Sunday, January 07, 2007


It’s been a while since the Journal Sentinel has sent out their hatchet men, Spivak and Bice, for more blather about the feverishly-imagined sins of Jim Doyle. Belling and Sykes must have called up, looking for more material. As always, the Spice Boys and the J-S are glad to oblige.

Their column this Sunday had all the usual ingredients: Snide attitude (even a dismissive “uh-huh” in the headline), class envy (yeah, right, a lawyer charging $230 an hour is a price cut! Uh-huh.), suspiciously-timed payments (like someone would have noticed a payment on the well-known contract before the election, much less been able to make something of it), standard denials by bureaucrats (yeah, sure, uh-huh) and contributions “since 2000” from the lawyer to the governor (Matt Flynn being a life-long Democrat and (gasp!) friend, who is unlikely to contribute to anyone else).

All of that is expected from the Spice Boys. And, as it is with every S&B smear-job on Doyle, you can always see what’s missing. The column, as usual, has absolutely no proof of ill-gotten gains, dirty-dealing, quid pro quos, secret-keeping, Doyle arm-twisting or any other reason to cast aspirations on a fairly common, public and straight-up arrangement the state has made to get money owed to it by the Ho Chunk Nation (the Boys quickly gloss over the fact that Flynn’s work has already gained the state $30 million, with more to follow). But, in the world of the Spivak and Bice, who cares if you have the facts when you can pretend you do? They say politics had nothing to do with Quarles and Brady getting the work? “Uh-huh.” See how it works? The Spice Boys continue to give skepticism a bad name.

The snarky, unearned attitude of the Boys is unneeded for what they intend. All they have to do is run the information about the obvious-to-them nefarious dealing between Doyle and Quarles; run it straight in a news column, without the ‘tude. Sykes and Belling don’t need the help finding it – and if they do, their daily GOP talking-points will get them on track, probably for the next several days, if not all this week. If this is such a great “gotcha”, the facts should speak for themselves. But they don’t, do they?

The king of throwing money at legal contributors for state gigs is, of course, Tommy Thompson, who started the practice of giving state work to GOP firms after Doyle, as Attorney General, refused to handle various harebrained Thompson legal projects. Not coincidentally, there’s the J-S’s favorite Tommy, featured in another story at the end of the Uh-Huh column. Apparently Jim Klauser, Tommy’s “longtime right-hand man” (no “flack”, “henchman” or “bagman” name-calling for this crew), held a fund-raiser for Mitt Romney. Yeah, but Our Tommy’s running! Not to worry, sigh the Boys in relief. An unnamed “ally” of Klauser assures them he is in Thompson’s corner. Whew! Close call? Uh-huh.

Notice the deference granted Thompson and Klauser in all S&B columns. All their words are taken at face value, and the drama is always whether things are going to be Good for Tommy. The J-S inexplicably is treating Thompson’s “campaign” for president as legitimate, bragging that he got “commitments” of $1 million at a recent fundraiser. Wow. $1 million dollars in a presidential race. Only $99 million to go! The real, non-homer media people are holding their breath watching Thompson step in, lest they break out laughing.

The real news is that Klauser is raising money for Romney, who is the most likely to fill the Rove-managed empty-suit to be vacated none-too-soon by Junior Bush. More likely, Tommy is “in the race” (uh-huh) just in case all the other damaged Republican candidates flame out, as all of them just might. I mean, somebody has to be there in the history books with an (R) next to his name when the ’08 45-state landslide by Clinton or Obama or Edwards is documented.

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