The Right’s ACORN head fake unleashes more evil

By pams
Sunday, October 19, 2008 21:43 EDT
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Jesse covered some of the ACORN ground, but I had to post on this nonsense. John McCain said this in the last presidential debate:

We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.
Wow. That’s a bold statement. Bold, absurd — and a lie. All the hubbub about Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the nation’s largest grassroots community organization — one that has 1.3 million low-income, minority and young voters across the country register to vote has been a rallying cry by conservatives as proof that Democrats are trying to steal the election.

This nonsensical charge by the Right is really a smokescreen to divert attention from shenanigans that really matter — voter suppression — something Republicans know all about, given what happened in Ohio in 2004 and is going on there now, even as we speak.

You can find out The Truth About ACORN here. If you want to see and hear the full manifestation of the evil and hate unleashed by McCain/Palin over ACORN, head over to Right Wing Watch, which has emails and voicemails that are explicit – and RWW had to edit out personal identifying information. Clearly these people didn’t seek anonymity. Here’s one transcript of a voicemail:

“Hi, I was just calling to let you all know that Barack Obama needs to get hung. He’s a fucking nigger, and he’s a piece of shit. You guys are fraudulent, and you need to go to hell. All the niggers on oak trees. They’re gonna get all hung honeys, they’re gonna get assassinated, they’re gonna get killed.”

Wow. How long have I been talking about the the evil that we would see in this election cycle on this blog? This is one of those times when I hate being right, because it does shake one’s faith in humanity.

Did a small fraction of staffers submit fraudulent registration forms? Yes. Does that constitute a conspiracy of some kind? No. Submitting “Mickey Mouse” or dead people on registration forms does not create new voters who will show up at the polls. What part of that does wingnuttia not understand? Oh, never mind. The whole point is to conflate bogus registration forms with voter fraud.

Unfortunately, it seems that the motivating factor behind these attacks is fear of an expanded electorate that more accurately reflects the citizenry of the United States. We find it disappointing that rather than seeking the support of these new voters and listening to their demands for jobs, affordable housing, health care, living wages, and better schools, conservatives and partisan operatives would rather create an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and chaos. In so doing they feel they can suppress the vote in the current election and pave the way for new initiatives to shrink and narrow the electorate for future ones.
Of course if you confuse and repeat often enough using Rovian tactics, the hope is to sway voters. Quite frankly, with the economy in the sh*tter, I don’t think anyone who is on the fence are going to give a flip about ACORN, particularly when the hyperbole launched by McCain is outlandish — and the fact that he supported the work of ACORN in the past. More below the fold. He was before it before he was against it:

The MSM is finally putting this mess into proper perspective:

By legal definition, to commit voter fraud means a person would have to present some kind of documentation at the polls — a driver’s license, a phone bill or another form of ID — that bears the name of Mickey Mouse, for example. To do so risks a fine and imprisonment under state laws.

…Accusations of stolen votes have a long history in presidential elections. In the 2000 recount debacle, Republicans claimed illegal ballots were cast. Democrats contended that legal ballots were thrown out. In 2004, when Ohio gave the presidency to George W. Bush, Democrats charged that long lines and malfunctioning machines in that state led to an inaccurate count.

…Alex Keyssar, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, calls the current controversy “chapter 22 in a drama that’s been going on awhile. The pattern is that nothing much ever comes from this. There have been no known cases of people voting fraudulently.”

…Part-time ACORN workers receive one day of training and are paid $8 an hour to collect signatures, according to [ACORN spokesman Brian] Kettenring. He blamed bogus cards on cheating and lazy employees trying to make a buck for doing nothing.

When caught, Kettenring said, those workers are fired. The group is in the process of tallying the number of bad cards ACORN flagged for election officials, he said. Kettenring said he doubted the percentage of such registrations would reach 2 percent.

And the GOP’s wailing regarding sloppy registration re: ACORN need to look in the mirror:
Faked names on voter registration forms. Error rates as high as 60 percent. Firing the people responsible for these errors. Investigations launched by local and state police. Sound familiar? This is not ACORN in the 2008 election’s final days.

This is the California Republican Party and its contractors in 2006, when the same problems that are now dogging ACORN and providing political fodder for GOP attacks plagued an effort by California Republicans to register 750,000 people.

The details were all spelled out in a series of Los Angeles Times stories, which quoted former California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres saying these kinds of errors are inevitable “when you use private vendors.” Even the state’s top election official in 2006, Republican Bruce McPherson, was forced to investigate his own party’s actions.

…The only thing ACORN’s errors prove is that mistakes in big voter registration drives are inevitable, no matter who conducts them. When you look at all the other problems in the nation’s voting systems — from poorly designed ballots to electronic machines that lose votes cast — the larger truth is every aspect of American elections is imperfect.

Here is a real example of something that can actually destroy the fabric of our democracy:

I wonder what will become of our democracy after this election. Even if Obama wins, the damage to our country’s collective psyche over this cycle because of the denial, hate and disbelief unleashed regarding race and gender needs to be healed; it’s hard to know where we will begin. And if McCain wins, well perhaps it’s time to pack some bags and get the hell out of Dodge.

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