Lefty bloggers love him. State representatives, including intellectual heavyweight Leah Vukmir, dance to his tune. He pops up as a guest on the Charlie Sykes show. It's rumored he has political ambitions.
All of which leads the Brawler to ask: Why is Ol Lady Owen Robinson taken seriously? It certainly can't be because of anything he writes. Because rarely is someone as wrong -- or just as flat out silly -- as Ol Lady Owen Robinson.
The Brawler would love to enumerate all of the Ol Lady's instances of errancy or pure silliness but there's only so much bandwidth. But who could forget his declaration that Israel was kicking Hezbollah's ass as Hezbollah blew up Israeli tanks, crippled an Israeli ship and actually increased the number of missile attacks as Israel's last adventure against Lebanon ground on ... until Israel pulled back (Recall he also praised Israel's restraint against Hezbollah -- cluster bombs aside). Or his column claiming that the fact the people of West Bend shoveled (or snowblowed, the wimps) out from under a blizzard demonstrated we didn't need government's help --without noting that it was left to the public to pay for clearing the roads. And of course, there's the greatest miscarriage of reporting in recent Wisconsin political history: Owen's pimping of the "Copiergate" story (in which he got spun like a top by his GOP friends).
No wonder he always seems redfaced!
Yes, he clearly is a silly -- if oddly well-respected -- person.
His silliness is all the more apparent if you take a cursory glance at some of his writings over the past week or so.
From Tuesday at "1939 hours" (for a guy who's never been on active duty, Owen sure fetishizes the military):
I stopped by the capitol today at lunch between some appointments to chat with some folks. It’s comical the effort being taken by some folks to seal leaks in the building. Seriously, guys… the building leaks like a colander. I have 20 or more sources in the building. But that’s not a bad thing. Transparency in government should be celebrated… if you’re doing the right thing.
Hey Ol Lady: Anonymous sources who leak to a rightwing blogger does not fall under any meaningful definition of "transparency"! They're folks who know you'll provide a ready ear and a prolific pen to serve their interests! And don't think they're not laughing about it. "Yeah, let's talk to Owen, that putz who pushed the Copiergate story."
From Tuesday (The Brawler said he's prolific -- maybe a little less typing and a little more thinking would help!) as Owen pimped Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Ralph Ramirez as the anti-consumer candidate for State Supreme Court Justice:
Politically speaking, he’s a fantastic candidate. It must be noted that Justice Butler is an extremely weak candidate. He already ran for Supreme Court once and got his clock cleaned. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Doyle. Since then, he has voted for and/or authored every anti-business and anti-law enforcement decision from the court. In reality, he only has two issues to run on: he’s black and he’s the incumbent.
A Ramirez candidacy takes away the racial politics from Butler. Although Butler is the first black Justice, Ramirez would be the first Hispanic Justice. Although I utterly reject the notion that race should be an issue in elections… it is.
Furthermore, Butler would be extremely well financed. Remember that business groups pumped in millions to support Justice Ziegler because they rightly wanted to preserve the balance of the court. How much do you think they will spend to tip the balance of the court? I guarantee you that it’s far more than Butler could hope to muster.
Ramirez appears to be a good judge and has the potential to be a fantastic justice. I hope he gets into the race. He’d stand a very good chance against a weak candidate - especially with the strong backing that he is sure to get.
Run, Ramirez, run.
The Brawler is gratified that Owen admits that big bucks from the anti-consumer interests will be a key factor in the upcoming Supreme Court race. The Brawler dearly hopes progressives make this an issue in the race. But there is very little in the way of insight in the rest of this column.
It's clear that Owen doesn't know shit about Ramirez's record yet is touting him over Butler.
Owen's assertion that the only two issues Butler has to run on is his race and his incumbency could be described by a less charitable observer as flat-out racist. The fact of the matter is that Butler has more experience, in law and behind the bench, than Ramirez (Butler was appointed to municipal court in 1992 and elected to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in 2002; Ramirez was elected to the Waukesha Circuit Court (seriously: big deal) in 1999).
If Owen thinks the fact Ramirez is Hispanic (and presumably a supporter of the GOP) "takes away the racial politics from Butler," he knows even less about race and politics than the Brawler suspects.
Finally, the Brawler suspects that if Butler is smart, he should be able to raise considerably more money than Clifford did. That said, the Brawler suspects -- if current political trends hold -- the GOP will be targeting this race as their biggest Dairy State opportunity in 2008. (That said, if progressives are smart Butler -- with a lift from turnout for the Milwaukee mayoral election -- should be able to overcome the GOP's dollar advantage and retain his seat).
Must the Brawler go on? Ol Lady Owen -- who mistakes prolixity for profundity -- does. So so must the Brawler!
A comment he posted in a thread under his post Thursday about how the taxpayers are getting screwed by Senator Herb Kohl's move to extend funding for SeniorCare:
Somehow people managed to grow old with dignity before the welfare state. They did so by planning accordingly. And if tragedy befell them, they looked to their family, church and neighbors.
Initially these sentences struck the Brawler as some of the most stupid, ahistorical garbage ever written. Retirement planning was all the rage in the 1890s! That is if the bank didn't shut down! But in fairness , it's possible that instead of "dignity," Owen was reaching for another word that ends with a -ty. Oh yeah! "Poverty!" As in the fate that befell most seniors before the creation of Social Security aka "The Welfare State." Indeed, as recently as 1960, 35 percent of seniors lived in poverty; by 1995 it was only 10 percent. And we have Social Security, not the glory of 401(k)s to thank for that.
This has to end at some point, so here we go.
A post from Memorial Day bemoaning how he has never shed blood for this country:
On this day I remember those who are greater than I will ever be. I remember those who paid the ultimate price for my liberty.
Uh, Owen: Last the Brawler (whose forefathers' military service matches your own) checked, there was a war going on in which plenty of American blood is being shed. A war which you support and has been initiated by a president you support. If shedding your blood is so important to you, please enlist immediately -- I'm sure the military will take you given they're taking gangbangers -- and head on over. Put all that shooting on the target range to use! (If some physical ailment is preventing you from doing this, the Brawler apologizes.) But otherwise, kindly STFU with this ridiculous, indeed offensive, posturing.
Again: Can someone explain to the Brawler why this guy plays a fairly prominent role in our civil discourse?