Archive - Sep 5, 2016

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Mean Mistreater

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Memo to Mark Burns: WELL, SORT OF.

It's been a long, challenging weekend for Donald Trump's Racism Calibration Team. It is, I must say, an interesting and unique strategy hinging on mean racism. Not mean as in cruel, although that's frequently the case, but mean as in average. The plan appears to be for Donald Trump to be less racist some of the time and very racist some of the time in the hopes of crating the average level of racism that the American electorate has demonstrated in the past they're comfortable with.

The biggest success in all this was the day of the weird Mexico trip. Trump was very not racist in his meeting with the Mexican president, then super crazy racist in his Phoenix immigration speech, and the average racism somehow managed to fool the New York Fucking Times into thinking that Trump had moderated his immigration stance. His African-American outreach plan over the weekend was... less successful.

He's made various efforts over the past month to bring his average level of racism down, mostly by talking at white people about how we have to help black people from the poverty and violence every single one of the suffers in the inner cities every single one of them live in. That, plus hanging around with Ben Carson and Mark Burns, plus the usual Republican line on African-American voters (you're being taken advantage of by Democrats who know you'll vote for them just because Republicans actively work against your interests), has somehow failed to do the trick.

And then we had Trump's visit to Great Faith Ministries in Detroit. As we've already covered, originally, his plan was to visit the pastor for a taped interview and avoid the actual members of the church. Then, when BOTH SIDES of the script for the taped interview leaked, Trump instead gave a very generic, very careful, very bad speech to a very preselected subset of the church's members. I actually watched most of the speech, and the only times the crowd responded positively was when Trump worked in cheap pops about the church, their pastor, and God.

Of course, you only had to hear the opening lines of the speech to know exactly what was going on here. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Well, I just wrote this the other day knowing I’d be here, and I mean it from the heart. I’d like to just read it and I think you’ll understand it even better than I do in certain ways."

Of course black churchgoers will understand it better than you do. The speech was about two things you know even less than I do about - the black community and Christianity. I mean, the speech read like the people who wrote it for you were frantically looking up both biblical references and race relations on Wikipedia. I will forgive Trump his awkward white guy clapping along to the gospel music, because that's a staple of politics, but his "walking tour of Detroit" afterwards was just a picture with him and Ben Carson in front of Ben Carson's old house.

And speaking of Trump's black friends, I mentioned Mark Burns above, the very shouty pastor from South Carolina who yelled a lot at the RNC and infamously tweeted a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface, because classy. Anyway, this week, it was revealed that Burns had padded his resume like it was made of glass and being shipped to a third world country.

It listed him as a member of a fraternity when at best he'd tried to get into it. It listed him as having six years in the Army Reserves when he had four years in the South Carolina National Guard. It claimed he had a bachelor's degree from a college he'd spent one semester at. And it had him pursuing a master's degree he hadn't worked on or done anything about in eight years. Oops. After telling CNN his biography was probably hacked, the information there was old, and the on-camera interview was supposed to be off the record, he admitted he'd been full of shit, but added this little caveat.

"I do also want to set the record straight about why this attack is happening — because I am a black man supporting Donald Trump for President. "

This, of course, is classic; true but irrelevant. Because he's a black man who's supporting Doanld Trump, he's an anomaly. Because he's an anomaly, he invites scrutiny. He's also loud, provocative, and stupid, which in turn invites scrutiny. And that scrutiny uncovered a series of incredibly easily discoverable and checkable lies. That doesn't mean the scrutiny or the discovery or the reporting was unwarranted, though. It just happened. I think there are much bigger problems with Mark Burns than resume-padding and lying about it, but since this whole campaign is apparently about how awful it was that Hillary fudged and spun her way around a harmless mistake, well, geese and ganders. I'm not gonna lose sleep over it.