Why did the media dump Beto for Pete?

In case you haven't noticed, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg is running for president.  And the rollout of his campaign has been nothing short of spectacular.  He's getting rave reviews from the media and Democrats (I know, I know — they're the same thing) and has wowed audiences in Iowa.

Lost in the shuffle is yesterday's Golden Boy, Beto O'Rourke.  After an initial burst of enthusiasm from the media-Democratic complex, the love affair appears to have cooled a bit.

Politico explains Beto's fall from godhood:

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 swooningfor 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 platitudes, the offhanded charisma, the rolled-up sleeves — seem off-putting now.  The clearest sign of the press corps' O'Rourke infatuation was its routine reference to him by his first name in its stories — something it has moved on to doing with Buttigieg.  Such shameful and transparent familiarity.

Having stripped the Kennedyesque Texan of his novelty, the press corps has dumped him for the Kennedyesque Hoosier like a speed-dater on the rebound from a Tinder relationship gone bad.  Its transition to Buttigieg has been seamless, finding in him another candidate who speaks complete sentences, who likes the camera almost as much as it likes him, who subscribes to the usual Democratic articles of faith and scans like a lost episode of The West Wing.

This kind of hero-worship of politicians is idiotic.  And the reasons for treating both Beto and Mayor Pete as actual, real leaders despite their massive lack of experience is as childish as it gets: they're telegenic.

The fear of boredom plagues political reporters.  Assigned to a well-known candidate, their first question is, "Haven't we read this all before?"  They crave novelty and newness, for the underexposed over the overexposed, and that prejudice gives relatively unknown candidates a leg up on established ones, especially in the early months of the campaign.  Booker and Elizabeth Warren, whom the press once treated as fresh, almost delectable personages a couple of years ago, are now dismissed as known, lackluster quantities.

A budding candidate like Buttigieg, on the other hand, gives reporters and editors a sense of discovery as they unearth the details from old lawsuits and busted business deals, gaffes preserved by C-SPAN, and tales from schoolmates.  If a candidate's personal history is ordinary, reporters can burn through it in a couple of weeks.  But an extraordinary personal history like Buttigieg's makes for an endlessly writable event.  Think of Buttigieg as a newborn just delivered to his newsroom parents, his every grin and wink and grimace worthy of endless analysis and discussion, and you begin to fathom the press corps' fascination with him.

This kind of obsessiveness is usually reserved for movie stars or pop musicians.  And I suppose that's what our politicians have become — salable commodities whose personalities and idiosyncrasies are the subjects of endless discussion and speculation.

This may explain the media fascination with Mayor Pete.  But what about Democratic primary voters?  They have embraced Buttigieg like no Democratic candidate since, well, Barack Obama.  Why is that?

A Democratic primary voter who chooses to support O'Rourke, or Warren, or Bernie can't display their tolerance and fairness by voting for a straight white male or female.  But Democrats can glory in their own innate goodness by choosing to support a gay man claiming to be married.  He is a symbol of their support for "diversity."  Supporting him makes Democrats feel good about themselves.  All Buttigieg had to do was present himself as a reasonable, articulate promoter of Democratic issues, and the groundswell was bound to begin.

Pete Buttigieg has a lot of problems heading into the primaries, and it's likely that his halo will become skewed at some point along the way.  But we should never underestimate Democrats' capacity to feel they have to "prove" how tolerant and diverse they are by choosing a candidate based on little more than the idea that he belongs to some favored constituency.

In case you haven't noticed, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg is running for president.  And the rollout of his campaign has been nothing short of spectacular.  He's getting rave reviews from the media and Democrats (I know, I know — they're the same thing) and has wowed audiences in Iowa.

Lost in the shuffle is yesterday's Golden Boy, Beto O'Rourke.  After an initial burst of enthusiasm from the media-Democratic complex, the love affair appears to have cooled a bit.

Politico explains Beto's fall from godhood:

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 swooningfor 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 platitudes, the offhanded charisma, the rolled-up sleeves — seem off-putting now.  The clearest sign of the press corps' O'Rourke infatuation was its routine reference to him by his first name in its stories — something it has moved on to doing with Buttigieg.  Such shameful and transparent familiarity.

Having stripped the Kennedyesque Texan of his novelty, the press corps has dumped him for the Kennedyesque Hoosier like a speed-dater on the rebound from a Tinder relationship gone bad.  Its transition to Buttigieg has been seamless, finding in him another candidate who speaks complete sentences, who likes the camera almost as much as it likes him, who subscribes to the usual Democratic articles of faith and scans like a lost episode of The West Wing.

This kind of hero-worship of politicians is idiotic.  And the reasons for treating both Beto and Mayor Pete as actual, real leaders despite their massive lack of experience is as childish as it gets: they're telegenic.

The fear of boredom plagues political reporters.  Assigned to a well-known candidate, their first question is, "Haven't we read this all before?"  They crave novelty and newness, for the underexposed over the overexposed, and that prejudice gives relatively unknown candidates a leg up on established ones, especially in the early months of the campaign.  Booker and Elizabeth Warren, whom the press once treated as fresh, almost delectable personages a couple of years ago, are now dismissed as known, lackluster quantities.

A budding candidate like Buttigieg, on the other hand, gives reporters and editors a sense of discovery as they unearth the details from old lawsuits and busted business deals, gaffes preserved by C-SPAN, and tales from schoolmates.  If a candidate's personal history is ordinary, reporters can burn through it in a couple of weeks.  But an extraordinary personal history like Buttigieg's makes for an endlessly writable event.  Think of Buttigieg as a newborn just delivered to his newsroom parents, his every grin and wink and grimace worthy of endless analysis and discussion, and you begin to fathom the press corps' fascination with him.

This kind of obsessiveness is usually reserved for movie stars or pop musicians.  And I suppose that's what our politicians have become — salable commodities whose personalities and idiosyncrasies are the subjects of endless discussion and speculation.

This may explain the media fascination with Mayor Pete.  But what about Democratic primary voters?  They have embraced Buttigieg like no Democratic candidate since, well, Barack Obama.  Why is that?

A Democratic primary voter who chooses to support O'Rourke, or Warren, or Bernie can't display their tolerance and fairness by voting for a straight white male or female.  But Democrats can glory in their own innate goodness by choosing to support a gay man claiming to be married.  He is a symbol of their support for "diversity."  Supporting him makes Democrats feel good about themselves.  All Buttigieg had to do was present himself as a reasonable, articulate promoter of Democratic issues, and the groundswell was bound to begin.

Pete Buttigieg has a lot of problems heading into the primaries, and it's likely that his halo will become skewed at some point along the way.  But we should never underestimate Democrats' capacity to feel they have to "prove" how tolerant and diverse they are by choosing a candidate based on little more than the idea that he belongs to some favored constituency.