Pete Buttigieg is too brilliant for the job of Secretary of Transportation, which is why he barely shows up to work as cargo ships pile up in port; why it seems trains keep derailing, and why flights never seem to leave.
Wired.com’s now-infamous profile of Buttigieg sought to reassure the public that “infrastructure occupies just a sliver of his voluminous mind … his cabinet job requires only a modest portion of his cognitive powers.”
Reporter Virginia Heffernan gushed over the fact that Buttigieg keeps a copy of Homer’s Iliad in his office — a classic, no doubt, but also a book that I read to my five-year-old son to pass the time during the pandemic.
It is a suitable story for Buttigieg to have on hand, because the hero, Achilles, can barely be bothered to do anything; and because it takes the other main character, Odysseus, ten years to get back home from the Trojan War.
If you’ve tried to travel recently, you can relate.
Buttigieg boasts that he is in charge of hundreds of billions of dollars in new infrastructure spending, passed by a bipartisan majority and signed by President Joe Biden last year.
Buttigieg, with his McKinsey consulting pedigree, is very good at telling other people how to manage projects, but — as the pothole-strewn streets of South Bend, Indiana, testify — not so good at doing it himself.
And he’s not really that interested in trying. Instead, he prefers to yak to Wired.com — the de facto hometown paper of Silicon Valley, which backed him heavily in his 2020 presidential campaign — about “neoliberalism, masculinity, and Christianity.”
The latter is a consistent obsession for Buttigieg, who has long displayed an intolerance toward traditional Christians, lest they take some getting used to the new rite of gay marriage.
Buttigieg ran as something of a moderate in 2020, but Wired lets us know that his “father was a renowned Marxist scholar” — it can finally be said! — and that he “was himself a devotee of Senator Bernie Sanders as a young man.”
Whatever devotion he felt toward the Vermont socialist disappeared the night Buttigieg lost to Sanders in the Nevada caucuses, when he gave a blistering anti-Bernie speech — and won himself Biden’s favor.
The FAA can barely manage the nation’s air traffic, but it is busy promoting “gender-neutral and inclusive” language and fostering “LGBTQI+ visibility.” It may not have made the skies safer, but it has created “safe spaces” at work for FAA employees who might need to feel appreciated.
Back in 2019, it was already clear what Buttigieg’s game is. As I wrote at the time, he is a classic Harvard “bullshitter” — adept at responding smartly to questions in ways that avoid any semblance of a direct answer.
He is also a masterful goldbricker: during the cargo crisis of 2021, Buttigieg disappeared for two months and left no one running his agency. He later said he had been on paternity leave, and you were a bigot if you objected.
But what Buttigieg is best at is cultivating his profile. During Biden’s early months, Buttigieg would appear on the Sunday shows to explain away whatever new crisis had erupted, apparently believing even bad attention is good coverage. The Wired hagiography is his latest coup. And do not be surprised if he pops up more often: Biden’s age is going up and his poll numbers are going down. The Party may soon need a non-Kamala stand-in.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.