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Bomb, bomb, bomb / Bomb-Bomb ... everywhere


We all know the normal steps in political gaffe management: 1) Somebody says something really stupid, often on social media; 2) The incredibly stupid/offensive/impolitic social media post is removed; 3) A spokesperson explains that the gaffe was committed by an underling, without authorization, and it definitely doesn't reflect the boss's views; 4) Depending on the seriousness of the gaffe, the underling may be fired and the office may issue an apology (of variable sincerity); and 5) Donald Trump says something far stupider, and his polling actually improves. But once in a while, this predictable sequence falls apart, and things get very weird, very fast.

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Case in point: This weekend, some unidentified doofus in Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's campaign office -- not in the actual state agency -- posted the dumb meme above to the Commish's Facebook page Sunday afternoon. Haw-haw, let's "make peace" with 1/5 of the world's population by nuking it! The post was pulled Monday morning, and Luke Bullock, Miller's "special assistant," duly issued the boilerplate explanation that the post was unauthorized, yadda yadda:

"It was an error by a staffer. The posting did not reflect the views of Commissioner Miller and, as a result, it's been removed," Bullock said, calling the post "inappropriate." He added Miller "will ensure that future postings do not reflect views that do not align with his view."

And most of the time, that would be it. But then the predictable script went all cattywampus. A while later, the Houston Chronicle got a call from Todd Smith, Miller's campaign spokesman, who said that maybe Bullock had been a tad hasty with all that backtracking:

"I don't know if it reflects the view of Commissioner Miller or not. He's on a trip to China," said Smith ... "He has not made any bones about where he stands on the issue of radical Islamic terrorism and we're not going to be creating a witch-hunt or doing anything to find out who posted it. And I think it was a powerful post that caused people to stop and think about the current state of the world."

Now, why care about the Texas agriculture commissioner anyway? Because in Texas, the office is a big prize for ambitious jerks who want to become governor -- with populist progressive Jim Hightower (commissioner, 1983-1991) being a refreshing exception. Rick Perry was commissioner on his way toward the governorship, and thence to being a twice-failed presidential candidate.

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As to whether Miller would apologize, Smith said that was out of the question:

"There's not going to be any apology. I want to put that on the record, and if anybody needs to call for an apology they need to call ISIS … or the Iranian leadership."

Yeah, what about THEIR Facebook pages? Smith wouldn't even agree with Bullock that it was "inappropriate" to post the meme on the commissioner's official Facebook: "I'm not going to call it inappropriate or appropriate. I just think it was thought-provoking." Maybe someone should point out to Smith that Texas Christians' best pals in Israel might not be too hot (get it? radiation jokes!) on the idea of raining nuclear death on most of its neighbors, because fallout.

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Smith was right about Miller's very public distaste for Muslims, at least. Before he took office, Miller told the far-right Texas Public Policy Foundation that he actually loses sleep over the prospect of Muslims ruining our grandbabies:

“I do have some long-range concerns as I hold those two grandbabies on my lap, and I happen to wonder: When they have grandbabies to hold in their lap, will we be a socialist country? Will we be a Muslim country?”

We have done some research on this, and it turns out that The Muslims have grandbabies too, although they are generally acknowledged to be evil grandbabies, and far inferior to the good kind.

In any case, Smith clarified Monday that the Commissioner Miller is not seriously advocating a nuclear attack on the Muslim World, at least not yet:

"I read the post this morning, and we’re at the 60th anniversary of dropping the atom bomb in order to destroy an insidious enemy that was intent on destroying American lives, and we face a similar enemy who has vowed to destroy American lives, and I think that’s the topic that the American people are focused on," Smith said.

That would be the 70th anniversary, actually, not that anyone's counting. Still, makes ya think, doesn't it? What it makes us think is that in Texas politics, there's never a down side to stirring up a little old-fashioned hatred of Muslims.

[Houston Chronicle / Texas Tribune / Dallas Morning News]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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