Op Ed

Sensenbrenner Asleep on Charlottesville?

Congressman’s explanations on this don’t seem to add up.

By - Aug 21st, 2017 02:24 pm
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Jim Sensenbrenner. Photo from Sensenbrenner's office.

Jim Sensenbrenner. Photo from Sensenbrenner’s office.

I am a constituent in Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner’s 5th Congressional District, and I was surprised to see he had released no statement about the violence in Charlottesville. So on Monday, August 14 I phoned Sensenbrenner’s Wisconsin office to ask about this, and the staff member who answered put me on hold for nearly a minute, then came back with information that “Sensenbrenner is working on a statement and it will come out this afternoon.”

So on Wednesday, August 16, out of curiosity I looked at Sensenbrenner’s official web site and saw his that statement on Charlottesville had been released, but was dated Saturday, August 12.

Three phone calls with three different staff members in his Congressional offices later in the day revealed increasingly conflicting explanations for the backdating.

I called the Wisconsin office first and asked a staff member about this discrepancy between their comments to me on Monday and the date on the statement. The staff member offered to have Nicole Tieman, freelance Communications Director, U.S. House of Representatives, get in touch with me. I am still waiting for that call.

I then called Sensenbrenner’s D.C. office to see whether they might have an immediate explanation.

I informed a staff member of the discrepancy. He offered to take my contact information and indicated he didn’t have an answer. I then called back a few minutes later to invite Sensenbrenner to address the discrepancy directly. The staff member now had an explanation: Their computer system had glitches on Monday that prevented the Wisconsin office from knowing that a written statement was available.

But couldn’t this staff member have simply phoned the D.C. office to find out the real story? And how did this staff member know Sensenbrenner was working on the statement if a computer glitch made communication between the offices impossible?

Next, I received a phone call from the head of the Wisconsin office, asking if she could help me with my concern related to Sensenbrenner’s statement. When I asked about the date discrepancy, she said that Nicole Tieman, the freelance Communications Director for the U.S. House of Representatives, had planned to upload the statement using her phone on Saturday, August 12, from her home where she was apparently confined due to illness. She was unable to perform this task because of a computer glitch. Therefore, it was delayed until Monday, the day I was originally told the computer glitch made communications impossible.

So an illness plus a computer glitch on two different days is offered to explain the problem with a series of conflicting stories. Perhaps the congressman needs to find a new computer expert. Meanwhile, it seems fair to say the issue didn’t have much urgency for Sensenbrenner and his staff.

As for the statement he finally released, it was pretty generic: “What happened in Charlottesville goes against the principles of this nation and everything I’ve worked for during my time in Congress. The freedoms given in this country should never be abused to incite violence or spread hate and prejudice. It’s my hope that as Americans, we can all come together to denounce bigotry in all its forms.”

And who are these people inciting violence and spreading prejudice? Sensenbrenner seems unwilling to say.

I’ve seen Sensenbrenner sitting on the sidelines way too often lately. He has far too often circumnavigated direct questions at town hall meetings about diversity and inclusion, on issues from transgendered individuals to immigration to healthcare.

What values does Jim Sensenbrenner hold? Does he believe all people are created equal, or did growing up with enormous wealth, as an heir to the Kimberly Clarke fortune, shield him from the realities of our multicultural society? Is that why he seems immune to putting out a fire when it is raging for all to see? I wanted leadership from my congressman on an event of tremendous importance to the nation. Instead I got lots of excuses and the feeling that Sensenbrenner was asleep on the issue.

Julie Henszey is a Wauwatosa resident, an executive coach and an outdoor adventure guide. 

More about the Charlottesville Virginia Violence

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

32 thoughts on “Op Ed: Sensenbrenner Asleep on Charlottesville?”

  1. As the author, I received the following question from someone, “Why does a date discrepancy matter? How is backdating from August 14 to August 12 an issue? It’s still a statement of condemnation.”

    Backdating allows Sensenbrenner to fudge the truth about the depth of his convictions. Allowing people to believe that he spoke out on the day of the tragedy is an easy maneuver to falsely convey strong moral outrage. He chose this tactic over disclosing that his public pronouncement came out on Monday. Using the August 14 date might open the door for individuals to form their own unfavorable opinion about his two-day silence.

    How does anyone justify a delay in condemning hatred and White Supremacists? The delay demonstrates, for me, that Sensenbrenner is disconnected with the reality of his constituents’ lives and our deep concern over inclusion.

  2. Jason Troll says:

    Sensenbrenner is old but he also made no statement either in 1924. When 50,000 Klansmen marched up and down Madison Avenue in New York and when the march was done they simply filled their seats at the Democratic Convention in Madison Square Gardens.

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    Sensenbrenner is an obese man who made fun of Michelle Obama’s weight. He is not a good or decent man. We should not look to him for strong leadership.

  4. Jason Troll says:

    It appears white nationalist, Jason Kessler the organizer of the Charlottesville rally was an Obama supporter in 2012. – Southern Poverty Law Center

    Everything involving hate connects back to the Left. Hitler ran as a leftist. Mao Leftist. Stalin Leftist. Castro in Cuba Leftist. Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro– Venezuela Leftist.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    Nice try Troll. I can play this too. Dylan Roof is not a leftist. Anders Behring Breivik is not a leftist. Wade Michael Page is not a leftist. Timothy McVeigh is not a leftist. Scott Roeder is not a leftist. Jim David Adkisson is not a leftist. One could easily go on and on. And it doesn’t matter what Hitler ran on. He wasn’t “a leftist.” You are no historian or much of a critical thinker. Your quest for simplicity is that of a toddler’s.

  6. Mollie says:

    To be a Leftist means you believe in power from the bottom up. The Right is power from the top down, as a king has.
    Hitler ran as a racist. Mao and Stalin as Communists (left) supposedly the People’s Party but really corrupted one party systems. Castro was a socialist (left) who provided good medical care and education to his citizens. Chavez I know, was popular with the people.
    Democracy is a Left government, it draws its power from the people.

  7. Jason Troll says:

    Hitler ran under the Socialist Democratic party. Funny all the comparisons of Trump as Hitler which could not be further from the truth. Democrats continue to stall on his ambassadors, federal judges, and appointees. Any executive orders he signs, some Federal judge loyal to the Left always challenges. The media scrutinizes and harps on anything he or his staff says or does. Hitler like Stalin, Maduro, Castro and the leftist from Italy, Mussolini would shoot you in the streets for criticizing the government. Trump has none of these traits.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    Spare your pseudo-outrage Troll. From 2015: “The Senate has confirmed just nine judges nominated by President Obama so far this year. It’s the slowest pace of confirmations in more than half a century, on track to match the 11 confirmations in 1960.” And let’s not forget the GOP meeting before Obama was even inaugurated in 2009 to declare that they would oppose everything he did even if it was good for the country.

    Your defense of Trump is that he isn’t literally Hitler? Talk about setting the bar low!

    Once again, for the cheap seats, Hitler was not leftist. “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party—later shortened to Nazi party – represented an extreme side of German’s right wing.” http://www.newsweek.com/nazis-democrats-socialists-alt-right-650572

  9. Jason Troll says:

    Thanks, for the fake news. Andrew Jackson Democrat President (1829) was a big fan of the KKK. The KKK later died off until Democratic President Woodrow Wilson encouraged a greater presence in the 1910’s . Maybe, Black lives Matter and Antifa should rid the Democratic party as they topple Confederate statues. President Obama, are great savior of racial equality broke bread with a Klans man named Robert Bird. Hillary hugged the Grand Wizard himself. Democrats still embrace hate.

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    Wow only 200 years ago! That really proves your point! Nothing has changed in two centuries! Come on Troll. Be serious. White nationalists and white supremacists have repeatedly said that they view Trump as a friend and ally, someone who gets them. Trump is a Republican in case you forgot.

    You sound like a man trying to convince himself more than anyone else. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

  11. jason troll says:

    Funny Russia is gone maybe I will call my Rep. Gwen Moore and ask her to denounce Fake news.

  12. Ed says:

    Jason, some facts. Andrew Jackson died in 1845. The KKK did not form until 1865. Hard to see how Jackson could have been a “big fan” of a group that did not exist until twenty years after he died.

    President Wilson was deeply flawed on race, but he never “encouraged a greater presence” of the KKK. That canard about his comments on seeing the KKK-glorifying “Birth of a Nation” have been widely and thoroughly disproved.

    Robert Byrd was a member of the klan in 1940s, quit the klan in the early 1950s, and said repeatedly that joining the klan was the biggest mistake of his life. Just as I believe that George Wallace had a sincere epiphany on race, so too do I believe that Byrd changed. So there is no dishonor in associating with Byrd.

    And please, stop with the false “confederate states were all democrats” line. The slave states went D during reconstruction (the Rs being the party of the victors) and stayed that way for about 100 years. The civil rights struggles of the 1950s then turned the slave states republican. Just compare the electoral maps of 1960 (Ds sweep the South) with 1964 (Rs win majority of South). What happened? Civil rights.

  13. Vincent Hanna says:

    You can’t lay it out much more clearly and simply and truthfully than that. It’s sad that someone in 2017 needs to have that explained to them. Too bad he won’t acknowledge the truth of any of it.

  14. Brian Daily says:

    Judging from the author’s Facebook picture with her holding a photo of Tammy Baldwin. We can clearly says she has no objectivity in this post. The fact is, Antifa is just as Violet if not more violent than all the white supremacist groups. They showed up to “peacefully protest” with baseball bats and helmets. That says it all, but I’m certain the author does not see it that way because her goal is to be anti-Trump and anti-Republican no matter what.

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    Brian what did the Nazis show up with? Lots and lots of guns. Big guns. The governor of Virginia said they had better equipment than the state police. The Nazis also pledged to be violent on social media before the march. That was their goal, and they succeeded. It’s just nonsense that only liberals are saying this. Plenty of Republicans have said the exact same. You just don’t have a strong case here.

  16. Brian Daily says:

    All those guns, and nobody was shot. Also, they had a permit to be there to exercise their First amendment right. Oh wait, let me guess, because you find their speech reprehensible, they shouldn’t have that right. Hasn’t it ever occur to you that If the paid left-wing protesters didn’t show up, they would have likely not been any violence. And frankly of the couple of hundred White power extremists, would have gone away without any news coverage and exposure.

  17. Michael Schwister says:

    Is Brian Daily suggesting that when really bad behavior is witnessed that good people should say or do nothing?

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    Just pointing out how heavily armed the Nazis were, far more armed than the counter-protesters. I didn’t say the permit should have been denied. I’d love to see evidence that the counter-protesters were paid though. Share some.

    Brian, again, those white supremacists wanted violence. They promised violence before the rally.

    He does seem to be suggesting that Michael.

  19. Mary Kay Wagner says:

    Jason, Jason, Jason, you are confused by names. You hear the word “democrat” and that automatically means leftist. Hitler was not a support of a democratic form of government, where ultimate power rested in the hands of the electorate. He believed power should rest in a small elite group–an oligarchy. This oligarchy was made up of the elite from the German military-industrial complex. What’s more they used the discontent of unemployed German workers, wrapped it in fervent nationalism (slogans like make America great again; except their slogan was Germany over all) and then blamed all Germany’s problems on ethnic minorities like the Jews as well as anyone who was considered weak (any person with disabilities). What is most telling is Hitler’s response to what is called Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). Hitler also condemned the violence but attributed it to the Jews who were the victims of the attacks. He used it as the pretense for cracking down on the Jews. Like in Charlottesville, the instigators of Kristallnacht were not the neighbors of the shopkeepers attack. They were outsiders claiming they had a right to express their German heritage. The police in Germany stood by and did nothing. The neighbors of the Jewish shopkeepers hid out of fear they would be attacked as well. That is not like Charlottesville, where neighbors stood up to the outsiders (those with the permit) and said no to their violent speech and threatening demeanor.

    The scary part is that there are frightening similarities between what was going on in Germany in the 1930s and the US today, What is truly hope filling, however, is the thousands of people in Charlottesville, Boston and all over the country that are standing up and saying NO hatred, bigotry and division and YES to our core American values.

    One more thing Jason, President Andrew Jackson could not have been a fan of the KKK. That organization did not come into existence until after the Civil War; long after he was dead and buried. That would be like saying Bob La Follette was a Brewer fan, equally ludicrous.

  20. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    Jay weber had extensive program to day about the violent Far left, the AntiFa, the BLM, that hate jews, Kikes as they call them. Hate Israel.
    That group came to Charlottesville with violence in mind, armed with helmets, armor, ax handles like old Seg LesterMaddox used to use on Blacks.
    The Governor, Mayor made this dissolve into violence, cause they did not keep the cops between the two factions.
    At the city meeting last night, in Charlottesville, the citizens roasted the mayor and Governor who are silent.
    The street the guy came down with car should have been blocked off. The two extremist groups should have been kept apart.
    Boston did good job, though the AntiFa wore masks and dumped Urine on the cops.
    Those are the group that the Left is paying.
    We, Conservatives, have nothing to do with either of the the various groups, but there were many citizens that did not want the Lee statue taken away that were not part of any group.
    US need tor realize that it is the Left that is the violent gang this last year, on campus.
    They are financed by Soros. Following the rules of Alinsky.
    This group of supposed Far right is just funny. There is no active Nazi groups in this country. None in wis. The last convention they held had only 40 people came.
    KKK is dead. White nationalists?? Who are they this was made up by the press. No organization that we can find, like that. White Supremacists? Who are they, what is their name what is their group?. None that we can find. Only dopy David Dukes bouncing around.
    In 1968 in Chicago we had a police riot, by the Left. ,
    In 2017 we had a riot caused by the Mayor and governor who are now hiding under their beds.
    Jeff Session has the Justice Dept investigation going, am waiting to see the report

  21. Brian Daily says:

    https://youtu.be/5IuJGHuIkzY The Democratic Party has a long sordid history of paying protesters. The most ironic part of that is hold the bed is that antifa and the neo-Nazis all have the same ends which is government control of everything. They’re all socialists

  22. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    Not enough neo Nazis in this country to make a football team. None in Wis. Why bother commenting on nothing? They are not dangerous but the AntiFa that throws urine on our cops, wears masks are dangerous.
    When Sessions finishes his investigation, people will be surprised. this was riot caused by the incompetence of the Mayor and the Gov. Look at the difference in Boston, no riot.

  23. Wait A Minute, Chester says:

    “Jay weber had extensive program to day about…” is warning enough to stay far away from it, no matter what he’s talking about. Talk radio is the 1970s Pravda of the right.

  24. Vincent Hanna says:

    Project Veritas is your evidence of Charlottesville counter-protesters being paid?! Come on. They are notorious for being untrustworthy! They carefully edit every video they make and they are run by a convicted criminal. If that is all you have then you have nothing whatsoever Brian. Try again or admit you have no solid evidence that the counter-protesters were paid.

    The Nazis aren’t dangerous?! They just murdered someone in Virginia. You must have missed the news.

  25. Vincent Hanna says:

    Brian in case you forgot Charlottesville happened this month. That video is from 2016. How could it possibly contain evidence that the counter-protesters in Charlottesville were paid?

  26. Bob Chernow says:

    Why all this fuss about Sensennbrenner? He has by his deeds been a supporter of voting for all. He is the strongest Republican voice on this issue, for the first voting rights bill and the current one. Furthermore, he has almost no political reason to do so, except that, for him, it is the right thing to do.

    For the record I am not a Republican or Democrat.

  27. Wait A Minute, Chester says:

    Try to stay on topic, Bob. Just because Sensenbrenner may be laudable in one area doesn’t mean he is immune to criticism in any other. It’s just another iteration of the “whataboutism” game.

  28. Jason Troll says:

    Does Baldwin or Gwen Moore care, and can they write a response on their website about Obamacare premiums having doubled since the implantation of Obamacare. Can they respond to the 50,000 food stamp recipients in Wisconsin that have found other avenues like employment under their watch. Why can Baldwin and Gwen Moore not be more happy that poor people have found work. Thank you, Tammy and Gwen for being on the sidelines as Wisconsin is putting people to work.

  29. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    Moore is 415th best congressman. Baldwin is 99th for worthless in Senate.

  30. Jason Troll says:

    Mollie, you say such glowing statements about Venezuela, power comes from the bottom to the top. Excellent medicine and education. Your not really serious. You like dictators that starve their citizens. You like eating rats. Maduro freed the prisons and armed them. Is that power in the peoples hands. No free speech there, opposition to the government puts a bullet in your head if your a man and a rape cell if your a women. Power to the people or from the people, right?

  31. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    Who murdered who? A kid ran over a bunch of people, but the police and the press are not letting out what or who he is. The word of a sixth grade teacher on the kid, 20 years ago, is not much evidence.
    Charlottesville voters had a riot at city hall cause the Mayor and governor made a mess of this problem. Look how well Boston took care of much bigger group. Only 40 in the free Speech group and 15,000 protestors, but 3000 cops.
    Charlottesville was a political riot arranged by the Gov and Mayor.
    Why does Sensenbrenner need to comment on what someone else said? Trump takes care of himself.
    The AntiFa is far more dangerous than the dopy few miscreants that held the rally.
    if the Antifa is so great why do they mask themselves, like the KKK, and use ax handles like Lester Maddox, wear helmets, armor and throw piss on the cops?

  32. Steve says:

    I think people are lacking the full set of facts on this incident and I would only state that the most dominant feature (in my mind) to come from Charlottesville is the vulnerability of lawful peaceful assembly for the purpose of Free Speech when conflated with new “second amendment” availability of assault rifles, and the advent of “Open Carry” initiatives and State Laws. We are all right to stop and think hard about this. It is pointless (as this pitiful set of “arguments” illustrates,) to jump in with a lot of hyped opinion, laced with inadequate historical parallels and unverified or flatly incorrect “facts”. There was an excellent OpEd in NYT on Friday 18th by a leader of Every Town for Gun Safety that starts to get at the inherent conflict between Free Speech, and Free Speech while looking down (or over) the barrel of a loaded weapon. If a group of people comes from out of state to conflate first and second amendment “rights” (whatever happened to “responsibilities”?), where was the National Guard? The Governor of VA has this modern LEGITIMATE militia at his beck, and they are the true beneficiaries (as clearly stated in the Bill of Rights) of the right to bear arms. State Laws allowing “open carry” and preventing cities within from enacting local gun restrictions are entirely out of the realm of the intent of the Framers ( the Original Originists!), and have been repeatedly shown to upend communities’ rights to pass locally appropriate laws for public safety! Who is thinking carefully about this? Trump?

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