October 25, 2013

Where did the Daily Show find this gentleman?

This is a masterclass in What Not To Say To Anyone On television. Or off. I’m almost floored he gets through this many in such a short period of time. At one point correspondent Aasif Mandvi asks, “You know that we can hear you, right?”

The first law of talking states that anyone, given a microphone and sufficient time, will make a career-ending gaffe. This man needed fewer than five minutes, once editing was taken into consideration. It’s incredible. A single one of these would have done — from the weird deliberative pause after “You are not racist” (seriously, if you have to pause and genuinely think about it…) to the casual flinging around of the N-word, to the bland admission that this law is aimed at Democrats.

If this weren’t a real human being who had to resign Thursday, you would think they’d hired a particularly unsubtle actor from central casting. It’s like he found a checklist of Things You Say To Demonstrate That You Are Racist and was just blazing through them.

-One of my best friends is black.
-How come they can say it and we can’t?

What’s this about the voodoo doctor Obama on a stump? He’s like an email forward come to life.

It’s a Catch-22 — how do you stop the people who will say intensely cringe-worthy things and make all their associates look like nightmare caricatures from getting on TV? People who say parodic cringe nightmare things by definition lack the self-awareness that keeps you from opening your mouth on camera in the first place. He still says he stands by his statements!

You had heard rumors that these opinions existed in the wild, but you thought that they were bugbears concocted by liberal pollsters to get you to register to vote early. How numerous are these opinions? Is this really what all supporters of the voter ID policy sound like?

“Let me make it very clear, Mr. Yelton’s comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe Republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon,” Buncombe county GOP chair Henry Mitchell said in a press release. “This mentality will not be supported or propagated within our party.”

The party quickly disavowed him, said he didn’t represent them, pointed out that he only held his position because he and his wife had managed to vote him over the line. But too bad. He’s going to be the face of this policy for a while.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.
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