[Ed. – Well! On the other hand, I’d say Cory Booker’s Sig O gets mentioned every bit as much as Buttigieg’s. That’s in spite of Booker being a single-digit midget in the polling, and Buttigieg being in the top four at the moment. Buttigieg also has whimsical surplus achievements.]
A major part of Pete Buttigieg’s appeal is his brain.
Many media outlets haven’t been able to get enough of the fact that Buttigieg is a veteran, the mayor of a Midwestern city (South Bend, Indiana) and smart to boot. He went to Harvard. He speaks (or at least understands) eight languages. He reads James Joyce.
And, of course, he was a Rhodes scholar, meaning he won the prestigious academic award to do post-graduate work at Oxford University. …
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is too, but you might not know it from reading campaign stories this year. …
There also seems to be outsize attention on Buttigieg’s credentials and a fascination with what Jay Caspian Kang, in a New York Times Magazine article, called “‘internetty smarts’ ― intelligence reduced down to a collection of references and images.”
Kirsten Gillibrand, another Ivy Leaguer, speaks Mandarin much better than Buttigieg speaks Norwegian. … Norwegian, which has no practical value for an American president, is taken as a sign of intellectual curiosity and authenticity ― the sort of whimsical surplus achievement that often upstages workaday accomplishments.