Ordinarily, I wouldn’t write about a minor judicial race in suburban Jefferson Parishbut the campaign between Barron Burmaster and Zoe Fleiming has taken a decidedly silly turn:
Zoe Olivia Fleming, who placed second in Saturday’s election to make the runoff for judge ofJefferson Parish Juvenile Court, attacked her front-running opponent Barron Burmaster in an email blast Tuesday, accusing him of being anti-Semitic. She bases the claim on the fact that Burmaster, who is of German heritage, has a son by the same name who appears in a 5-year-old, 4-second-long video. The younger Burmaster was about 15 at the time.
There is no sound and little explanation on the YouTube video, but clicking on the “About” link beneath it reveals a posting that says, “What a Jew,” presumably referencing the younger Burmaster who appears to be goofing around with two other teens.
The video poster is identified only as PeopleOfThaSun3. The candidate Burmaster said his son did not post the video or write the comment.
The video’s online title is “Barron Burmaster Being an Ass—-,” which Fleming used as the subject in an email she sent Tuesday to 91 people, including lawyers and news reporters. She sent a second one to three news reporters. In a text message to a reporter, she said Burmaster has made “family values” a campaign issue.
The video shows the younger Burmaster sticking a finger through the fly of his jeans in a suggestive manner as he departs the room.
The senior Burmaster said he’s the candidate for judge, not his son. “This is a cheap, irresponsible attempt by my opponent to insert an issue of anti-Semitism where none exists,” Burmaster said. “The scurrilous and irresponsible attack demonstrates a lack of integrity, fairness and temperament required of a judge. My family and I find any derogatory remarks about anyone’s religion, ethnic or racial background to be highly offensive.”
Burmaster said he is Catholic. Fleming declined to identify her religion.
Burmaster and Fleming arevying to fill the vacancy that Nancy Amato Konrad leaves upon her retirement next week. They placed on top ofthe field of four candidates in Saturday’s election, with Burmaster receiving 41 percent of the ballots to Fleming’s 32 percent. The runoff is Nov. 16.
A message sent from Fleming’s phone describes the video: “His son, Barron, has his pinkie sticking out of his zipper as a mini penis and in case you are not clear the message he wrote under the video is, ‘what a Jew?” Clearly his view is derogatory,” she wrote.
“Then again Mr. Burmaster constantly touts he is presidents (sic) of the GERMAN American society,” according to Fleming’s email. “I am German American but would not dream of countenancing such prejudice that his family demonstrates so openly. There you are ladies and gentlemen the anti semantic (sic) choice of our elected officials.”
The errant video has been, unsurprisingly, removed from YouTube or is that de-tubed? Ms. Fleming is actually a rare and even endangered species in JP, a white Democrat, so I hate to dog her, but this whole thing is ludicrous. The functionally illiterate email sent out by her campaign doesn’t support the notion that Burmaster is head of the local German-American Bund or something. Unless, that is, they *meant* to say anti-semantic. Burmaster is a Republican and they tend to be against “the study of the meanings of words and phrases in language,” which is howsemantics is defined in the dictionary. Most current GOP rhetoric is essentially word salad so perhaps Fleming’s minions should pose the age old question:
The Fleming campaign’s anti-semantic antics are unlikely to be of much assistance since the missing video sounds like a smokeless gun. They should, however, do some digging to see if they can find a picture of Burmaster in lederhosen. Nobody looks good in ledehosen, especially pot bellied middle aged lawyers. I wouldn’t be caught dead or alive in lederhosen myself but I’m not sure if anyone else considers them to be as scandalous as I do. What the Fleming campaign really needs is someone to proof read their emails.