Unbowed by Dowd
John Dowd is a softy, a cupcake, a paunchy punkin with a heart of ambergris. A teddy bear. We knew it all the time.
But after a rough morning of defending Governor J. Fife Symington III on July 10, Dowd cuffed New Times reporter John Dougherty and spiked the scribe's tape recorder onto First Avenue. Despite avowals to the contrary, Dowd on July 15 suggested that he just might replace Dougherty's slain appliance, and the two shook hands. Dowd even mumbled, "I don't dislike you."
Methinks, Dowd secretly yearns to hire Dougherty as an investigator for his law firm, because the Dowdster knows the Doughboy finds the truth. If he signed Dougherty's paycheck, Dowd not only would get breathtaking data, he wouldn't have Dougherty asking all those penetrating questions and writing all those hair-raising stories. And other reporters wouldn't pick up on the significance of Dougherty's queries.
Of course, Dowd would lose a convenient punching bag. Dowd frequently responds to Dougherty's civil, salient questions with such charming, respectful and informative rejoinders as "What planet are you from?" Dougherty has smiled through Dowd's transparent attempts to bait him during the trial.
But on July 10, after a morning of lame cross-examination at the Fifester's fraud and extortion trial, Dowd snapped. The bearish barrister did a dead-on imitation of a fuming, grumpy lawyer having a bad day, stomping down First Avenue and withholding his usual stream of bons mots.
When Dougherty persisted (he's played this game with Dowd before, so he's not about to be put off by a grizzly attitude), Dowd showed some of his jocular wit. Dougherty's doomed tape recorder caught this exchange:
Dougherty: "What's the difference between materiality and reliance in your case?"
Dowd: "You better ask [prosecutor George] Cardona. He's the genius on that one."
Dougherty: "How are you guys looking at it?"
Dowd: "I can't help you. We've already briefed it, it's in the briefs; read my briefs."
Dougherty: "Your defense looks like it's reliance more than materiality."
Dowd: "I can't help you, Dougherty."
Dougherty: "You can't explain the difference between materiality and reliance?"
Dowd: "I can explain it, but I'm not going to explain it to you."
Dougherty: "What about anybody else here?"
Dowd: "Well, I explained it to the court. It's all written."
Dougherty: "Are you in a bad mood today, John, or what?"
Dowd: "Well, I just don't like you, Dougherty. You're an asshole."
Dougherty: "All right, the sentiment's mutual."
Dowd: "I don't talk to assholes."
Dougherty: "You and I have the same feelings . . ."
(Dowd strikes the reporter in the shoulder, knocking Dougherty's tape recorder into the street.)
Dougherty: "You're a class act, buddy!"
(Tape stops; recorder mortally wounded.)
When the cantankerous counselor returned from his midday repast, he was still in character. Asked by Channel 3's Bennett Cunningham-Ortega about the swat, Dowd quipped, "You don't stick a tape recorder in somebody's face, jerko. You people got to remember there are other people that got rights, so just get out of my way."
New Times reporter Chris Farnsworth: "Mr. Dowd, are you going to pay for John Dougherty's tape recorder?"
Dowd: ( .)
Unidentified reporter: "Do you have any comment on that, Mr. Dowd?"
Farnsworth: "Why'd you strike John Dougherty today, Mr. Dowd?"
Dowd: ( .)
Farnsworth: "Is that an appropriate response to questions from the press, Mr. Dowd?"
Dowd: ( .)
Unidentified reporter: "Do you have any comment at all, Mr. Dowd?"
Dowd: "Yeah, he stuck a tape recorder into my face in the middle of the street and I'm not going to put up with it. I'm not going to be treated that way. I've treated you guys with respect and fairness, fair and square. Okay?"
Farnsworth: "So you feel striking someone is treating them fairly."
Dowd: "No, I just knocked it out of my face, asshole."
Farnsworth: "Are all reporters assholes, Mr. Dowd?"
Dowd: "No, just you."
Farnsworth: "I thought John Dougherty was, too."
Dowd: "He is, too. You both are."
Farnsworth: "Mr. Dowd, you're a lawyer, isn't that assault?"
Dowd: "It's assault when someone sticks something in your face."
Unidentified reporter: "Do you want to apologize to John Dougherty?"
Dowd: "No, I'm not going to apologize."
Farnsworth: "So you don't feel you've done anything wrong?"
Unidentified reporter: "Do you have anything you want to say to the New Times?"
Cunningham-Ortega: "The New Times says you need some counseling, Mr. Dowd."
Dowd: ( .)
Farnsworth: "Is this an indication you had a bad day in court, Mr. Dowd?"
Dowd: "I had a good day in court."
Farnsworth: "So why'd you strike Mr. Dougherty?"
Dowd: "I won't be treated that way, I'm not going to have someone stick something in my face."
Farnsworth: "There's quite a few things in your face right now, Mr. Dowd, are you going to strike anyone here?"
Dowd: "No, there's nothing in my face."
Passing Republican motorist: "Give the guy some room!"
Dowd: "Thank you! You got that right."
Farnsworth: "I'm about as close to you now as Dougherty was then."
Dowd: "Well, I don't think you are."
Unidentified reporter: "Will you pay to replace the tape recorder?"
Dowd: ( .)
Dowd then grabbed Farnsworth's tape recorder and masticated it.
Joke Stormed Heartbreak Ridge
Sheriff Joke Arpaio is a sly one. He went on the air with KTAR's Pat McMahon on July 3 and made certain that everyone within earshot understood that while he is qualified to be a fabulous governor, he'd prefer to stay sheriff.
Here's a little tip: He's running.
He also displayed his uncanny capacity to misstate and fabricate. As he and McMahon discussed The Sher's recent trip to a sheriffin' convention in Atlanta, Joke inexplicably ejaculated: "I don't go out of town. This is the first time I've been out of town in a year."
McMahon: "Do you get recognized?"
Joke: "Well, yeah. Here and there, but I do get recognized. . . . But you know how it is, Pat, you're a famous guy. But I like some privacy. Well, and it's getting to the point where everybody comes up . . . (suddenly realizing he sounds like an elitist prig) . . . and that's great, because I shake hands and I talk to the people. I do serve the people, you know."
The Jokester also spoke of how he learned that all lawbreakers can't be busted, or something: "When I was a cop in Washington, D.C., I had a philosophy to lock up everybody--I had a tough beat--that violated the law. And, but once again, I was a young cop, 21 years old, and after four or five years, you, after experience you understand there is a gray area, it's not just black and white. I was locking up people spitting on the sidewa--anybody that violated the law, to me, had to go to jail. But right now, we're overcrowded in our systems across the nation, and sometimes you have to use common sense."
Or stun guns on testicles.
McMahon asked The Sher how he feels about polls that show him as a strong gubernatorial candidate:
"Well, it's a--I'm very humbled, No. 1. No. 2, some people forget where I came from . . . I do have another life, or I did, I was a Korean War veteran, cops in two departments, with the U.S. drug enforcement, I had a small business with my wife, was a very successful 10-year business, my wife still has it. Used to meet with presidents, was a diplomatic officer, so I'm not just a sheriff . . .
"I don't expect to run, but I have confidence if I did ever become the governor--which once again, I'm running for sheriff, reelection in three years as sheriff, not for governor--but I feel confident I could do the job. . . .
"I'm torn. I'm in a Catch-22 here. A very serious problem. But, once again, I have to evaluate the situation and I feel I should stay as sheriff."
McMahon noted that the poll numbers have "got to turn your head."
Joke (not joking): "Why? I don't have an ego."
McMahon (laughing): "Joe, now let's not debate that. Because, I mean, that's another program altogether."
Joke (still not joking): "You say I may have, but I don't . . ."
McMahon: "So you believe you have the credentials to be governor?"
Joke: "Of course. Why would I say no? Yeah, I think I would be a good governor. But, once again, I'm not egotistical. I don't want to run for governor to be called governor to have some bodyguards and have a First Lady--I have a first lady, 40 years I've been married with my wife, she's the first lady of the Sheriff's Office. So I don't need these titles or big positions. . . .
"You know, I've been all over the world. I was the director of Latin America, diplomatic officer, used to meet with presidents, ex-cops, sheriff, 28 years with the federal government, I could go on and on, so I do have--and 10 years with my wife, running a very, very successful business--so I do have a little experience other than just being the sheriff."
Later, the Jokenheimer said he was so happy being governor. When McMahon corrected him, the Joke keenly observed, "Oh, did I say governor? No, I said I'm so happy being the governor, which is wrong, because I'm not the governor. We have a governor . . ."
New Times wrote the Joke to ask him, among other things, why he'd claimed he hadn't gone out of town for a year. We asked to see his calendar for the past year. We also asked why he'd claimed to be a Korean War veteran when he spent that conflict stationed in the killing fields of France.
Despite his recent pledge that he would respond to New Times' written questions, The Sher's one-woman think tank, Lisa Allen, responded, six days later, writing that the SO "will not supply his calendar of meetings and events to your organization."
In a remarkable Dowdism, Allen refused to respond to the question about the Joke's travel, writing, "Please supply an audio tape or transcription of the Pat McMahon show where you believe the sheriff said he has been out of town once this year so we know the context of the conversation before we respond to such dribble." (Could she have meant "drivel"?)
How can The Flash put this? How about: We will not supply such a tape or transcript to your organization.
She insisted the Jokemeister is a Korean War vet: "Anyone who enlisted in the military at the time of the war is considered a veteran of war. . . . You draw the implication that he fought in the Korean War when, in fact, such a statement was never made by Sheriff Arpaio."
She's right, you know. Hearing the words "Korean War veteran" always conjures visions of savage duty in Metz, France.