Monday, August 21, 2006

Family ties, family values and the AG race

Paul Bucher, Waukesha County DA and would-be GOP nominee for attorney general, has told the Journal Sentinel his biggest problem is his opponent's father, who's apparently well-known and well-liked in Republican circles. I've never heard of John Van Hollen, but -- you'll be surprised to know -- I'm not a Republican.

Having shared the Van Hollen father-son legacy with the JS editorial board, Bucher went on to make another interesting claim: Tommy Thompson and the GOP establishment are against Bucher because he's just so gosh-darned independent. (I thought it was because he is a bitter, childish little asshole.)
Bucher says the Tommy and other party endorsements for Van Hollen are payback for his independent streak.

"There's a political price. They wanted me to run for attorney general a long time ago, against Jim Doyle," Bucher said. "I sat down with a group of very powerful people. And I said no. I knew there was a price to it when I said no," Bucher said.

"I said no to Tommy."

That showed he's his own man, Bucher said.

"If you want to say I'm the political outsider, OK, fine," Bucher said. "I'm not going to dance to the party's tune; they know that."
That's not exactly how it went down. The time people expected Bucher to run for AG against Doyle was 1998. My recollection is that he decided not to run because he was having some messy personal and family problems.

Here's what the JS reported at the time:
Copyright Journal/Sentinel, Inc. Apr 11, 1998

District Attorney Paul Bucher bowed out of a bid for state attorney general, declining overtures from Gov. Tommy Thompson and the state's top Republicans.

"I analyzed this from every possible perspective," Bucher said in an interview Friday. "I love this job. I didn't have the burning desire I need to leave this office and run a statewide campaign. It came down to 50-50. To make a monumental change, I need more than 50-50."

His decision came exactly one week after he said publicly that he was seriously considering a run against Democratic incumbent Jim Doyle. At that time, two of the governor's closest allies Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen and James Klauser, the state's second-most powerful figure during 10 years as secretary of administration under Thompson met with Bucher in his office. Bucher said then he had already talked to the governor.

Bucher said Friday his possible candidacy has been discussed with Republicans at high level for several months.

"I make this decision based solely on my desire to remain district attorney of Waukesha County until such time as I no longer enjoy it or feel that I am not making a significant contribution to this community," Bucher wrote in a news release. "In addition, I have four young children that are very important to me, although they have been very excited and supportive during this process."

... Bucher said there were several reasons behind his decision, the two primary ones being personal and professional. He cited the age of his four children the youngest is 4 and what he said is his plan to continue an aggressive approach to law enforcement in Waukesha County.

However, when asked whether talk of a separation in his marriage was true and whether that played a role in his decision, Bucher replied: "I have personal issues I'm dealing with that are nobody else's business but mine, and they are going to stay that way."
Bucher subsequently was divorced, and in 2002 was married to Jessica McBride.

McBride is rabid in defending Bucher, and got into quite an online spat over the weekend with Wendy and Owen Robinson of Boots and Sabers. Wendy is the one who first made the "bitter, childish little asshole" assessment. In the latest exchange, she added:
I received several positive emails after that comment with stories to back it up. I never claimed to be objective. I think Paul has character and behavior issues that make him unqualified for the AG office.
My free advice to Bucher: Change the subject and quit bringing up family issues, if it's not too late.


At 5:48 PM, Blogger Kinda Cranky said...

FYI--John Van Hollen, JB's dad, was in the legislature with Tommy. Once Tommy was elected Governor, he appointed Van Hollen, Sr. to be the Governor's first northern representative. Tommy and JB's dad have been tight for years. Why else would Tommy appoint JB Bayfield County DA shortly after he resigned as Ashland County DA?

Who else but Tommy would pull strings in the Bush White House to get JB appointed US Attorney? JB is an empty vessel if you take away his dad's money and Tommy's influence.


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