Mark Belling, Milwaukee’s top-rated racist demagogue, committed a flagrant act of bad prognostication last Friday, boldly swinging the big dick of his own investments in the often animal-abusive American horse racing industry (i.e.: he owns horses) as he made Kentucky Derby predictions on his web site. "If this horse wins," he wrote of surprise long-shot winner Mine That Bird, "I'll never bet on another race and will vote for Jim Doyle for re-election."
Oh, how we all laughed when Belling was faced with the perfect confluence of his pledge and the stunning race results. The question wasn’t whether he would weasel out on his promise, but rather – how? After carefully consulting with his own empty conscience and which ever dark knight he sold his soul to so many years ago, Belling brilliantly (to him) turned his miserable failure into an opportunity to conduct more smears and tell more lies. "If Governor Doyle withdraws his support for [insert various whiny complaints of revenue enhancements for the cash-strapped state], I will indeed vote for Governor Doyle for re-election."
Ho! Boo-yah! As late as Wednesday afternoon, he was still reveling in his own wonderfulness, bragging that he had gotten the goat of Doyle, state Democratic Chair Joe Wineke and anyone foolish enough to think that the radio clown who claims to "stand up" for anything, much less Milwaukee, might honor his condition-less bet without conditions.
The original prediction about the likelihood of Mine That Bird winning the Derby was a piffle of hyperbolic braggado, attempting to show how smart he was. Anyone listening to or reading it would take something like that even less seriously than they usually do with Belling. But he made it more serious by using his understandable failure (99% of the racing world agreed with him) to attack Gov. Doyle. But this is the kind of cheap political hackery we expect from Belling.
Of course, the truth being so dramatically against him, you can’t expect Belling to make a point without lying. Doyle’s supposed pledge, such as it was, had only to do with personal income, property and sales taxes. Only one of the budget items cited by Belling – a mere one-percent hike for those making over $300,000 – requires an actual tax increase of the kind Doyle was talking about. The rest of the tiresome right-wing litany Belling recites are not of that sort. But, hey, why let the facts get in the way of a cheap responsibility dodge?
The Belling Dodge has even gone national. Wednesday night, on his essential Countdown program on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann discussed the Belling renege during, appropriately, the Oddball segment. The Belling episode shows that "being a right-winger on the radio means you’re a welcher," said Olbermann, before showing hilarious footage of Prince Charles with an animated frog.
But Olbermann, not knowing him like we unfortunately do, lets Belling off too easy. "Welcher" is the least of it. Racist, liar, poisoner of political dialog, local embarassment – that’s more like it.