So asked Reagan Labor Secretary Ray Donovan after watching the pre-Fox News media of the 1980s drag his name through the mud, only to be exonerated.
There are some people who need to apologize to Mr. Justice David Prosser now that he has been cleared and soon. They took a shallowly researched and preposterous allegation -- that Prosser held fellow justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold -- and ran to the guillotine with it. Breath is not being held here at the Stately Manor. In fact, Ruben Mamoulian seems to be huffing a dangerous substance: liberal self-righteousness, uncut.
About that kerfuffle of June 13, 2011, in the chambers of the Wisconsin Supreme Court:
- Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs investigated and made no arrests.
- The Dane County Sheriff's Department investigated and made no arrests. (Read the investigatory report.)
- Dane County District Atty. Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat, reviewed the investigatory reports and did not prosecute. Instead, he shunted the matter off to Judge Foust, asking that he appoint a special prosecutor.
- That prosecutor, Sauk County D.A. Patricia Barrett, a Republican, reviewed the case and determined no foul, no crime (as this blog predicted on August 2).
They did their job, however haltingly. In the above-cited blog, I noted that if a crime jumped off the pages of the sheriff's investigatory report, Ozanne had a duty to prosecute. That he punted the case to Sauk County is a measure of the climate of intimidation that the unionistas have imposed hereabouts.
Here is a list of people who should apologize for their rush to judgment. These named should be ashamed of their lynch mob mentality. Their judgment, blinded as it was by partisan fury, should forever be suspect. Their names must be synonyms for ignominy, the triumph of willful ignorance over patient fact-finding. They are practitioners of the dark arts of "by any means necessary."
They put our democracy in a chokehold.
The Blaska Policy Research Factory heads the list with those who danced under "Prosser Must Go!" signs on the steps of the State Capitol. (Watch it on Wisconsin Eye.) Please do not cavil that some of them said they merely wanted Justice Prosser "step down" pending the results of the investigation. A neat trick. Make a spurious allegation; maybe it sticks, maybe no. In the meantime, you knock your political opponent to the sidelines. Worth a try.
No, the signs in the picture -- you can see it here -- say clearly that Prosser Must Go!
Let us start with the most notorious name, that would-be governor, that would-be attorney general: "The Kathleen" Falk. Apologize, The Kathleen.
Madison Ald. Lisa Subeck must atone for organizing the low-tech lynching.
County Board Supervisors Melissa Sargent and Diane Hesselbine must apologize. They used their public trust to trammel the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
The Capital Times owes an apology for savaging County Sup. Eileen Bruskewitz for merely requesting that her sister supervisors show more circumspection.
Annie Laurie Gaylor must apologize for stating that their campaign of vilification should force Justice Prosser to quit just months after he was re-elected. ("Justice will be served when public opinion forces Prosser to resign.")
Samantha Leonard, a third-year law student representing the Madison chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, should be denied her law license until she learns how our criminal justice system operates. ("outright misogyny," however unfortunate, is not a crime nor is Prosser proven guilty of it.)
Ms. Emily Mills owes an apology for blogging that UW law professor and bloggress Ann Althouse "has gone to great and terrible lengths to excuse the alleged behavior, attack the credibility of only the anonymous sources with whom she disagrees, suggest that no arrests (yet) mean no wrongdoing, impugn the honor of Justice Bradley, and cast doubt on the very justice system of this state." Looks like it is the other way around, Ms. Emily.
Liberal advocacy journalist Bill Lueders owes, at least, an explanation for how he came upon one side of the story -- that of Justice Bradley's -- but not Justice Prosser's.
Anyone who calls him/herself "progressive" should be ashamed. Time to rebrand with a new moniker. Let's be clear: their outrage had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with politics. David Prosser is a conservative jurist whom they tried and failed to defeat in the April 5 election as a stand-in for Gov. Scott Walker; Ann Walsh Bradley is a member of the court's 3-4 liberal minority.
Finally, Justice Bradley should apologize. If she does not understand what constitutes a crime under Wisconsin law, the high court is in more trouble than we realized. At any time during the last three months she could have made a simple statement: "Neither of us acquitted ourselves very well that day in June but no crime was committed."
Instead, she let her fellow justice twist in the wind.
No apologies expected
There are some people who cannot be expected to apologize because they lack the sweet milk of civility so necessary in a democracy.
I will not ask One Scot Ross, executive director of liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, to apologize for ginning up a petition demanding Prosser's outright resignation (no temporary recusal) -- only because he is incapable of redemption.
All of these people went where even my fearless comrade, John Nichols, dared not.
Madison, WI, this year has resembled the Directorate of the French Revolution when allegation = fact, when accusation = condemnation. This is not what democracy looks like.
Stately Manor visitors, whom has the Squire forgotten? Names, please, for the record.