And yesterday he may have surrendered whatever political credibility he had remaining, squandering the brief surge he enjoyed while he frolicked with Joe the Plumber and amusingly copped to digesting that grande dame of Republican letters Ann Coulter's Godless.
After several months spent deploying a partisan fusillade comprised of acting the hypocrite, misstating the law, making baseless accusations, insulting his colleagues, and flat-out lying, Koschnick was apparently startled to learn that somebody had gotten wise to his charades and used them to take a bite out of his own dorsal facade.
Let's call it rational basis with teeth.
Playing off of Judge Koschnick's very own relentless campaign message, a third-party issue outfit reasonably inferred from his stump performances some not-so-veiled promises to rule against the types of parties who prevailed in the cases Koschnick has been making a grandiose issue out of since November.
The Greater Wisconsin Committee began running television ads this past Tuesday that accuse Koschnick of favoring corporate interests as against the victims of, e.g., products manufacturing negligence and medical malpractice.
To be sure, it's not as if the GWC picked up on some singular, offhand remark of Koschnick's.
Rather, it relied on the circuit judge's central political thesis, pummeling away as he has for months at every available opportunity on the same handful of Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions carefully chosen from a decades-deep archive of several thousand.
Evidently Judge Koschnick was both shocked and appalled that somebody just might conceivably take him at his word.
He reacted yesterday by firing off two letters, one to what the First Amendment refers to as the free press, urging it to prostrate itself before his capricious desires and stop airing the ads, and the other to Chief Justice Abrahamson, imploring her to join his petty crusade.
Abrahamson's campaign responded appropriately, advising Judge Koschnick that if he has a problem with the broadcasts, then it's likewise up to him to do something about it. That's his business.
Koschnick's reaction would have been merely laughable, had it not been accompanied by deliberately malicious petulance. Koschnick's campaign "adviser," a wannabe Republican fixer called Seamus Flaherty, attempted to pin the blame on the Chief Justice.
Flaherty shamelessly attributed ownership of the ad to Abrahamson herself and lied about the Chief Justice's response to a question posed by Bill Lueders in a Madison paper, the Isthmus — she hadn't declined to answer it, she declined to "speculate about the future."
That's a big difference, and furthermore, when a journalist doesn't receive a yes or no answer to a loaded question, he's in no wise entitled to portray whatever answer he does get as a refusal to reply.
Nice 'N' Sleazy
Flaherty claimed the Chief Justice was actively relying on "sleaze merchants" to do her "dirty work" but without offering the slightest whiff of evidence connecting Abrahamson to the GWC.
It's abundantly clear who is the sleaze merchant in this affair and all of Mr. Seamus Flaherty's published and spoken campaign pronouncements bear the official imprimatur of Koschnick himself.
Moreover, Koschnick's correspondence to the Chief Justice itself contains a false statement of fact, whereby Koschnick accuses the GWC of making an "admission" it never made and furthermore, attributing this non-existent "admission" to an Associated Press report that contained no such "admission," all of which earned the judge a polite cease and desist letter from the GWC's counsel.
Additional handwringing over the third-party outfit's entry into the campaign fray can likely be expected, but it seems to this observer that the teevee spot's inference is broadly defensible.
And unfortunately for Jefferson County Judge Randy Koschnick, it's his own endless loop of well documented partisan rhetoric and hyperbole that provides the most effective grounds for its defense.