Watching South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s assent is refreshing and frustrating. Refreshing because he presents himself with poise oddly lacking in many of the other 2020 presidential candidates.

It’s frustrating because of my irrational, deep-seated aversion to anyone under 40 running for president.

President Trump, in a classic pot and kettle moment, questioned Mayor Buttigieg’s ability to handle Oval Office duties. Buttigieg, showing grown up restraint, responded with a Chinese proverb: “When the wind changes, some people build walls and some people build windmills.”

It’s a political eternity until November 2020 and Buttigieg could stumble. I’m holding judgement until I hear more from his competition including Republicans (Mitt Romney, anyone?) who may yet challenge President Trump.

Win or lose, Mayor Buttigieg might elevate the conversation and force the other candidates to raise their game. We can only hope.

Speaking of hopeful, if, like me, you pine for a steady hand in the White House regardless of political party, Romney might also be worth a look.

Physicians are taught “first do no harm,” but that could apply equally to governing. Politics has seasoned first-do-no-harm leaders and young shoot from the hip irritants.

Romney is a first-do-no-harm guy which sounds comforting these days.

I’ll end this fickle message with my dream matchup for 2020: Romney vs. Buttigieg. We could do worse.

In fact, we already have.

Jim Newton


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