Franklin Roosevelt. John Kennedy. Bill Clinton. If nothing else, the pillars of Democratic politics were virile specimens and have long been rumored to enjoy overactive libidos that would be the envy of any adult entertainment icon of the modern age. Former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Melvin "Butch" Hollowell apparently is no exception. On August 17th, shortly after leaving his chairman post to serve as an unpaid advisor to 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry’s legal team, Hollowell was arrested by Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies for allegedly paying a woman $60 to perform a sex act. The woman, an admitted prostitute, was caught in the car with Hollowell and admitted her part in the incident. Using the same defense that proved successful to Eddie Murphy several years before, Hollowell claimed the woman appeared to be in distress and entered his car after he offered to help her. The presiding judge, who I suspect to be either insanely naïve or the subject of incriminating photographs held by Hollowell that would look just as fabulous on CNN as they would on the exposé pages of Hustler, appeared to have bought into Hollowell’s account and ruled that Sheriff’s Deputies have no authority to enforce Detroit’s city ordinances. Yeah, like that argument is going to fly if Joseph Q. Public gets nailed by the “boys in brown” trying to score $60 worth of wild monkey lovin’ along Detroit’s Eight Mile corridor.
So, aside from the obvious double-standard and blatant preferential treatment shown to Hollowell by Wayne County’s judicial establishment, should Americans be outraged by this ruling? Should anyone find this miscarriage of justice disturbing? Well, let us put things in perspective. This incident has cost Butch Hollowell far more than the maximum punishment of a $500 fine and 90 days in jail that he could have received. As a result of his arrest, he resigned from the Kerry campaign, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and from his day job at a Detroit law firm. In addition to that, his picture was repeatedly plastered to nearly every television screen in the Great Lakes State as well as seen gracing TV news reports in several broadcast markets outside of Michigan. Then of course, there is the internet coverage that he is still receiving (via electronic publications such as The JEP Report) that will continue to add insult to injury long after his television notoriety has subsided. He has paid far more than Joe Public would have should he have been caught doing the same thing. The fact that he was not charged with anything is not the disturbing aspect of this incident, however. The disturbing fact is that Butch Hollowell, former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman, John Kerry legal advisor, member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and a prominent attorney, was reduced to soliciting crack-addled street walkers in seedy back alleys of the Motor City’s skin districts. Has the DNC become so poor at fund raising that they can’t afford a decent escort service that makes house calls? I mean, what are they going to do when the Kennedys come to town? As much as I often disagree with the Democratic platform, even I can appreciate the dangers of a one-party system and surely do not wish my brothers across the aisle to be bankrupted into financial oblivion. If I see many more incidents like this, I may be tempted to start contributing to the DNC until I see Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich on the dance floor at a trendy L.A. nightclub doing the Macarena alongside celebrity madame extraordinaire, Heidi Fleiss.