If you hate Pete Buttigieg, wait till you get a load of his swag. It’s all there: the pandering, the strings of shiny words that add up to nothing, the glaring reminders that he was born in the ’80s and has totally seen movies. If hell has a merch table, this is it.
Some of this swag is official and some of it comes from PeteSwag.com, an ostensibly unofficial store. But there’s a fair amount of overlap on the two sites (e.g., “Chasten for First Gent”), a lot of unofficial “Lis Smith Fan Club” stuff (insert puzzled emoji here), and recently, a “Be Like Pete” tee disappeared from the official store before appearing the next day on PeteSwag.com. Conspiracy theorists, make of that what you will.
Got a barf bag handy? Good, on to the swag.
This went over well Pete has almost no Black fans, and his attempts to remedy the issue have been embarrassing: quoting Scripture, equating homosexuality with being a person of color, leaking a report that pinned his unpopularity on homophobia, fabricating Black support, and now this token T-shirt, the only one under the Black Americans “Coalition” in his store. (He also has a Latinos Coalition and a Pride Coalition. Yes, if there’s one thing human beings love, it’s being lumped together based on their race or sex or sexuality as opposed to their values.)
This dude didn’t even invest in Black South Bend. He turned a blind eye to institutional racism. Coming from Pete, a more honest tee would read “Invest in Black Focus Groups.”
Really homing in the MFA Guy demo here. Probably the worst part about Mayor Pete being a “self-appointed whiskey curator” is that no self-respecting person can ever drink whiskey again.
There are only three people in the Lis Smith Fan Club: Pete Buttigieg, @easychinedu, and Lis Smith. We refuse to believe that PeteSwag has sold more than zero of these to non-staff members. Whoever designed this collection took the phrase “High Hopes” to delusional new heights.
The “She’s the Method” mug really captures what women are all about, which is… giant heels. Who wouldn’t want to start their morning with Lis Smith’s foot in their mouth? She’s the method and he’s the message, and that message is “Buttabeep & Buttaboop for Prezidieg.”
Twitter loves to post this Simpsons clip in response to Pete quotes (sometimes Twitter is good), but honestly, Twirling Towards Freedom sounds more dynamic and progressive than Pete’s platform. A politician running on “Freedom, Security, Democracy” is like an automaker slinging cars with the slogan “Wheels, Brakes, Engine.” Actually it’s worse, because at least those parts are tangible things that a car has. Everything Pete says sounds like it was spit out of a jargon-heavy Happy Abstract Generator. It’s like the world’s worst marketing meeting is happening inside his brain at all times, then we have to suffer through all the changes the CEO made to the copy.
“Respect, Belonging, Truth, Teamwork, Boldness, Responsibility, Substance, Discipline, Excellence, Joy, Pete”? These sound like a CrossFit guy’s goals for the year. For all his education, apparently no one ever told Pete to kill his darlings.
What does this mean? Is this the first presidential campaign to come out in favor of throuples?
Imagine if someone was selling Joe Biden tank tops that said “My Other Wife Is a Jill,” or Cory Booker tanks that said “My Other Sleep Is a Coffee.” This shirt is every bit as cringey and weird.
It wouldn’t be Pete swag if, like Pete himself, it didn’t constantly remind us that he’s kind of young. “Just in my lifetime…,” he likes to say, signaling that his existence (unlike Bernie’s, Biden’s, Bloomberg’s, or Trump’s) has not been very long: a mere 38 years. But in trying to present himself as the Change Candidate/Obama 2.0, Pete only underscores A, his vast inexperience; B, his craven centrism; and C, what a turnoff it is that someone so young is basically a Republican. As others have noted, the endless harping on his youth makes him seem like a traitor to his generation. As a result, the tactic works mostly on Boomers, among whom Pete has secured the Nice, Well-Spoken Young Man title. Millennials loathe this climber while flocking to the more progressive wing occupied by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and who can blame them? Pete represents everything so many of them can’t stand, while suggesting at every turn that he speaks for all of them.
His “Win the Era” shirt led us to this amazing Reddit thread, which is definitely NOT Pete Buttigieg chiming in to praise Pete Buttigieg from three different burner accounts. We cannot stress enough how much we love picturing this scenario, especially in light of Pete’s Wiki-mystery and all the seemingly phony for-Pete accounts.
Win the Era is an incredibly stupid and hollow piece of writing from someone whose love of literature and letters the media keep shoving down our throats. If this guy adores words so much, why can’t he arrange them in a coherent or meaningful way? How does he define this era, and how does one “win” it? (A nightmare comes to mind: President Pete beaming in front of a banner that reads “AMBITION ACCOMPLISHED.”) If Win the Era means enacting sweeping change over the next century or so, why has Pete claimed the middle lane of this primary and not endorsed Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, etc.? This mantra—hell, this whole campaign—is like a bad fortune cookie: flimsy, bland, and full of nebulous promises.
Don’t bother trying to make sense of it. Just drop it in the trash.