Ordinarily, I wouldn’t write about a minor judicial race in suburban Jefferson Parish but 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 of Jefferson 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.
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.
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 are vying to fill the vacancy that Nancy Amato Konrad leaves upon her retirement next week. They placed on top of the 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.
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 how semantics 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.