The Dane County Republican Party has banned the guy who writes Isthmus' popular Watchdog column from its public events because it did not like a web article about its election night party last Nov. 4.
"If you show up, you won't be invited in," says Bill Richardson, the county GOP spokesman. "The freedom of our speech is to allow people in or not. You're one we don't allow in."
The web offering interviewed attendees and included snippets of overheard conversations ("You know, it wouldn't surprise me if the Democrats started using the Koran"). It noted that one local Republican, without apparent protest, handed out a transparently fraudulent letter from a "German Lady" warning Americans of the many similarities between Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler. (The email is posted along with the article.)
Richardson praised Isthmus' web article on Nov. 5, the day it was published. "We were glad you attended our party to watch the elections last night and appreciate you taking the time to listen to a wide range of opinions offered," he wrote as a posted comment. "You...could have been with people who shared more closely your views andtheirpopcorn with you - in happy contentment. Instead you talked, listened,overheard, read the views of others and wrote it up for all to read."
Sometime afterward, presumably after drawing flak from his fellows, Richardson amended his comment to liken the report to a turd left in a punch bowl by a wedding guest.
Richardson, in an interview, insinuated that the story was inaccurate but hung up without providing specifics. Call it the freedom of his speech.