I very much like Senator Amy Klobuchar. I tell people how much I like Amy Klobuchar. She’s smart, she’s strong and she’s serious.
She’s also not overwhelming on camera, not polling well, and probably not going to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.
To Amy Klobuchar fans, I say: “Keep reading before you jump all over me.”
And to Pete Buttigieg fans, I say, “You’re welcome. I know… this week, we’ve all been thinking the same thing about Amy. But we have to “BeLikePete”… and probably shouldn’t say it out loud.
I’ll tell you my Amy Klobuchar story. Every weekend, I canvas for Pete Buttigieg at the local farmer’s market. I make conversation with a lot of undecided voters. Literally, no one has ever mentioned the name Amy Klobuchar.
But this past Saturday, someone finally did. We were so happy to find one another. “Hey, you like Amy? I like her too!” We both agreed since the day she announced, we’ve responded to a strength she conveys. We also love she has such such a winning campaign record. Her arguments make sense. Her points are compelling. She defends her own integrity without robbing someone else of theirs. And if she throws an occasional stapler at an underling… so what? Staplers cost next to nothing these days.
Then on Sunday, I see Amy on State of the Union, and all my goodwill for her drains right out of me and disappears so fast I forgot it was ever there, like the Eric Swalwell campaign.
Here’s what she said about Pete, her Midwest rival, taking off in the polls: “I’m focusing here on my fellow female senators… Senator Harris, Senator Warren, and myself. Do I think we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don’t. Maybe we’re held to a different standard.”
Not only is this statement insulting to Pete Buttigieg, it’s also beneath Amy Klobuchar, and provably false.
I’m not saying there isn’t plenty of discrimination by gender in the country. But the only way Senator Klobuchar’s statement slinks by at all is because she first qualifies it by limiting it to herself, Harris and Warren.
Does she forget that other women made the debate stage too? Tulsi Gabbard is a congresswoman. Even Marianne Williamson, who sleeps in an eco-pod, made the debate.
Next, we’d have to assume that Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar possess the same level of communication skills, but because Amy’s a woman, Pete gets more credit for it.
Forget it. Pete Buttigieg has proven he can present just about any idea, and it sings like poetry. In fact, at the next debate, Joe Biden is just gonna whisper folksy, untrue stories into Pete’s ear and let Pete tell them to the crowd.
Plus, it’s nearly impossible to fluster Pete. You lunge, he dodges. You swing, he ducks. You ask about world peace, he answers in nineteen different languages so the entire fucking world actually understands. Pete Buttigieg is not your average candidate. He’s Robo-Mayor!
Meanwhile, Amy Klobuchar’s presentation reminds me of the really smart checkout person at the supermarket. She knows her stuff, but the voice sounds a bit monotonous, with just a hint of uncertainty. Does she like you? Does she need a nap? Is she going to start eating the coupons? There’s no way to know. You just nod and start bagging your own fruit to get away.
Amy Klobuchar is a good politician, but she’s not exceptional on camera. It’s harder for someone who can’t capture your imagination like that to succeed in modern politics. But hey, it’s not like it hasn’t been done. Look at Bobby Jindal! Oh… wait. How about Jeb Bush! Mmmmm, maybe not. Al Gore? Shit, this game is hard.
When you hear people like CNN’s Van Jones praise Pete as a once-in-a-generation candidate, it’s not because Van reserves that level of praise for men only. It’s because Pete Buttigieg demonstrates everything America is looking for from a politician in this day and age: someone who can inspire with words, project leadership and has an unbridled enthusiasm for making the United States an exemplary Republic again, and the envy of the rest of the world.
And it’s not like the Democrats don’t want to get behind a female candidate. More than one person I talk to at the farmer’s market believes the race may come down to Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. A woman and a gay man, the last two standing, in a intelligent argument over who will represent the Democrats in the 2020 Presidential election against Donald J. Trump. I wonder if that would be enough to make Amy Klobuchar happy. I know it would make me happy.