Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cujo Burglarizes Recall Hansen Office in Green Bay and Eats All of the Tea Bagger Homework

Jesus, this is going to be a mess:
Green Bay police are investigating an apparent break-in at the office of the “Recall Dave Hansen”effort at 1136 W. Mason St.
Petitions, a computer and T-shirts were among the items reported stolen, police said.
The Democratic state senator is among the lawmakers being targeted in recall efforts stemming from Wisconsin’s ongoing budget controversy.
The burglar or burglars broke a window to make entry, police said. The incident occurred between 5 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Friday, police Lt. David Paral said.
Organizers of the effort, in an email to media, blamed the break-in on “the (opposition) of ‘Recall Dave Hansen.’” Police said they did not have descriptions of suspects.
Total value of the missing items is slightly more than $1,000, Paral said.
Before the Recall Hansen folks get too carried away pointing fingers, let’s get a few things straight here:
  • There is NO INCENTIVE for Hansen supporters to commit such a crime. Hansen won his district by 32% most recently, so even if enough signatures did get gathered by the recall effort, there’s little likelihood of Hansen losing a recall election.
  • The Recall Hansen team also has had some organizational issues, like finding enough volunteers. This was apparently such a problem that they offered to pay people to do gather signatures by posting an ad on Craigslist:
The recall Hansen group is even looking to pay people to collect signatures. In a Craigslist ad they posted, they offer 50 cents a signature saying there is an unlimited short term earning potential.
This, of course, is the same kind of pay-for-names scheme that conservatives used to blast the artists formerly known as ACORN for doing, under the auspices that it led to voter fraud.
  • Or just regular old felons. The Recall Hansen folks recently had to fire a paid, out-of-state canvasser after he was arrested for stealing and subsequently was shown to have an extensive criminal record.
  • Originally there were two Recall Dave Hansen efforts, but they merged, a process that can lead to leadership quarrels and disgruntled ex-members.
        But the biggest reason of all to be skeptical of the Recall Hansen folks is how they’ve publicly marked their progress thus far. It’s been scatter-shot at best. On April 1st they said:
        The recall Hansen group says they are halfway to the 13,852 required signatures, and hope to be all the way, by Tuesday, election day [April 4th].
        So they thought they could bring in 7000 signatures in 4 days. Which they apparently accomplished:
        The recall campaign against Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, said its haul of more than 3,000 signatures Tuesday likely propelled it past its goal of getting enough signatures to force a recall election.
        Keep in mind this was before both recall campaigns merged, a process that should have added signatures to the grand total, but somehow, three days later on April 7th, they were still short of their goal:
        That combined effort is now very close to having the required number of signatures after a surprising release of the total this afternoon.
        After combining signatures and adding up the total, we are at 12,973. We need 13,851. Victory is a reality with 19 days to go.
        And even though they were able to bring in "4000 signatures" during the three days before the Election Day, they still needed another week to gather the 900 signatures that put them over the hump (yet again) yesterday, when the campaign announced that it had finally gotten the signatures required to start a recall:
        Organizers of the campaign to recall state Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay say they have  enough signatures to deliver to the State.
        The groups targeting the Democratic state senator are planning a victory party Saturday. Then they say they’ll double-check their petitions before handing them over to the State.
        Wow, what awful timing. (And given their track record, I'm sure they'll find a few duplicate signatures or whatever and once again be just short of the goal. Probably not a good idea to throw the party before the chickens are counted ... or hatched ... or whatever, you get the point.)

        Here’s what one can reasonably suspect happened:

        The Recall Hansen organization is basically being run by amateurs who are having a trouble finding signatures. The problem is that they are probably accountable to someone, somewhere in Wisconsin (my guess is in Madison). This looks like they have inflated their progress to the press and, more importantly, their superiors and now find themselves in a bit of a bind with only ten days left before the recall period ends. So someone, who is probably pretty new to politics, but still thinks of themselves as the next Karl Rove cooks up a little plan wherein a mysterious robber steals away with the recall signatures in the middle of the night, before the gang has had the chance to turn them in to the GAB, which not only spares them the wrath of their overlords in Madison, but also has the added effect of making the opposition look crooked.

        Bravo, Machiavelli.

        Do I have any proof of this? No more than the Recall Hansen people do of Watergate-style burglaries led by the opposition. Throwing a brick through one’s own campaign office window in an attempt to win some sympathy is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but at the end of the day the Recall Hansen people have to answer one very simple question:

        What the fuck were the signatures doing in a place where someone could steal them? Why didn’t someone bring them home at the end of every day and put them in a safe place? I don’t care how safe the neighborhood is, they should have at least put in place a system that would have made accidental loss or misplacement of the signatures damn near impossible.

        This doesn’t look like a crime so much as an idiotic hoax. I'd be more than happy to eat crow on this if proved wrong, but when it's all said an done I doubt we will ever be any closer to knowing what actually happened after an investigation than we do right now. Unless, of course, the Recall Hansen people broke the window from the inside or something incredibly stupid like that. Which is entirely possible.

        MORE: Holy shit! There's actually a picture of the broken window! The commenters at the WTAQ site aren't buying it either. Here's "Chris," who also makes a great point about the stolen t-shirts:

        Look at the photo. You can't climb into a window like that without knocking down the glass on the lower ledge or you will find yourself in the hospital.

        Do you seriously think the opposition is going to want to steal t-shirts? It doesn't have any significant effect on the opposition to take them, and make it far more likely that you would get caught. Petitions, you bet, T-shirts, no, you would have to be an idiot to take them.

        The main thing though is the glass. Clearly nobody climbed in through that window.
        For the uninitiated, WTAQ is the Fox Valley's major FM conservative talk radio station. By the way, the picture above, which I ganked from the station's web site, was taken by the Recall Hansen office's lead organizer, David VanderLeest, for what it's worth.

        Widgerson also has the pic and notes that only 150 signatures were supposedly taken. Fair enough. (I still find the arithmetical skills of the organization wanting and would happily wager that the signatures collected by the felon who was recently released from his employ will be challenged.) He also asks (in jest, one assumes) if the negros have an alibi.

        The proprietor of Seaside Sadness also seems to be a psychic detective who knows who committed the dastardly deed!

        FOX11 out of Green Bay is calling the incident, a "possible" burglary, which suggests either they or the GBPD aren't entirely convinced it was wasn't an inside job (So this is the rabbit hole through which the Truthers must have slipped!).

        NBC26 out of Green Bay, has the last available update:
        Those with the recall campaign say police are now involved after someone smashed a window, swiping everything from dozens of recall signatures to a computer. The organizer of the effort is accusing one group of committing the crime.
        "There were some petitions stolen, our computer is missing, some of the recall signs and they cleaned us out of all our recall T-shirts," says Hansen recall organizer, David Vander Leest.
        That's a lot of stuff to cram through that little window ... unless they tossed the aforementioned t-shirts out the window one by one through a kind of bucket brigade of thieves, which would be a killer named for a garage band.

        NBC26 also has a comment from Hansen himself:
        Senator Dave Hansen was shocked to hear about the break-in, but says it's too early to point fingers. "I think that's up to the police to determine, I mean that's out there.  Let the police make that decision and determination of who is responsible," explains Senator Hansen.
         Well, what did you expect him to say?

        One last thing: the Recall Hansen folks aren't the only gang to issue Mission Accomplished! pronouncements in the press only to have to re-examine their figures. The Recall Wirch -- another incumbent who won his last election by 33% -- folks claimed they had enough signatures almost two weeks ago, but so far as anyone has been able to tell haven't even submitted their signatures to the GAB yet.

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