HE agrees with each and every observation made by New York‘s Andrew Sullivan about Pete Buttigieg (“Is Pete Buttigieg a Transformational Candidate?”). But Sullivan has forgotten one thing — size. Buttigieg is not a very tall guy (my guess is somewhere between 5’9″ and 5’10”) and Donald Trump is 6’2″. On a primitive gut caveman level Trump is going to look more dominant than Buttigeg if they meet on a debate stage. Which is why I feel better about Beto O’Rourke, who’s about the same as Buttigieg ideologically but is 6’5″ — three inches taller than Trump. I’m sorry but this shit matters.

Sullivan: “Donald Trump would be the oldest president in history at 74; Pete Buttigieg would be the youngest at 39. Trump landed in politics via his money and celebrity after years in the limelight; Buttigieg is the mayor of a midsize midwestern town, unknown until a few weeks ago. Trump is a pathological, malevolent narcissist from New York, breaking all sorts of norms. Buttigieg is a modest, reasonable pragmatist, and a near parody of normality. Trump thrives on a retro heterosexual persona; Buttigieg appears to be a rather conservative, married homosexual. Trump is a coward and draft dodger; Buttigieg served his country. Trump does not read; Buttigieg does. Trump’s genius is demonic demagoguery. Buttigieg’s gig is careful reasoning. Trump is a pagan; Buttigieg is a Christian. Trump vandalizes government; Buttigieg nurtures it.

“To put it simply, Mayor Pete seems almost designed to expose everything that makes the country tired of Trump.

David Brooks rightly notes Buttigieg’s Obama-like combination of somewhat banal leftism with personal rectitude and calm. After the fever of the culture wars of the high-temperature Trump era, this might come across as a welcome balm. Voters tend to go for a contrast with the current president, a correction of sorts. The mood swings like a pendulum from Carter to Reagan, or from Bush to Obama. (I asked Obama once early in his second term what kind of president he thought would succeed him, and he wryly responded: ‘Someone not aloof or professorial.’ He wasn’t wrong.) In style, generation, demeanor and background, Buttigieg is a near-perfect way to put a drop shadow behind all of Trump’s grandiosity, age, temperament, and privilege.”