One supposedly "influential" local blogger describes the e-mails as "breathtaking" and claims the WJCIC has been "Caught In Blatant Lying." He also obsequiously credits right-wing Milwaukee radio and teevee shouting head Charlie Sykes with "tak[ing] the trouble to excerpt some of the more troubling bits" (in fact all Sykes did was copy and paste material from the Republican outfit's webpage. Sykes can't even be troubled to spell Justice Butler's name correctly).
Some of the more entertaining portions of the e-mails concern Sykes himself. The committee briefly discusses, for example, an earlier Sykes cut-and-paste job from the Club For Growth's website alleging the committee's supposed "direct ties" to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and wonders whether it should formulate a response. Committee member Bill Kraus observes, "Replying to Charlie is the equivalent of getting into a pissing contest with a skunk."
Interestingly, in the same Sykes blog entry of January 3, which described the WJCIC as "a scam," longtime Republican Kraus is portrayed as the only committee member without a tie to Doyle.
In another instance of Sykes and his fellow GOP hatchet-persons wanting it both ways, the Club For Growth's initial complaints centered on the WJCIC's lack of ideological, gender, and "minority" diversity. Since then, committee chairman Tom Basting has apparently sought (and implemented) ways to increase both the size of the committee and its diversity, citing recommendations made by similar judicial watchdog groups in other States.
But since many of the e-mail messages also express concerns about the committee's perception among the public, Club For Growth cherry picks through these to portray Basting as a liar — a liar for making moves to rectify complaints the Club For Growth made in the first place. Or, as the blogger in the funny pants puts it, "Blatant lying."
Last I checked, that's a pretty serious charge.
For a crowd that has devoted so much time and energy to dissecting the WJCIC and pooh-poohing its power, mandate, influence, legitimacy, etc., they sure do seem to take it pretty seriously nonetheless, don't they.
If the WJCIC ever desired a higher media profile — and there is considerable evidence in the e-mails that it does — this gang of Republican hucksters is sure handing it over on a silver platter.
Meanwhile, Basting and Gableman lieutenant Darrin Schmitz continue their war of words, in a pair of letters available via WisPolitics.com, here (.pdf) and here. And the ever dependable young GOP operative Daniel Suhr proves once again that he's incapable of reading a Louis Butler opinion by wondering why the Butler campaign describes its principal as a scholar, preferring instead a definition that includes 'student editor of the law review and writer of magazine articles.'
Doubtless there will be much more to come in the days hence. Grumps of the Happy Circumstance fortuitously provides the appropriate words of wisdom, from the desk of H.L. Mencken:
Has the art of politics no apparent utility? Does it appear to be unqualifiedly ratty, raffish, sordid, obscene, and low down, and its salient virtuosi a gang of unmitigated scoundrels? Then let us not forget its high capacity to soothe and tickle the midriff, its incomparable services as a maker of entertainment.Finally, One Wisconsin Now reveals its own rummaging into the circumstances of Michael Gableman's current employment:
Gableman's Suspicious Appointment