Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Replogle Denies Collaboration

Replogle has disavowed any involvement in the Asch story on the article's comment board:
Concerning the above story: it is the journalistic endeavor of the D, and neither Mort nor I, nor our campaign was even aware [sic] The Dartmouth's underlying investigation or the story that resulted from it until we read it online today. Susan Mathews, Editor of The Dartmouth, has confirmed to me that the paper did not receive any documents or materials or any kind of contact relating to the subject of this article from us...We are running a positive campaign and will continue to do so...I believe we all call for civility in the election discourse.
Fair enough. Still, we at The Review are all too aware of the sort of underhanded invective that has traditionally been thrown at petition candidates, including in this year's Dartmouth Undying mailing, which darkly linked Asch to The Review no fewer than three times. We're flattered by the attention, but disappointed that kind of scaremongering and name-calling would feature prominently in such an intimate community as the body of Dartmouth alumni.

Good to see that Replogle and Kondracke weren't a part of this. Still, we have yet to hear from the coordinators of the Dartmouth Undying alumni slate, and yet to hear from The Dartmouth about the process by which the newspaper obtained those French court documents. Until that's happened, there's plenty of circumstantial reason to believe that this article is nothing more than a strictly orchestrated political attack.

Dirty "Journalism"

Every once in a while, The Daily Dartmouth puts forth a decent, well-researched, and fair-minded piece of real journalism. Yesterday's hit piece they released on petition trustee candidate Joe Asch is not one of them. In an accusatory tone, The D suggests that one of Joe Asch's former companies is guilty of French tax fraud, and confronts Asch with a variety of French legal documents, "obtained" [effective use of the passive voice] by The Daily Dartmouth.

Now, when they say "obtained," forgive me for suspecting that means that it was delivered - story line and all - by an opposition researcher hired by either the Alumni Office, John Replogle, the Dartmouth Undying AoA slate, or some combination of the three. I think all close observers can agree that it's highly unlikely any other source would go to the trouble of providing The Daily Dartmouth with arcane, translated French legal documents.

Moreover, one can not help but raise an eyebrow to the timing yesterday's story. This was the last issue of The D before Spring Break, meaning the Asch story will occupy their front page online for a full three weeks - almost the entire duration of the voting period, which starts today. Asch's opponents planted this story as a classic October surprise.

This tells us a few things: first, this is not a piece of journalism. It's a piece of propaganda crafted by Asch's opponents for the express purpose of sliming his name while alumni go to vote, and depriving him of the chance to respond. If The D were an honest paper, not a Parkhurst/Blunt newsletter, it would have told its readers who provided the story, and it would have put its accusations in context by inserting a few quotes from legal experts who actually have a sense of whether or not there was any serious wrongdoing here. My own layman's sense is that Asch's international company made a mistake, paid its taxes in the US instead of in France, and paid up the French government without incident when the mistake was revealed. But, again, we weren't provided any legal context on that front. Presumably The D took its time before it ran the story. They could easily have talked to any one of the many trained lawyers at Dartmouth for a variety of perspectives. But they didn't. Epic fail, as they say.

Second, this story - in conjunction with other campaign tactics employed by the Establishment (see below) - reveals what a low-down, dirty operation the Replogle/Dartmouth Undying faction has got going. For all their complaints about Joe Asch's spending on this race (which is very modest), I would be very interested to know how much they paid to some oppo guy (or girl!) to dig up this "dirt" on Asch. Apparently, they were pretty desperate to get their money's worth.

Of course, it's always possible that Replogle, Dartmouth Undying, et alia had nothing to do with this story. If so, I should hope that they would disavow any responsibility and dismiss the story as the (weak) slime piece that it is.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

How to Insult Alums' Intelligence, Dartmouth Undying Style

We had this forwarded to us yesterday. It saved me the trouble of reading the Sunday funnies because I didn't even have to find a newspaper. Apparently, John Replogle '88 would be a better fit for the Board of Trustees because his opponent, Joseph Asch '79--gasp!--writes occasional articles for us (cue a lightning strike and the ominous music).

I get that it's a campaign, but it's like Dartmouth Undying isn't even putting any effort into this. If the best they can come up with is that Asch has written the occasional article for our fine publication--I'm not sure of the exact number as our archives are glitchy at best, but a search revealed five contributions. I find it humorous that the mailing never mentions the number of times Asch has written for the D. In fact, a quick search of their website indicates that his writing's appeared there twenty-five times, a record that contrasts quite nicely with Replogle's current total of zero.

They also charge that Joe is a "longtime critic of the College." Well, yeah, how dare he criticize such things as course over-subscription, unsustainable spending practices, an oft derided alcohol policy or the housing lottery system? The only thing that Mr. Replogle appears to have criticized is Joe's criticism. Way to go out on a limb there, sir.

Not only that, the mailing seeks to paint Joe Asch as someone who is unreasonably critical of President Jim Yong Kim. Was he critical of JYK at first? Yes, he was, mainly because he was worried that business would carry on as usual. Over the past few months, however, it appears that President Kim has managed to win him over. Joe said in one of his Dartblog posts that their positions on the personnel cuts are "identical." On top of that, he states on the front page of his website,

After a wide-ranging, two-hour discussion with President Kim this past December, I decided to run as a Petition Trustee candidate because I want to support his vision.

What an obstructionist that Joe is, eh? Imagine him supporting the President! A critic such as he could never do such a thing.

On top of that, he operates a health club in Lebanon, NH. No, really, look at their last criticism of Joe Asch. Apparently, being local's a bad thing. Who knew? They also managed to completely overlook Mr. Asch's other professional accomplishments such as founding a medical products company in England in 1987 that sells products he designs in over 30 countries. The Undying slate would have you believe all he does is run the River Valley Club.

Moving on, their statements about the Association of Alumni Executive Committee petition candidates, the Dartmouth United slate, are flat out wrong. In the mailing, they say that the United slate will, "seek to revive the twice-failed lawsuit against the College." This is misleading for a number of reasons

  1. The current AoA Executive Committee got the previous AoA lawsuit dismissed with prejudice, meaning that no future AoA Executive Committee can bring suit on the same grounds. It would be impossible for them to revive it if they're elected, even if they wanted to.
  2. I interviewed a number of the petition slate candidates. All of them said that they intend to work with the Board of Trustees (including President Kim, who they're excited about) on restoring parity. No lawsuits are in the cards.

To sum up, dear reader, Dartmouth Undying, the current Association of Alumni Executive Committee, thinks you're too stupid to get informed about their opponents and are counting on any negative connotations you might have with our publication to influence your decision. Just remember that when voting begins on March 10.

Monday, March 01, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

Ha. Ha. Ha. I'm so glad we can represent our College like the mature adults we all are.

We Still Make More Than You

Yahoo! hotjobs has a delightful little article today, informing the world of our College's greatness, especially when it comes to monetary compensation a decade down the road. We beat out Harvard (3rd), Princeton (6th), Yale (9th) and Penn (10th).

And that's why I chose Dartmouth.