Saturday, November 04, 2006

DeWine plumbs new depths

By Heraclitus

Here I was, just trying to enjoy a little Conan O'Brien (which is hard enough when Darrell Hammond is the guest), when what to my wondering eyes should appear? The dirtiest and most unscrupulous political ad this side of a swift boat. Mike DeWine, who it increasingly seems is headed for an ass-whupping on Tuesday, has a female law enforcement agent (I think she may have been with the highway patrol) talking about a twenty-year-old criminal investigation. What investigation, precisely? It seems that when Sherrod Brown was Secretary of State of Ohio, there was an investigation into drugs being sold out of his office. The female cop is complaining that one of Brown's employees sold her drugs but was later promoted.

Okay, so who contacted the police and initiated the investigation? Sherrod Brown. Was the woman who allegedly sold dope to the undercover cop arrested? Were charges filed? No and no. Have there been any new disclosures or revelations that would justify suddenly drudging all of this back up days before the election? No. All of this has been a matter of public record since 1990.

Nevertheless, this ad is suggesting that some horrible miscarriage of justice has been perpetrated. By whom? Could Sherrod Brown have single-handedly orchestrated and executed a cover-up? Of course not. So who is DeWine really attacking? Well, not just Sherrod Brown. He's essentially casting aspersions on the entire criminal justice system in Ohio, for it would have required the involvement of countless players at both the local and state levels to prevent an arrest if one had been warranted.

So it's not just the sleaziness of this baseless and breathtakingly dishonest personal attack that repels me. It's the fact that DeWine is willing to smear the police and prosecutors who handled the case, that he's willing to impugn the credibility of law enforcement in his home state, just to trip up the other guy. But then, I don't know why I'm surprised. Even in his own ads he looks like a reject from the Keebler Elves who can't even comb his own hair. He doesn't have much else to run on.

It should be noted, however, that this story is not without its comic element. A run-down of the charges against Brown's office can be found here (I can't tell if this site is right-wing or just glibly cynical). One of the items that this website found significant was that a clerk in the accounting office apparently brought some marijuana brownies into work. The brownies seem to have been ingested by someone who had never known the pleasures of Mary Jane's company, and the novice stoner was promptly rushed to the hospital. I seriously could not make this up. And this somehow reflects on Brown's suitability to be a US Senator twenty years later. Brown's campaign responds to the more serious allegations here.

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