Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's outrageous! Egregious! Preposterous!

In legal circles, at least in those depicted in television sitcoms, there is a strategy known as the Jackie Childs defense. It requires that the accused, or their representation, not only claim innocence to whatever charges have been brought forth, but also demonstrate outrage that such accusations could ever be seriously considered in the first place. It’s an abomination. A dereliction. A grievous transgression. Rhyming is important in selling this defense, as is the ability to portray righteous indignation in the face of damning evidence. And it works.. Just ask O.J., who had the good fortune of being represented by Childs’ mentor, the late Johnnie Cochran.

Recently, this defense has been taken out of the criminal court house and into the court of public opinion by politicians who are being forced to address embarrassing, and possibly even unethical or illegal, behavior.

Rod Blagojevich has used the “ludicrous and ridiculous” rebuttal numerous times to avoid answering direct questions about a $1,500 check of suspicious intent. And today, we hear U.S. Representative John Shimkus use the same spiel, right down to employing the same two words, to deflect accusations that he was derelict in his duties in protecting young boys from a miscreant* House member.

Even those people who aren’t familiar with the satirical stylings of Phil Morris** can recognize when someone doth protest too much. By taking such dramatic offense at legitimate inquiries into their actions, rapscallions doth shroud themselves in guilt’s cloak.***

Without getting into any argument as to their relative innocence or guilt in these matters, allow me to posit a strategy that would allow Blagojevich and Shimkus to come across more like men of valor and less like politicians.

Blagojevich might say something along these lines: “I realize that a $1,500 check given to my daughter by a friend whose wife was just hired by the state has raised some red flags for many of you, but let me assure, it was a legitimate gift.”

Shimkus might say something like this: “As head of the page program I take full responsibility for what transpired, but my ability to act appropriately was impeded by Mr. Foley’s deceit.”

You might still say “Bullsh**!”, but at least you wouldn’t say it as vehemently as you do now in response to their acting as if they are the victim of a lynch mob. You’d also be more willing to hear their side of the story.

Not that these issues aren’t being politicized to some extent. It would be naive to think that there aren’t some Democrats who are strategizing over how to inflict the most political damage to the GOP as a result of the Foley scandal. It also seems obvious that some Republicans have let damage control get in the way of doing the right thing. The thing to remember here, however, is that most people’s primary concern isn’t who controls the House after the next election, but whether or not are elected leaders can be trusted to protect the welfare of teenagers put into their charge.

If politicians simply don’t have it in them to be humble or contrite in the face of allegations, at least they can channel Jackie Childs in one of less boisterous moments and declare: "This is the most public yet of my many humiliations." I think that would merit a Huzzah! from the jury.

*So as not to offend the Friends of Karr, let me say that I hope that Mark Foley receives a spirited defense from a valiant defense lawyer, and only then should he rot in jail.

**The actor who played Jackie Childs. For a free, “We’re #2”, BFS t-shirt, should they become available, name the TV show that Morris’ father played in. A Springfield Rewind foam visor if you also get the character name. The No Google Rule is in effect.

***It’s hard not to mimic the language of the Bard, whoever he may be.


Mick Shrimpton said...

I'm not so sure Blago and Shimkus aren't telling the truth. I have yet to hear either say, "I categorically deny." When someone says that, you know for a fact they are guilty.

And about those pages. How many faggotty e-mails would you have to have received from freak-show Foley before you told him what he is and attempted to harm him if he sent another? Me? One.

Is his name Phil Morris and his father Garrett Morris of SNL?

Mick Shrimpton said...

Disregard my previous answer. I Googled and found the correct answer.

Interestingly though, the site I went to had Jackie's last name spelled "Chiles." What up with that?

BlogFreeSpringfield said...


I agree that it was disturbing how in some of the IM exchanges, the page was playing along with Foley. I don't know if it was because they were incredibly naive, they were playing him for a chump, or if they were into it. Either way, it's no excuse for Foley.

Thanks for commenting,

Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with most of what you said here. But, in my opinion, the best defense for Foley would have been: "Umm...huh? Instant message?! Are you kidding me? I'm 52 years old!!"