2018 382 comments

Frank Bruni: Ross, I would typically begin with some idle pleasantry — “Hey, it’s good to talk with you” — but this doesn’t seem to me a moment for idle pleasantries, and “good” just doesn’t cut it. Not after the massacre of 11 Jewish Americans in a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday. Not after the pipe bombs of last week. Not amid ugly talk and ugly tweets. I’m hugely worried about this country, and I do not believe that President Trump has it in him to unite us and heal our wounds. Please, please, please tell me I’m wrong.

Ross Douthat: Of course you’re not wrong, Frank. In his presidency Donald Trump has shown no interest in actually presiding over the country, as opposed to just trying to mobilize his own coalition against the liberal Other. For him to respond to a pair of far-right terrorist attacks with defensiveness and partisanship is simply who he is — a self-justifying polarizer who finds the other aspects of the job tedious and prefers, even amid trauma, to just hurl rhetorical grenades from his Twitter feed.

Frank: Is that it, then? We give up on hoping for anything better from him and … do what? It’s a serious question. The presidency has enormous moral force, quaint as that notion sounds right now, and if the president has no moral compass, what can we do so that we don’t unravel further as we wait him out?

Ross: Well, if you’re a Democrat, you try to beat his party at the polls. I’ve said before in these conversations that I think Trump has some modicum of self-control, but it’s mostly linked to self-interest. If you want him to abjure a polarizing response to tragedy, you need to show that it’s a bad political strategy. Which I think it is; I think politically the horror in Pittsburgh and the mail bombs are a gift to Democrats, because they highlight one of the most specific ways that Trump is ill-suited to his office.”

Well don gentlemen. Here is a comment I enjoyed:
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJ4h ago
Trump is a neo-Jefferson Davis, governing for the Confederate States of America and not a single Union citizen opposed to his 1861 platform of Making America White Again.

He and his Republican nihilists just blew up the national deficit for the sole purpose of painting the toenails of the rich a finer hue of gold…..healthcare, infrastructure, education, voting rights, women’s rights, worker rights, environment and decent public be damned.

The heart and soul of Trump-Republicanism is stealing from the poor to give to the rich in the name of white supremacy, fear, loathing and selfishness.

Red Republican welfare state regressives are completely subsidized by industrious, educated Democratic blue states.

Making 1861 Great Again is a suicidal Southern strategy.

Vote for modernity, healthcare, infrastructure, the environment, campaign finance corruption reform, voting rights, free and fair elections, decent regulation and an emergency brake on the Grand Old Psychopaths who are happy to flush all 241 years of American ideals down a Trump Toilet for a few extra dollars.

November 6 2018

VOTE

4 Replies200 Recommended

Opinion | The Republican Strategy? Fear and Lies – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“If I listened only to Donald Trump and those Republican candidates who follow his example, I would be petrified. I would be living in a bunker. I would have cyanide capsules at hand.

I would be convinced that the scattered protesters disrupting some Republicans’ meals were the advance guard of a violent liberal mob about to wrest control of the country. I would worry that the Democratic Party was secretly trying to elect terrorists and traitors to the House and the Senate.

And that caravan of migrants — I would see that, too, as some nefarious Democratic plot, or as a Trojan horse with jihadists in its belly. Either way, I would recognize it as the end of the world: Armageddon in the hunched form of a pregnant Honduran woman limping toward the only hope that she has.

To prevent a blue wave on Nov. 6, the president and his puppets are traveling audaciously far from the truth and shockingly deep into the gutter. I’ve seen bad before, but not this. The midterms aren’t just a referendum on which direction the country will go. They’re also a test of where the limits of decency and shamelessness are drawn.”

Opinion | The Cosmic Joke of Donald Trump’s Power – by Frank Bruni – NYT

 

 

“A death in the family. A punch to the gut. The announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement felt to me and many people I know like both of those, but even more so like something else: a sick cosmic joke.

How much power will a president with such tenuous claim to it get to wield? How profound and durable an impact will such a shallow and fickle person make?

Donald Trump barely won the White House, under circumstances — a tainted opponent, three million fewer votes than she received, James Comey’s moral vanity and Russia’s amoral exertions — that raise serious questions about how many Americans yearned to see him there.

But he’s virtually assured of appointing as many judges to the Supreme Court as each of his three predecessors did and could reshape Americans’ lives even more significantly. It’s the craziest dissonance. The cruelest, too..”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval NYT comments.
Hi Frank, This was so depressing, I had to speed read half of it. But I find it also empty. I heard a brilliant comment on NPR this morning, on another depressing discussion of the fall of the supreme court and the expected fall of Roe V Wade. The caller identified herself as about 65, mid western, and Catholic. She said, I don’t think the GOP wants to undo Roe v Wade, because they need it. If they overturn it, tens of thousands of Catholics, including almost all of my relatives, who only vote for the GOP because of this one issue, will no longer have to support them, and will return to the democratic party. In my gut, I suspect that she is right. This echos a right wing journalist from the midwest who wrote about 15 years ago, that Roe V Waded was disaster, because its opponents organized and took over one state house after another. The fall of Roe V Wade will be the best thing for Democrats since the New Deal. The issue will go back to the States, where 50 % of the population are women, and over half of the population supports choice, and other basic civil right, like environmental protection. It would be a sad day, but it is also the day after Alexandra Ocassio-Cortez took a primary in NYC. According to the Huffington Post, Ecowatch, and In These Times, she is a hard-liner on fighting to mitigate climate change, and wants a Green New Deal, that does for sustainable energy, what the Marshall Plan did for Europe after WW II. DL bogs at InconvenientNews.Wordpress.com

Opinion | How to Lose the Midterms and Re-elect Trump – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“Dear Robert De Niro, Samantha Bee and other Trump haters:

I get that you’re angry. I’m angry, too. But anger isn’t a strategy. Sometimes it’s a trap. When you find yourself spewing four-letter words, you’ve fallen into it. You’ve chosen cheap theatrics over the long game, catharsis over cunning. You think you’re raising your fist when you’re really raising a white flag.

You’re right that Donald Trump is a dangerous and deeply offensive man, and that restraining and containing him are urgent business. You’re wrong about how to go about doing that, or at least you’re letting your emotions get the better of you.

When you answer name-calling with name-calling and tantrums with tantrums, you’re not resisting him. You’re mirroring him. You’re not diminishing him. You’re demeaning yourselves. Many voters don’t hear your arguments or the facts, which are on your side. They just wince at the din.

You permit them to see you as you see Trump: deranged. Why would they choose a different path if it goes to another ugly destination?”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval NYT Comments.
Thank you Frank Bruni for your excellent analysis. This is so painful for many of us. Reading the comments, I have sympathy for your detractors, then I get to someone who agrees with you, saying we have to act like adults. As David Leonhardt reported, we need to connect with those who voted for Obama, then switched to Trump. His base is not all alt right white supremacist. My friends who voted for Trump are learning that he is not all he claims to be. Defenders of DeNiro miss the point that we should play hard—and smart. Trump is brilliant at manipulating the media to dominate the evening and morning news cycles. In giving away joint military exercises with South Korea, he kept a campaign promise to his base, outwitting his real opponent: the US press and voting public. He is an above average practitioner of the dark and dirty political arts taught by Roy Cohn. This is a year where the next election might determine the survival of our democracy as we have known it. “F Trump” might make the speaker and audience feel good, but when played over the airwaves, it strengthens him. Better to yell, He cut taxes for the rich, so the rest of us can pay for this great country on our own, This administration is taking away health care from Americans and damaging the environment. Vote these bullies out of office.. As Bruni reminds us, focus your anger on the issues that hurt the voters in the November Election. Attacking the speaker, is less effective than attacking his ideas.

David Lindsay, the original response before condensing to under 1500 characters.

Thank you Frank Bruni for an excellent piece of analysis. This is so painful for many of us. As I read through the comments, I have sympathy for all your detractors, until I get down to someone who agrees with you, and says simply, we have to act like adults, because we are going after voters who want to hear that we hear them. As David Leonhardt reported, we need to focus on voters who voted for Obama, and then switched to Trump. His base is not all alt right white supremacist. Many of my friends and associates voted for Trump, and they are not incapable of learning that he is not everything he says he is. I found the youtube of Robert DeNiro’s Fuck Trump remark, and that was it. Is that all he said, or did youtube not report on more articulate remarks which should have followed?

What the commenters defending DeNiro miss, in my humble opinion, is not that we shouldn’t play hard, or even a little dirty, but what Trump does well, even brilliantly, is manipulate the press so that he dominates the evening and morning news cycles. For example, one of my heros, Nicholas Kristof, wrote that Kim Jong-un out negotiated Trump. I commented after that piece, Trump gave away joint military exercises with South Korea, that was one of his campaign promises to his base, and he totally dominated US news for over a week. From his perspective, he outwitted his real opponent, an intelligent and educated US press and voting public. He is an above average practitioner of the dark and dirty political arts taught by the likes of Roy Cohn.

Although my heart goes out to the frustrated detractors of Frank Bruni’s wise truths, and I often feel the same way, this is a year where the next election might determine the survival of our democracy and as we have known it.Fuck Trump might make the speaker and audience feel good, but when played over the airwaves, it strengthens him.  Better to yell, He cut taxes for the rich, so the rest of us can pay for this great country on our own, This administration is taking away health care and damaging the environment. Vote these bullies out of office.. As Bruni reminds us, focus your anger on the November Election.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com