Reporters also learned that Buttigieg is, uhh, really transparent with the reasons why people shouldn’t vote for him, including the fact that he’s shoring himself up as a young Joe Biden and that he’s just as chill as the late Sen. John McCain, who, you know, had no chill.
As Politico, which had one of many reporters on the mayor’s bus tour, reported on Tuesday, Team Buttigieg was inspired by the McCain campaign’s “Straight Talk Express” bus tour, premised on the hope that getting as much face time with reporters as possible could emulate a similar rise in popularity.
However, Buttigieg’s campaign may have made a grave miscalculation about just how interesting their candidate was to talk with, and when he was, it didn’t seem intentional. From Politico (emphasis mine):
But more than the media landscape has shifted in the two decades since McCain’s free-wheeling, print-chronicled campaign. Buttigieg’s careful, professorial manner of speaking is far removed from the late Arizona senator’s bombast and salty language that made him a media sensation. Buttigieg isn’t a “let his hair down and vamp kind of candidate,” said Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist who sat shotgun on McCain’s 2000 campaign bus tour.
Buttigieg, though, pushed back on the suggestion that he isn’t as loose as McCain. “Maybe one of you just needs to get a rise out of me,” he said on the Monday morning ride to Waterloo to Elkader, Iowa. (No one did.) He added that McCain, then a veteran senator, “regaled” the press “with stories of other senators,” but said, “I’m not here to educate you on the ways of Washington.”
Immediately I wonder what Buttigieg could even say about “the ways of Washington,” but I digress.
The mayor also acknowledged that he’s fighting for much of the same crowd as Joe Biden. From Politico again, emphasis mine:
Buttigieg is hoping to peel away at former Vice President Joe Biden’s supporters in much the same manner that McCain sought to be the “mainstream GOP alternative” to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in New Hampshire, opening up all-access line to the press to compete with Bush’s financial lead. He’s positioning himself to be “Biden’s understudy,” said Murphy, adding that, “like McCain, [Buttigieg] is picking his shots.”
Buttigieg acknowledged that he and Biden are “competing for a lot of the same folks” in the primary. He added: “Part of what’ll shift that my way is when folks start thinking about electability in a way that’s consistent with history, because right now there’s still, I think, a sense that the most familiar face is the most electable face.”
Yes, totally a great reason why this candidate deserves anyone’s vote—because he’s not as familiar as Joe Biden, but is still very much like him.
Anyway, imagine being stuck driving with this guy for hours: