Letter: The Mayor Pete I know

Published: 11/24/2019 12:01:18 AM

I’m often asked if the Pete Buttigieg I knew as a student was bound for the Oval Office. My answer is yes and no.

Yes, the Pete we see today – with his easy grasp of facts, crisp rhetoric and uncanny calm – is remarkably similar to the student I befriended 13 years ago in grad school.

Many examples come to mind, including a 2007 Oxford debate where Pete inveighed against the established path of centrist triangulation and argued instead for a return to first principles and the progressivism of the Roosevelts. He convinced us that shaping the terrain of ideas on which political battles would be fought for generations was more important than just the next election. His positive, unifying conception of freedom, security and democracy didn’t spring from some focus group – it was evident back then. I have been inspired to watch him put these principles into practice as mayor of the same comeback city where he was raised by his Indiana mom and immigrant dad.

But no, I can’t say I ever envisioned Pete running for president – until Donald Trump. He was too decent and unassuming for that. Now I am convinced Pete’s decency and empathy, combined with his principles and practical experience, make him precisely the person to defeat Trump in 2020.

After a lying and self-dealing president who revels in putting people down, America needs a president with an unimpeachable character who will lift people up and begin the painstaking task of knitting our divided nation back together.

DAN WEEKS

Nashua


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