Philip Busse just discovered the power of the blogosphere — by turning it on himself. After bragging about his exploits in stealing McCain-Palin campaign signs, St. Olaf University invited its media professor to hit the road. Local police also have some consequences in store for the former instructor:
Philip Busse, the St. Olaf College professor who admitted to stealing campaign signs in a national political blog read by millions, has resigned. …
Busse was also charged with misdemeanor theft after confessing to the Rice County Sheriff’s department that he took three McCain/Palin yard signs, said Sergeant Dave Stensrud of the Rice County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Stensrud, officers met with Busse at his residence last Friday after several community members complained about Busse’s essay on the Huffington Post, a national news Web site and blog. There, Stensrud said, Busse confessed that he was involved with the theft of three political yard signs. In his article, entitled “Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer,” Busse admits to taking up to eight McCain/Palin signs from a stretch of Highway 19 near St. Olaf College.
For his actions, Busse could face up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, Stensrud said.
Three cheers for St. Olaf for demanding a high standard of public behavior from its staff. They could just as easily have concluded that Busse had all the candlepower of a 30-year-old LED, too. I’m not sure what Busse expected from confessing his crimes on the Huffington Post, but the media professor apparently didn’t think that people reading it might take offense.
Busse himself called the thefts “immature”, but couched it in terms of civil disobedience. He wrote that stealing campaign signs was “one of the single most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done.” Er, what? Why not do something constructive, like door-knock or register voters? Apparently, Busse doesn’t have the attention span for that.
This story hits home, literally, for me. I’ve had two McCain signs stolen from my yard in the last two weeks, the second in broad daylight while I was out — and the First Mate was at home. The third sign, which I picked up when I interviewed Patricia Heaton last week, has remained, along with the Norm Coleman sign that hasn’t budged since I placed it: