Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has had a rough couple of weeks recently. First he and his partisan hires have been waging a war on the professionals in the Department of Justice. Van Hollen has demoted some of the most respected law enforcement officers in the nation while at the same time actually driving one of them right out of his job. All of this has been publicly documented on the front pages of the major newspapers in our state. His handling of the professionals at DOJ has been so bad as to warrant criticism even from right wing Milwaukee talker Jeff Wagner.
Van Hollen followed up all of his self inflicted personnel problems with yet another gaffe that garnered more negative attention in the papers. After One Wisconsin Now filed a complaint with his office about Michael Gableman’s questionable use of a state phone, Van Hollen chose to help run out the clock for his fellow Republican. He did this even though he promised to hold public officials accountable during his 2006 campaign.
So if you are the Wisconsin Attorney General and you have been deservedly roughed up for the last few weeks, what do you do and where do you go for support? If you are J.B. Van Hollen, you toss a bone to one of the most right wing single issue crowds in the state, the gun nuts. Naturally, J.B. Van Hollen decided this week to start handing out concealed gun permits. He did this even though several law enforcement agencies are leery about giving them to law enforcement retirees. Since the Legislature has not guaranteed them immune from liability, many state agencies are concerned about handing out concealed gun permits. Another concern is that there are no training requirements or other standards. That didn’t stop J.B., he didn’t hesitate in handing a glock to a 70 year old retiree. The move may have been a boost for J.B. with the NRA types, but that doesn’t make it a good idea nor does it make his recent blunders magically go away. Actually, in the long term, he may have just committed another one.