Thursday, July 22, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

A case of the vapours

Inspired crime drama from a friend:

At first, I had thought Brad Ramsay's comparison of federalism with John Dillinger in his daily e-mail was a case of the vapors -- that Brad needed a nice vacation with yoga and green tea.

Brad's comment, which gets bonus points for being among the most overwrought I've read of late, was as follows:

"On July 22, 1934, a man identified as bank robber John Dillinger was shot to death by federal agents outside Chicago's Biograph Theater. Today, Senate may do the same thing to federalism.....looks like a narrow deal has been cut on preemption issues re the Voip/Sununu markup." [Eds. note--the markup ended up doing very little in the way of preemption.]

Now I see Brad's comment as pure genius. Referencing, one need only substitute "Dillinger" with NARUC, and "Young Melvin Purvis" with Senator Sununu, and the story makes perfect sense:

"The son of a well-connected wealthy southern aristocrat, [Senator Sununu] was in charge of the Chicago office of the [FCC]. [NARUC] became his project. What "Little [Sununu]" lacked in height and weight, he made up for in ambition and intelligence. But [Sununu] was up against a wily group with the [NARUC] Gang. These men were real professionals."

The story goes on to note how Sununu was closing in on NARUC at its East Lansing hideout, but NARUC had other plans: "The gang had laid out a careful escape plan the day they arrived. [NARUC] and gang members Homer ["Stan" Wise], John "Red" [Mann] and Tommy [Dunleavy] followed the plan to perfection, running down to the back of the lakeshore and turning right. "Baby Face" [Bob] Nelson turned left. The agents, trying to execute their plan, fell into the [state regulatory] ditch on one side or became entangled in the [state tax lobbyists] on the other side."

Sununu ultimately prevailed, however, at Chicago's Biograph Theatre [located between the Eighth and Second Circuits]. As he tells it: "There is no way of knowing whether [NARUC] would stay for the whole show [or concede that states might be preempted]. Some patron in the theatre [e.g., Tommy "the gun" Welch] might arouse [its] suspicions, causing [Brad] to [admit that Justice Scalia has answered the issue already].

Our vigilance could not be relaxed for even a split second. I bit off the end of [Senator Dorgan's Amendment] and nervously chewed on it for more than two hours..... I knew that we could not let [NARUC] escape this time. We would never have another opportunity like this."

Sununu recalls that as he gave a signal to close in, the [FCC] was slow to react and his heart began to pound, but then [NARUC] was surrounded. He states, "I was about three feet to the left and a little to the rear of [Ramsay]. I was very nervous; it must have been a squeaky voice that called out, 'Stick 'em up, [Braddie], we have you surrounded.'"

In the end, Sununu never had to fire his gun.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 3:30 PM | General