Via Eric Kleefeld at TPM this afternoon, candidates jockeying for chairmanship of the RNC, including current chair Michael Steele, held a debate today, and, naturally, spoke at some length to one of the most important imaginary threats facing our republic: Massive Democratic voter fraud!!! Coincidentally, almost always by black people and Hispanic people, who probably shouldn't be voting anyway, and stuff!!!
The goal of this years-long campaign against imagined "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" is, as long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG know too well, meant to encourage the adoption of photo ID restrictions at the polling place (and, short of that, intimidating challenges to voters when they show up to vote) under the purported guise of "ballot integrity".
Never mind that George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice was unable to find more than a handful of actual voter fraud culprits despite their unprecedented efforts to root out this menace. And, definitely never mind that studies cited [PDF] by the League of Women Voters, and many others, have warned that more than 20 million legal American voters --- most of them, coincidentally, minorities, elderly and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters) --- stand to be completely disenfranchised by such draconian restrictions since many of them do not have the type of government issued photo ID the Republicans believe can protect us from "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!"
It's not new, of course. The modern Republican War on Voting has been ongoing for years, begun as long ago (at least) as Rightwing icon Paul Weyrich's incredible 1980 speech to preachers in Dallas with Reagan and Falwell on hand (see :40 video clip at end of article below). But it's clear, despite the Republican/Fox "News"/Andy Breitbart "pimp" hoax that succeeding in killing the GOP's former #1 "voter fraud" bogey man, ACORN, the fake story of "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" will continue as a helpful voter suppression meme for the GOP for years to come --- at least if the new RNC chair, whoever that may be, has anything to say about it.
Here, in part, is what each RNC chair candidate had to say today in response to the question about how they planned to combat "Massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" as the new leader of the GOP...
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this short ad from Friends of the Earth says it all about the obscenity that is the Republican slogan, "Drill baby, drill!" The ad was released almost contemporaneously to Sarah Palin's insistence on "drill here, drill now" despite knowledge of the devastation unfolding in the Gulf states as a result of the BP disaster...
I'm thinking of changing the name of The BRAD BLOG to What Up? Anybody see any downsides to that?
UPDATE 10/17, 11:23pm PT: I actually presumed the irony above was self-evident. If many of the comments left are any indication, apparently it wasn't. So here's the previously-unlinked reference. Beyond that I must say I was surprised and rather moved, by the reaction in many of the comments, from around the world, even if they came as a result of having been inadvertently misled. So thanks very much for those and apologies for the goose chase. (Though I did enjoy it, nonetheless.) I think I'll call the blog Change the Game instead. Any objections?
Actually it’s surprising Republicans would even consider letting Franken off with a simple do-over when they’ve got the goods on him. According to a Monday fund-raising letter from RNC Chair Steele, Franken is “stealing Norm Coleman’s U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota.”
Well, that's a good point, isn't it? With Steele, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Republican National Lawyer's Association, and all of their affiliated wingnuts claiming over and over that Franken is "stealing" the election (as we detailed and linked in our report), why aren't the Republicanists calling for criminal charges to be brought against him?
It does seem rather gracious of them to allow Franken to compete in a "do-over" for a U.S. Senate seat which they claim to have evidence of him trying to "steal" in the first place, no?
Are the wingnuts just nice that way? Or are they just full of shit? Hmmm, tough call.
(BTW, with all of those charges by the Republicanists, before the election, of ACORN committing massive "voter fraud," shouldn't Coleman and the Republicanists have brought forward their evidence for that during this important election contest trial, since they seem to have lost by only about 250 votes? Especially in MN, where ACORN helped to register more than 42,000 new voters prior to last year's election? With all of those fraudulent ACORN voters, and with Coleman's team having gone over every single vote cast with a fine-tooth comb, you'd think the GOP could have offered evidence of at least one case of "voter fraud" committed by ACORN in MN, no? Apparently not.)
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The "one and only true party of the people" hoping to "rebuild...from the grassroots up," according to an email from its new chairman Michael Steele, seems to be having trouble doing anything differently from the old GOP party. At least if the latest fund raising letter from Steele, charging "liberal Democrat comedian Al Franken" as "stealing Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota," is any indication.
On the same day that former Senator Coleman rested his so-far failed case in his election contest in St. Paul against apparent Senator-elect Al Franken, the new GOP chair sent a missive to supporters, begging for money, using the same old failed tactics of the RNC of old; namely, lying to supporters about facts, offering specious, unsupported allegations of Democrats "stealing" elections (despite all evidence to the contrary), making liberal use of the word "liberal," and referring to Democratic party members as "Democrat" party members.
Steele's shameless email (posted in full at the end of this article) echoes the RNC's so-far failed conspiracy-theory strategy to "win" the Senate seat, as previously used by the Coleman camp, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (RSCC), the Republican National Lawyer's Association (RNLA), and GOP propagandists from Hannity to Rush to the wingnut blogosphere which dutifully repeat all of their tin-foil hattery, and/or supply it to them in the first place...
If there was ever a doubt [Steele's] election represented a revolutionary shift in direction, this move would certainly put an end to that debate.
The reformers won, and --- unlike Obama who seems to have used "change" as merely an slogan --- Steele (so far) appears to be "governing" (inasmuch as an RNC chairman can "govern") --- as a true change-agent.
By the same token, one hopes Steele will not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Whoops. As mentioned, unfortunate turn of phrase...