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Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.
Burning with the velocity of a prairie fire on a gusty Indiana day, Pete Buttigieg scorched the airwaves, seared the podcasts, and charred the press this week as he ignited his presidential campaign, temporarily torching his Democratic competition in the process.
Buttigieg - Publicity - Run - Matthew - Yglesias
The secret to Buttigieg’s publicity run was no secret, wrote Matthew Yglesias in Vox. Like Molly Bloom in his favorite novel, Ulysses, he can’t stop saying “yes”—to media invitations. In recent weeks, he’s appeared on a CNN town hall, Ellen, A-list podcasts and Morning Joe, and been featured in New York, POLITICO Magazine, the Atlantic and much more. But saying yes is never enough to hold the press spellbound. Buttigieg has satisfied the ravenous press corps’ appetite by offering them an entire menu of newish things—no, make that an entire food court of newish things—to write about. He’s the youngest candidate in the field (at 37, he’s the only millennial except for Tulsi Gabbard), he’s gay and married, he’s an Afghan war veteran, he’s a Rhodes scholar (as is Cory Booker, but never mind), he plays a decent piano, he’s a churchgoer, he’s the mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana, he once gave a TEDx talk, he worked as a McKinsey consultant, he’s a polymath, he’s as earnest as a preacher, he’s an old person’s idea of what a young person should be like, and he’s figured out how to package progressive ideas as moderate.
The Buttigieg boom has also benefited from the stumbles of our previous political shooting star, Beto O’Rourke. Was it only weeks ago that the press began swooning for O’Rourke like a drunken conventioneer, writing about him with the same frequency it does for Buttigieg today? The things that once seemed so appealing about O’Rourke to the press—the generalities, the...
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