(IMDB’s description of “Blazing Saddles” begins with “A corrupt politician hires a black sheriff…” which is all that film and this situation have in common.)
News broke Wednesday that Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke was taking a position in the Homeland Security Department, leaving me to recall a line George Carlin once uttered about Ross Perot’s challenge for the presidency in 1992:
“Just what a nation of idiots needs: A short, loud idiot.”
Coming up with a descriptor for Clarke is like trying to catch a fart and paint it green. It’s also as pleasurable. Many news organizations relied on the tried-and-true adjectives like “controversial” and “polarizing,” while NY Mag reached for “actual fascist.” A vulgar part of me would have gone with “fucktard” while a more journalistic aspect of me would actually settle on “Trumpian.”
And maybe that’s the best indication that this story is true, in spite of a non-denial denial by the office itself that Clarke hasn’t been given a position at Homeland Security.
This guy is 100 percent Trump with a better haircut a worse choice of clothing.
For people lucky enough to not know who he is, David Clarke has “served” (quotes intentional) Milwaukee County for the past 15 years as its sheriff. He was appointed by Gov. Scott McCallum in 2002 to finish a retiring sheriff’s term and then kept on rolling. Clarke has done and said a ridiculous number of incredibly stupid things. Trying to pick and choose some of them is like trying to put together a Rolling Stones Greatest Hits Album: No matter what you pick, there’s another incredible contender that gets left off. Consider a few of these beauties:
- He called Black Lives Matter a hate group full of “subhuman creeps.” He also noted that they were likely working with ISIS to undermine America.
- He said people could no longer rely on law enforcement to keep them safe, so they needed to arm themselves.
- He constantly clashed with county politicians, especially County Executive Chris Abele, even going as far as to say Abele’s dislike of Clarke is rooted in “penis envy.” He has also sued the county multiple times, costing tax payers nearly $400,000
- He confronted a man on a plane after the man shook his head in Clarke’s general vicinity. After that initial contact, Clarke asked Daniel Black of he had a problem, to which Black replied no. However, after the plane landed, Clarke had several deputies detain Black and question him about his political beliefs.
- Clarke has threatened people over social media. After Black filed suit against Clarke, Clarke wrote on Facebook that he had the right to “pre-empt a possible assault.” He further noted: “Next time he or anyone else pulls this stunt on a plane, they may get knocked out.” He also posted a meme with a picture of Black noting “Cheer up snowflake… If Sheriff Clarke were to really harass you, you wouldn’t be around to whine about it.”
- He oversees a jail under investigation for horrific conditions and poor prisoner treatment. Suits filed in multiple cases noted that prisoners have died of dehydration and been forced to give birth while shackled.
- While speaking about bipartisanship at the DeploraBall in 2017, Clarke noted that “The only reason I’ll be reaching across the aisle is to grab one of them (Democrats) by the throat.”
It’s not just the bombast, the rapid-fire threats and the general lack of decorum that makes the “Trumpian” moniker fit this man. It’s the way in which he has manipulated reality to improve his personal lot in life. While alleged Billionaire Trump paints himself as a champion of the blue-collar working folk, Clarke masquerades as a Democrat. He registers as a member of the Blue Team primarily because Milwaukee is a deep blue sea among the outlying red rural areas of the state.
Clarke has also followed Trump’s lead on issues of safety and security, painting pictures of illegals running roughshod over the citizens of the country. Meanwhile, neither can see the crises he causes in his own proximate area (Trump’s chaotic White House, Clarke’s dungeon-esque jail).
Like Trump, Clarke is nothing like what he portends to be. Everything about him is a blustering con, including his bedazzled, flair-filled uniform, which Army vet Charles Clymer took to task in a series of hysterical tweets.
Perhaps the hardest thing to discuss regarding Clarke, given that this is the third rail of society, is the issue of race. Clarke himself has played both sides of the race card, in one case swapping racial slurs with Mark Lamont Hill of CNN, going as far as to call him a “jigaboo” on Twitter. The Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP has frequently criticized Clarke, with the group’s president noting, “If there was a white sheriff making those statements, they would have demanded his resignation by now.”
This is true: Clarke is essentially part Bull Connor, part bullshit. He’d be the first one to tell a black kid to pull up his pants and that protestors are a bunch of snowflakes and the conservative white folk just eat that shit up.
Or to pull a line from the great movie, “Lean on Me” : “I know why you like Clark. He’s a guard dog. Does your dirty work. Keeps the black folk in line.”
I have never managed to understand how Clarke kept getting reelected as sheriff in my hometown area. After the first term, it was pretty clear he wasn’t a Democrat. After the second term, it was clear he was a bully. Now, it’s clear the man is fucking crazy, so he naturally had to find someone similarly screwed up to hire him.
And as much as I want him out of here, I can’t imagine we’ll be in any better shape with him sharing asshole tips with The Donald.