Following one shooting by the police and multiple shots fired at the police in South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is facing a full-blown political crisis. He’s had to skip out on various national campaign events to run back home and try to keep a lid on the situation there. He has activists calling him a racist who can’t keep his cops under control and a police chief who says he’s throwing the cops under a bus. (Both sides have some valid complaints from the look of things.) And now, to top it all off, the former president of the South Bend Common Council is sending out a one-word message to the mayor: Resign. (Free Beacon)
After the fallout from a recent police shooting unleashed turmoil on South Bend, former Common Council president Derek Dieter has a message for Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “resign.”
“Because of Pete’s selfishness, in my opinion, he is still the mayor,” Dieter told the Washington Free Beacon. Dieter explained that if Buttigieg were to resign, a provisional mayor would be chosen in a caucus by city precinct leaders. A new mayor, Dieter said, would be able to devote greater attention to South Bend than Buttigieg as he is running for president.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense. If you’re running for president, that’s a lot of pressure, you got to be on the road,” Dieter said. “Everything that happens in South Bend shouldn’t be on your mind. You should be concentrating on running for president. So, I’m adamant that he should resign as mayor.”
Buttigieg seems to be learning the hard way that holding down two full-time jobs at once isn’t as easy as it looks. This is particularly true for mayors, I suppose since people look to them for stability and executive decisions during a crisis. And the situation in South Bend is definitely approaching crisis levels. He’s probably on the phone on a daily basis sending instructions back home, but that’s not the same as being there in person to take charge.
Oddly enough, the same problems don’t seem to have plagued Bill de Blasio. He’s the mayor of a city with literally one hundred times as many people in it, spends virtually all of his time on the campaign trail and it seems as if hardly anyone has noticed. In fact, some of his critics claim that the Big Apple runs better when he’s not around.
All of this brings up two questions that Karen raised recently, but are particularly applicable as we head into the first debates tonight. First, will the moderators be asking Mayor Pete about the racial/policing issues in South Bend during his five minutes in the spotlight? If not, will his opponents bring the subject up as a way to drag him back down in the polling?
And second, there’s a related but broader question for the Democrats to consider. Mayor Pete is asking for the job of being the leader of the free world. If he can’t keep a city of barely 100,000 souls functioning smoothly, is he really ready for the White House? Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a guy with a great story to tell and he comes off as a sympathetic character the media adores. But if he wants to be President he’s also got to show that he can walk and chew gum at the same time.