Friday, November 27, 2009

You Beeda Judge on Democrat's Treasurer Candidate

It has been a while since I've felt as much downticket excitement on the D side as surrounds treasurer candidate Pete Buttigieg (phonetically "boota-judge").

Okay, let's start with the obvious. Outside of South Bend, Pete is going to have some "name combat" problems. You can't put "butt" on the ballot without some Beavis & Butthead-types giggles. But if people weren't able to overcome "bad" political names, Republican John Doolittle (CA-4) wouldn't be in Congress right now.

Moreover, Pete has already taken a huge leap with a quirky mantra of "Meet Pete," which emphasizes folksy, Hoosier charm and accessibility, something impressive from a guy so well-credentialed.

Pete was valedictorian of St. Joseph’s High School, a magna grad from Harvard, and a Rhodes Scholar who studied economics at Oxford. Pete is now a business consultant who travels internationally, but that's only one of the many impressive things on his resume.

Pete was a co-founder of the Democratic Renaissance Project and a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. He worked on Capitol Hill, and at NBC in Chicago. He won the John F. Kennedy Library’s “Profiles in Courage” national essay contest, has served as president of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and also as an editor at the prestigious Oxford International Review. Pete’s work has appeared on NPR, local television and radio, the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe, and the New York Times.

What I like most about Pete is his vision for breathing some expanded life into the treasurer's office (let's call it the "vision thing"), and his ability to translate seemingly mundane tasks, such as portfolio management, into our most fundamental life goals. Nothing is more frustrating to me as a politico than a candidate who is unable to articulate why what he or she does matters to the common person's life.

"Pete" has a sweet reply for that question.


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