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Will Ricciardella: Pete Buttigieg is trying to replace Joe Biden in the moderate lane

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For months, I’ve warned that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a chameleon, which makes him arguably the most dangerous Democratic candidate if he gets the nomination. He is able to seem radical when necessary to hyper-leftist Democrats while making sense to moderate Democrats and Independents. But as he demonstrated in the last debate, he seems to be leaning towards the center as Joe Biden flails around trying to stay afloat.

He has raised more money than the former Vice President while spending much less, holding twice as much money in hand. His poll numbers are rising; in Iowa, he has jumped ahead of Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders to be a mere five points behind Biden and four points behind Senator Elizabeth Warren.

His public option healthcare plan, Medicare-for-All-Who-Want-It, is radical while seeming pragmatic compared to Bernie Sanders’s and Warren’s insurance-killing Medicare-for-All. But as our EIC noted, Buttigieg’s and others’ “lite” versions of Medicare-for-All may actually be worse in the long-run than that full-blown socialist version. Nevertheless, it sounds better to tell people they can keep their healthcare coverage if they prefer it or take advantage of the public option if they choose.

Liz Wheeler at One America News noted that Buttigieg is not a moderate by any stretch of the imagination, pointing to his policies as far to the left of President Obama. But her guest, Washington Examiner‘s Will Ricciardella, noted that he’s positioning himself to be able to walk back his more radical proposals during the general election if he wins the nomination.

Being a political chameleon is bad enough, but Buttigieg has other attributes that concern me. He is extremely intelligent and has the paperwork to prove it, having graduated magna cum laude from Harvard before becoming a Rhodes Scholar. He speaks eight languages, served in Afghanistan with U.S. Naval Intelligence, and has proven to be well-spoken on the campaign trail and during debates.

Liz Wheeler is correct that Buttigieg isn’t a moderate, and Will Ricciardella is right that his positions can be walked back in the general election while other candidates cannot. He may be a better Biden-esque candidate than Joe Biden.

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