Welcome to Decoding the Vibe where I tell it like it really is as the first-in-the-nation primary parade of candidates comes to town. Join me behind the scenes where you might just find out what the candidate is really like.
By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER, Decoding the Vibe
EXETER – Personification of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s appearance at Town Hall Friday night came in the form of three young women from Londonderry.
High school seniors who are college bound: Boston College, the University of Virginia, Northeastern. This trio was encouraged by their history teacher to learn more of Pete’s policies and ideas.
When asked if they were getting extra credit for attendance, they admitted they were not. They were simply interested and excited about Pete, his youth, his status as a millennial, his exuberance.
Hopeful, exuberant and “no extra credit” needed was the vibe of Pete Buttigieg’s visit to Exeter on a warm spring night in May.
And a Friday night at the beginning of a three-day weekend brought more than 600 people to a standing-room only venue. The line outside the town hall was long – filled not only those who attended proms in the past few weeks but with those whose proms did not involve WiFi or the Internet.
Pete invited those who probably did not need the extra credit in high school along with the desperate, “can I just do something to pass, please?” – the vibe felt excited, hopeful, smart, and according to Kathy Holland of Sandown, a lifelong Republican, “thirsty for some intelligence.”
Pete is not a tall drink of water, rather, a pretty compact, engaging, personable 37-year old. He’s fresh, energetic, a staid Midwesterner, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
His crowd was a cross-section of hair color and heads: dyed, natural, bald, white, black, blond, ombre.
The diverse group of people who stood on the stage behind Buttigieg were hand-picked as they waited in line.
They were coached when to cheer, when to hold up their PETE 2020 signs.
The vibe of the night felt safe, felt confident, felt orchestrated and contrived. Pete did not mention the name of the current leader of the free world, provided only subtle digs at Republicans and offered nourishment to a very thirsty crowd.
He answered questions from a fish bowl, seemingly at random but obviously vetted. He offered a safe, no extra credit needed because you already have 100s kind of feel.
The Decoding of Pete’s Vibe? Safe, nourishing, thoughtful, Midwest…slow and steady but solidly passing because I did my homework as soon as it was assigned.
And I’m in class early. Do you need a pencil? I have an extra.
Pete Buttigieg – not sure how it’s pronounced? I’ve got that covered, too – Boot Edge Edge.
Enjoy the Vibe, and as always, thanks for reading InDepthNH.org; we do our homework ahead of time, too.
Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.
The opinions expressed are those of the writer. InDepthNH.org takes no position on politics, but welcomes diverse opinions. email firstname.lastname@example.org