Monday, March 04, 2013

John Doe RIP

My initial reaction to the termination of the Joe Doe investigation can be found over at Right Wisconsin. (Sorry, it's behind a pay wall.) I am not one of those conservatives who claim that the investigation was a witch hunt (I don't pretend to know) but it was troubling both in its conception and execution. It has been my view that we are not served by vaguely worded statutes defining political crimes that can be interpreted to apply to both true abuses of power and garden variety politicking. Expecting those crimes to be enforced by partisan elected officials - even those with the best of intentions - further aggravates the matter. Ordinary politics ought not to be criminalized.

Nor are we served by the kind of partisan irresponsibility that marked much of the public discussion of the Doe. I found it shocking that a member of the bar running for Governor allowed rampant speculation about a legal proceeding to be advanced in his name. I understand that politics ain't bean bag and a political campaign can be a bit like a fist fight. You could hit in the face and you lash back. But all the sepia toned ads about Scott Walker and Dragnet-style Democratic party websites would look silly today if they had not been so irresponsible then.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.


Anonymous said...

The professor makes the false assumption that only partisans will abuse the statutes that govern the actions of politicians -and- those actions which are subject to the laws are of the "garden variety".

The citizens of Wisconsin have made it abundantly clear that they want legislators held accountable, and they are have entrusted prosecutors to use their discretion to bring forth charges if evidence warrants a probe. It is up to the media and the people to put pressure on those individuals who investigate these matters to ensure that the process will be diligently followed.

During the process, indeed, there will be events that lead people to question its legitimacy, but these events do not necessarily negate its intended purpose.

Both sides leaked information. Both sides gamed the system to work it to their advantage. Both sides marshaled their "attack dogs". Professor, it's called trying to win a case within the confines of the rules.

Furthermore, professor, please be honest here. There seemingly appears to be a disconnect with this statement...

"I have steadfastly refused to question the motivation behind the probe and I won’t start now."

with this statement...

"An investigation into nothing took forever to produce very little. In the process, political partisans misused it in a failed attempt to bring down a Governor."

So, indeed, you do have an opinion on the matter regarding the reason behind the investigation.

As the venerable John Foust would say, a classic Standard Contradictory Disclaimer™ on your part.

Anonymous said...

And another thing, professor. I do not know if you edit your own work, or have someone check your posts, but two of your links do not work..."vaguely worded statues" and "allowed rampant speculation".

I am sure that you take your students to task for not being diligent in their work.

Anonymous said...

So all your good stuff goes behind a paywall now.

Way to go.

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