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Dane County Republicans make wild accusations about Isthmus

Working for the Republican Party of Dane County can't be easy. In this heavily Democratic area, few people listen to you, and few people vote for your candidates. After a while, you snap.

Actually, that's just a guess. But one is left grasping for explanations after reading the latest press release from the local Republicans, this one blasting Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders.

The press release tees off on Lueders' May 6 opinion column -- titled "The politics of hate" -- which questioned the extreme language of an earlier press release from the local GOP. In the column, Lueders argues that the press release paints Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg and her supporters "as not just wrong, but evil. They don't care at all about the people of Wisconsin; they just want to hurt families, for chuckles."

Indeed, that Republican press release declared: "Wisconsin Democrats just don't care. They simply don't care about the damage that they are doing to the state of Wisconsin and Wisconsin families."

Lueders' column called out Democrats for similarly extreme statements.

The Republican Party of Dane County responded to Lueders' charge of extremism with... more extremism. Its latest press release, written by party spokesperson Jeff Waksman, says that "hate has been the Lueders Modus Operandi for years," offering a couple of dubious examples.

"Accusing the Bush Administration, without any evidence, of causing the crash of a plane flown by Michael Connell? Sounds like hate," the press release says. "Committing pure journalistic fraud by inventing a story about a fake racist attendee to a Republican Party of Dane County election night party in 2008? The list starts getting long."

Whoa, Nelly. Lueders didn't accuse the Bush administration of "causing the crash of a plane flown by Michael Connell," but simply reported on allegations by Connell's locally based family members.

And the man Lueders quoted at a Republican election-night party didn't make any racist statements, as can be seen in the article.

Saying that veteran reporter Lueders fabricated this source, and committed "pure journalistic fraud," is a strong statement. And it's made without a hint of evidence.

One expects bold comments from a major political party, and maybe even a bit of distortion to push its point of view. But one doesn't expect official statements to be this wildly accusatory and, well, nutty.

The latest GOP press release follows a doozy about Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi that attracted national attention. It alleged that the judge, who issued a restraining order against Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill, "goes to cocktail parties held by leftists in Dane County. She shops at organic gourmet food shops run by leftists living in Dane County. If she were to enforce the law of Wisconsin and do what was in the best interest of the people of Wisconsin, she'd be exiled from her lifestyle."

The press release went on to proclaim that Republicans "prioritize the Constitution and the well being of the people of Wisconsin over foie gras at cocktail parties."

Fantasies about foie gras-eating leftists and "pure journalistic fraud" will ensure that the Republicans' press releases get noticed. But they won't do wonders for the party's credibility in Dane County.

Update: The Republican Party of Dane County did not return a call for comment.

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