Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another DA candidate bites the dust

You have to wonder sometimes where John Chisholm found his opponents in the campaign for Milwaukee County district attorney. Did he recruit them himself?

First it was MacMac, Larraine McNamara-McGraw, his Democratic primary opponent, who suggested Milwaukee police may have shot a 13-year-old girl -- a suggestion that had zero basis in fact and made MacMac look like a loon.

Having beaten MacMac 65-35 in the primary, Chisholm now faces Lew Wasserman, an independent, in the general election. No Republican even filed. And if any independent has ever been elected to office in Milwaukee County, no one remembers it.

Any remote chance Wasserman would be taken seriously was killed off today by the Spice Boys' Sunday column.

It turns out that Wasserman has been a little less that forthright in his biography. He forgot to mention four of his six children, and two of his three wives.

And although postng the photo above (that's him the center) on his website, Wasserman didn't really explain his abbreviated time in the Army until the Spice Boys asked him about it. Then he offered a variety of reasons for his early discharge, none of them very convincing:
As it turns out, Uncle Sam asked him to hit the road after only 10 months of service. Records show that he initially was given a general discharge "under conditions other than honorable." Eight years later, Wasserman, then a law student, persuaded the military to upgrade his dismissal to a general discharge "under honorable conditions."

Even with the switch, Wasserman acknowledged that this is still short of the honorable discharge given to those who successfully complete their service time.

"I didn't want to leave the military," he said. "I didn't go up to somebody and say, 'Can I get out?' "

At first, Wasserman said he was tossed after an incident at a base in Georgia in which he removed the clip from his sidearm because he was afraid a prisoner that he was bringing to the hospital would overpower him, grab his weapon and shoot him.

"Shortly after that, some sergeant in my company came to me and said, 'You're going home,' " Wasserman said. " 'We don't know what to do with you, so you're going home.' "

After we questioned whether that really was enough of a screw-up to get a ticket home, Wasserman blamed his exodus from the service on the anti-Semitism that he said ran rampant in his unit.

"I was the only Jew in a company of 180 men, and I got hassled for that on a daily basis," Wasserman said. "Sometimes that was physical."

Finally, Wasserman said that when he used the f-word to a sergeant and mouthed off to officers - details that he said he was recollecting as our contentious interview continued - his military career ended.
Chisholm was an Army lieutenant who trained as a paretrooper and served a tour as an infantry officer in Korea.

Wasserman's exchange with the Spices about whether he is a public defender is a classic, too. Check it out.

(Disclosure: My daughter is Chisholm's campaign manager. But I'd write this in any case.)


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