I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is Milwaukee's "alternative" newspaper, the Shepherd Express. Although it consists mostly of advertising for stuff that doesn't interest me and takes just a few minutes to read, I always pick up a new issue with anticipation.
I'm not sure I know why, but I think the answer is something like this: Although some of my fellow bloggers and a significant slice of the conservative media are into talking smack on the left, the fact is that there are lots of liberals who are intelligent and thoughtful. Our friends on the left aren't as addled and feckless as we on the right sometimes think they are.
Except - in the Shepherd Express - they are! Whenever I pick it up, I feel like Dan Ackroyd's old character, Leonard Pinth-Garnell (host of "Bad Cinema") on SNL. "Bravo! Monumentally ill-reasoned!" You would have to go a long way to find worse and the odds are you wouldn't make it.
I am rarely disappointed. McNally, Berkman, Hissom. At least one, and usually all three, will write something so breathtakingly thoughtless as to amount to a certain kind of art.
In last week's iteration, McNally suggests that the perps who slashed the tires on vans that the Republicans were using to get out the vote may actually have served the electoral process. Joel figures that the GOP couldn't possibly have been intending to use the van to take voters to the polls since we all have our own SUVs and Daddy Warbucks limos. (There must be a lot of filthy rich people to have actually elected George Bush).
What we were intending to do, Joel knows, is cart lawyers to the polls "to challenge and intimidate black voters."
I feel like a fool. I was one of those lawyers and actually drove my own Mini Cooper (I didn't even have the convertible Cooper-S back then!) to the polls. I didn't even get gas mileage.
I was, however, accused of intimidating black voters. Here's how that happened. There were 8 lawyers at the Washington Park Library. Two Republicans, two Democrats, three from Soros-funded front groups and one assistant DA. The Republican contingent was indeed ferocious. There was yours truly, a middle aged guy with thinning hair in a cardigan sweater and a guy from Texas who was a dead ringer for Charlotte's husband on Sex in the City, right down to the shaved head and baby face. We looked pretty out of hand.
He and I were standing in the middle of a huge room talking to the Democrat lawyers, Not about the voters, but about where they were from and other small talk. The two walked away and proto-Harry and I continued to talk about football or some other irrelvancy.
At this point, a lawyer from the PFAW-front called by the name "Election Protection" or some other misnomer runs up and tells us that we are "intimidating" the voters because ... I guess because we stood there looking like a pair of tenured History professors.
Who was to know? In my experience, African-Americans are not so easily intimidated. I guess it takes a white liberal like our accuser - or Joel McNally - to tell us otherwise.