Many exciting things are happening in Washington now that January, a godawful month full of terror and elation and then more terror, is over. The Senate confirmed a handful of President Biden’s cabinet appointees today, including the boy wonder from South Bend, noted snow plow enthusiast and polyglot, Pete Buttigieg.
Congratulations are certainly in order for Buttigieg, who at 39 is the youngest member of the cabinet. In his new position as United States Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg will oversee “a sprawling agency, with jurisdiction over everything from federal highways to pipelines, air traffic and railroads, employing some 55,000 people,” per NPR. That’s an awful lot of moving parts! So many planes, trains, and automobiles to monitor, but I’m sure it won’t be difficult for this Harvard man to manage.
If I were a trusted advisor to Secretary Buttigieg, though, my first order of business would be for the newly-minted government official to hop on the light rail of his choice and hasten to fellow Harvard Man Lawrence O’Donnell’s side, so that he might reckon with why the news professional called him “Poot Beetigieg” on national cable television.
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Though this clip of O’Donnell butchering Buttigieg’s name with an untold amount of confidence is over a week old, it haunts me still. Pete Buttigieg has been on a lot of talk shows. He has said his name out loud, repeatedly, as one does when running for public office, or when one’s name is difficult to pronounce. I only know how to pronounce his name because when he was running for President, thanks to this sort-of helpful explainer from his husband, Chasten.
Nowhere in this tweet does Chasten offer a substitute for “Pete,” and Chasten is insistent that while you can fudge the last two syllables, the first is undeniably Boot. However, Lawrence O’Donnell was probably tired OR he knows something we don’t which is that Poot Beetigieg lives inside Pete Boot-edge-edge and has been yearning to break free.
Poot Beetigieg loves trains. Poot Beetigieg sees truck drivers hauling ass down the interstate and does that thing with his arm to make them toot the horn. Pete Buttigieg will do something to address climate change through his transportation policies, but after-hours, when being a grown-up in meetings is over, Poot will put on his conductor’s hat, climb atop Chasten’s broad shoulders, and drive his husband around his office like a child-sized Jeep Wrangler. “Toot, toot,” he’ll whisper. “I’m Mayor Poot.”