Jul 7, 2008

An Open Letter to Caroline Klein

Dear Caroline;

I read your guest editorial on your father's website and felt compelled to respond.

Please forgive the tardiness of my response. I took last week off in celebration of our country's 232nd birthday, but I wanted to answer your questions, correct several fallacies, and pose some questions to you.

On your musical reference, you missed the sarcasm inherent in the song, "Shiny Happy People." In a VH1 interview I saw with Michael Stipe, he wrote the song as a commentary about those superficial people who always claim they're happy. Still apropos, do you agree?

Given the nature of your editorial, I wondered whether your father purposefully solicited this editorial from you. If so, doesn't this constitute exploiting his children for his credibility?

Despite your claims, I've never mentioned you or your brother before now. I suspect you're taking your father's propaganda at face value without investigating for yourself. Please verify by examining my previous articles on the link in the sidebar, unlike your father who refuses to post his past articles detailing his ever-changing positions.

You asked this question:
I have seen a lot of things written about Charley and me. Dad chooses to shield us from a lot of it. He could easily let those little snide remarks about our family or his ex-wives get to him and upset him but he is better than that. I wish all of you would just stick to the facts of politics. You don’t have to bring family or ex-families into it. I mean, what is the point?
The point is this: your father's predilection for sniffing underwear does not constitute legitimate political discourse.

Rather, it's mean-spirited character assassination of the cheapest sort. If publishing malicious and false rumors about a purported adulterous affair by a sitting Justice of the Peace constitutes true political debate, then a history of broken marriages and adulterous affairs by the person making those claims is pertinent as well, don't you agree?

Regarding attacks on your family, I've only mentioned your uncle Peter, after he injected himself into the issue of Dr. Jeffrey Klem's prosecution. Here's an example:
How about enlightening us with your predictions on the elections, Dr. Klem?
This was one of many comments that your uncle left on my comments section and your father's mailing list, the Talk Back Line, where he erroneously identified me as Dr. Jeffrey Klem. This came after I pointed out that your father was exploiting three children and an intensely personal family tragedy to further his personal agenda against Jefferson County District Attorney Tom Maness.

You can read those articles here, here, here, and here.

I found your father's speculation on what actually occurred reprehensible. Since you're interested in child psychology, what effects do you think broadcasting lurid and graphic fantasies on KOLE-AM, a public radio station, had on these local girls? When your father conjured an imaginative story about Klem "putting his hands down three girls panties and fondling them" and you could actually hear him salivating. This was in extremely poor taste, yet your father regularly attacks "the media."

Your father has never addressed any of these legitimate complaints. His inflammatory rhetoric wasn't "about the children" as he claimed, but rather about his own personal agenda against Tom Maness.

I found your uncle's attack on me especially interesting considering the strained relations between Peter and Philip. Since you clearly stated that your father is a politician, perspective on Peter and Philip's comments from their relationship is certainly as relevant to this issue as the appalling and fictitious appeal to emotion exhibited by your father.

In my opinion, your father is a liar. As examples, he made these claims concerning the Klem case:

The Review has been told that the families will expose the workings of the District Attorney during a civil suit that has been filed in Jefferson County.
No civil suit was ever filed that "expose[d'] the workings of the District Attorney."

The Review has also learned that a FOX news production team has been floating around town asking questions. Hmmmm....now this might get really good.
According to the local Fox affiliate, no one from their station or the Fox News Network had a "production team floating around town asking questions." And the local Fox Radio affiliate didn't have a news department at the time Philip made that statement.

In some statements, your father maintained plausible deniability by attributing them to "anonymous sources." If these indeed came from an anonymous source as your father claims, why do you think he irresponsibly failed to verify whether those statements were true?

I'd like to hear your opinion on the incident concerning the de Novo blog, where you father claimed he was contacted by the author.

That never happened and was corroborated by the author. The entire incident is documented here and here. Incidentally, the author of the blog is a female, not a male as your father claimed. Wouldn't you agree that this is a blatant lie?

You asked:

My first thought is how people can really care that much about hating someone who has different political views?
As a person, indifference best characterizes my opinion of your father. I don't dislike him or wish him malice whatsoever. However, I strongly object to his manufactured lies, half-truths, smears, and personal attacks under the guise of credible political commentary.

Very little of what Philip does constitutes true political commentary. Whether your father could document Hilton Kelley's Eagle Scout Award has no relevance whatsoever to the questions Kelley as a community activist has raised about the wisdom of turning Port Arthur into the nation's toxic waste dump.

Likewise, publishing pictures of a single mother's home after Hurricane Rita has no relevance to the issues she raised concerning Carl Griffith's priorities for Jefferson County. If your father believes that speculating upon her emotional problems is relevant to the issues she's raised, then speculation on his own mental state is fair game as well since this has direct relevance upon his opinions, wouldn't you agree?

I look forward to hearing your reply. I'm sure your father will claim that I'm attacking his children again, but I'm interested in hearing your real opinions. If he refuses to print your response, you can always leave your comments here in confidence if you wish.

I hope you have more integrity than your father. While you give your father a lot of credit, I suspect your mother's side of the family had as much, if not more, to do with how you turned out. Your grandfather (on your mother's side) was a prince among men.

Sincerely yours,

Gus Pillsbury

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