GOP Voter Fraud Hysteria: The Nuts Don't Fall Far from the Rove

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 08:17 PM

Among the statements I never expected to see, without at least a few bolts of lightening hurtling earthward: Ken Blackwell saying On Laura Ingraham's radio show that "Voter fraud is the worst crime against democracy."

Yet no lightening bolts. So far.

And yet Blackwell remains a free, unimprisoned man.

It's all part of the ubiquitous attempt by the GOP and the SLOP (Slavish Lapdogs Of the Party) to convince folks that either: (a) Obama's victory was nothing more than a massive case of voter fraud, should he win, or (b) that you shouldn't vote for Obama because his campaign is "trying to steal the election." Did I mention the lack of lightening bolts?

Ingraham actually used that phrase, "They're about to steal this election," on the same show where she allowed Blackwell to spin. Not surprisingly, her statement sounds a lot like John Gibson saying on Fox that "ACORN is trying to steal the election for Obama."

Will this work? It certainly will with the Kool Aid Gang (the woman at McCain's event who was frightened of Obama because he was an Arab, the crowd of profane paranoids who haunt the right wing web sites, etc.).

Gibson deserves some kind of Stupidity or Dishonesty of the Year Award. On the same program where he made the comment above, he actually tried to attribute Obama's recent gain in the polls in swing states to fraudulent registrations submitted by ACORN. He says "Let's connect some dots," and shows a map of states in which ACORN is being investigated. The genius follows this with "Notice how the battleground states in which Obama is suddenly ahead are the same ones where voter fraud has become so blatant that officials are finally noticing."

That's some theory. ACORN submits some questionable registration cards and this translates into support for Obama in opinion polls almost always conducted by phone. It's like magic. The very presence of the registration cards creates a mystical aura that seeks out people who are later called by polling companies, and makes the people say they'll vote for Obama.

And notice the neat little bait and switch from Gibson: he starts out talking about fraudulent registrations, but ends up talking about voter fraud. Big difference. Anybody with a writing implement can fill out a registration card. It's generally acknowledged by people outside of the Kool Aid Gang that almost none of the phony registrations result in an ineligible person voting.

For example, Lori Minnite, a professor of political science at Barnard College, told Salon (emphasis added):

I am struck by the ferocity of the attack on ACORN. I am not privy to the campaign strategy of the Republican Party, but I have to assume that it is the result of a coordinated disinformation campaign aimed not only at undermining ACORN's work, but also as a part of a far broader effort to corrode public confidence in the electoral process.

We see the repetition of wildly exaggerated allegations about ACORN's "criminality" by people like Michelle Malkin, a right-wing blogger; John Fund, who's been attacking ACORN for years from his vantage as a Wall Street Journal columnist; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative so devoted to Nixonian dirty tricks that he's tattooed an image of Nixon's face on his back. His blog, by the way, is sponsored by the same law firm that launched a phony voter fraud attack on ACORN in Florida during the last presidential election.

These are the people that seize on faulty registrations as proof that massive voter fraud is going on. This is an obviously faulty assumption. Do fake registrations equal fake ballots? No. They waste election officials' time ... we don’t elect people through registration. Confusion, on the part of election officials, while unfortunate, still has more to do with our convoluted laws than with any effort to deceive or manipulate by ACORN.

As for the demonization of ACORN, the SLOP's wild exhortations conveniently leave out a couple of details. First, ACORN itself frequently identifies questionable registrations and tells local election officials about them. Again according to Lori Minnite:
Let’s remember, as the Republicans make a furor over the Indiana registrations, that ACORN itself separated out those registrations -- found the 2,000 faulty ones and flagged them for election officials -- in the first place. They try to work with elected officials. The fact is that ACORN has been smeared by the Republican Party. Some of their employees do seem to fake registrations, sure, but when Macy’s has some of their employees stealing from them, we would not call them a quasi-criminal organization -- we still call them a department store. ACORN is trying to help underprivileged people vote.
In fact, according to Bertha Lewis of ACORN, local officials sometimes use the very cards that ACORN has identified as questionable to "come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards."

Second, some states apparently require that all registrations which have been completed must be turned in. In those states, ACORN has no choice but to submit registrations even though its own staff has identified them as questionable. At that point, all they can do is bring the questionable registrations to the attention of election officials.

Yet the SLOP continue a coordinated campaign to stir hysteria about a nonexistent epidemic of voter fraud. Nonexistent. Even Charlie Crist, the Republican governor of Florida has apparently had enough of his own GOP and SLOP causing voter panic and publicly said that, according to the Miami Herald, "his fellow Republicans may be exaggerating claims of voter fraud in the state."

It's a coordinated GOP-SLOP campaign which accomplishes the dual objectives of getting voters frightened about election fraud and doing it with an organization to which Obama has some historical ties. Kill two birds with one smear.

Actually, three birds. The fear mongering effects could well be long lasting. How many of the mindless will view an Obama victory as illegitimate, how much resentment and/or violence will be produced as a consequence and how big a leg up will the GOP/SLOPers have for the next election?

I definitely smell a Rove here. I just wish I smelled a little lightening-singed flesh.