Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Illusory Tenant Has Left The Building
Sad news from the blogosphere. Just when we need him most, Tom Foley has headed off to gloriously greater climes, taking a good job in an exotic location and leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves as the denizens of FitzWalkerStan kick and scratch and cheat to try to maintain their ungodly grip on Total Power. In a typically short, obtuse and self-effacing final post, he leaves us only with the glorious solo piano of Art Tatum playing "Over the Rainbow". Which is where Foley is going, by the way. I've seen pictures.
With all due respect to everybody else who is trying to make some sense and points with their various blogs out here, nobody holds a candle to Tom. He is consistently brilliant, hilarious and right on-the-money. A king of the short-form post, when he puts his mind and time to it, he can write a devastating long treatise on complicated legal subjects that entertain as well as destroy the pompous musings of a certain part-time law professor.
Speaking of Rick Esenberg, the latest winner of the Right-Wing Money Sweepstakes (his newly-minted "Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty", neither an "institute" nor much interested in law or liberty, is funded by the Bradley Foundation and other right-wing moneybags) tries to counter Foley's arguments by personally attacking him in his latest post. The well-heeled Esenberg botches a snarky aside to Foley, writing nonsensically about a "law school graduate (and suspended lawyer)" without naming him, before lurching into yet another defense of the embarrassing middle-finger-to-ethics Justice Michael Gableman and how he didn't get the free legal services from Michael Best that he certainly got. What are you going to believe, says Esenberg -- me, or your lying eyes? Esenberg is obviously going to keep trotting out this line of apologist bullshit until somebody believes it.
Pointing out Foley's irrelevant state bar status is the kind of politics-of-personal-destruction diversion you expect from right-wingers who are losing the argument (which Esenberg always is). The fact is that Tom -- who I have had the pleasure of showing around the Courthouse and could tell would have been a good lawyer if someone would have just hired him -- let his law license lapse when he realized he was moving on to better things. The fact he isn't a current member of the bar doesn't affect his well-reasoned arguments on any subject one bit. The fact Esenberg would resort to catty asides like this shows how weak he thinks his doomed position really is.
Tom Foley regularly had the goods on both Esenberg and Gableman -- not to mention Walker, the Fitzgeralds and everyone else making our lives miserable, locally and nationally. I have encouraged him to use the wonders of what he called "the internets" to stay in touch with Wisconsin politics in this critical year and keep posting. Alas, he has declined, for now, not knowing the state of technology in his future slice of Paradise and figuring he'll be too busy working in the bright tropical sunshine. But I hope he finds some time to share with us his unique and brilliant perspective. Or at least drop us a line from time to time.
I'll miss his friendship and his bass and keyboard playing in my ad hoc semi-annual bands (we kicked ass on "Like a Rolling Stone" at Nod to Bob this year). We'll all miss everything else -- his essential contribution to the Wisconsin conversation. Terribly.