Enemy of the Week

Sterling Behavior

Taking our clippers to an opportunity scandal.

By 5.2.14

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He was supposed to be the flavor of the millennium, but now he’s having trouble remaining the taste of the day. We take a dollop of credit. Last week Ms. Maureen Dowd took top EOW honors. Her rehabilitation was swift. Looking at him now she smells a loser. She can’t stand his thin skin. “[Y]ou convey the sense that any difference on substance is lèse-majesté,” she tells him as she subjects him to her own patented form of that French word for dissing someone. “[You] are the American president,” she reminds him, not the singles hitter he’s now content to pretend to be. “Truculent passivity,” she calls it. A 90-lb. weakling, in other words. Oh, and don’t torment us with any more of your empty speeches, she warns him, because “we’re speeched out.” Then presumably she yanks out his tonsils and vocal chords. Let’s see how quickly he learns to sign. Is there a teleprompter that can handle that?

Deep down, actually, Maureen’s target agrees with her. Drawing on his life experience, he said in Malaysia, “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” Except now Maureen won’t let him talk.

And if it’s true that those words were not merely self-referential but also a response to the Donald Sterling affair, we can only conclude that our president has told us another whopper. “You just let them talk,” he said, even as the posse he’d deputized moved to deprive a decrepit old man of any right to talk. Maybe sign language is in order for Donald Sterling as well. It will no doubt be harder for his hired female help to record any comments delivered in silence.

Oratory remains the order of the day. It’s gotten John Kerry into career-ending trouble (some career!), even though he was merely channeling Jimmy Carter, who played the apartheid card against Israel almost eight years ago. Stop posturing, Big John, you’re not the original thinker you think you are. Anyway, who knew the Trilateral Commission was still ticking. Life remains full of surprises.

As public speakers go, we were more interested this week in what Virginia’s new Attorney General Mark Herring had to say. Taking a page from his elders in the Democratic administration in Washington, he went around his state’s legislature to declare unilaterally that children of illegal immigrants raised and educated in Virginia can qualify for in-state college tuition. He made this announcement at a public appearance at an Alexandria community college before an enthusiastic audience that included many college hopefuls. All fine and good. But according to reports, his announcement was also made “in Spanish, Hindi, Vietnamese, and Korean.” What’s up with that? Have those incoming college students, whom Herring characterized as “these smart, talented, hard-working young people,” not yet learned English? They should do well in their next assignment.

We know you’re tired of it, but we need to go back to the Sterling affair. If the NBA wants to dig itself into a deeper grave, that’s its business. If Charles Barkley wants to compare Sterling to a plantation owner and his millionaire players to sweaty exploited slaves, that’s maybe one for him and his confessor. But when the NBA players union trots out the mayor of Sacramento, a former NBA star, to speak on behalf of the league’s 400 players, and this mayor demands a “full accounting” of previous racism charges against Sterling and why the NBA failed to take action on them, our antennae go up. Sky high.

The Sacramento mayor’s name is Kevin Johnson. Ring any bells? Does the name Gerald Walpin come to mind? He was the Inspector General at AmeriCorps who caught Mayor Johnson misusing hundreds of thousands of federal dollars and for his good work was promptly fired by the newly installed Obama White House. For good measure, the regime also smeared Walpin as “confused” and “disoriented.” In a nice, former NBA touch, the Johnson scandal was also a sex scandal, involving “hush money.” It all was excellently reported by Robert Stacy McCain (here, here, here, and here).

So let it not be said that nothing good has come out of the Sterling affair. Mayor Kevin Johnson has turned himself in, an unadulterated Enemy of the Week, full accounting or no. The sad thing is, he was a truly fine and graceful player. But wasn’t his protector also once regarded as a gentleman full of promise?

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