'Mayor Pete, the centrist rockstar' is only a liberal fantasy

Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegFive takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Five takeaways from first Democratic debate lineup Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement MORE, the youthful, charismatic mayor of South Bend, Ind., is not the centrist rockstar that mainstream media are trying to portray him to be. On the contrary, Buttigieg actually is a socialist hypocrite.

On paper, Buttigieg has a quirky jumble of virtues that are designed to appeal, however paradoxically, to all of 2019 America’s deeply divided sectors.

He’s a committed and unapologetic liberal, who nevertheless slams “social justice warriors.”  

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He’s openly gay and married to a man, but a practicing Christian who quotes Scripture as readily as he does G.K. Chesterton.

He’s a white man who sticks to his small town, Midwestern roots, but also a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard-educated cosmopolitan who speaks eight languages.

He’s a peacenik whose Harvard thesis endorsed Catholic novelist Graham Greene’s critique of American interventionism, but he also volunteered to go to Afghanistan as a military intelligence officer. 

In reality, “Mayor Pete” is just executing a well-crafted pantomime of the ultimate representation of a common ground that doesn’t actually exist in America. Buttigieg’s centrism and moderation, to put it bluntly, is an act only liberals could think stands up to even the most cursory investigation.

As his presidential “exploration” turns to a near-certain campaign, Buttigieg has been forced to give form to his nebulous appeal. Therein lies his problem. As we’re quickly seeing, he offers nothing different than the typical coastal liberals and neosocialist progressives he’s competing against for the Democratic nomination. 

Take Buttigieg’s appeals to Christian conservatives, for example. As soon as he’s put under even the friendliest of microscopes, such as in puff interviews with CNN and NBC, the wheels start to come off. To the extent that he’s prepared to bring religion into the political mix, he vigorously supports the same anti-Christian policy agenda that has been promoted for years by the furthest fringes of the atheist left. 

Late-term abortion to the point of birth, restrictions on pro-life speech, government recognition of gay marriage as equivalent to the biblically prescribed union of a man and woman — all of it is consistent with Buttigieg’s version of Christianity. Needless to say, so is the liberal wish list on a whole host of other issues.

On “Meet the Press,” Buttigieg said that Christ’s dictates about caring for the “least of these my brethren” and the “stranger” means America must do more for immigrants.

Notably, Buttigieg took to Twitter recently to spread nonsense that has been soundly disproven about President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE calling immigrants “animals”; in fact, Trump was referring to MS-13 gang members who have been inflicting brutal violence on American communities.

Buttigieg even had the nerve to call evangelical Christians “hypocrites” for supporting Trump. Buttigieg went so far as to question Trump’s belief in God, chiding Christians for supporting someone who seems to lack the sort of humility that Jesus held up as a spiritual ideal, all while boldly claiming that his own unapologetic same-sex marriage puts him on the “right side of history.”

In a race that is shaping up to be a referendum on socialism in America, liberals have somehow convinced themselves that Buttigieg represents a nonexistent middle ground between an economic system based on freedom and one based on coercion.

The media are playing along with Mayor Pete’s attempt to thread the needle between unrepentant socialists such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Kamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Playing fast and loose with the economic facts MORE (I-Vt.) and President Trump’s determination that “America will never be a socialist country.” This fantasy doesn’t survive even the most basic inspection.

One of the oft-cited entries on Buttigieg’s long list of progressive credentials is winning the JFK Presidential Library’s 2000 “Profile in Courage” essay contest as a teenager. One wonders if the reporters fueling Buttigieg’s growing celebrity actually have read his essay, which cites Bernie Sanders as Buttigieg’s political hero and praises the then-Vermont congressman’s “courage” for adopting the socialist mantle.

It should come as no surprise, then, that even as he now tries to position himself as a “capitalist” presidential candidate, Buttigieg still sees capitalism as being “in tension” with democracy.

Anyone expecting Pete Buttigieg to be the Democratic Party’s centrist savior in a deeply divided presidential race ought to consider that last remark carefully, because it’s a perfect example of the sort of pandering that alienates voters on both ends of the political spectrum.

Buttigieg is no centrist. He’s just another opportunistic politician who thinks he can avoid tackling the real issues by telling everybody what they want to hear. He’s only a rockstar in the imaginations of the mainstream media who are failing to vet him as he masquerades as a credible candidate for president.

Charlie Kirk is the founder and president of Turning Point USA, a conservative nonprofit that aims to educate students on free-market values. You can follow him on Twitter @CharlieKirk11.