Dick Farrel takes on Burt Aaronson and the Palm Beach Post

Two weeks have passed since Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson called for the incarceration of “all Republicans.” Word for word, he said, “each and every one of them should be put in jail.”

My daily radio show was one of the few places that aired any discussion of Aaronson’s comments. A self-proclaimed, unabashed liberal caller insisted that “Burt meant Republicans in Congress.” This is sophistry. Commissaar Arrogantson (this is the way I have referred to him for the almost 18 years since I first began to examine his weird behavior and insipid comments) clearly stated, and went on to repeat, the remark that “all Republicans should be put in jail.” Embarrassed liberals chose to excuse and apologize for these patently disgusting comments, rather than distance themselves from them.

Commissaar Arrogantson over the years has made many questionable utterances. His crusade against a bikini-clad hot dog vender, his insistence on how we needed “a gas tax to the max,” his teary-eyed and very silly response to an FBI investigation into his alleged corruption — the list is endless.

Arrogantson has led a life of “do as I say, not as I do. I’m liberal. I know what’s best for you.” The fact that he is now advancing in age and his preposterous mutterings are getting more and more far out means the time has come to reflect on what impact this man has on county business.

The Florida Constitution authorizes the governor to remove from office any official who has demonstrated a clear lack of competence. With 400-some-odd days left in Burt’s term, there is no way we can allow him to continue in office and put in jeopardy the business of Palm Beach County.

Aside from these observations, the lack of media attention to these unacceptable comments from an elected official, who ostensibly represents all the people, not just those in his party, is at the very least annoying.

In another town, with other media companies with better resources, with the party affiliations reversed, most media outlets would have pounced on the offender. There’d be calls for resignation, removal, recall. Party officials would quickly do damage control to “eliminate” the offender from further exposure. TV stations would be at his front door demanding clarification. Had this been Republican Commissioner Steven L. Abrams in 2007 at a Republican dinner, he’d be on permanent vacation in a split second and the local media would have had a field day.

Somehow, in Sow FlaFla land, The Palm Beach Post chose to put the story on 4B on Sept. 12. Then the newspaper followed up, not with an investigation or poll reaction from local citizens, but by sending satirist Francis Cherrybongo (Frank Cerabino) to go to work making light of the issue, going so far as to imagine life in jail for the local GOP leader. The final straw came when The Post published a letter, not ridiculing Aaronson, but supporting him. Astonishing!

The Palm Beach Post, in a recent editorial, had time to chew out a former Boynton Beach city commissioner over whether he is lobbying, but it found no space to criticize the benighted thoughts of a public official wanting to jail members of the Republican Party for being Republicans.

Aaronson attempted to equate a ball player “throwing a game” to Republicans working to undermine the country. Hence, I suppose he believed the same Republicans of being seditious. This is tantamount to insanity. We all have a right to strive for what we believe in. I believe Aaronson to be detrimental to our nation. I believe his politics and that of the Democratic Party to be injurious to our national health.

However, I do not condone the arrest of Democrats, at least not yet. A U.S. senator said it best in 2007: “We have a right to criticize this administration! If you call me unpatriotic for being critical of the administration, I remind you we have a right to criticize any administration!” That was Hillary Rodham Clinton, then a Democratic U.S. senator representing New York, and now our nation’s secretary of state. Did Burt want to put her in jail?

I think not.


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