Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Susan Madrak Headshot

Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Posted: Updated:
Print

Your typical wingnut is someone who's very, very good at assembling complex details into a totally erroneous conclusion. Case in point: Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jennifer Hunter (who happens to be married to the publisher) wrote this piece last week, "GOP Lawyer Sold on Dems." In it, she writes about a Philadelphia lawyer, Jim Ronca, who calls himself "a staunch Republican" and blasts Bush:

"I'm not only going to vote Democratic, I'm going to financially support the Democrats," Ronca said after a luncheon forum of the American Association for Justice, featuring Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Barack Obama, former Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Joe Biden. "The Republicans in Washington are an embarrassment."

Well! The Fighting Keyboard Kommandos went on full alert to "prove" Ronco wasn't a Republican. Even pseudo-journalist Brit Hume checked in to give them a high five:

But federal election contribution records show the so-called "staunch republican" -- Philadelphia attorney Jim Ronca -- actually has contributed overwhelmingly to Democrats since 1994 -- giving them more than $10,000 -- to $1,250 for Republicans.

Hunter -- who is married to the publisher of the Sun-Times -- subsequently blamed the headline writer for emphasizing the Republican lawyer angle and critical readers for making the contributions an issue.

(The wingnuts are quick to write off Ronco's actual Republican voter registration.)

Well, I will give the whackos this - Hunter really is a lazy reporter, because instead of digging further, she simply folded and pushed the blame onto someone else.

Because I'm actually familiar with the local political scene, I did some research to check out my suspicions and voila, a rational explanation appears.

Jim Ronca is a freakin' trial attorney. You know, the ones the GOP right-wingers try to cripple? It would certainly stand to reason he'd be giving money to the opponents of the people trying to put him out of business. I mean, in the real world, where normal people live, you don't mess with their paycheck.

Now, this is Pennsylvania. Because we have partisan elected judges, political contributions from attorneys are all over the map. That's why I went to the state contributions reporting site, and guess what I found? Contributions by Jim Ronca to local Republicans. (Yeah, he did contribute to the former Democratic leader -- but so did every other attorney in the state.)

I also tried to check the temperamental Philadelphia contributions website, but couldn't get it to work. Oh well.

The final piece of the puzzle? Ronca lives in Montgomery County.

From a recent polling report done late last year for the Montco GOP by McLaughlin Associates:

However, in spite of the Republican registration advantage in Montgomery County, the current political dynamics are a mixed bag for Republican candidates. While a majority say things in the county are moving in the right direction and are relatively satisfied with the county government, George W. Bush hurts the Republican brand and remains very unpopular with swing voters.

While this is happening in all the area's Republican suburbs, it's even more pronounced in Montgomery County -- a bellwether county, renowned for its pronounced brand of liberal Republicanism.

The reason why the Fighting Keyboard Kommandos couldn't figure this out is, they assume all Republicans march in ideological lockstep.

Well, they don't. Jim Ronca is a typical liberal Republican -- and he can't stand Bush. Makes perfect sense to me!