Politico concluded Friday that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is “sitting pretty” and “already won” even if the “infrastructure” deal he is pitching fails.
The D.C. insider site reported:
It’s a posting that has never led to the presidency, yet some say Buttigieg has positioned himself well by taking the gig, right when fixing roads and bridges is the issue. There are other Cabinet secretaries on Biden’s infrastructure sales team, such as Energy’s JENNIFER GRANHOLM, Commerce’s GINA RAIMONDO, HUD’s MARCIA FUDGE and Labor’s MARTY WALSH. But it’s Buttigieg who’s been on late-night TV not once, but twice — not to mention appearing on “The View” and hopping aboard an Amtrak for a “Today” show soft-focus feature. Back in April, he sat next to Biden in the armed seat typically designated for the VP (KAMALA HARRIS was in North Carolina promoting manufacturing that day).
Biden seems happy to share the infrastructure glory with Buttigieg, whom he’s compared to his late son Beau.
Politico claimed Buttigieg “has gotten all the upside and none of the dirty work,” and would not be blamed if a fragile bipartisan deal falls apart.
Buttigieg’s portfolio of feel-good work was contrasted with that of Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been tasked with advancing the Democrats’ federal takeover of elections (HR 1) and solving the southern border crisis.
From the early days of the Biden administration, it was speculated Buttigieg would leverage the infrastructure plan for his own future political aspirations.
In March, Yahoo News reported Buttigieg was promoting the infrastructure proposal and boosting “his own brand in the process.”
“He gets to be Build Back Better,” an anonymous former presidential campaign staffer told Yahoo, referring to Biden’s campaign slogan.
“He gets blank checks. He can tie himself to feel-good projects coming out of the administration,” the person said.
Yahoo noted the spending extravaganza also affords Buttigieg the opportunity to travel the country and introduce himself “to prospective voters, and tout those aforementioned feel-good projects to media both national and local.”
In June, the Atlantic laid out Buttigieg’s potential path to the presidency in 2024, undoubtedly built upon exposure he has received selling the infrastructure plan:
Here’s the winner of the 2020 Iowa caucus, living out his grand political plan to … how exactly would it work? Something like: He takes an inherently snoozer job as a low-ranking Cabinet official, spends a few years quietly kissing up to mostly forgettable members of Congress with talk about railroads and broadband, and going on TV to defend the administration. Along the way, he counts on Biden not to run again and Kamala Harris not to emerge as Biden’s natural heir. If everything comes together perfectly, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, becomes the first president since Herbert Hoover to have come out of the Cabinet.
“For now, though, Buttigieg is the public point man for the infrastructure bill,” reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere wrote.