Mississippi AG Jim Hood has developed quite a specialty in talking about things that are supposed to be secret, like his state grand jury investigations last year and the recent settlement in the State Farm v. Hood lawsuit. But how low have Hood’s fortunes sunk? This low: he can’t even win an argument when he’s the only one talking.
This op-ed in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger appears to be part of some odd kind of strategy in which Hood goes around in a wheelchair with two black eyes, a neck brace and both legs in a cast while claiming to have cleaned the other guy’s clock. Specifically, Hood is now implying he won the lawsuit against him:
In fact, allegations lodged against me by this insurer were shown to be false when a federal judge recently threw out a lawsuit it had filed against my office. And due to our efforts, the company now claims to have paid an additional $70 million to Coast homeowners.
Come on, that’s weak, weak as a seventh-grader’s biceps. Threw it out? We all know the case was dismissed in the sense that the judge found he had jurisdiction and that Hood’s contract not to prosecute State Farm was valid and enforceable. For Hood to claim he won is like a jockey surrounding himself with a posse of dwarfs and claiming he’s tall.
We all know Hood settled on terms advantageous to State Farm after Hood stumbled all over himself on the witness stand, doing his best impression of someone who was testifying while listening to some Merle Haggard tunes on his iPod.
Even though the settlement is secret, we know Hood gave guarantees of non-prosecution to State Farm and to specific individuals in the company, or State Farm would not have settled. It’s one thing for Hood’s relatives and friends to go around saying the case was "dismissed," because that is technically true — all cases are eventually dismissed. Doesn’t say anything about who won the case, but they are in fact dismissed or terminated at some point. It’s quite another for Hood to imply, in a written statement, one that was not off the cuff but which he had time to look over, reflect on, edit and correct, that a judge found the allegations of the lawsuit to be false.
Some of those enemies of his that Hood talks about in the op-ed appear to be managing his schedule and writing his material, because he is also going around to the media further discrediting himself. He is saying he is sidelined for the duration of the judicial bribery investigations because they involve folks who contributed campaign dough to him. He cites prosecuting these people as a conflict of interest. Maybe, in the sense that when you prosecute someone it conflicts with your interest in getting more campaign dough from him. But an actual conflict of interest, no. The conflict, instead, is in not prosecuting someone because they are a friend of the Attorney General.
One more thing on the op-ed — seriously, who is writing Hood’s stuff these days? Take a look at this passage:
Through a bombardment of television ads, they screamed about who you should blame for your troubles. They hollered at levels so high that nothing else could be heard above it. The shouting continues today.
But those who are yelling the loudest are those who are squealing the most – the big corporations, the insurance companies, the losers of a hard-fought political campaign. And they will continue to squeal because, at the end of the day, they understand that the office of attorney general will never stop its fight to protect the citizens of Mississippi.
With all this yellin’ and hollerin’ and squealin’, sounds like this piece was written by Sigmund Freud after watching Deliverance one too many times.
Finally, this is an interesting piece on Hood from Patsy Brumfield of the Daily Journal, about an incident where Hood, well, I’ll let Patsy tell it:
HOUSTON – The recently settled case between State Farm and Attorney General Jim Hood isn’t the first time he has been accused of improperly threatening criminal action in a civil case.
Six years ago, he did so in a case not with millions at stake, but over $2,101.17.
That’s it for this post. Stay tuned for the next episode of the High Street Follies.