Pete Buttigieg: Hey, sorry for saying "all lives matter"

It makes me laugh that not even the lefty flavor of the month can escape getting hit for lack of wokeness while he’s enjoying his moment in the sun. His offense in this case: A single pedestrian comment made four years ago which, in context, obviously wasn’t intended to minimize police brutality against blacks.

“There is no contradiction between respecting the risks that police officers take every day in order to protect this community, and recognizing the need to overcome the biases implicit in a justice system that treats people from different backgrounds differently, even when they are accused of the same offenses,” Buttigieg said at the time.

“We need to take both those things seriously, for the simple and profound reason that all lives matter,” he said.

His point was that it’s no excuse for cops to say that their job is hard when it comes to racial bias. Yet because he’s technically guilty of a thoughtcrime, declaring that “all lives matter” instead of “black lives matter,” he must atone. Another (much longer) longshot candidate in the race, Wayne Messam, dinged Buttigieg for his transgression today:

Wayne Messam, the Democratic mayor of Miramar, Fla., and a long-shot 2020 presidential contender, said Buttigieg’s comments “lack true understanding of the issue at hand.”

“Black Americans have organized all across this country because we have an unequal justice system, not because anyone demands special privileges,” Messam said in a statement. “‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean that all lives do not matter, rather it is a cry for equal treatment in the greater circle of justice for all Americans. This is an important issue and we should not muddy the water as Democrats.”

Right, the objection to “all lives matter” among activists is that it’s actually a coded appeal for the status quo on how the justice system handles black offenders. “Black lives matter” stresses the value of black lives not because blacks matter more but because they’re regarded as mattering less; it’s tantamount to saying “we’re people too” and insisting that American justice should reflect that. “All lives matter” can come off as a way of dismissing that, implying either that blacks are already treated fairly or that, to the extent the system is unfair, blacks bear no special burden of unfairness.

Which, again, obviously wasn’t what Buttigieg meant when he said it. But lefties are tallying up his ideological sins and won’t object much if that’s added to the pile, particularly if he gains enough momentum to start posing problems for Bernie Sanders:

Some local activists have for years been critical of Buttigieg’s economic policies, which they say have disproportionately benefited white residents while doing little to address a higher unemployment rate among minorities. His critics also say Buttigieg’s comments as mayor don’t always stack up against his progressive rhetoric as a presidential candidate.

“That’s four years ago, but it was not that long ago. It was not a time when ‘all lives matter’ was a smart thing to say, or reflective of someone who is concerned about black people being killed by the police,” said Nate Levin-Aspenson, a local organizer in South Bend.

“Take a look at what he is saying now, and compare that to his record as mayor. See what you find,” Levin-Aspenson told CNBC. The punchline is that Buttigieg isn’t an immediate threat to Sanders, he’s probably more of a threat to Beto O’Rourke since they’re competing for the niche of fresh-faced idealist onto whom liberals can project their fondest policy hopes and dreams. If Buttigieg ends up being marginalized due to crimes against wokeness and O’Rourke’s momentum grows, Beto might end up in a position to challenge Sanders — even though Beto’s probably less of a true-blue progressive than Buttigieg is. (He’s trying to atone, though, most recently by promising to sign a House bill that would create a commission to study racial reparations.)

Here’s Buttigieg explaining his “all lives matter” comment after addressing Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention this morning. He was careful to note that “black lives matter” in his speech, needless to say.