Welcome again to Dumb Starbucks (Man), the series where we examine the very dumb things that Howard Schultz keeps saying as he pretends to run for president.
I have set myself a mammoth task, like the 65 year-old who completed 200,000 pushups in a year or the guy who free-climbed El Capitan. My goal is not only documenting the stupid things that Howard Schultz says, but also distinguishing them—with a sommelier’s nose for candidate pablum—from the ideologically bankrupt and just plain wrong-ass things he says.
For example: It doesn’t count as Dumb Starbucks Man when he says we shouldn’t tax the wealthy more, because as utterly wrong as he is, that isn’t purely Dumb; it is also the result of ideological differences and greed. But it does count as Dumb Starbucks Man when my man forgets that FDR died 74 years ago, not 50. This is the burden I have placed upon myself, and should I die attempting it, I want the world to remember only this: I think the man is dumb.
Today’s challenge: Is this thing that Schultz said at last night’s inexplicable CNN town hall dumb, or just wrong?
Yes, my friends, this is dumb. It is dumb in the way a lot of politicians are dumb, which isn’t the exact kind of dumb Schultz usually is. But it is still so very dumb. Once again, this gambit is almost Jeb-like: Contrived in the mind of a man who has no idea how to relate to real people, let alone the majority-ish of voting Americans needed to win the presidency; entirely unconvincing to anyone watching, like Jeb putting on a hoodie; and yet not pitiable, but cringeworthy and loathsome.
He couldn’t just say “I am running as an independent,” a (sort of) factual statement—he hasn’t actually filed papers to run yet, of course. He had to dress it up in patriotism in the vapid way American politicians do, by saying every damn thing they’re doing is done “as an American,” as if that means whoever disagrees with them isn’t American. And then he made it even dumber by saying he was “wrapping himself in an American flag,” a phrase that usually denotes insincerely using patriotism as a justification for one’s actions.
But I couldn’t let you go without also examining the second dumbass thing he said last night:
“As somebody who grew up in a very diverse background as a young boy in the projects, I didn’t see color as a young boy and I honestly don’t see color now,” Schultz said at a CNN town hall moderated by Poppy Harlow.
Not only is that offensive, it is also just such a Dumb Guy thing to say. It is the mark of someone who really hasn’t thought very much about racism—and as many people pointed out, a hallmark of such beloved dumb guy characters as Michael Scott and Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report persona. Only a dumb guy could think that the way to demonstrate sensitivity and awareness of racial injustice is to claim not to see race at all.