CNN and Jake Tapper held two Democratic presidential candidate town halls Sunday night from SXSW in Austin, Texas, adjacent to the well known film festival. David Hogg has spoken there recently, too.
Tulsi Gabbard, from Hawaii, second district, and a Major in the Hawaii National Guard, spoke for the interests of gays and transgender soldiers in the military, and noted that there is no deleterious effect on cohesion.
She was critical of our carelessness (including previous administrations) on North Korea, giving an account of the false (but almost not false) false alarm for 38 minutes in Hawaii in 2017 (when people wondered who they wanted to spend time with in their last minutes).
She tried to explain the Ilhan Omar controversy (Newsweek) -- but on the surface, to me, there is no reason you can’t be faithful to Judaism and oppose aggressive settlements, or even why you can’t practice Christian and Judaic practices simultaneously (Gustav Mahler did).
The main attraction was South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay candidate and youngest ever (at 37). (OK, everybody knows that David Hogg, 18, is running for president already. Don’t be surprised if Nick Sandmann does the same, from the “other side”. Anti-fragility is a good thing.)
Pete is a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 (after the end of “don’t ask don’t tell”).
Buttigieg spoke very clearly and tended to take moderate positions and leave room for compromise. He sounded much more “conservative” and even cautious and calculating than the radical wing of the Democratic party.
He pointed out that both he and the other guest this even have considerable military experience which Trump does not. Both are still commissioned. That gives them understanding of the risks in foreign policy recklessness or bravado – he seemed to say that he would be glad to be the adult in the room now if needed. He has more years of public service experience than the president (not that business experience isn’t valuable – imagine Tim Cook as a candidate, or Mark Cuban, maybe Barbara Corcoran). Local governments and states can’t print money or mine cryptocurrency. They can’t shut down.
He said he favored looking at the idea of semi-voluntary national service. He talked about Stockton, CA’s experiment with a universal basic income idea. I remember seeing the ships at Stockton's inland seaport from I-5 last September.
He called Mike Pence a “cheerleader for the porn star presidency”.
He did not seem to be as concerned about some of the free speech controversies as I had hoped. He favors the European idea of “a right to be forgotten”.
Buttigieg favors expanding the Supreme Court to fifteen seats, with five of them admitted only on unanimous consent of the other ten.
He used the term “climate security” as a component of national security.
I befriended someone when living in Minneapolis who was attended law school at U of Illinois and became a prosecutor in the Evansville, IN area.