Which To Burn First, The Confederate Flag Or This Ginormous Blunt?
Senate candidate Gary Chambers. Wonkette composite image from campaign ad screenshots.

Gary Chambers may not have a very good chance in his campaign for the US Senate seat currently disgraced by Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-Louisiana). Chambers may not manage to replace Kennedy in the Senate, but he's already a better human being: You'd never see Gary Chambers descend to the skeezy depths of red-baiting and bullshit that are Kennedy's stock in trade. But that may damn Chambers by faint praise, since the same could be said of a two-by-four.

What we're getting at here is that you might really enjoy this Washington Post profile of Chambers (link should get you past the paywall), who has an underdog's enthusiasm for stirring shit up and calling attention to issues that need attention.

Also, a couple of his campaign ads are pretty brilliant, which no one's ever going to say about Kennedy.


In one, which debuted in January, Chambers smokes weed and offers a blunt assessment of the need for criminal justice reform and the legalization of weed, calling attention to racial disparities in prosecutions and sentencing for marijuana crimes.


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Every 37 seconds someone is arrested for possession of marijuana. Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3 million Americans for violating marijuana laws, over half of all drug arrests. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. States waste $3.7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most of the people police are arresting aren't dealers, but rather people with small mounts of pot — just like me.

In a snickering review that may have been written under the influence of Scooby Snacks, Rolling Stone takes pains to point out that a Chambers spokesperson confirmed the "absolutely massive blunt" was real, and that Chambers is "doing his own stunts" in the ad. In a Twitter post, Chambers explained he hoped the ad

works to not only destigmatize the use of marijuana, but also forces a new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.

Chambers's other viral ad, "Scars and Bars," is even more visually stunning. Like "37 Seconds," it was written by his communications consultant Erick Sanchez, and cost less than $500 to make. In it, Chambers douses a Confederate flag with gasoline as he recalls the 1872 election of P.B.S. Pinchback, who would have been Louisiana's first Black US senator, but never took his seat due to false accusations of voter fraud.


youtu.be


Here in Louisiana and all over the South, Jim Crow never really left, and the remnants of the Confederacy remain. [...] The attacks against Black people, our right to vote and participate in this democracy are methodical. Gerrymandered districts are a byproduct of the Confederacy.

As the video shows him flicking a lighter and setting the traitor flag on fire, Chambers says in voiceover,

Our system isn't broken, it's designed to do exactly what it's doing, which is producing measurable inequity. One in 13 Black Americans are deprived of the right to vote. One in nine Black Americans do not have health insurance. One in three Black children live in poverty.

The flag, fully engulfed, falls to the ground, and Chambers says,

It's time to burn what remains of the Confederacy down. I do believe the South will rise again. But this time, It'll be on our terms.

Is that a beautiful ad or what? Chambers told the Post that his campaign's biggest single day of fundraising — a "six-figure day" — came in the 24 hours after the ad was released. Oh, yes, and also the threats, because egad he burned the flag of a country that ceased to be 157 years ago.

In one, the writer says, “Come to my house and burn it and it will be the last thing you ever burn.”

Chambers isn't especially worried by such talk, and noted that he generally keeps a handgun close, and that

The only way we’re gonna change this country is to tell the truth about it. And if it makes you upset that I burned a Confederate flag, you’re part of the problem.

Why yes, we like Mr. Chambers quite a bit.

Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher is a fan, calling the Confederate flag spot "the most striking primary ad I’ve perhaps ever seen in my life ... Without that ad, we wouldn’t be talking about him." And here we are, talking too.

That said, Chambers will have a hell of a time making headway against Kennedy, who has all the advantages of incumbency and a big fat pile of money — $11 million — to spend this fall. Louisiana has that weirdass "top two primary" or "jungle primary" system, where everybody runs in the general election, and if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there's a runoff between the top two candidates in December. The last time he ran, in 2016, Kennedy easily won reelection, with 60 percent of the vote and no runoff. There's little reason to think Louisiana voters are dissatisfied with Kennedy's aw-shucks cornpone simple country lawyer schtick, and his voters don't care that the old phony went to Vanderbilt, U of Virginia Law, and freaking Oxford.

Kennedy dismisses Chambers as

a “woke activist” and “Nancy Pelosi’s socialist dream candidate” who likes to smoke “the Devil’s lettuce.”

See? Folksy! Also, fuck him.

For his part, Chambers says the race is winnable, or at least he wants to shake things up for future Louisiana Democrats:

“If I lose an election, but Louisiana ends up in the next year electing a Democrat, a Black Democratic governor in 2023 and then follow that up by sending somebody else to the U.S. Senate later, that’s a win,” says Chambers. “This thing isn’t about me. This is about making sure that the opportunity exists for somebody to get there.”

We wish Mr. Chambers all the luck in his effort to smoke Kennedy, and if you want to help him out, here's his campaign website.

OPEN THREAD.

[WaPo / Gary Chambers for US Senate]

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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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