Last week’s Demo debate ended with this set up and question from Anderson Cooper:
“Last week, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized after she and former president George W. Bush were seen laughing together at a football game. Ellen defended their friendship, saying, ‘We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay.’ So in that spirit, we’d like you to tell us about a friendship that you’ve had that would surprise us and what impact it’s had on you and your beliefs.”
I thought it was great, in part because no one could’ve prepared for it. Poor Julián Castro for having to bat lead off. He kept swinging wildly, and missing badly, seemingly thinking, “If I just keep talking, maybe I’ll eventually utter something coherent.” But it wasn’t to be, he couldn’t come up with a single name.
Andrew Wang talked about a trucker he spent a few hours with as a part of a recent political event. Not someone he’d ever talked to before or is likely to ever talk to again, thus failing to earn even partial credit.
Amazing, not one true friend markedly different than them.
Buttigieg ran circles around those two and most of the others. He noted that the people he’d learned the most from were friends he’d made in the military:
“People who were radically different from me—different generation, different race, different politics—and we learned to trust each other with our lives.”
Then Buttigieg pivoted and called for national service, a worthwhile proposal deserving of discussion. One argument in support of it? The probability that future candidates’ answers to a “surprising friend” like question will be far more compelling.