Aug 17, 2007
The rightwing blogosphere, all three of them, is buzzing - whining would be a better description - about an alleged incident where Rep. Michael Sak, D-Grand Rapids, was drunk at the National Governors Association event in Traverse City and allegedly “demanded” a ride form a Michigan State Trooper who was on duty there.
Minority “leader” Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, has even made the ridiculous request that the Speaker of the House relive Sak from his committee and leadership positions. This entire matter does not smell right, and it reminds me of the “Troopergate” issue of the early ‘90s when Rightwing sugar daddy Richard Mellon Scaife paid Arkansas State troopers to make up juicy and unflattering stories and lies about President Clinton.
This episode came to light from a memo the state trooper wrote and the Grand Rapids Press obtained from a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request. As a former reporter covering cops and courts, I have read many police reports, including reports from the Michigan State Police at the Brighton Post, but I have never seen a memo from the state police. Ask Bill Nowling, the new Communications Director of the Michigan Republican Party, about how many state police memos he has read as the cops and courts reporter for the same newspaper where we worked the same beat.
This raises a few of questions for me. Why did the unnamed trooper even write the memo? How did the GR Press know to make a FOIA request for that particular memo?
The bottom line is Sak did not break any laws, and he had the good sense not to drink and drive. Sak denies he demanded a ride or even asked for a ride, but what if he did? Since when is that a crime to have to much to drink on occasion and have the foresight and maturity to ask for a ride instead of getting behind the wheel of a two-ton deadly weapon?
It’s funny that the right-wingers are crowing about this, but they were silent as church mice when Rep. John Garfield, R- Rochester Hills, was arrested for his second drunk driving charge in March, and they even stayed quiet when the charge was dropped on a technicality. He was clearly driving drunk and endangering lives, but do you think we heard anything from the right? You guessed it, they were silent.
The Democratic Speaker declined to relieve Garfield of his committee assignments when he was arrested. Perhaps he believed that quaint and naïve notion of innocent until proven guilty. So why should he relieve Sak when he was not only not charged with a crime but did not commie a crime to be charged with.
Sak has apologized, but that is not good enough for Republicans. Now that the charges have been dropped against Garfield perhaps he can now issue an apology. Don’t hold your breath.