Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fiction Can Be Fun

In his op-ed today in the Journal-Sentinel, Dean Mundy tries to play the position of nonpartisan civic watchdog. He demonstrates his true conservative colors a couple times, however, over the course of the op-ed, which drudges up the Milwaukee tire-slashing case--a key piece of the Republican's campaign strategy that's aimed at grabbing the attention of those who are politically-disinterested but just can't pass up a good drama.

In one place he exclaims, "We've got them now!" when discussing the defense's opening statement which alleged national Dems orchestrated the incident. He tries to back off later by writing: "Republicans still think the tire slashing was part of a widespread plan to steal Wisconsin's electoral votes in a close election. Democrats think Republicans continue to demagogue the issue. Business as usual on both sides." Sorry, Dean, nobody's fooled.

And just to prove how unconvincing Mundy is as a disinterested civic hero, the entire case he was trying to make in the op-ed was that election fraud took place--the very "business as usual" he tries to tag other Republicans with undertaking.

Mundy comments at one point: "Election fraud is too hard to prove, I guess, (why is that?) so the men were charged with felony property damage." Sure, it can be tough to prove election fraud when there was not a single public case of any person who was unable to vote on election day because of the tire-slashing nor were there even any allegations of voter manipulation. Since that's what would constitute election fraud, it's kind of tough to make a case when it doesn't exist.

But Mundy doesn't stop there. Just for good measure, he tosses in the "hang 'em high" conservative argument surrounding this case: "How can we prevent future occurrences? Can we make election fraud into a hate crime, where charges and penalties then can be enhanced?"

Listen: The men at trial had no prior record of any kind. The young men didn't deserve jail-time. The judge for the case, Michael Brennan, is known as a very fair judge by both conservatives and liberals. The jury was completely dead-locked. In fact, if this wasn't such a high-profile case, it never would even have went to trial. The plea would've been offered up front, as is the situation with most cases, end of story.

The trial was to placate Republicans. Unfortunately, it appears conservatives want more than just a trial or even justice. They want to win an election.

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