Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I Support Chris Abele

My support for Chris Abele for County Executive is based upon the nature of the attacks directed against him. The Jeff Stone camp is big on playing up some of Abele's past indiscretions, but those indiscretions are really not all that bad. Abele's closet skeletons are little more than a discarded chicken-bone.

Abele pays no taxes because he donates so much money to the poor it offsets the taxes that would be placed upon his trust-fund-baby income. He has apparently once been a reckless youth, however. In addition to throwing his wealth at the poor, he also had the occasional night drinking, and once did so before driving recklessly in his sportscar. He's completely ignored putting a quarter into parking meters because, to him, 25 cents is little worse than 25 bucks for a ticket. But he's always paid the fines. And now, he's apparently once had a lien upon him from the IRS when they weren't too sure he truly didn't owe any taxes to them. This, from today's edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which made that a headline story.

To all this, I say, that's it? That's the best ya got?

We've all had our mistakes. We've all had our indiscretions. I'm frankly surprised that Abele hasn't gotten into more trouble in his youth. Even I certainly would have gotten into more trouble if I'd had that kind of money when I was in my 20's. The fact that he's only had one drunk driving incident and a bevy of immediately-paid parking tickets is impressive. This is a guy who, as County Exec, would never be tempted by dirty money. He's already rolling in it.

And he certainly wouldn't be the first young, rich man who didn't get his shit together until later in life. His past doesn't rule out his present, nor erase the fact that he stands for everything I stand for, so far as I can tell.

Yes, Stone appears to be the candidate with a cleaner record and greater integrity. If only he stood correctly on one, damned issue. Unfortunately, he doesn't, and that means I'd have to see Abele do something seriously lecherous before I'd consider holding my nose and voting for Jeff Stone this election cycle.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of the standard that a politician can't have done any little thing wrong. I was already sick of it back when Clinton's attorney general nominee got ruled out in 1993 because he'd paid his neighbor kid to mow his lawn without paying his FICA, and payroll tax. And the political candidate who's so clean he squeaks makes me worry. It makes me think this guy was the high school hall monitor who spent the last 20 years being a misanthrope before deciding he'd go into politics to finally make friends. Okay, maybe that's a bit harsh, but it's certainly easy to keep your nose clean when you're a hermit with his head in the sand, isn't it?

But buried in the headline that Abele was hit with an IRS lien, is an even more interesting story. Apparently, John Barrett, the brother of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and the clerk of circuit court, spotted Tim Russell (not the piano-playing politico formerly on PBS), digging through Abele's divorce file and other records at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. This guy, Russell, is a former staff member and campaign worker for Scott Walker. He has done volunteer work in Stone's campaign.

So he was digging for dirt on Abele, why? He says, it was out of personal curiosity.


You know, those attacking Abele, nearly all of them one-time supporters of a cocaine-head of a former U.S. President from Texas, have done their best to find anything substantial, and all they've been able to find is that he's a recovering playboy. Well, good for him. He's got my vote.

By the way, did you notice that there's an all-important Wisconsin Supreme Court election coming up in less than two weeks? Yep! April 5. Prosser vs. Kloppenberg. Remember to vote!


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