What Being a Mayor Taught Pete Buttigieg

Some Democratic rivals question whether Mr. Buttigieg has the experience to be president. Some key episodes in South Bend show how he struggled, learned and grew as a leader.

Comments: 218

  1. Leaving aside his mixed performance as mayor, especially when it comes to policing and low income communities, his experience advising companies on how to improve their price fixing models, his mysterious role in “naval intelligence” in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, his penchant for fraternizing with the billionaire class, and the fact that a woman or person of color with twice his experience would never stand a chance, Mayor Pete is probably a decent guy and a loving husband. But let’s be honest. Running the 306th biggest city in America (even Burbank, CA is bigger) is not enough. We’ve already had 4 years of a president failing at on-the-job-training. That’s enough, thank you very much.

  2. @Ahmed I would disagree with the comparison to our current president and by saying "we have already had 4 years of a president failing at on-the job-training." Every new president will go through on the job training. Pete is the anti-thesis on our current president and he would actually adapt and grow and have potential to become a positive inspiration for a broad cross section of American people, and very likely improve the overall tone of public discourse in our nation.

  3. @Ahmed I assure you, Pete's no Trump, who is a monster of a president. Pete is brilliant, and his intelligence is flexible, as in he has a great ability to learn. The ability to learn from experience, as well as the ability to communicate well, are important factors in developing a strong leader.

  4. Is all military service "mysterious" or just some of it? Perhaps people that have actually served wouldn't think their work is "mysterious." And not to burst your bubble, but being Mayor of any city gives one more executive experience than being, say, a Senator. I believe that we had a Senator as president once, actually quite recently, and he did just fine.

  5. He has vision, and a rare understanding of his need to convey a shared sense of vision among all Americans. I feel an optimism when hearing him speak. I hope voters will join me in listening with an open heart.

  6. @Stacy It is that vision that sets Buttigieg apart from the other "moderates." P.S. to the NYT and other media: Pete is a progressive on most issues; read his white papers.

  7. @Stacy I think ex-Mayor Pete, whose very modest governing experience was as mayor of tiny South Bend, Indiana, the 301st largest city in the US (!), is quite a stretch as far as qualifying for the Presidency goes. Indeed, from earlier NYT articles it seems he should have spent more time in South Bend and his own campaign dealing with racial issues than hobnobbing with elite donors of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. While his being gay is a non-issue as far as so many urban and Democratic voters are concerned, it may be a significant negative among non-urban and non-Democratic voters. (Not to mention the inevitable and distracting media chatter over whether ex-Mayor Pete's husband should be called "First Husband" or "First Spouse.") An earlier NYT opinion piece on whether Pete is "gay enough" was too subtle for many; that he is gay at all, complete with husband, may be too much for many voters in fly-over land. If Pete could successfully run for House/Senate/governor that would bolster his political credentials and might make him a plausible candidate in a later run for President. I am a life-long Democrat, but my faith in the competence of party leadership has dwindled since the Iowa fiasco. I sincerely hope any grown-ups in the party can take charge and find an electable candidate who will appeal to the large majority of American voters, especially those who felt their needs were ignored in 2016. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to another term for Trump.

  8. @Stacy I, for one, hear calculation when hearing Pete speak. I hear platitudes without a defined agenda. I hear typical politician, just younger, with the "innovation" of being openly gay. "Medicare for those who want it"? Can any statement be more focus-grouped than that? If you're comfortable with nothing measurably changing for average Americans over the next four years, and for the management classes solidifying their power even more while average folks are four years deeper in the hole, vote for Pete.

  9. Leaving aside his mixed performance as mayor, especially when it comes to policing and low income communities, his experience advising companies on how to improve their price fixing models, his mysterious role in “naval intelligence” in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, his penchant for fraternizing with the billionaire class, and the fact that a woman or person of color with twice his experience would never stand a chance, Mayor Pete is probably a decent guy and a loving husband. But let’s be honest. Running the 306th biggest city in America (even Burbank, CA is bigger) is not enough. We’ve already had 4 years of a president failing at on-the-job-training. That’s enough.

  10. When it comes to "experience," Democrats need to reflect on all those very experienced, "most qualified" nominees like Walter Mondale, Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton as well as all those inexperienced candidates like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. There's a lesson there that the political class is still in denial about from Joe Biden to Amy Klobuchar to Bernie Sanders and to Elizabeth Warren. The Democratic voters seem to be saying that old Vietnam War era refrain, "If you think you're part of the solution, you're actually part of the problem."

  11. @Paul Wortman Before becoming president, Jimmy Carter was a naval officer and the governor of a large state undergoing major changes. Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas. My memory recalls the popular saying as, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." This is timeless food for thought that transcends political party affiliation.

  12. Very interesting piece on Mayor Pete. I learned things I never knew about him. Thank you.

  13. Oh dear. Pete is one of those busy people with a messy desk. A collector. Think his husband mentioned it too.

  14. One of the most impressive things about Pete is his ability to grow and change. I think he would make an excellent president. I also think the narrative of his struggling to get support from minorities has been overblown by the media. Tackling entrenched poverty and systemic racism are two of the most difficult problems our country faces. Would Bernie, Amy or Elizabeth have done any better? I think not. Bernie’s been in Congress forever and has accomplished very little. Angry ranting and constantly calling for a revolution may get some people fired up but it doesn’t actually solve any problems. I’m with Pete!

  15. @Carrotcake "But from his days in the House, where he served from 1991 to 2007, and into his Senate career, Mr. Sanders has largely found ways to press his agenda through appending small provisions to the larger bills of others. In the House, he attached a measure to prevent the George W. Bush administration from finalizing rules that would have allowed companies to cut the pensions of older workers. Community health care clinics were expanded via a Sanders amendment to President Obama’s health care law. His amendments with Mr. Grassley to prevent bailed-out banks from replacing American workers with foreign ones was part of a major economic stimulus bill in 2009. “The reason he has been so successful is that he built very strong left-right coalitions, ” said Warren Gunnels, a longtime policy adviser who now works on Mr. Sanders’s campaign. “He doesn’t see himself as on the left. He sees himself exclusively as fighting for working people.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/us/politics/bernie-sanders-amendments.html Sanders has changed the Democratic Party, moving it decidedly to the left, toward the true center of American public opinion on economic issues. That’s far from nothing. Obviously, I'm with Bernie!

  16. @Lucy Cooke I appreciate Bernie's contribution. It's time for Bernie to pass the torch. Pete has been exceptionally effective in articulating progressive values. Pete does it in a respectful way such that one could have a discussion with him even if one disagrees with him. I think this is why Pete could reach people in much wider political spectrum than any other young progressives.

  17. @Carrotcake "One of the most impressive things about Pete is his ability to grow and change" Well, that's because he is still growing!

  18. When he runs something larger than a small fraction of the size of a New York City outer borough, at that point his candidacy deserves consideration. His candidacy is like an NBA team drafting an underclassman and giving him a max NBA player contract, based on his potential. By all means keep tabs on him, but until he has collected a number of accomplishments I have no interest in anyone that can't hit the ground running without a huge learning curve. We did that last time, and look at what we elected.

  19. @Kevin You mean like the NBA taking Kobe out of high school?

  20. The key is that he grew and never hesitates to say he grows. That is a sign of maturity, good insight and honesty. Also, don’t overlook all that the military taught him!!!

  21. I like him. But to me he's just another reasonably intelligent white guy looking for a huge promotion over more qualified candidates based on his potential, not his achievements like everybody who isn't a white guy. And not for lack of candidates who are also intelligent and articulate, in addition to having proven than they can and do achieve things that matter to voters. Can we please see reason here?

  22. His intelligence is far from average. He’s a Rhodes Scholar with a brilliant, adaptive mind and a track record of sound (if sometimes unpopular) decisions. Let’s get someone bright, thoughtful, and effective back in the top office. Someone who respects expertise and who knows what it means to commit our troops to war. Time to grow up and make a pragmatic decision for the sake of democracy and the constitution.

  23. @Melissa I don’t know any other reasonably intelligent white guy who taught himself Norwegian just so he could read a book in the author’s native tongue.

  24. Ronald Reagan famously said, "thou shall not speak ill of another Republican." Can Democrats please do the same? Take the high road, my candidates. Do not create quotable ammunition for the general election.

  25. @Mark St John I disagree. To have a healthy primary season, we must all be able to voice our concerns, because every candidate will raise some. Whether or not we address them, voters at large are going to have them too.

  26. I think ex-Mayor Pete, whose very modest governmental experience was as mayor of tiny South Bend, Indiana, the 301st largest city in the US (!), is quite a stretch as far as qualifying for the Presidency goes. Indeed, from earlier NYT articles it seems he should have spent more time in South Bend and his own campaign dealing with racial issues than hobnobbing with elite donors of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. While his being gay is a non-issue as far as so many of us urban and Democratic voters are concerned, it may be a significant negative among non-urban and non-Democratic voters. (Not to mention the inevitable and distracting media chatter over whether ex-Mayor Pete's husband should be called "First Husband" or "First Spouse.") An earlier NYT opinion piece on whether Pete is "gay enough" was too subtle for many; that he is gay at all, complete with husband, may be too much for many voters in fly-over land. If Pete could successfully run for House/Senate/governor that would bolster his political credentials and might make him a plausible candidate in a later run for President. I am a life-long Democrat, but my faith in the competence of party leadership has dwindled since the Iowa fiasco. I sincerely hope any grown-ups in the party can take charge and find an electable candidate who will appeal to the large majority of American voters, especially those who felt their needs were ignored in 2016. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to another term for Trump.

  27. @Mon Ray "First Gentleman" would be appropriate.

  28. @Mon Ray This is the only comment I have seen that addresses the gay issue. It does not bother me, but I fear this is not the election in which to test whether most voters are ready for a gay president. The stakes are too high. My wife predicts billboards all over the country with picture of Buttigieg kissing his husband. Save Pete, who appears to be an exceptional person, for an election in the future.

  29. @rawebb1 At least they’re married, and as Jake Tapper says, he’s still on his first spouse, unlike Trump.

  30. I like Pete. He is the only candidate that seems truly sincere to me. A good leader needs to delegate and surround themselves with smart strong people. I think he can do that. This article shows he can work with people. He can work with people and build a strong executive staff. I think Bernie is a one man band, it's his way or the highway. I want him to go away. I like Amy a lot. I would vote for either her or Pete. Elizabeth should take over for Nancy Polosi when Nancy retires. And Joe just needs to retire.

  31. @MoMck agreed

  32. I’m hoping you meant that Senator Warren should be the Senate Majority Leader when the Dems take over the Senate. I doubt the House of Representatives would appreciate a senator as the Speaker!

  33. I largely agree with your observations and assessment. But not your succession idea — Elizabeth is a Senator and Nancy is in the House of Representatives. Elizabeth would have to leave her Senate seat, run for the House and (assuming she won and the Ds retain the House) then begin a long slog towards achieving seniority. There will be plenty of candidates already in the House to vie for the Speakership after Nancy’s tenure is over. Elizabeth is desperately needed in the Senate (if she does not become President).

  34. It’s a shame it’s too early to announce running mates. A Pete Kamala ticket would go a long way towards showing a real desire to improve life for all communities. Then again, another well balance ticket could be Warren with almost anyone but Bernie or Joe,,, Booker, Amy, Castro and evening Pete would reassure people that the ticket also caters to more moderate and independent voters.

  35. @C Pete and Kamala? A nicely matched pair of empty suits, ready and waiting to be filled with the policies of whoever donates the most money.

  36. For all those voters still open-minded and undecided, there's a chance that once the news cycle stops focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, states with fairly racial and ethnic limited diversity, and the race moves on to different places we'll get a better look at who Pete Buttigieg really is. But from what we've seen so far, no doubt he's intelligent and able to think on his feet -- plus he's not pushing an agenda that forces voters to join in or get left behind, something that's important at a time when the Democratic Party finds itself so divided and the prospect of taking on Trump and an entrenched G.O.P. is nothing, if not challenging. If we can get past the divisions of left, right and center with a candidate who sees some kind of unity is possible, that in itself would make him worthy of consideration.

  37. Of course Buttigieg doesn't have enough experience to be president. No reasonable person would dispute this. Many presidents, including Obama, have said that nothing could fully prepare them for the office. But there have been very few in recent history less prepared than Buttigieg, who has no experience in state or federal government. One could compare him to Eisenhower, who held no elective office before the presidency, but he at least managed an enormous military operation involving millions of people. A better comparison would probably be to Chester A. Arthur, whose experience before the presidency consisted of six months as VP and 7 years as NYC Ports Collector. But the best comparison is to Trump. Is that a comparison Democrats want? There's also the question of life experience. If elected, Buttigieg will be the youngest president at the start of his presidency by more than three years. If he serves two terms, he will be younger at the end of his presidency than Obama was at the start of his. These reasons are why Buttigieg's candidacy has always been foolhardy and unserious. It was always a quest for attention and greater profile. Again, the comparison to Trump seems apt. I think Buttigieg ran in order to leverage greater recognition for an eventual run for governor/senate. And that's really where he belongs right now.

  38. Of course Buttigieg doesn't have enough experience to be president. No reasonable person would dispute this. Many presidents, including Obama, have said that nothing could fully prepare them for the office. But there have been very few in recent history less prepared than Buttigieg, who has no experience in state or federal government. One could compare him to Eisenhower, who held no elective office before the presidency, but he at least managed an enormous military operation involving millions of people. A better comparison would probably be to Chester A. Arthur, whose experience before the presidency consisted of six months as VP and 7 years as NYC Ports Collector. But the best comparison is to Trump. Is that a comparison Democrats want? There's also the question of life experience. If elected, Buttigieg will be the youngest president at the start of his presidency by more than three years. If he serves two terms, he will be younger at the end of his presidency than Obama was at the start of his. These reasons are why Buttigieg's candidacy has always been foolhardy and unserious. It was always a quest for attention and greater profile. Again, the comparison to Trump seems apt. I think Buttigieg ran in order to leverage greater recognition for an eventual run for governor/senate. And that's really where he belongs right now.

  39. Experience in governing. Political Leadership skills. Wisdom. Those are the 3 traits i want in a President. Mayor Pete hasn’t governed a major city, much less a state. Therefore, we’d have to speculate if he has the necessary political leadership skills. As to wisdom, he is a master compared to the current occupant in the White House but no more so than Bernie, Elizabeth, Amy Michael. For all those reasons, once the larger state primaries occur, he is likely to quickly recede to the back of the pack.

  40. This column is light on details. Mayor Buttigieg tasked the city's failing Housing Authority to apply for a federal lead grant. It failed, and the city was without federal funding to deal with the lead crisis for years. The South Bend Tribune castigated both city and county officials in an editorial for a broken and disorganized response. Buttigieg also pushed through the Perri condo deal -with millions of public dollars, as the story notes - before addressing the lead crisis. Buttigieg also built other luxury buildings with public money instead of directing this to the lead crisis. The amount spent to build luxury housing far exceeds any amount spent on public health by the city, and generous tax abatement deals mean the city will not realize additional revenue for many years. Buttigieg also failed to convene the city board on minority contracting for years. He proposed slashing the hours of the city diversity compliance officer in 2014. South Bend's disparity study was completed four years after the State of Indiana's. South Bend's minority owned businesses suffered due to this lack of attention and oversight. More detail can be found here: https://medium.com/@rkle/the-buttigieg-era-african-americans-and-accountability-part-i-944a0d7605e8 https://medium.com/@rkle/south-bend-s-lead-developers-1423e03e8228

  41. “Some Democratic rivals question whether Mr. Buttigieg has the experience to be president.” Obama was a community organizer. What experience does that give you to be president? Yet he fared pretty well.

  42. @Gazbo Fernandez Correction: Obama was an organizer, yes, but he also served in the state if Illinois legislature and US Senate for two years.

  43. I’m afraid it taught him that success doesn’t matter; only the valiance of the effort. This is the way of all Democrat politicians: the operation was a complete success, but the patient died.

  44. At least he is a politician, unlike Trump.

  45. Someone send him a Konmari consultant or Marie Kondo herself, please. In all seriousness, I’m so ready for a kinder, gentler president.

  46. Pete’s record as mayor is checkered at best. What’s remarkably troubling to me is his arrogant attitude towards the African American community. For example, he implied broad support for his “Douglass Plan” in SC. Later, it was discovered these so called supporters actually never endorsed the plan, nor Pete. His record in South Bend echos these feeble and disingenuous attempts at outreach, as we read of forced demolitions, gentrification, and grossly high rates of arrests and police harassment of minority communities. His answer to these questions at the NH debate are illustrative of his attempts to divert from this record with empty political cliche and broad, meaningless platitudes.

  47. @Dan Stefanski He was the mayor of the Notre Dame community but failed to engage the poor end of his town. He needs to prove himself a lot more to be president. Let him run for Congress first.

  48. This is not the first time that the NYT has failed to acknowledge that FDR was raised to the highest office after being mayor of NYC. The first time the NYT failed to acknowledge this was in an article that mentioned Calvin Coolidge as the only other mayor to become president. As a New York based newspaper forgetting to mention FDR not once, but twice is an egregious affair.

  49. Come on NYT, are we really this desperate?!? He couldnt even beat a Republican for State treasurer in his own state. He lost by 20 points. There is absolutely no possible way this wonder bread robot can beat Trump.

  50. @jcl Buttigieg knew he would lose State Treasurer. He ran because nobody else would, against a republican incumbent who opposed Obama economic recovery policies, so there would be a record of opposition. He quit his private sector job to run in that race -- and he won more votes than any other democrat in any other Indiana state-wide race that election.

  51. @jcl "wonder bread robot?" And therein lies the problem with today's Democratic voter...Bernie is McGovern '72. Good luck with that

  52. He's not my candidate—yet—but he's right to soft pedaling this... "Mr. Buttigieg will be 39 on Inauguration Day, the youngest American leader in history. He is well aware that." Trivial as it is, "We, The (proverbial) People" like stuff like that.

  53. This is my favorite part of the story: Jake Teshka, the only Republican on the South Bend city council... said Mr. Buttigieg had more relevant governing experience than either of the past two presidents, having managed more than 1,000 city employees and reached out to opponents to get things done. “Objectively speaking and removing partisanship, I’d say, look, it’s more scalable than being a reality TV star,” he said. That's good enough for me!

  54. @Jim Shortall You're joking, right?

  55. The current government of South Bend has a little more than 1,000 employees and a budget of $358 million. As president, Buttigieg will have to manage a government with a budget more than 10,000 times larger and with 3,500 times the number of employees. If Buttigieg becomes president, it will the most hasty and unwise promotion since Margaret Dumont made Groucho the president of Freedonia.

  56. @Locho Tell me, how many employees do Senators have? What's the size of their budget?

  57. Wall Street Pete is bright and a fine orator. He has the backing of 40 billionaires. He will serve elites well and no doubt protect the interests of the professional class. But slick packaging by the best media consultants money can buy cannot hide his inexperience or the fact that “Prosperity has not been shared equally in South Bend, a source of criticism and resentment by some in minority communities.” If nominated he will lose to Trump.

  58. @Bob Dass All Democrats will lose to Trump. And I've been a faithful Democrat since the 1972 presidential election. I wish people would get off of Pete's case. Talk about how Amy Klobuchar has less than 1 percent of support among African Americans. And how she has never been an administrator or run one single thing -- other than her Senate staff, which has given her bad reviews as a bad and nasty manager.

  59. @Bob Dass "Prosperity has not been shared equally in South Bend..." True, but it's not even close to being Pete's fault.

  60. @Bob Dass Prosperity is not shared equally? You don't say. Let's blame Buttigieg for our malfunctioning capitalist system.

  61. He has a mixed record leading a small city. He has never held a statewide or congressional office that would expose him and give him experience in more complex issues. He doesn't have the legislative record of his senator competitors that shows they can work with others to get things done. He even pulled his run for DNC chair. Try running for the Senate or Congress, build a record and try again.

  62. @LTR President of the United States is an executive job, not a legislative job.

  63. Thank you for this good reporting. Buttigieg is now picking up significant endorsements from lawmakers who are black, brown, women and even republicans for the qualities of leadership that Rahm Emanuel cited. In addition to the programs you mentioned, Buttigieg helped create an innovative City ID program for undocumented residents that has been praised by immigration advocates and has drawn fire from the feds.

  64. I learned a lot in third grade, but that didn’t mean I was ready for college.

  65. It’s not his lack of experience that worries me. It’s who he is as evidenced by what he’s done in his past. THAT is what worries me.

  66. @Paul G Like wanting to learn everything he could (including several languages), volunteering for the military and leading his hometown to prosperous times?

  67. This describes the Pete people in South Bend describe. No one in South Bend thinks he is perfect, but they see him as someone deeply dedicated to listening, learning, and making sure the country moves forward. Someone who listens even when he disagrees, listens when you are criticizing him, and responds respectfully and with empathy. Those are the qualities I want in a leader. Pete's job has kept him on the ground, so people in the community (as Ms. Odom describes) have constant access to him - to compliment or complain. He is connected to his constituents in a way Senators - thousands of miles away and in big white buildings - are not. He hears from his constituents in a way Senators don't. He is more directly responsible in a way Senators aren't. And he has managed a budget, a large staff, an economy - something Senators don't do. The quality of on-the-ground leadership is one few have, and one more need to have, and it is one I want in the next president. No one leader is perfect, and no one leader always gets it right. The question is what do you do when you get it wrong. Pete listens, learns, takes advice, and always improves. That is what a good leader does. And that is what our president should do. Pete is ready to be President, because being a Mayor (ESPECIALLY of a small city, a city struggling to survive, a racially diverse city, a city that had given up hope), has taught him the leadership skills we need in a president.

  68. @Lauren I totally agree and would underline in BOLD that he listens! When he is interviewed, he doesn't quickly segue into sound bites. He appears to actually be in conversation with whomever is asking the question. This kind of thoughtfulness is sorely lacking these days; he is refreshing, engaged, and I say go Pete!

  69. Buttigieg comes across as a politician who will take the path of least resistance until absolutely forced to do what needs to be done. I don't see him as proactive. I see him as an Obama-style centrist who will try to negotiate with monied interests and Republicans -- something that never works in the favor of average Americans. And from all appearances, he's completely uncomfortable around people of color and knows nothing of our issues besides what advisors have told him. In sum, not the leader for this country in these times. "Medicare for those who want it." What if Lincoln had proposed "Emancipation for those who want it"? What if Johnson argued "Voting rights for those who want it"? "Anyone but Trump" cannot be the only standard. It's equally important to elect someone who will fight for us, inspire us, and organize us during the four years after inauguration day. There are giant interests working against the American people, and we must elect a champion, not a weak-willed negotiator.

  70. I don’t have any concerns about his qualifications. He’s got character, intelligence and a biography. I am convinced that he will surround himself with good people. It won’t just be him. I’d be excited for the new generation.

  71. @Michael B. I am convinced that he will surround himself with people his corporate donors tell him to surround himself with, just as Obama did.

  72. @Michael B. Thank you! I wish more people would adopt the "It won't just be him" (or her) mentality. While Trump ran on "I alone can fix it" and has not, as promised, hired all the "best people" to make up for his lack of experience, any democrat is going to come in with an entire clean up crew to help get things back on track. Just think of it: department heads that have actually been vetted by the senate, military professionals who actually speak their minds based on their expertise, fewer vacancies in the state department, and so much more. This election isn't just one person against Trump. It's the prospect of replacing a person who is acting alone with an entire administration.

  73. Oh c'mon. I mean, the anecdotes are (mostly) sweet, but trying to argue that his experience in South Bend is even remotely relevant is absurd on its face. While most of what is talked about in the media are the high-visibility political battles and positions a President is involved in, it is easy to forget that what the President actually does is to serve as the CEO of the single largest employer on the planet - bigger by far than any other organization in either the public or private sectors. Mayor Pete administered a city with around 1,000 city employees, and a budget of about $380 million. The Federal government has around 2 million employees (and that doesn't even count the USPS), and a budget of over $4 trillion. Pete deals with a City Council comprised of 8 people - a US President deals with 100 Senators and 435 House members with an almost inconceivably greater diversity of positions and perspectives. I can see why some people like him - he has components of a kind of Kennedyesque charm - but asserting that anything he did in SD prepares him for the Presidency is like saying that running a local credit union would qualify someone to run Bank of America. Yes, a young CU exec could progress up the ranks, go to larger institutions, in increasingly responsible positions, until he ultimately was ready to lead BoA, but Pete is missing the entire mid-career development. He has political talent, but he's just plain not ready yet.

  74. @JRC Political talent, yes But real convictions... He was going to campaign as a "real progressive", and supported medicare for all... But then he saw more possibility in campaigning as a centrist...

  75. @JRC CEO is a bad metaphor: the function of a for-profit business is to make money. The function of a government is to serve the people.

  76. @JRC Lacks "mid-career development?" Just spent 8 years as mayor. That's more responsibility than we'll see in most candidates.

  77. There is little doubt that Pete will have a stellar future. But I am not convinced he is ready for prime time. And although neither he nor Mayor Bloomberg are my first or even second choices, the latter’s experience in leading New York City is more auspicious when considering leading an entire nation. Like with our own Kamala Harris, I am watching Mayor Pete closely, both having promise and great potential. “For everything under the sun, there is a season.” This is but early Spring for this mayor. Soon enough summer will come.

  78. I have listened, read, observed everything that I could find about Pete for several months now. The only criticism that I have identified concerns his political experience and his age. If he wins, he will be a middle aged man as he serves his term as POTUS. I sincerely believe that Pete can put his skills and intelligence to work in ways that will restore trust in our country's badly battered institutions. He clearly is able to willingly work with both Democrats and Republicans. I won't see my vote for Pete as taking a "chance" on some unknown politician. Rather, I think my vote will be for a proven hardworking patriot.

  79. Think of it this way, you are the developer of a major skyscraper. You are taking bids for a contractor to build the building, that contractor will be in charge of the entire project. One of the bidders comes to you and says, "I have some really great ideas. Ideas that have work in other locations." You ask about his building experience and he tells you, "I have built family houses in a small Midwestern city." Would you hire this contractor? The answer by any reasonable person would be 'No.' Perhaps if you were feeling kind you might say "Go work for a General Contractor who works on these kinds of projects, get some experience as their lead, then come see me in 10 or 15 years."

  80. @Bruce1253 Your analogy does not apply because none of the candidates have been POTUS before, or even close.

  81. @Bruce1253 A more appropriate narrative would be "I led the construction of new homes". A mayor, or President, has to focus on a lot more than what the general contractor is hired to do. Not to be too cynical, but how many of the candidates have ever actually used a ball peen hammer?

  82. @Bruce1253 Now imagine a bidder tells you they are qualified to build a skyscraper because they are an interior designer. It kind of has something to do with buildings, but not really. That would be the equivalent of a Senator's experience. legislative experience =|= executive experience.

  83. We badly need generational change in this country, and I say that as someone who turns 60 this summer. Pete strikes me as exceptionally bright, deliberative, open to ideas not his own, and -- yes -- patriotic. A President who saw military service and who has governed at a level that requires actual management skills. Can he sometimes appear cool and reserved? Yes. But I'll take a thoughtful, exceptionally competent leader over a populist cheerleader any day. I hope he's still near the front of the pack when I get to cast my Super Tuesday vote next month.

  84. Finally, an article on this issue with depth, texture, and context. He's a human being facing real life complex problems. He made progress and he also made mistakes, as we all do. I appreciate his humility, willingness to listen reflect, and try to do better. Many props to the author on this piece.

  85. I'm really baffled at the (very) recent trend of thinking that Senators are the most qualified people to be president. Senators have absolutely no executive responsibility. They can hide behind their votes on non-binding resolutions and their parliamentary procedures and their cushy schedules where they are at home several months of the year. The "greatest deliberative body on earth" (often a euphemism for disfunction) has little in common with the executive branch. I'm not saying I don't think Sanders, or Warren, or Klobuchar are qualified, but rather that being Mayor or Governor is much more relevant experience to the job of president.

  86. Actually that same argument can and should be used against mayors, as they are so depended on their city managers and even more on corporate power. A mayor will guarantee that he will be a centrist, meaning don’t stir the pot don’t make any changes that would benefit the working class, don’t attack insurance companies, hospital conglomerates and banks, as his job depends on not rocking the boat. For any big change to happen, as decreasing the divide between the extreme rich and the rest of the world.

  87. @Jeff Sanders was a very successful three term mayor, and then was elected to the House for eight terms, and then elected to the Senate. Anyone who wonders whether he can get things done, just look at what he was able to do for the City of Burlington against horrendous opposition from the establishment. He transformed the city. Arts programs. Economic programs. Nation-leading affordable housing programs. And an invigorated spirit in the city that lasts to this day. The man is a good legislator, but a born executive. President Bernie Sanders! A Future To Believe In!

  88. @Johan D. Pete didn’t have a city manager. He was it.

  89. How many mayors out there, white or black or brown, have eliminated their policing problems? How many have put a noticeable reduction in the homeless population without upsetting the NIMBYs? I used to accompany my Dad, who worked for the Health Department, to Berkeley City Hall meetings. It became obvious to me that being mayor is way more difficult than being a Senator. So we see a photo of the old Studebaker factory when it was run down. How difficult would it have been to get an updated one for contrast?

  90. I keep thinking about what a great Vice President he would be--articulate in debates and stump speeches, sensible, reliable. Give him four or eight years of apprenticeship at the national level and he could be the kind of candidate who could extend Democratic control for a generation. That is, as the next President he'd probably be good; but with a bit more seasoning he could be great.

  91. @Keith More seasoning? What we need is intelligence ,ethics, fairness and commitment to the peoples needs. Thats it. Pete has this.

  92. I have no problem with Pete being Vice President, but not President. The wisdom I harnessed at 34, is not the wisdom I harness to day at 65. Pete's involvement in government is minimal and he lacks the hands on experience needed to manage the House and Senate. I like Pete's enthusiasm and his thought process and I have no doubt he will have a long life in politics. But now is not the right time to run for President.

  93. @Valerie With all due respect, you are no Pete Buttigieg. He has 8 years of executive experience, is an Afghanistan veteran, a Rhodes scholar and evidently intelligent. His youth is an asset. I think he's perfectly qualified.

  94. Considering transferable and soft skills is all well and good, but I can’t recall ever seeing a job listing for a senior position in the private sector that doesn’t have minimum requirements for directly relevant experience. Keeping with the mayor theme, I’m sure all mayors would agree that a firefighter has a very important role, but how many would hire one to fill the role of police chief?

  95. @Chris since when is a firefighter an executive. A legislator has far less relevant experience. When Obama ran, the precedent was that executive experience mattered more and that his time as a legislator was considered a deficit.

  96. Pete is constitutionally old enough to become president, but his experience comes down to a matter of scale. His experience may be broad, but lacks depth. Pete should go back to Indiana and run for Senate, or Governor.

  97. @Jeannie That is just not possible. South Bend is an outlier in Indiana because of the Notre Dame University community who lives there and the micro-economy around the campus (they have Whole Foods, Apple Store, ...). The rest of the state is deeply conservative. That said, I'd love to see Pete run for mayor of Chicago one day and see if he can clean up our Augean stables.

  98. @Jeannie If you ever paid attention to interviews with Pete, especially the rapid-firing type, Pete has demonstrated far greater depth in his grasp of issues and knowledge of promising solutions than any of the 2020 presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican.

  99. @Anne This makes sense, but then it raises a lot of questions about how he will appeal nationally. Can he win over the purple states in the electoral college or will the things that hold him back in Indiana be a crutch in the general election too?

  100. Being a mayor means putting yourself on the line and being responsible. Yet, we've got a load of people around here hitting Buttigieg for the very fact that he actually was a mayor, and was re-elected mayor with over 80% of the electorate. Maybe the progressives hate on Buttigieg 'cause he doesn't go around like an angry Left-Wing version of Trump. Well, that's a good thing. Any time you look for a leader - at any level - you want a steady hand. You don't want what we've in the White House now. And you don't want one from the Democratic side, either.

  101. This report illuminates why Pete's experience as a mayor is so relevant to solving racial, social, and economic problems facing our nation. Pete learned and grew from his mayoral experience. Pete stated in an interview with Des Moines Register, that “I would not have said even five years ago what I believe now, which is that incarceration should not even be a response to drug possession.” The challenges, success and failure Pete had as a mayor of a city with over 26% Black population do doubt has informed his Douglass plan. As a mayor Pete was limited in his capacity to combat structural racism and inequality, but as POTUS, he will be able to empower mayors and governors to tackle these issues at the local level, in ways most effective to individual communities. This report shows Pete with the rare quality of humility, which enables him to listen and improve his plans. Last, just to add the following from Maureen Groppe/USA Today: Santiago Garces, who was South Bend's first Innovation Officer and is now director of innovation and performance for the city of Pittsburgh, found working with Buttigieg exciting but demanding. “I think he sees governing as a kind of moral activity that requires going back to what is good and bad and trying to reframe the decisions in terms of what is good for society,” Garces said. “As an engineer, sometimes you’re like, `Oh my god man! Would you just tell me what you want!’ But, in the end, you end up betting a better result.”

  102. Does Pete have the requisite judgement and experience to be President? I’d say any 38 year old former small town mayor who has the country pondering that question does, in spades.

  103. South Bend, IN has a large liberal community from adjacent Notre Dame. It has Whole Foods, Apple Store, Starbucks, Lululemon, etc. NOT your average Midwest town. South Bend does have a poor side but Buttigieg has not a lot to show for in terms of building a relationship with that community. His bid for US president is overreach. He needs to prove himself more.

  104. @Anne You missed the NY Times report on South Bend a few days ago. It told the reality of division between a premier University and a industrial city. Thankfully, Mayor Pete has made substantial efforts to bridge the divide. Please visit wikipeteia.com and https://voicesofsouthbend.wordpress.com/ to know more about his accomplishment. BTW, Whole Foods, Apple Store,and Lululemon are in Mishawaka, not South Bend.

  105. Challenge for Pete, Pete is being financed by 18 pro Israel billionaire donors, as per If America knew website. Not much will change here

  106. With all the articles about Mayor Pete, I am still waiting for someone to tell me what he accomplished, in his years as mayor, that made the lives of the citizens of South Bend better. Somebody, please list them. Yes, I know about filling potholes, the day-to-day work of a mayor. But that is not all that mayors do. The good ones, the creative ones, the ones who are aware go above and beyond the everyday mundane. What did he do for kids, what did he do for seniors, what did he do for the minority communities, how many jobs did he create, etc. Frankly, I don't think he did much. He certainly had no idea how to work with minority communities. Because if he did, there wouldn't have been a blow-up last summer. I am tired of hearing how smart he is, that he went to Harvard, was a Rhodes scholar, spent 6 months in Afghanistan as a reserve officer in the Navy and speaks 5 languages. None of this qualifies him to be president. I don't think Truman graduated from high school and he was a great president. Tell me, what did Pete do, what legacy did he leave behind. Is South Bend better off with him being mayor?

  107. Pete is an empty suit for voters to project their feelings onto. He's Obama without the charisma or faux progressive agenda. The NYT should discuss his work for the national security apparatus and consulting companies who have no allegiance except to capital. Like how he worked to extract minerals and resources from worn torn countries (Afghanistan) and happened to take a trip through Somaliland during a "Vacation" which he then made an op-ed about in the NYT! Or how he helped Insurance companies lay off thousands of workers in MA or fix bread prices in Canada. With Pete you get the platitudes of Obama without the Hope & Change rhetoric along with the type of baggage that tanked Romney and Clinton.

  108. Trump zero experience. Clinton a governor of a small and backward state. Bush Jr. Governor of a state that is not run by the governor he does what he's told. Regan a actor and pretend governor . No, experience does not matter its intelligence, ethics, fairness and commitment to the people not special interests. Pete has all of this.

  109. Klobuchar is mistaken if she thinks it makes sense to compare Trump to Buttigieg. More than anything, I think her comment reveals her lack of confidence about her own performance in comparison to Mayor Pete's. This may just be politics as usual but it doesn't speak well of her.

  110. @A I agree! I was trying to decide whom I would like to vote, and the final two were Amy and Pete. After that comment by Amy, I was sad. I plan to vote for Pete.

  111. In my view, a 5th grader who has taken a civics course could do a better job as president than the current occupant of the office. The lack of experience argument is just a Stop Pete endeavor.

  112. @Peter E Derry Even without the civics course.

  113. @Peter E Derry The fact that Trump is manifestly unqualified doesn't mean we should replace him with a 38-year-old whose only experience of governing is being a small-town mayor. Especially not when we have superior candidates on the ballot, ie, the other contenders.

  114. Reading criticisms about Pete’s readiness, experience or age make me laugh out loud every time. The Constitution requires a person to be 35 - he is 38. Done. He also is a military veteran, multi-lingual, honest, articulate, highly educated, hard working, caring individual and loving spouse. Compared to the illegitimate, lying, guilty sociopath currently in the White House he comes nowhere near the label of ‘not ready’ in my view.

  115. @Chris M And Pete has 8 years of executive experience. That's more than many of his competitors have combined.

  116. the one problem that I have with Pete is that he has never worked with a partisan legislative body. city councils are elected on a non partisan basis and although he's in a red state he's in a liberal college town. that is a huge difference from trying to deal with Mitch McConnell and Devin Nunes.

  117. @Chris M a whole lot of people are all those things and would never be seriously considered for the presidency and shouldn't be. Those aren't presidential qualifications. They are average everyday decent person qualifications. Also, as a professional translator who speaks four languages, I have no idea how or why his multilingualism is an important presidential qualification. If he wants to get his message across in another language, he can always hire an interpreter. Too often politicians rely on very meager language skills to express a point in too rudimentary a fashion when they can hire a professional to do it properly. Not to knock his language skills. It's just a non-issue.

  118. Now do Donald Trump. Did running a family business prepare him to be president? It turns out that we have three plus years of data.

  119. An inability to assess any candidate holistically, fixating on the one or two features that meet the purity test of the day, perpetuates the whataboutism employed to great effect by Trump and his enablers. We've fallen into the polarization trap that the GOP has laid for us. The "big tent", and in fact democracy, inherently involve compromise. No candidate is perfect, and so, in lieu of nodding approvingly at the ready made memes constructed for us by political parties and, increasingly often, the Fourth Estate, perhaps spending a little less time on the detail that confirms our bias, we look past that, employing the higher cognitive functions with which evolution endowed us, rather than the lizard brains with which evolution saddled us. Andrew Yang was right: We need to make America think again.

  120. This guy has far more tools in the shed than JFK did when he was elected at a young age. Yes, JFK had been a Senator, but so what? Our recent impeachment trial surely shows that being elected Senator does not give you a backbone, intelligence or the ability to do the right thing. I'd vote for this guy any day.

  121. If he can beat Trump, I don’t care, frankly, if he isn’t as experienced as the others. Lack of experience clearly doesn’t have to be an obstacle to being elected as POTUS.

  122. Everything we experience in life, regardless of where, affects our decision-making process. To say that being a senator or governor is a necessary pre-requisite for the office of POTUS is all dependent on what we experience and how we learn to respond. Some learn from experience others never learn. There is probably no life experience that fully prepares anyone to become POTUS. Some learn quickly on the job. Some never do. Buttigieg seems to be a quick learner with the intellect to see the big picture and make decisions that will improve situations that need executive input. Some never learn on the job what they didn't understand before, like the current White House Occupant. The magnitude of the office is not as important as the ability of the executive to weigh all options and decide on the best course. If you can do that in a city of 100,000 you can probably do it in a country of 350 million.

  123. Try thinking of it this way: the scarcer the resources, the better they have to be managed. And South Bend, IN has a budget a lot bigger than anything for which Biden, Warren, and Sanders have been directly responsible. As Senator Feinstein is to have said, "If you are going to run something, then run it." Complaints of his shortcomings should be seen in the context of the current president. Fair enough?

  124. No mentioning of Mayor Pete Buttigieg's 5 Opportunity Zones in South Bend (from 2017 Tax Law passed/supported in full by both parties of Congress), particularly around the Notre Dame area, and who were the beneficiaries here.

  125. Since when is ZERO experience at the state or federal level of government NOT a problem (in the Democratic Party, anyway)? That and his questionable handling of matters relating to people of color while mayor should disqualify him from the job of president.

  126. @Ed Watters Since when is ZERO experience at the state or federal level of government NOT a problem? Hmm... when the Republican Party at their 2016 convention made it clear to the world that they consider the office of President of the United States worthy of on-the-job training? Maybe?

  127. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired of being told that supporting Sanders for president is "too risky" when the person who is Bernie's most competitive rival at this point is a mayor under the age of 40. That to me seems MUCH riskier than nominating someone who has not only served as a mayor, but also in the House and in the Senate. Pete seems like a nice enough guy, but he doesn't even have the credentials to be vice president, let alone Commander in Chief. maybe in a couple cycles he will be ready, but at the moment he is clearly being too ambitious.

  128. @Greg You misunderstand. Pete's youth is an asset. Bernie's age is drawback.

  129. @Active Germ-line Replicator Both youth and old age have their advantages and drawbacks. Pete is young, so he's healthy, but he also is inexperienced. People keep trying to convince me that being mayor is a totally fine pre-requisite for the highest office in the country, of not the world, but let's be honest; it just isn't. Bernie is old and has had some health issues, yes. But with age comes experience, which Bernie certainly has. In addition, his age also gives us the benefit of giving us a paper trail on where he stands on various issues, and the fact is that Bernie has been more politically and morally consistent than anyone else in the race. We don't really know what Buttigieg would do if elected. The man's never even held statewide office. He needs some more time in the oven before hitting the big leagues.

  130. @Greg Do remember, the average age of the US founding fathers at confederation was 40 years old......Pete Buttigieg already has more experience and a better education than most politicians, the mere fact he speaks seven languages speaks volumes to just his ability and willingness to learn.

  131. Bernie's only executive experience was in a town half the size of South Bend. Since then, he's sat in congress and the senate and not managed more than a handful of people. Pete has the right experience, the right policies, and will hire - and inspire - and listen to - truly great people around him. He's the man I want for president.

  132. This well-rounded piece gives me even more reason to want to vote for Pete. First of all, he's young. This country needs someone who is young to take over. Decades of old, mostly white, men, has led us to the spot we're in now. I can't think of anyone who actually thinks it's a good one. Also, who's the last president a majority of people look back on with fondness? Kennedy. He was young. Second, he is willing to learn and grow. That's key for a leader. Someone who wants to take on the mantle of the president should be willing to admit when they make a mistake and learn how to grow from it. Finally, he's pragmatic and can get things done. If it comes down to it, Bernie is the guy whose beliefs most closely match my own. But he doesn't stand a chance of getting the things done that he says he wants to. He never has in the years he's been in Federal Government. Why would now be any different? The biggest problem he brings to the race is his intransigence (successful politics is about compromise). Makes me wonder if he is willing to learn and try new things. Methinks not.

  133. This is a solid article about a presidential candidate's challenges and growth in a leadership position. I have nothing against Buttigieg, but why are there so few of these? And would it be possible to have some thoughtful and insightful articles on the female candidates? Warren and Klobuchar have a lot more experience to parse through and I am tired of hearing about their likability and fundraising. What have they been like as leaders and how have they grown?

  134. Reality TV has "personalities" or, at best, "celebrities". It does not have "stars". Stars are people who have learned a craft . Trump is not a star of anything. And Mayor Pete has too many slippery sidestepping answers for me.

  135. There are three jobs in our government that come with the saying that the buck stops here. The first one is mayor of a city, next is a governor of a state and finally the president of the country. Granted that he's only had the first one but the problems are still the same but on a smaller scale and if he was able to handle that level he should be able to handle it on the grand scale. Close your eyes and listen to what he has to say, if you don't like the message then don't vote for him but if you do like the message, then you should consider him.

  136. People tend to forget that President Obama had no executive experience before assuming the office. Hw was a state Senator until his election to US Senate in 2005. He started his presidential campaign immediately. Being Mayor is definitely a step up. Mayor Pete has planned his political life for some time , getting the requisite brownie points so far. He has a real chance of winning the nomination and the Presidency In this anti establishment environment.

  137. The ability to learn, to recognize and correct error, to listen to others and incorporate their ideas with your own, to maintain a sense of decency not only in your own actions but insist on it, these are the qualities we need in a president. No amount of time in office can create them if the character is not already there. Pete Buttigieg has my support and I look forward to his time in the White House starting in January 2021.

  138. I really appreciated this article. I think it paints both the good and the bad of Pete whom I honestly support. I believe this article shows that Pete is the type of leader who wants engagement. He wants people to take a stake in what happens, and when he sees that people feel strongly about something he will do his best to address it. He can bring those who disagree with him to the table and make compromises to get the most done for the benefit of as many as possible. He may have some learning to go but everyone does. I would much rather have someone willing to learn and able to compromise than anyone who would rather stick to their ideals and shut anyone who won't follow them out.

  139. Thank you for this insightful article. It seems that that even those who criticize Pete say that he gets it right in time. Learning from mistakes is commendable. It also appears to be consensus that Pete is responsible for South Bend's recent economic boom.

  140. Most of the top Dem candidates have learned from past mistakes. Pete is not exceptional in this.

  141. I appreciate that the Times is offering a more rounded picture of Mayor Pete - neither “whiz kid” nor “tone deaf white politician,” but a realistic depiction of the actual work of building consensus, listening to constituents and governing. His ability to take in a variety of perspectives on complex issues and include stakeholders in pursuing solutions is emblematic of the type of measured problem-solver that we need in the Oval Office. Pete can unquestionably also be inspirational on the big stage, but his skills in going from vision to building alignment and achieving meaningful results is at the heart of effective executive leadership.

  142. @Chris Toft Pete has more scandals than other candidates with longer histories. He forced the first black police chief out, pushed people out of their homes in predominantly minority neighborhoods with fines and then tore down their houses, had homeless camps dismantled and threw away their belongings, a Russian-linked Trump & McConnell fundraiser has given in excess of $5,000 to his campaign, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has advised his campaign, he failed to disclose campaign finance bundlers, he's given $42,000 to the company that wrecked the Iowa results, and challenged satellite caucuses that were minorities. No thanks.

  143. @Chris Toft The McKinsey man pitching himself... "Buttigieg himself is quite explicit about pitching himself this way. Asked about why anyone should vote for him over other candidates, he did not cite a superior governing agenda. Instead he said: You have a handful of candidates from the middle of the country, but very few of them are young. You have a handful of young candidates, but very few of them are executives. We have a handful of executives but none of them are veterans, and so it’s a question of: What alignment of attributes do you want to have?" https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/03/all-about-pete

  144. @Marion Let me guess, who do you support? Not to generalize, but...this is from ABC News: "Bernie Sanders says he doesn’t want a super PAC. Instead, he has Our Revolution, a nonprofit political organization he founded that functions much the same as one. Like a super PAC, which is shorthand for super political action committee, Our Revolution can raise unlimited sums from wealthy patrons that dwarf the limits faced by candidates and conventional PACs. Unlike a super PAC, however, the group doesn’t have to disclose its donors. Our Revolution has taken in nearly $1 million from donors who gave more than the limits and whose identities it hasn’t fully disclosed, according to tax filings for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Much of it came from those who contributed six-figure sums. The group, which takes its name from a book written by Sanders, was beset by turmoil almost from the start with about a dozen leaving in protest. Our Revolution's willingness to accept money from undisclosed donors, which some saw as anathema to Sanders' message of campaign finance reform, was one of the reasons for the exodus, according to a former staffer."

  145. All I care about is getting the dictator out of the White House and keeping Roy Moore and others like him off the Supreme Court. None of the candidates is Abraham Lincoln. The circular firing squad has to stop!

  146. At least Mayor Pete is willing to learn. The loser in the White House takes great pains to avoid learning, and would unlearn and even antilearn—glean an entirely opposite lesson from what should or most likely would be learned—things if and when possible. Plead with him "Don't!", and he'll say "ON IT!" Even if their government experience is nominally similar, Pete would run laps around the loser in a week and retain humanity.

  147. Keep writing about and yammering about Pete. That is not the story. (As an aside: This is an article of warmed over mush. It is not new reporting or sophisticated reporting. I know. I worked at the NYTimes for 20 years.) Pete is not the story. The story is that no Democrat will beat Trump. And that comes from a lifelong liberal Democrat who has supported every Democratic nominee since 1972. Quit wasting breath/ink on Pete. You're missing the big picture.

  148. He is in the pockets of wealthy donors and is against universal healthcare. A Democrat in Name Only, no thanks.

  149. @JDK Neither is true. Contributions are capped at $2,800 per donor. He has almost 1 million individual donors. Medicare for All Who Want It would deliver universal health care while offering a choice between private and public plans.

  150. Another prime time effort by the NYT to promote centrism, the art of achieving nothing apart from sweet promises. The Democratic party has for decades become the party of cowardice, which ultimately helped to increase the already enormous divide by the extreme rich and the rest of the country. They have lost, sold their soul to corporate power, and have caved in to what in reality is a minority. The NYT as another rich powerhouse has slowly but surely helped to diminish the important goals of the Democratic Party and aggressively works to defang the few real democrats that are still left. Centrism is the death of democracy as it nullifies all its real achievements and and only strengthen corporate power. But then again the NYTIMES is a corporate power now and readers should think twice before blindly accepting articles favored by NYT editors.

  151. He had to learn how to listen but I think he needs more experience to know how to execute and perform.

  152. @Steve His campaign is the best run in 2020. He performed quite admirably in Iowa and New Hampshire.

  153. @Active Germ-line Replicator That is not the type of performing that I was referring to. My guess is that Bloomberg will over power him. I'm not saying that is good and I am not saying that is bad but Bloomberg has an impressive track record managing the most diverse and largest city in the country.

  154. Isn’t it high time for us to evaluate the qualifications of the inexperienced and crooked real estate developer currently occupying the White House? There is something profoundly disturbing about questioning the qualifications of any current candidate who is running to replace a narcissistic and criminal buffoon. Seriously, who would be worse than Trump?

  155. Amazing to me that it took this long for an in-depth look at Buttigieg's time and impact as mayor of South Bend. I suppose it speaks to the "echo chamber" in today's news media that craves salacious, yet shallow, stories. Reporting like this is why I subscribe to the NYT.

  156. If anyone still questions Pete’s readiness to be commander-in-chief, please google and watch his speech on foreign policy. His breadth and depth of knowledge, his thoughtfulness, his commandment of the room, and his temperament and demeanor make it hard to look away. If he were already president, that speech would likely be considered one of the best of all time. I hope we, as a nation, don’t waste this incredible opportunity.

  157. Comparing Buttigieg and Trump is like comparing apples and oranges and largely meaningless at this point in time. Mr. Buttigieg is smarter, sharper and, in many ways, a better person than Mr. Trump. However, it's the disarray of the Democratic Party itself that represents the greatest challenge to his election as POTUS; indeed, it is the Democratic Party's lack of focus and organization that present every candidate with a challenge much larger than Trump. I'm afraid it's too late for the Democratic Party to recover.

  158. I'd argue that Pete Buttigieg is actually the most experienced candidate on the Democratic side. Being a mayor is hard! His opponents (Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar) have all done their career in the legislative branch. While it may sound more prestigious to have the title of "senator" than "mayor," that's a pretty easy gig with no actual responsibilities. The most momentous task of their career was to sit (silently) during the impeachment hearings. Fixing potholes is less glamorous, but it's the kind of job where you have to deliver, not just speechify.

  159. @Girard Are you forgetting that Sanders put in a long tenure as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont ? And being a prosecutor is hard (Klobuchar) as is being an educator (Warren). Yet you think Buttigieg has more 'experience' ?

  160. @Girard Bernie was also mayor of Burlington, and accomplished much there.

  161. Sanders was also a mayor early in his career, so he does have executive experience.

  162. Nice piece on Pete, the new media darling. Now I would like a similar one for Amy and Elizabeth.

  163. @Janet Lauzon HERE YA GO! https://nyti.ms/2sF2vAa "New York Times Editorial Board Endorses Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren"

  164. To the larger question, "Does Mayor Pete Have Sufficient Experience to Be President?": (1) He has considerably more than Donald Trump; (2) He is considerably smarter than most of the candidates (including especially Donald Trump); (3) He has shown that he can rely on others' expertise and is willing to do so. In short, Yes he does. But, is he the ideal President for what we need (badly) now? Not really; others (of course this excludes DT) can do the job better than he at this stage. Bottom line, I'll take him over DT's candidacy any time.

  165. A long time ago, a Midwesterner aspired to the presidency without much of a governmental resume. He was a one-term representative of a rural Congressional district in Illinois. He represented fewer than 75,000 people. He had no executive experience of any significance. But boy, could he talk. His words were lyrical and suitable for carving into stone—of which many were. He had a fully articulated philosophy for governance and a strong moral compass, but still could deal effectively with the political machines of his day. He grappled with the greatest challenges of his time and demonstrated that he was a leader of the first rank. Resumes don’t always work in predicting future performance. They usually tell you more about a person’s past than their future.

  166. @David Potenziani Comparing Mayor Pete to Lincoln is most definitely not a way to promote his candidacy. Also, Abe was 50, and Mayor Pete does not have "a fully articulated philosophy for governance."

  167. The presidency is not an entry level position. There are major decisions to be made and huge government agencies to manage and a very difficult legislature to manage. Doing any of these takes wisdom and that takes experience. Full stop. I’m sorry, I like Mayor Pete, but he is manifestly not qualified for the position.

  168. It would be interesting to know your opinion on the qualifications and fitness for office of Trump or George W Bush. Clearly not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

  169. When you are Mayor, people are constantly in your face. Look at how the gelatinous Mitch McConnell melted under the restaurant confrontations. Former two term Governor Jerry Brown said he learned most from being Mayor of Oakland. Not surprised.

  170. "Some Democratic rivals question whether Mr. Buttigieg has the experience to be president." Seriously, I just want someone who uses Twitter less often.

  171. Compare this mostly fawning portrait of Buttigieg versus the article (for which no comments are allowed) reporting on Warren's criticism of Bloomberg with its harsh tones, exhaustive accounting of her campaign woes, and repeated negative framing: "Warren Says Bloomberg Shouldn’t Be Nominee, Citing Redlining Remarks" "Her comments about Michael Bloomberg, who has faced criticism over a statement he made 12 years ago [he's changed!] about a discriminatory housing practice, came as she tries to reignite enthusiasm for her campaign. [not because its true!]" And later: "Two days later, after speculation over how long she could remain in the race, she slammed Mr. Bloomberg..." Again, claiming her criticism of Bloomberg is just a sign of her trying to pump up her lagging campaign. And yet, the same article later calls her charge against him, dismissively, "evergreen." Does the Times feel like she squandered her half of their endorsement?

  172. LOOK AT THAT PHOTO! There's something we haven't seen in awhile: a chief executive with substantive work -- lots of it -- on his desk.

  173. @GK Because he didn't stay and do it the night before. Had to get home to cook dinner.

  174. @MacIver And I'll bet he does that extremely well, too.

  175. Another “puff” piece by the media in hopes of making dreams come true. So many candidates including Bernie actually speak to people’s needs yet they’re denigrated. What is news worthy? Why are there no standards for what makes front page story? Why doesn’t Warren get a free feature about how her work can translate into being president?

  176. Are you kidding me? The Times and most left-of-center media has been critical toward Buttigieg. The Times endorsed Warren and Klobuchar.

  177. Pete is a child, mouthing the comments and wishes of his elders. a result of the Anything But Bernie policy adopted by the hierarchy of the Democratic Party.

  178. Whatever miracles Buttigieg was able to accomplish or not, it seems that being a mayor of even a somewhat small city would be a better training ground than being in Congress where the main job seems to be to vote the party line and raise campaign funds.

  179. can you imagine an an article in this paper on why concerns about Sanders' "socialist politics" are overblown? perhaps referencing the state of affairs throughout other Western democracies? no? me neither. I wonder why...

  180. Pete Buttigieg is a very impressive Presidential Candidate, he’s very smart and is cool under fire, precisely who you want Running the world’s most important economy. I’d be happy to see him become President, although I don’t think he’ll get the chance.

  181. In office, Buttigieg learned to adjust his style and become more of a coalition-builder. In office, Trump has learned nothing and has become more authoritarian and corrupt. I'll take the former over the latter hands down.

  182. Past is anyways prologue... Hard pass on Pete. Warren and Sanders are the real deal; they have devoted their lives to fighting for citizen rights, safety and protections.

  183. Finally a balanced article on Mayor Pete's accomplishments.

  184. It is not so much that Buttigieg is or isn’t qualified- by traditional standards of preparation for the presidency, absolutely not. By the debased current standard of the present President, sure I guess, though i’d elect a cocker spaniel over Trump. It’s the arrogance and presumptuousness of thinking that all one needs to do to earn the Presidency of the United States is to be the mayor of a tiny midwestern town for a short time. Maybe win a statewide office first?

  185. @gpearlman Arrogant and presumptuous? Nah. Look at what Pete has managed to accomplish in a year - from $0, no name recognition, 4-person staff, about 20,000 email list to being one of the front runners, not by promising free stuff or resorting to divisive rhetoric to excite the base. His campaign staff and supporters are among the most respectful, following his "Rules of the Road." I cannot wait what Pete could do for our nation as POTUS!

  186. Probably as good of campaign article as Mayor Pete could get, while sticking to facts. To me his biggest virtue is his ability to grow. The Biden supporter who said he is ready on day 2 of a crisis meant it as a criticism. When it comes to the issues being discussed here, being ready on day 2 is a lot better than most people. If the younger Bush had been ready on day 2 of the Katrina crisis he would have done a lot better. That does bring up questions of foreign policy, when day 2 can sometimes be too late. But none of his Democratic opponents is a foreign policy genius. Does this mean I support Mayor Pete. No. I'm still a Warren supporter. I really do think she's the best mix of experience and vision, and despite the rigidity that plans can imply, she is quite capable of compromise. But if it can't be her and this comes down to Mayor Pete and Bernie and Amy, I will have to give him serious consideration. Can the others grow? I don't know. I'm pretty sure he can; I just don't know if it would be fast enough, particularly when it comes to the "take no prisoners" politics of the present.

  187. I like Mayor Pete. I lived in South Bend as a graduate student at Notre Dame. What is critical for Mayor Pete is not so much that he knows how to listen to the concerns of constituents, but rather, how he forms judgments about the best policies for fixing things. Given Trump’s woeful lack of respect for the checks and balances of the Founding Fathers, Pete would be a welcome successor to Trump’s disastrous administration. But he will have to surround himself with a team of advisors skilled in Economics, Foreign Policy and Civility (in dealing with a likely Republican Senate) to get anything done.

  188. @Michael V. And I have no doubt that he will surround himself with such persons (and already has if you look at some of his campaign advisors). Pete is extremely intelligent; he has also made it clear numerous times that when it comes to Cabinet picks and other appointments, he does not want to be the smartest person in the room. He will choose wisely and well.

  189. Buttigieg is ready on Day 2 he says. Is anyone ready on Day 1? No one questioned the ability of a businessmen (who refused to show his tax returns which would have been the best proof of his competence in that) who had no experience in governing at any level, or in respecting the rule of law. So we now have a CEO of the country who thinks HE IS above every branch of the government. These are dangerous times and something radically different is needed -- we need someone who is less polarizing than most of the candidates out there who are offering unrealistic versions of Utopia. Here is a guy who is just so sensible, practical and moderate.

  190. Mayors’ and governors’ experiences are more relevant to the office of President than legislators’. Mayor Pete may be young, but the old people in the race (I’m 61 BTW) - Sanders, Biden, Warren, Bloomberg and trump - should get out of the way for the next generation of leaders. Boomers just can’t let go of thinking they are the only ones who can and should lead. Aging political leaders in both parties have done almost nothing to groom younger people to be our future national leaders. That’s one reason why the Dem candidates for president are not as inspiring as voters might like.

  191. So, you think a mayor is more qualified than a representative or a senator? Even one who was in charge of a town of just 100,000? Sorry, but I disagree.

  192. Flint isn't a particularly good comparison. The increase in lead levels (that never amounted to actual poisoning) in Flint was very small (Mother Jones published a graph, on which it was almost invisible). Lead levels were much higher, everywhere, decades ago because of lead in gasoline. In the late 1970's the national average level in children was 14 micro-g/dl (the usual unit). The present "action" levels (at which you get concerned and try to find out where it is coming from) are 5 and 10 (same units). So, 40 years ago almost every US child had lead levels that would be alarmingly high today. Did they cause any harm? Hard to say, but obviously not catastrophic. We're not all mentally disabled. What were the actual numbers in South Bend? That should be part of the story.

  193. @Jonathan Katz Your characterization of the crisis in Flint as "no big deal" is completely uninformed, and it's irresponsible of the Times to even publish your comment.

  194. Buttigieg is light years more suitable for the presidency of USA than POTUS Trump.

  195. That's still not convincing enough for the Bernie or Burn supporters.

  196. Glad you’re speaking for me.

  197. Every time I see an article like this on the front page without an article that talks about our party’s actual front runner it gives fuel to the narrative that the media has it out for Bernie Sanders. I’m not asking for the times to repeat Fox News talking points in the name of both sides but Sanders and has a better record than this guy why resist it so much? A lot of this housing revitalization stuff with luxury condos sounds like a gentrification ploy - I grew up in NYC and living there is uncomfortably expensive. I’m all for bike lanes but unless there’s a real concrete divider on them it’s not safe enough for a mass of people to embrace it. The more I compare Bernie and Pete I can see that Bernie has everyone’s interest in mind and isn’t beholden to corporate money. The sunrise movement endorses Bernie, unions endorse Bernie - he doesn’t have these NDA’s with shady consulting company’s. It would seem easy to endorse him but I sense a hesitancy. This upsets me because I feel like I’m being betrayed by a publication that’s widely trusted and that’s supposed to have my interest in mind. I’m a NYT subscriber and listen to the daily everyday but all this nonsense on Twitter about the top two story’s of the day are second and third place in New Hampshire is irksome.

  198. @Garrett Mcdonald Bernie Sanders has been around for years and years and was fully vetted during the last Democratic primary. Mayor Pete and many of the other candidates are relatively new to most of the country. It's not hard to see why they objectively merit more coverage.

  199. @Garrett Mcdonald It sounds like you are suggesting that Sanders should get 50% of the news coverage and everyone else should split the remaining half seven ways. I don't agree that that would be equitable. Also, while Sanders might be favored to win by some analysts right now, he is currently in second place in the delegate count, behind the subject of this article. By that measure, the coverage here IS going to the front-runner, even if many suspect he will not maintain that status.

  200. @Garrett Mcdonald For the love of Pete would you defensive Bernie supporters just give it up?

  201. What the last general election taught me: A lot of people who were qualified to vote were not able to vote, and the Republican party loves that people get disenfranchised from our general elections - well, at least people who are American citizens. They obviously don't mind any of the Russian interference.

  202. As long as Democrats and the media try to find squeaky clean and politically correct person in all aspect, Democrat will never win. Democrat candidates traditionally try to please everybody, which hits the wall eventually. Nobody can please everybody at all issues. People needs to compromise. We can't get them all as we wish.

  203. So, a guy who didn’t serve a full term as a US Senator, but had been in the Illinois State Senate and a Chicago community organizer WAS ready on Day One? Not hardly. And he won the D nomination over a woman who had been a rather independent First Lady and was in the US Senate when he got there. Even Hillary’s “ringing telephone ad” did her no good. And Barack Obama beat a sitting US Senator who’d had a military career. Trump has demonstrated that even a non-office holder can ascend to the highest office in the land. For many, being Mayor sounds like a sleepy honorary job. It’s not. You are closest to the people and their needs. You are closest to the police officers and the decisions they make. You are closest to the economic fortunes of your city. I’m planning to vote for the other mayor in the race, not because he ran a larger city — New York City — but because he brings a wealth of experience with him. That in no way denigrates Pete Buttigieg’s experience. Shame on Joe Biden for trying to poke at Buttigieg for “not being ready” while the former Vice President gets haughty and defensive over questions about Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill and his reported unwillingness to kill Osama Bin Laden. If Pete is the nominee of the Democrats this year, I’ll enthusiastically vote for him.

  204. @Mark H Obama is a good comparison, because he also talked a good game, and then rolled over and let Wall St do whatever they wanted, just like Mayor Pete will.

  205. No amount of job experience can prepare a candidate to be the POTUS; that individual will be required to make decisions that will affect the entire planet. I'm 70 years old, and, from my perspective, old folks need not apply due to the sheer work load and vast amounts of information to be processed.

  206. A great write-up of the complex difficult challenges of reversing urban decay, tax base flight and revitalizating a disappeared heartland industrial base. It also shows an intelligent, listening candidate who learns from mistakes and -- contrary to nonsense parroted by way too many who know better -- has earned a lot of local, minority support. In the end, Rahm Emanuel (another mayor) is spot on. You want a President self-reflective, with the capacity to grow, young enough to be flexible, secure in his judgement, smart enough to hire smart people to tell him about the things he doesn't know. And that's a definite no, no, no, no, and no to Donald Trump, by the way.

  207. I plan to vote for Mr. Buttigieg in the Florida primary on March 17. I appreciate his calm, rational and reasoned approach and his ability to answer questions without stumbling or evading. But, even if he is not the Democratic nominee, I will vote for whomever is. Erasing the stain of Trump is the most urgent aspect of 2020.

  208. I like Mayor Pete. But I’m at a loss to understand why we think there is any equivalency with, say, Elizabeth Warren. Can you imagine for a minute a female candidate for President his age, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana being covered this way? No, me neither. How about a female Donald Trump personality getting to the West Wing? Not a chance. But we have phenomenally experienced, whip smart, dedicated women like Clinton and Warren who, somehow, aren’t ever appealing enough. Why is that?

  209. @Barbara Grob I voted for Hilary, and she would've been POTUS had not been the electoral college fiasco. I voted for Liz for Senate. She is a great Senator. By age alone, 38 years old is insufficient, but we are not taling about any 38 years old. The totality of Pete is more than convincing to me. I would be so excited when Pete becomes POTUS. To me, this is not about male or female (I'm female BTW). It is about skill sets, temperament, and vision.

  210. @Barbara Grob The XX chromosome?

  211. @Barbara Grob Pete Buttigieg exposed the fraud that was Elizabeth Warren's MfA 'plan.' Hillary Clinton carried decades of uniquely heavy baggage, often of her own making. That's why.

  212. We currently have a sociopathic, failed buisnessman ex-realty TV show host, with the temperament of a six-year-old, and people DARE to question Mayor Pete's qualifications? How sad.

  213. I have nothing against Pete, but he wasn’t a good Mayor. He modeled uniforms in the military. He is not cut out to be president. I realize the left only wants a poster President to do pre scripted talk shows, then let the real work be done by the puppet masters, but I want someone capable enough to do the job themselves. Someone authentic & real. Oh wait! We have that right now!

  214. What a ridiculous question in this day and age. Mr. Buttigieg is clearly a very intelligent and mature individual with the capacity to understand the Constitution - a far cry from the current president who is *still* not fit for office.

  215. This is a fatuous question to even ask considering the current occupant of the White House. It is hard to imagine anyone on the planet being less prepared to be president than an overgrown child with the attention span of a gnat and the morals of an alley cat.

  216. @Jim Dickinson That's unfair to gnats and alley cats.