pete buttigieg wine cave


The wine cave defenders have logged on

Won't someone please stand up for the metaphor?


David Covucci


Posted on Dec 20, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 7:57 pm CDT

One of the feistiest moments of Thursday night’s Democratic debate came when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) went after Mayor Pete Buttigieg over a recent fundraiser he held at the winery of a billionaire.

The exchange sprawled into a genuinely interesting back-and-forth (perhaps the only interesting moment last night) about the current state of money in politics, Democratic donors, the influence of billionaires, and what it means for a campaign to be progressive and grassroots.

Buttigieg tried to explain that he was the only person onstage with a relatively small net worth—and got extremely upset over what he believed were unfair purity tests he was being held to—while Sanders ticked off the number of billionaires who’d donated to both Buttigieg and Biden, calling them beholden to the interests of wealthy donors.

One thing that doesn’t matter is the feelings of the literal wine cave in which the Buttigieg fundraiser was held. Although that led to Warren’s memorable line, “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,” it is an inanimate object.

You, a normal person, understand that the wine cave is simply the medium. The message here is the money.

Unfortunately, some felt the need to log on to defend the honor of wine caves.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was offended: “It’s how I started. It’s a point of pride, it’s one of America’s great exports.”

Billionaires also own homes. No one here is challenging the necessity of homes, but Mother Jones’ Clara Jeffries pointed out that they deserve our support.

“[W]ine caves are a big part of regional agriculture… Do you drink wine? It’s been in a cave,” she tweeted.

Others chimed in.

Again, the issue … is not wine caves. It’s the very wealthy people who own them and the undo influence those wealthy people wield.

The wine cave, again, is an inanimate object.

Next question.


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*First Published: Dec 20, 2019, 8:54 am CST