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Good grief, Connie Schultz

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

Connie Schultz must think people are stupid.

It's the only logical takeaway from the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist's contention that billboards placed in some, but not exclusively, lower-income black communities in Cleveland were “signs of trouble ... rising like the ghosts of Jim Crow.”

An unnamed private family foundation bankrolled 145 billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin that read:

“VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY — UP TO 3½ YRS and $10,000 Fine.” There's also a photo of a gavel. The billboards went up early this month.

But after the billboard company — Clear Channel Outdoor — succumbed to the pimps of progressive victimhood (born out of the thin-air creation of a brand-new and supposedly socially unacceptable “code message” worthy of the John Nash character from “A Beautiful Mind”), the billboards began coming down.

Apparently, exercising one's constitutional right to free political speech, a right affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and simply stating a fact now is “racist.”

Ms. Schultz, the wife of Democrat U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (and who twice quit her job as a columnist for The Plain Dealer of Cleveland over perceived and real conflicts of interest but who still pens a syndicated column) called the billboards “menacing.”

Incredulous she was that the billboards were placed a “short walk from just about anywhere” — a public housing development, near a community college and not far from the home of black Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

“The billboards' target: African-American voters who support President Barack Obama,” she claimed in an Oct. 13 column.

Why, the billboards' “unwritten message” is clear, she added: “We will do anything to keep you from voting,” including convicted felons who served their time and retain their voting privileges.

“The plan, of course, is to intimidate an entire community of innocent Americans accustomed to withering suspicions steeped in race.”

Good grief, you can almost hear Schultz affecting the voice of Lucy van Pelt: “Look, Charlie, let's face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It's run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.”

A nonsensical analogy? No less so than Schultz's race-baiting and Orwellian assertions.

The Schultz mindset is like a Rorschach test for the imbecilic. Who can wait for her social justice interpretive skills to be applied to incendiary “messages” buried in the octagonal red stop signs with white lettering or her decoding of “Fasten Seat Belts, State Law” signs as examples of the obvious racist hate speech that, in our heart of hearts, we all really know them to be?

Not only does Schultz “decode” fictional John Nash-worthy messages, she attempts to rewrite history when she insists “voter fraud is a myth” in Ohio and “just as it is everywhere else in the country.”

Yoohoo, Connie, ACORN. Ohio in 2008. Thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms.

As National Review Online's John Fund reminds, “The real myth in Ohio today is that people can exercise their free-speech rights and simply remind potentially errant voters that ballot fraud is a crime.”

Without being smeared, it must be added, by someone who enjoys free-press rights and who should know better.

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or

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