In The New York Times, Charles Blow writes today:
Only one candidate in last week’s Republican presidential debate was asked to directly address the Black Lives Matter movement and that candidate was Gov. Scott Walker.
Moderator Megyn Kelly asked Walker:
“Governor Walker, many in the Black Lives Matter movement, and beyond, believe that overly-aggressive police officers targeting young African-Americans is the civil rights issue of our time. Do you agree? And if so, how do you plan to address it? If not, why not?”
Walker responded with an answer about sufficient training of officers “not only on the way into their positions but all the way through their time” and about “consequences” for those who don’t properly perform their duties.
Both the question and the answer focused an inordinate amount of attention on police conduct and not enough on revealing that they are simply the agents of policy instituted by officials at the behest of the body politic....
Is it odd that only one candidate got asked about this, and that the candidate was Scott Walker, who seemed to miss the point? I don't think so. I think the question was asked, and was directed at Walker, only because it was expected (probably based on his stump speeches) that Walker would bring up a man named David Clarke. That's precisely what Walker did, as Right Wing Watch noted (emphasis in RWW's post):
Walker referred in his answer to the advice of his “friend” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, whom he noted had been a guest on Fox News:
Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing -- it's something you've had a guest on who's a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who's talked to me about this many times in the past -- it's about training. It's about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don't, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.
David Clarke is a Fox star in the making, a black law enforcement officer who's always eager to utter the talking points Fox's white audience wants to hear:
Clarke is also a certifiable nutjob:
Clarke described the groups that “began to converge on the small town of Ferguson, Missouri” after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown... as “vultures on a roadside carcass.” He accused Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and former Attorney General Eric Holder of throwing “law enforcement officers under the bus” in order to “improve their bona fides” with “interest groups like the New Black Panther Party.”
... Clarke is an outspoken supporter of gun rights who believes that open insurrection may be the appropriate response to gun laws he opposes. In a 2014 speech to the National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum, Clarke told the audience that “you have to be willing to resist any attempt by government to disarm law-abiding people by fighting with the ferociousness of a junkyard dog. For it says in the Declaration of Independence that it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for our future security.”
A year later, he spoke to the NRA again. “There is nothing else I would rather hold in my hand when fighting government tyranny than a Bible in my left hand that I use to swear to uphold the Constitution, and in my right hand a Winchester rifle,” Clarke told the crowd last April, adding that this rifle is “a symbol of freedom and liberty in the United States of America.” He also proposed that we incorporate “a semi-automatic rifle, preferably one that shoots M-855 ammunition” into the Great Seal of the United States.
In 2013, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) named Clarke their “sheriff of the year." CSPOA’s leader, a former Arizona sheriff named Richard Mack, believes that the “greatest threat we face today is not terrorists; it is our own federal government,” and that “[i]f America is conquered or ruined it will be from within, not a foreign enemy.”
This is Richard Mack:
As the Southern Poverty Law Center has noted, Mack
once said he prayed for the day when a sheriff would be the “first one to fire the next shot around the world and arrest a couple of IRS agents.”
As for Clarke, back in May Breitbart reported this:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D) declared the charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray “George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again” and said “these cops are political prisoners,” offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob” on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.
Yes, in case you missed that, Clarke's a Democrat -- which I'm sure increases the appeal of these pronouncements to the folks at Fox.
Clarke has talked about running for mayor of Milwaukee. I don't know why he'd bother -- either he'll get a Cabinet position in President Walker's administration or he can start pumping out books and lectures for the Fox crowd, all while appearing on Fox on a regular basis.
In any case, the "Black Lives Matter" question made it into the debate and Walker gave this well-known Fox guest a free plug -- and I'm quite certain that was the plan. I'm sure that was the only reason the subject came up at all.
(Crossposted at No More Mister Nice Blog)