Friday, April 26, 2013

Chris Abele's Ghost Writer

In politics, it's not unusual for a politician - of either party - to want to stay above the fray of the fight, especially during a campaign or during a fight about a hotly disputed issue.  If there is some talking point that they really want to get out, but don't want to get their hands dirty, they will leak that information out to a reporter, a radio squawker or a blogger*.

The Teapublicans are exceptionally skilled with this sort of strategy.  They give a talking point to one of their propagandist groups like MacIver Institute or Media Trackers.  Then someone like Charlie Sykes or Mark Belling picks up on it and they all keep hammering on it.  Eventually, the local paper or TV news picks it up and suddenly a smear campaign becomes "news," giving a false credibility to the story.

But sometimes, this strategy can backfire, especially when it becomes too obvious.

Case in point would be these past two weeks and the fight over what form the "reform" of Milwaukee County Government should take.

Aaron Rodriguez, an extremist Teapublican who has delusions of being a reporter,  has a blog at JSOnline.  Most of his writing is blase at best, and is often painful to read.  But all of a sudden, he was breaking stories that broke bad against the county board.  On the same day or the day after that one of his "breaking reports" would appear, Milwaukee County Executive Chris "Lil Walker" Abele and/or Supervisor Deanna "Whatever you say, GMC" Alexander would be on the radio touting the story and expressing their shock, dismay and/or anger about it.

Then they would take great pains to tout Rodriguez' "reporting."

Gee, could I have been wrong all along about A-Rod, as he likes to refer to himself?

Not really.

As this screencap of one of Abele's emails shows, Abele and A-Rod were rather close buddies:

Click on image to embiggen
For over a year, Abele's been using Rodriguez to put out his talking points, his smear jobs, his fabrications and his obfuscations.   So much so that he couldn't even wait until he returned from vacation or use one of his staffers to do the job.  And there are hundreds like this.

The only thing that's not clear is whether this came from a county phone.  If it did, well, that would be against the law.  As Kelly Rindfleisch, Darlene Wink, and Tim Russell can testify, one can't use county equipment for politicking.

Alexander is even worse.  Anything that she got was immediately shared with Abele, Rodriguez, Sykes, Belling and even WVCY, a conservative Christian radio station.

So does anyone really think that a partisan hack like Rodriguez was breaking these stories, instead of having them spoon fed to him?

But now, when it comes to efficiency audits of the county, they will be able to get rid of Brendan Conway, Abele's official spokesman. Why spend taxpayer money on a redundant service when they can just give their information for Rodriguez to regurgitate.

*Yes, sometimes my tips come from a politician, but the majority of the articles I write come from tips from people like you, gentle reader.  The biggest difference is that I, unlike Rodriguez, will independently verify the truth of a story before running it.

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