Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Wisconsin, Twitter, and One DoucheCanoe

I want to make it abundantly clear:
I believe that Jeff Cox is a DoucheCanoe.

We all have DoucheCanoes in our lives.  They are that neighbor from the next building over, the guy with the cubicle next to the breakroom at work, the wife of your Sunday School teacher, the woman who gave birth to you (not mine, but, you know...).  They walk around us as seemingly normal members of society.  They wave when you pass on the street.  They make excellent lemon bars.  But, one day, you had to make an opening in a conversation where you learned their hatred for gays, whites, blacks, Finns, Korean-made shoes, Weimeraner owners, single men with cats, or some other group in such an offensive and irrational manner that you KNOW that no about of conversation and discussion will convince them that their argument is bordering on the insane.  The problem intensifies when you figure that speaking with them on any topic besides safely trodden roads may reveal other deeply held crazy beliefs.  And, you still see them - they live next door, they're at work, at church, at Thanksgiving Dinner, so you try to remain as civil as you can, but all the time knowing that the receptionist thinks that the Finns cannot be trusted as a race that spends half the year without daylight.  She is a DoucheCanoe.  You tolerate the DoucheCanoe because you need your mail and phone calls, and she makes excellent lemon bars, and if you confront her, your Norwegian ancestry may cause these three critical items to never grace your workspace again.  Such is the problem with DoucheCanoes.

Jeff Cox is a DoucheCanoe.  I'm pretty sure he's been to a number of parties where newcomers were warned, "That's Jeff - be careful, don't bring up your UAW membership, because Jeff is a DoucheCanoe."  Jeff has a nasty habit of posting hateful things on Twitter using his own name.  The Mother Jones article has cherry picked some items from his Twitter feed and (now defunct) blog.  It confirms what you'd suspect from a guy who Tweeted that riot police should use live ammunition on protesters in Wisconsin: He's a DoucheCanoe.  This is a guy who on nights and weekends (from the blog timestamps), writes dumb things on his blog figuring no one's really every going to read them.  Jeff Cox, the man, is a DoucheCanoe.

However, does being a DoucheCanoe in your time off mean that Jeff Cox, Deputy Attorney General of the State of Indiana, deserves to be fired?  In my mind, no.  If as an attorney, his conduct violated ethical standards, then there exists a process to determine whether a punishment should be meted out.  If he had tried to use public resources to advance his personal political beliefs, then yes, he should be trotted out in front of an Ethics panel.  However, it seems like he was like me - writing down his thoughts on his own computer at the end of the day, on his own time.  It wasn't until Mother Jones used his state-issued email address to contact him that it looked like he was starting to get himself into trouble.  Never respond to press on your work email.  Copy.  Paste.  Reply at 10pm.

In closing, I want to show you that Jeff Cox is not a lunatic.  In a Google Cache of his last posting to ProCynic on Blogger, he writes the following:
Most unions, in fact, serve as an essential counterbalance to management, who in the absence of unions and other worker protections can get all too abusive. So, if you want to talk about the conflict of interest presented by public employee unions, I hear you. ...But don't question the need for unions and collective bargaining in general. In this age of ruthless corporate penny-pinching, they may be needed now more than ever.
Sadly, for Jeff Cox, a Union IS often the best mediator between management and workers. They provide clear rubrics for compensation to help deter gender wage discrimination by managers, setting rules to prevent the abuse of overtime rules, and set forth clear guidelines as to the employee's responsibilities for interacting with their management.  I do have a sad footnote to Cox's comment.  Rather than present a conflict of interest, public employee unions protect non-elected government employees from being the subject of arbitrary political retaliation by setting forth termination procedures agreed to during collective bargaining.  Such a public employee union would have acted on your behalf, Jeff Cox, in presenting a wrongful termination  proceeding against Greg Zoeller.  They'd be the ones protecting your right to be a DoucheCanoe.  THAT's what Wisconsin is demonstrating for:  So that THEIR DoucheCanoes can continue to be DoucheCanoes without fear of retaliation by elected politicians fearing a PR nightmare.

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