The print, web and radio wing-nuts are really at their wit’s end these days (granted, not a far way to go). Still recovering from the November election – in which the electorate rejected not only their candidates, but also their slash-and-burn tactics – the GOP media surrogates flailed around for a month or so before returning full-time to their politics of personal destruction.
In Wisconsin, the wing-nuts seem to have settled on Rep. Steve Kagen, the new 8th District congressman for special treatment. Dr. Kagen, you’ll remember, had the temerity to beat their fair-haired boy, John Gard, for the seat formerly held by Mark Green (who?). While he was driving doomed right-wing agenda items like concealed-carry and TABOR through the State Assembly, Gard was one of the GOP politicians with a direct line to Charlie Sykes for access to free airtime and talking points. His loss was deeply felt by people like Sykes (who likes to brag about the elections he affects with his use of WTMJ’s government-provided spot on the radio dial) and Karl Rove, who poured (read: wasted) all kinds of money and energy on Gard's lost cause.
The success of Kagen apparently got under Sykes’ skin this week so much that Sykes went so far as to call the congressman a “crap-weasel”, both on his radio show and on his web site. Now, why would a sold-out pipsqueak like Sykes call out a U.S. congressman with such a strange, previously unknown epithet? It seems, like other wing-nuts desperate to set a negative tone for Kagen’s first term, Sykes forgot his usually patient (but phony) set-up and went straight to juvenile name-calling.
The event that got Sykes pretending to be offended was comments that Kagen made at a gathering in his district in December. Kagen supposedly cut loose with a story about chance meetings with Rove, Dick Chaney and Junior Bush on his orientation trip to Washington. When the apparently hyper-sensitive Sykes read selective details in a right-wing rag, well, it was just more than he could take.
Charlie Sykes used to be a real journalist, but now he is just plain sloppy as he stomps off to make his political points, whether what he is talking about is accurately reported or not. To set up his pretended indignation, Sykes took his lead from a “publication” called The Inside Scoop. The Scoop is, by all appearances, a northeastern Wisconsin GOP vanity rag, featuring many photographs of Scoop staff posing with Bush, Gard, Green and other dull-to-extinguished luminaries. A regular feature is what is supposed to be a humorous “column” by “Al Capone”, who writes about “his” fine relationship with Jim Doyle. The “yet to be indicted Diamond Jim has taken a page out of my playbook” claims “Capone”. God, it’s a riot. Stop. You’re killing me.
Knowing a soul brother when he reads one, Sykes is moved by the pretend-offense taken by whoever writes The Scoop, whose “teeth clenched” as he read about the meeting in The Scene, an “arts and entertainment newspaper”, also based in Kagen’s district. The report of the meeting in The Scene was actually pretty friendly and included several more-interesting nuggets ignored by Sykes. For instance, Kagen said he suggested to Rove that national health care means “no patient left behind” (heh-heh). Kagen also said he asked Cheney point-blank the question all of us would if we got the chance: what price he was willing to pay for the pipe-dream of stability in Iraq? (“I don’t understand your point,” said Cheney, who certainly did.) But these remarks are necessarily not included in Sykes’ rant. Apparently, taking advantage of an unusual break in the protective cocoon to challenge Bush, Rove and Cheney is impolitic or crap-weasely, or something.
Later in the week, Sykes decided that a White House denial of the encounters (reported in the Green Bay Press-Gazette) means they didn’t happen at all. Again resorting to I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I name-calling, Sykes called Kagen a liar by claiming he had the encounters that got Sykes so hot-and-heavy in the first place. So, now, if he didn’t get in Rove and Cheney’s face and didn’t diss Laura, is he still a crap-weasel, or what?
While he’s figuring that out, Sykes should check into the use of “crap-weasel” in the first place. According to the on-line Urban Dictionary, a crap weasel (non-hyphenated) is “any worthless induvidual (sic) who tries to steal credit for someone else's work; also someone who tries to pass blame on others.” This hardly applies to whatever is eating Sykes about Kagen, but certainly is a nice fit for Sykes himself, who regularly pretends that lines fed to him by GOP talking point memos are his own creation and certainly spends a lot of his time blaming anyone but himself and his Bushie friends for, oh, like the disaster in Iraq and stuff. Crap weasel, heal thyself.
Fresh off their latest anti-Doyle spin, the Journal Sentinel’s in-house wing-nuts, Spivak and Bice, also picked up and ran with an anti-Kagen nugget from the blogosphere this week. You see, when someone on Kagen’s staff made up his official web site, they borrowed a template from a Nebraska representative and – get this! – people looking for flags are referred to the guy in Nebraska. Wow, this is big stuff, another feather in the Spice Boys’ cap for sure. As long as it makes a Democrat look bad (which this beyond-trivial matter doesn’t, anyway), the Boys are always there to help advance the GOP agenda.
And, as one hand washes the other, the Spice Boys repeat the Kagen-in-Washington, did-he-or-didn't-he story in their not-good-enough-for-the-paper blog and Sykes repeats the web-site story ("Dr. Rip-off").