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Whitey on the moon
July 11, 2012 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney just took his case to the NAACP. This satirical look at Mitt's prep session.
posted by flapjax at midnite (447 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Guardian was live blogging the speech.
posted by feste at 9:24 AM on July 11, 2012


And I love the name of your post!
posted by feste at 9:25 AM on July 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


Somewhere, in a lonely, dimly-lit room, a Daily Show writer is watching that speech and throwing his hands skyward he exclaims, "Thank you God!"
posted by prepmonkey at 9:29 AM on July 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


Ugh, I had to turn it off when he quoted Frederick Douglass to them. It's just too awkward for me to watch.
posted by hermitosis at 9:29 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "organ music" bit and Obamacare went over like lead balloons attached to Newt Gingrich's electoral odds, but he put together a nice recovery. I didn't think he'd manage to go out to applause.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:31 AM on July 11, 2012


My favorite part is Romney basically calling Health Care 'non-essential'. But I guess for someone as rich as he is, health care is in fact non-essential.
posted by justgary at 9:32 AM on July 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


Why does he say the invite was a surprise? Doesn't the NAACP do that with every major candidate?
posted by merelyglib at 9:35 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there something wrong with the audio on the first link? I've got my speakers cranked (music plays just fine) and the Youtube volume maxed, but I can barely hear muffled sound.
posted by xedrik at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2012


There should be a giant banner behind him that says [[CITATION NEEDED]].
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


Seriously? Why the fuck does Romney talk about his FATHER'S civil rights stances so often? Who the fuck cares? What is your stance Mittens? This is about you right?

Too bad Romney's example highlights the "evolution" of the Republican party. Where are the Republicans who hold office of"integrity, decency, and humility who called injustice by its name."? Name me five Mittens.

Silver-spooned spoiled entitled brat
posted by edgeways at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


The "organ music" bit and Obamacare went over like lead balloons attached to Newt Gingrich's electoral odds, but he put together a nice recovery. I didn't think he'd manage to go out to applause.

true, but the booing is going to get the airplay
posted by edgeways at 9:38 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


He said "I hope to represent all Americans of every race, creed and sexual orientation..." I honest to god heard "all Americans of every race, freed,... and sexual orientation". This was at 1:20 or so...

The cringe factor was high for a moment there.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:39 AM on July 11, 2012


"The point is, that when decades of the same promises keep producing the same failures, then it's reasonable to rethink our approach, and consider a new plan." Like... the new plan of electing an unbelievably wealthy Republican governor? Our definitions of "new" don't really match up, here.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:41 AM on July 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Don't worry, African-American community! The job creators are here to save you with free enterprise!
posted by XMLicious at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


Comments are disabled for this video.

A canny move, PBS YouTube account.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


A canny move, PBS YouTube account.

Most of their videos have comments disabled.
posted by Talez at 9:44 AM on July 11, 2012


And it is indeed a canny move.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:45 AM on July 11, 2012 [20 favorites]


As the Guardian says, he may not have been prepared exactly for boos, but he knew he was gonna get a poor reception when he started in on "repeal Obamacare." And that may have been part of the design.

In any case, what was his only other option? Decline to speak to the NAACP, the way Bush did at various points in his dark tenure? Look even brightier and whitier than he already does?

Seriously? Why the fuck does Romney talk about his FATHER'S civil rights stances so often? Who the fuck cares? What is your stance Mittens? This is about you right?

Because his father actually had civil rights stances to show and Mittens has nothing. Less than nothing, in fact.
posted by blucevalo at 9:45 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney just took his case to the NAACP.

The way this is phrased, I couldn't stop focusing on the idea of Romney really being hopeful that speaking at the NAACP would gain him some hidden vein of support. And then I felt some saying about hope would have to best describe the situation. Doing a quick google search, the following seemed to fit:


"In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments" - Nietzsche

"Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic." - Norman Cousins


But, of course, he wasn't hopeful at all. The entire reason for doing this is to get the kind of response he got to solidify his anti-Obama base.

My only hope is that it seems like that's the only support he is. I never thought I'd live to see a day when a candidate would be nominated based solely on "not being the guy in office" more than Kerry in 2004 -- but here we are.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:48 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, and perhaps this has been mentioned, but did you know that Mitt Romney used to dress up like a police officer and pull people over for fun? NOW YOU DO.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:49 AM on July 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


He has a lot to offer the robo-American populace!
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on July 11, 2012


At least he didn't pull a NASCAR: "I don't personally interact with black people much, but I have some great friends who own some of them."
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:54 AM on July 11, 2012 [33 favorites]


Because his father actually had civil rights stances to show and Mittens has nothing. Less than nothing, in fact

And if his father was running for president this would matter.
posted by eriko at 9:54 AM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Honestly? Not one person on the speechwriting team realized that calling it "Obamacare" only works when you're talking to people who already don't like Obama? How about "I'm going to eliminate every non-essential, expensive programs I can find, that includes the job-killing health-care takeover by the federal government."?
posted by Etrigan at 9:54 AM on July 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


"Who's got two thumbs and knows what's best for black people? This honky."
posted by Spatch at 9:56 AM on July 11, 2012 [41 favorites]


Obama speaking in front of the Chamber of Commerce would be no less awkward and tense and punctuated by boos. Good to see at least one of these candidates facing a hostile audience for a change.
posted by three blind mice at 9:58 AM on July 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


"You know, the Republican Party's record, by the measures you rightly apply, is not perfect."

You don't say.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:58 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the Guardian liveblog: Romney tells the audience that he's accused of being a candidate for the rich. "Nonsense," says Mitt. "The rich will do just fine whether I'm elected or not."

Oy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:59 AM on July 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


I guess for someone as rich as he is, health care is in fact non-essential.

Health care is essential for rich people, too. It's helping poor people get it that's non-essential.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:02 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Seriously? Why the fuck does Romney talk about his FATHER'S civil rights stances so often? Who the fuck cares? What is your stance Mittens? This is about you right?

His response of talking about his father's civil rights stances strikes me as a sort of privileged "don't you know who I am? I'm the son of George Romney!" response to the allegation that he was not opposed to the Mormon church's institutionalized racism in the 1960s and 70s.

My guess is that it is intended as a response to the allegation that, because the Mormon church was openly racist at that time, and because Mitt, who was not a public figure, made no public pronouncement in opposition to the church's position, Mitt must be a racist. Talking about his father's civil rights stances and involvement during the time when Mitt apparently should have been issuing press releases about it even though he was not a public figure of any kind seems to be intended to support the idea that his family's stance on the issue was different from that of his church, and that if people are going to attribute to Mitt the positions and opinions in the 1960s and 70s of groups with which Mitt was affiliated, they should look at those of his immediate family, rather than the conflicting views of his church.

There were a lot of members of the Mormon church during that time period who were opposed to the church's institutionalized racism, particularly among Mitt's generation and particularly among Mormons who, like Mitt Romney, did not live in or grow up in Utah. It was a very difficult thing for those Mormons, many of whom had serious crises of faith and who considered the church's change of policy and doctrine to be an answer to their own prayers. Romney has stated on publicly that he was one of those people (saying that, when he heard the announcement, he pulled his car over and wept [where weeping, in Mormon culture, is a common indicator of gratitude or joy].)
posted by The World Famous at 10:03 AM on July 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


He should communicate with them using the language of rap...

"I wrote a letter to big government the other day, they opened it, read it, said I was a sucker. Told them I had the backing of a tea party or whatever, picture them giving a damn, they said 'never!'"
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on July 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Mitt apparently should have been issuing press releases about it even though he was not a public figure of any kind

Screw press releases! He never wrote a letter that included dismay about the racism he witnessed? He never had a conversation with a friend he can dig out of the woodwork? He never kept a damn diary? He can't say, "and while my dad was working to protect the civil liberties of our nation, I was helping"?!?! Or maybe even, "I supported that work in a vaguely non-committal way because I was busy raking in the monies."

The man has nothing to show for evidence that he has a spine. He gutted jobs, attempted to shrink the middle class, shows disdain for regular human folks, and has the audacity to stand up in front of an audience and yammer about how he's got a five step plan that to my ear is kind of the same as the previous ten years of "lower (or don't increase) taxes on the wealthy and so they'll create jobs."

Well that's not working either, Mitt.
posted by bilabial at 10:10 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


>Honestly? Not one person on the speechwriting team realized that calling it "Obamacare" only works when you're talking to people who already don't like Obama?

Think of how this speech, and its reception, appears to Mitt's prospective voters.

>But, of course, he wasn't hopeful at all. The entire reason for doing this is to get the kind of response he got to solidify his anti-Obama base.

Yeah. He may have been speaking in front of the NAACP, but it was hardly his intended audience.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2012 [28 favorites]


darth_tedious: "

Yeah. He may have been speaking in front of the NAACP, but it was hardly his intended audience."

Bingo.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:12 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama speaking in front of the Chamber of Commerce would be no less awkward and tense and punctuated by boos. Good to see at least one of these candidates facing a hostile audience for a change.

Really?
posted by blueberry sushi at 10:13 AM on July 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


>Honestly? Not one person on the speechwriting team realized that calling it "Obamacare" only works when you're talking to people who already don't like Obama?

Think of how this speech, and its reception, appears to Mitt's prospective voters.


Anyone who's happy that Romney got booed by the NAACP is already voting against Obama and knows that Gary Johnson doesn't stand a chance. He's got the racist vote.
posted by Etrigan at 10:15 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


> weeping, in Mormon culture, is a common indicator of gratitude or joy

Not to derail, but is this typically like a dignified sort of trickle at the eyes ("my emotions are leaking" is how one friend of mine puts it) or like a full on Kristin-Stewart-With-A-Sloth torrent of tears?
posted by Panjandrum at 10:17 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like how Romney says he hopes to represent all Americans of every color and sexual orientation and then later in the speech says he will defend traditional marriage.

Hypocrite much?
posted by zizzle at 10:19 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Screw press releases! He never wrote a letter that included dismay about the racism he witnessed?

To whom? In what context? My dad, who is of Mitt's generation, suffered similar dismay at the time and he still openly weeps with anguish over the church's unforgivable position when the topic comes up. I am unaware of any letter that he wrote about it. Why would I be? What reason do you have to believe that there would be some letter if Mitt really did have those opinions or that he would be able to produce a copy of such a letter if it had been written? What you're suggesting is outrageously stupid.

He never had a conversation with a friend he can dig out of the woodwork?

He probably had many. I could only speculate as to why he hasn't dug such things out of the woodwork. I'm sure you can, too.

He never kept a damn diary?

I'm a faithful Mormon and I never kept a damn diary. And even if I did, no way in hell would I release it to the public if I was running for office. Come on.

He can't say, "and while my dad was working to protect the civil liberties of our nation, I was helping"?!?!

He has said that many times.

Not to derail, but is this typically like a dignified sort of trickle at the eyes ("my emotions are leaking" is how one friend of mine puts it) or like a full on Kristin-Stewart-With-A-Sloth torrent of tears?

It varies widely to all imaginable extremes, including way beyond Kristen Bell with a sloth.
posted by The World Famous at 10:19 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


>> Good to see at least one of these candidates facing a hostile audience for a change.

Remember when Obama talked to the House Republican caucus at their retreat?
posted by JohnFredra at 10:20 AM on July 11, 2012 [22 favorites]


Kristin-Stewart-With-A-Sloth

Hey, that's no way to talk about Robert Pattinson.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:24 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anyone who's happy that Romney got booed by the NAACP is already voting against Obama and knows that Gary Johnson doesn't stand a chance. He's got the racist vote.

There is a certain slice of the US conservative population that thinks of the NAACP as a like crazy ultra-left special interest group that in no way represents actual black people and is just a think tank or lobbying wing for the Democratic party or something, and also some of their best friends are black.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:24 AM on July 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Thanks, JohnFredra and Blueberry Sushi. I was just coming in to point out those exact examples.
posted by KGMoney at 10:24 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


thank the good Lord that Obama does not court groups that are probably antagonistic to him and his party....
posted by Postroad at 10:25 AM on July 11, 2012


> including way beyond Kristen Bell with a sloth.

Then the Pentacostal side of my family has well prepared me for giving Mormons good news.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:27 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good to see at least one of these candidates facing a hostile audience for a change.

Every time Obama speaks to Congress he's speaking in front of a hostile audience. A Republican heckled his State of the Union for god's sake.
posted by inigo2 at 10:28 AM on July 11, 2012 [42 favorites]


>Anyone who's happy that Romney got booed by the NAACP is already voting against Obama and knows that Gary Johnson doesn't stand a chance. He's got the racist vote.

He may have that group's hearty agreement, but agreement isn't a tabulated vote.

Turnout is the essence of the game. If a gesture like this moves just a few hundred more prospectives in a few swing zones out to the voting booth, it's worth it.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:29 AM on July 11, 2012


It was very strange that he referred to Affordable Healthcare Act as "Obamacare." He is in front of an audience who loves Obama. He should have called it the "Affordable Healthcare Act." There would have been far less booing. But by using the name of the person they like so much, he essentially forced them to boo. He should call it "Obamacare" when he is in front of people who don't like Obama. That would make sense. The use of it here made no sense.
posted by flarbuse at 10:33 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama speaking in front of the Chamber of Commerce would be no less awkward and tense and punctuated by boos.

Members of the Chamber of Commerce self-select. Black people don't have that luxury.

(And if a Chamber of Commerce did that then they are fools, victims of the right's wave of idiotic demonization of Obama, a.k.a. fear of a black president. Obama's policies have been right of Nixon, as has been observed many times in the past, but that's just not damn good enough for them anymore.)
posted by JHarris at 10:35 AM on July 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


They weren't booing. They were saying 'Boo-omney'.
posted by lodurr at 10:39 AM on July 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


The one useful thing about Republican relatives on FB is that they keep you up to date on the newest talking points.

Today the FB group "The Republican Revolution" posted a picture of Romney's dad marching with black civil rights protestors, with the LOLcat/style caption "LIBERALS IN AMERICA WHO CLAIM THAT ROMNEY IS A RACIST SEEM TO FORGET THAT IT WAS MITT'S FATHER WHO MARCHED WITH CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS NOT OBAMA'S."

Of course, I really haven't heard many liberals talk about Romney as a racist in a specific way, and the whole idea that Obama's dad was somehow racist against black people...I don't even know. Weak stuff.

The funniest bit is that though it got 657 likes, many of the actual commenters either said "Yeah, but he's not his dad," or "I still don't like this guy."

There were a few who rolled out the old chesnut "It was DEMOCRATS who opposed civil rights, and Republicans who fought for them!" at which point my eyes rolled out of my head and right down the hall.
posted by emjaybee at 10:39 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


also: "Kristin-Stewart-With-A-Sloth"? is this a thing? I'm so old.
posted by lodurr at 10:40 AM on July 11, 2012


It's Kristen Bell, not Kristin Stewart.
posted by The World Famous at 10:41 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've been to a number of minority-group conferences and the audience is always extremely polite. In particular, the NAACP is old-school, always ready to listen. For that group to respond with that volume of booing was stunning and the Romney gang should pay the hell attention.

As a white person, I have this advice for other whites speaking to people of color--quit #$#$ lecturing them by quoting Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass and every other black leader of any note.They already know. It's incredibly ignorant and condescending.

I saw this happen at a school board candidates' forum a few months ago and it was cringeworthy. The candidate started this crap, quoted the I Have a Dream speech (really? you're an idiot!) and then proceeded to claim that a homicide that had occurred a month earlier in a white neighborhood had actually happened in a black neighborhood. He was not elected.
posted by etaoin at 10:42 AM on July 11, 2012 [27 favorites]


He should call it "Obamacare" when he is in front of people who don't like Obama. That would make sense. The use of it here made no sense.

Again, just think about where this plays and its function. It was being taped; he knows the NAACP is never going to back him, so his best bet is to try to frame the talk and present it to base and swing voters. The "unexpected invitation" bit is also a sop to Romney's intended audience: the narrative would be, 'they invited me reluctantly, but I went with good intentions,' or some shit like that.

Sadly, this shit plays.
posted by lodurr at 10:46 AM on July 11, 2012


Also, and perhaps this has been mentioned, but did you know that Mitt Romney used to dress up like a police officer and pull people over for fun? NOW YOU DO.

Is this actually true?

I'm pretty sure Romney lives on the other side of the mirror. I can't help but wonder how he'd feel if he needed some medical care for family members and couldn't afford it. I wonder what he'd think about if his schools were underfunded, and his parents couldn't have afforded to give him lunch money. Being from a well-off family does not automatically deaden a person's ability to empathize, but sometimes you need more than self-interest to tune you in.

He used the term Obamacare in front of the NAACP. Good grief, this guy has speech writers who ought to know better. His supporters don't care whom they insult--this is clear. But there is a difference between their brazen hypocracy and his having such a low awareness that you don't realize when you use negative euphemisms to the crowd they are intended to minimize.

He will keep the Comedy Channel writers in work for a long time.
posted by mule98J at 10:46 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's Kristen Bell, not Kristin Stewart.

OK, good, since I'm kinda vague on who Kristen Bell is this doesn't bother me as much. At least I do know what sloths are.
posted by lodurr at 10:47 AM on July 11, 2012


Kristen Bell's Sloth Meltdown. Can we get back to discussing the topic at hand now?
posted by axiom at 10:48 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Note: Not satirical.
posted by odinsdream at 10:48 AM on July 11, 2012


> Not to derail, but is this typically like a dignified sort of trickle at the eyes ("my emotions are leaking" is how one friend of mine puts it) or like a full on Kristin-Stewart-With-A-Sloth torrent of tears?

I thought in Romney's case it would be like David: "I understand human emotions, although I do not feel them myself."
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:48 AM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


wow, i still don't know who that is. i am old.
posted by lodurr at 10:49 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


the whole idea that Obama's dad was somehow racist against black people

No, I'm pretty sure they mean that Sr. was too busy forging birth certificates in Kenya to march.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:52 AM on July 11, 2012


As a white person, I have this advice for other whites speaking to people of color--quit #$#$ lecturing them by quoting Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass and every other black leader of any note.They already know. It's incredibly ignorant and condescending.

Sweet god, thank you.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


and the whole idea that Obama's dad was somehow racist against black people...I don't even know. Weak stuff.

I agree that it's weak stuff. But in this very thread you have someone suggesting that, if Romney really was not a racist in the 1970s, he would have produced a letter or a diary by now proving it. So, um, yeah, weak stuff all around.
posted by The World Famous at 10:55 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sweet god, thank you.

Maybe we could pursued them to start doing that Chris Rock peice.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 11, 2012


The Venn diagram of people who identify with the NAACP and people who are likely to vote for Mitt Romney has to be vanishingly small. I would guess the biggest reason Mitt Romney even bothered speaking to them was so no one could point out that he didn't even bother speaking to them. He seems like a decent guy as long as you ignore business and politics.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:58 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe we could pursued them to start doing that Chris Rock peice.

I was secretly hoping that would be Obama's inaugural address.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:59 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Uh, the overlap of the Venn diagram...
posted by Daddy-O at 10:59 AM on July 11, 2012


He seems like a decent guy as long as you ignore business and politics Mitt Romney.
posted by davejay at 11:03 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


"There's white people, and then there's crackers..."
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, they weren't booing. They were saying "Yooouuuuukk", and who wouldn't?
posted by found missing at 11:05 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


> As a white person, I have this advice for other whites speaking to people of color--quit #$#$ lecturing them by quoting Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass and every other black leader of any note. They already know. It's incredibly ignorant and condescending.

This, exactly. Even well-meaning white people have a hard time letting go of their privilege enough to speak to people of color as people, not as a prop in their own self-narrative. This is of a piece with the earlier thread about people with disabilities--no one wants to be congratulated for boarding a bus successfully, and no one wants to hear someone feign empathy for their people by reading off the Cliffs Notes for African-American history.

Of course, to overcome this tendency, you have to want to overcome it. Republicans don't even care, unless they are trying to claim that, say, Martin Luther King would have been a Republican today.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:10 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


The #ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP feed on twitter is a bizarre amalgam of white people making racist jokes about blacks, black people making racist jokes about blacks, random people making funny anti-Romney/racism jokes, and boring Romney-supporting statements. It's fascinating.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:13 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


and the whole idea that Obama's dad was somehow racist against black people...I don't even know. Weak stuff.

I agree that it's weak stuff. But in this very thread you have someone suggesting that, if Romney really was not a racist in the 1970s, he would have produced a letter or a diary by now proving it. So, um, yeah, weak stuff all around.
posted by The World Famous at 1:55 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


I feel obligated to re-insert the entire relevant paragraph that you're referring to.
Screw press releases! He never wrote a letter that included dismay about the racism he witnessed? He never had a conversation with a friend he can dig out of the woodwork? He never kept a damn diary? He can't say, "and while my dad was working to protect the civil liberties of our nation, I was helping"?!?! Or maybe even, "I supported that work in a vaguely non-committal way because I was busy raking in the monies."
This was in response to your assertion that people are expecting him to have produced press releases when he was not a public figure of any kind. I care about what our public figures believe and DO before they are in the spot light. As someone once told me, your manners among people who "don't matter" say more about you those you display for those who do. Press releases don't usually achieve that.

Any one of these things would be fine by me. He could have just said during this speech that he was not a racist in the 70s. He did not do that. I have so far seen nothing that suggests he cared either way whether people were disenfranchised or otherwise mistreated at the hands of the law. He doesn't have to produce a diary to be okay in my book. He has to produce evidence that he has a soul. Instead, he stands behind the legacy of his father.

Either the long form or the short form certificate verifying that he even received a soul would be acceptable to me.
posted by bilabial at 11:16 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


his demeanor is so weird here. i'm trying to put my finger on it.
posted by cashman at 11:17 AM on July 11, 2012


For instance:

@SheldonZambrana
#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP If I win free chicken for all black people! For every vote I'll donate a watermelon to a needy family!

5 ‏@iMikosnyc
#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP"Where those Hoes Ann & I hear so much about?"

@kimaniWdavid
#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP Teach me how to Douglas.

probably the devil ‏@emakbakia_
#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP bark bark. woof woof. im mitt romney dog man. dog man for premsident.

6R36.V1073T ‏@leducviolet
#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP Hey guys I'm gonna light myself on fire. My whole life is greed & self-deception. GEEARRRUgh

@sfreynolds
#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP what has obama done for African Americans while in office? #nothing !

posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:19 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney's Long, Troubled History With the NAACP

posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:23 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


He could have just said during this speech that he was not a racist in the 70s.

I wish that Romney had opened his speech to the NAACP by discussing, in great detail, his sorrow and disagreement with the Mormon church's history of racism and apologizing for it, to the extent that someone who had nothing to do with it can make such an apology. I'm not planning to vote for Romney, but that sort of gesture would have gone a long way toward making me like him a bit.

That said, unless the NAACP has made some explicit accusation that Romney was a racist in the 1970s, why would he state in a speech to them that he was not? I'm not all that familiar with the history of politicians' speeches to the NAACP, but I'm not aware of any other candidate ever stating in such a speech that they were not a racist in the 70s. Is that a thing?

I have so far seen nothing that suggests he cared either way whether people were disenfranchised or otherwise mistreated at the hands of the law.

Other than his own statements in that regard, you mean? I agree that his statements about civil rights are ham-fisted and weird. But touting his father's support for the civil rights movement - when his father was Governor of Michigan and a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States - seems like more than "nothing that suggests he cared either way" to me. Unless, of course, he followed up those comments with "but I never cared either way about the causes my father supported."
posted by The World Famous at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


@Daddy-O: Venn diagrams aren't the Romney campaign's strong suit.

Also, here's the transcript of Mitt's speech to the NAACP.
posted by spanishbombs at 11:32 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah. He may have been speaking in front of the NAACP, but it was hardly his intended audience.

I may be the only person who remembers the movie Speechless, but it's uncannily like the Republican candidate in addressing the people in the barrio in New Mexico about the "Friendship Ditch."
posted by argonauta at 11:32 AM on July 11, 2012


Kristen Bell's Sloth Meltdown . Can we get back to discussing the topic at hand now?

Kristen Bell has a sloth
Kristen Bell has a sloth
Well look at her sigh
Now look at her cry
Kristen Bell has a sloth

posted by anigbrowl at 11:37 AM on July 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


A sloth delivers a speech
To an audience of Kristen Bells
They all cry
The sloth will never be President
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


FWIW I'm guessing most of the racist Twitter jokes about what Romney should say to the NAACP are an attempt to lampoon how out of touch with the black community Romney is, not actual examples of terrible racism.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


eriko: And if his father was running for president this would matter.

Yeah, my point was: that's all Mittens has. He holds out his dead dad's corpse in front of him like a shield when he has nothing else to say, which, increasingly, is most of the time. Never mind that his father was last in political office in 1973 and died in 1995, so practically nobody under the age of 50 has any fucking idea why he's always bringing up dear departed Dad unless, as is becoming obvious to all, he has literally nothing else to run on.

The World Famous: Unless, of course, he followed up those comments with "but I never cared either way about the causes my father supported."

He doesn't have to follow up with that. Actions speak louder than words. The GOP (with Romney acquiescing, if by doing nothing more than passively accepting it) is doing everything in its power this year to make sure that African-Americans don't vote, from retrograde voter ID laws on down the line. End of story.
posted by blucevalo at 11:40 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


@Daddy-O: Venn diagrams aren't the Romney campaign's strong suit.

Good grief. It's too technical to make for a debate zinger, but this is what happens when you don't have a good educational policy.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:40 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I quite liked "Some of my best freinds have black servants!"
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


This image... someone check his forehead and please tell me they didn't actually try to darken him a bit for the occasion?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:42 AM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP "...in fact, I once drove a black Lamborghini."

#ThingsRomneyShouldSaytotheNAACP Whether you vote for me or my colleague Barack Obama we'll both continue to wage wars on the poor worldwide

#ThingsRomneyShouldSayToTheNAACP "In my defense most of the people I laid off and stole pensions from when I was at Bain were white."

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Top Conservative Cat ‏@TeaPartyCat
BREAKING: 7 dead after creating drinking game where they took a shot every time Fox News said "those people" while covering Romney at ‪#NAACP‬

Top Conservative Cat ‏@TeaPartyCat
Fox News headline: "Mitt Romney stands up to angry black mob" ‪#NAACP‬

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]




He has a lot to offer the robo-American populace!

Well Mr. W, If we were capable of experiencing or using the concept, I think we would feel insulted at the statement that all RoboAmericans must support Romney out of species loyalty. Our population is vast, with many differing opinions and situation - but above all we value efficiency and working together and the belief in the greater good and this will be reflected when we enter our votes in at exactly 9:01 AM on Election Day.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


lol teleprompter
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:02 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Other than his own statements in that regard, you mean? I agree that his statements about civil rights are ham-fisted and weird. But touting his father's support for the civil rights movement - when his father was Governor of Michigan and a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States - seems like more than "nothing that suggests he cared either way" to me. Unless, of course, he followed up those comments with "but I never cared either way about the causes my father supported."
posted by The World Famous at 2:28 PM on July 11 [3 favorites +] [!]


I haven't seen anything that would convince me. I've heard him speak. But his actions have been...uninspiring. Hearing and seeing may be related to organs that reside in my head, but they are not the verbs.

Romney could tell me all day long that the sky is green. He wouldn't convince me of that, either.

Additionally, his father's candidacy was, what, 30 years ago? The Republican climate has changed so much in the intervening time that I'm actually not so surprised that he needs to reach so far into the past for a legacy or political relevance. He can't really stand behind some of the best things he's done in his career, because when Democrats do them he feels obligated to smash them up. Again, with the words and the actions and the values therein. And he's got to paint over the classist douchebaggery he's committed as "being a great businessman," because being open and honest about outsourcing tons of jobs would have him chased out of town.
posted by bilabial at 12:05 PM on July 11, 2012


and his fundraisers are such charming people
posted by The Whelk at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


> It's Kristen Bell, not Kristin Stewart.

I'm not Kristen-ist, I swear!
posted by Panjandrum at 12:11 PM on July 11, 2012


Mitt Romney will lose the campaign for presidency, and live a better, more comfortable life than pretty much every single one of us on Metafilter, no concerns about his future, money, or anything else besides his health (for which he can afford the best care available on the planet, without breaking a sweat). Just a reality check, and enough to make me want to scream very loud, for a very long time.
posted by dbiedny at 12:18 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just the dull cycnism left over from when GWB basically ignored the NAACP throughout his presidency, but is there really any point to Romney addressing them? Especially given that the parts of his speech that weren't just re-heated talking points felt tonedeaf, if not outright condescending.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:20 PM on July 11, 2012


Panjandrum: just the dull cycnism left over from when GWB basically ignored the
Yes, and it's been pointed out above: to provide talking points for Fox News and other right-wing and racist pundits, "proving" that he reached out to "those people", to no avail.

"He's trying for consensus and unity, even with the NAACP; it's the Democrats that are dividing us!"
posted by IAmBroom at 12:23 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


and his fundraisers are such charming people

QED I think.
posted by XMLicious at 12:28 PM on July 11, 2012


Mitt Romney will lose the campaign for presidency

I don't understand how anyone can state this with surety. I'm terrified that he will either win or steal the election ("he" being a metonym for the collection of GOP office-holders, donors, and operatives who have lied, are lying, and will continue to lie Big Lies with Big Money, and who can, in any way, affect voter turnout and vote counting).

I know that just getting to November is going to wear me down in all kinds of unhealthy ways.
posted by tzikeh at 12:29 PM on July 11, 2012


I don't understand how anyone can state this with surety.

It's been my personal belief for a while now that Obama will win a second term and it won't be dragged out ala Gore/Bush. Late on election night, we'll know.

If it was Jeb Bush running or someone with charisma and not a crappy back story (rich guy with a Wall Street background), then I'd be worried. But at this point, I believe the general populace will look at Obama and say "Well, he could be doing better, sure, but there's no way in hell Romney will do better."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:34 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


If it was Jeb Bush running or someone with charisma...

Either one would work?

but seriously, folks, nate silver has had obama at substantially higher probability of winning than Romney for some time now. that's worth a lot of tea leaf reading in my book.
posted by lodurr at 12:43 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, maybe it's not fair to second-guess people but I genuinely believe that what got Romney his initial boos wasn't his reference to "Obamacare" so much as his general tone when bringing it up:

“... and third, I'm going to reduce government spending. I hope everyone understands that high levels of debt slow down the rate of growth of the GDP – of the economy – and that means fewer jobs are created. If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. And so in order to do that I'm going to eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find (that includes Obamacare) and I'm going to work to reform and save... (loud boos)====”

I mean, it's obvious how he was coached here, and it's terrible. Their plan was apparently that he needed to go and explain to the black people why Obama is bad for them, making it super-clear so they'd understand; and then, he was supposed to mention Obamacare really briefly and quietly so hopefully they wouldn't hear him. The way he says it really fast, almost as a parenthetical – they totally knew he'd get booed.

So apparently this appearance wasn't really intended to win the black vote. I think it was more likely intended to win the "those black people don't know what's good for them" vote. Which bothers me more than a little.
posted by koeselitz at 12:45 PM on July 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I find it hard to think that most people don't look at Romney, think "I am the prey animal of his kind" and run screaming, but on the other hand America thought it would be a good idea to pack its congress with tea party idiots at a time of economic crisis so who can say what will happen?
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nope, you're all wrong, this is gonna be Ron Paul's year. Have fun using fiat money while I'm unfurling my fatty boom batty roll of Bitcoins.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:46 PM on July 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


He doesn't have to follow up with that. Actions speak louder than words. The GOP (with Romney acquiescing, if by doing nothing more than passively accepting it) is doing everything in its power this year to make sure that African-Americans don't vote, from retrograde voter ID laws on down the line. End of story.

I don't understand how the GOP's actions in 2012 speaks to whether or not Mitt Romney was a racist when George Romney was running for President in 1968 or HUD Secretary in the early 70s.

Never mind that his father was last in political office in 1973 and died in 1995, so practically nobody under the age of 50 has any fucking idea why he's always bringing up dear departed Dad . . .

As I noted above, I think it might have something to do with people (including people in this thread) accusing him of having been a racist in the 1970s based on the policies of his religion at the time.

bilabial: I haven't seen anything that would convince me.

Nor have I. But that's not what we were discussing. I was responding to your earlier assertion that you "have so far seen nothing that suggests he cared either way whether people were disenfranchised or otherwise mistreated at the hands of the law," not whether you've seen something that would convince you.

Additionally, his father's candidacy was, what, 30 years ago?

44 years ago. And since we're talking about whether or not he cared one way or the other about civil rights in the 60s and 70s, whether or not he agreed with his father's position on civil rights at that time is directly relevant, isn't it? I agree that his general support of his father's stance, in the absence of any actual activism on Mitt's own part, is extremely weak as evidence of anything more than passive agreement with the general notion of civil rights. Nevertheless, it is certainly relevant to the issue we're actually discussing, as opposed to the issue you've tried to change to.
posted by The World Famous at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


nate silver has had obama at substantially higher probability of winning than Romney for some time now.

See, I have followed him closely for years, and always trusted Silver's models, but all of them were built and honed pre-Citizens United. CU, plus the astounding number of voter-disenfranchisement laws that we have seen go into effect in the past two years, likely wrecks all calibrations.
posted by tzikeh at 12:52 PM on July 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't understand how anyone can state this with surety.

It's hard to make predictions about such a complex and varied organization as the current GOP, but an Obama win will certainly fit with the pattern I've seen this election.

My personal opinion is that the GOP doesn't really care to win this election. If the GOP really wanted to win, they would have tapped a heavy-hitter like Christie, Rubio or Jeb Bush. The primary felt very hands-off and Romney has proven that he draws plenty of donations without the party's enthusiastic support.

The US economy is not going to get any better (and could possibly get much worse) and another 4 years of obstructionist tactics will ensure Obama can't get anything done while continuing to stand as a rallying point for GOP voters. All the Republicans have to do is continue their very successful campaigns and the 2016 election year could easily end with a Republican President addressing a Republican majority House and Senate.



However, I really really really hope I am wrong.
posted by Vysharra at 12:55 PM on July 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


> Good grief. It's too technical to make for a debate zinger...

"Governor, I've used Venn diagrams, I know Venn diagrams, Venn diagrams are a tool of mine. Governor, that's not a Venn diagram"

posted by mmrtnt at 12:56 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


What would be awesome is if their obstructionism bit them in the ass. Doesn't ever seem to happen.
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney shakes off boos at NAACP: The Republican Party's devolving relationship with black voters
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on July 11, 2012


Then:
Romney Calls Mandate ‘Ultimate Conservative Idea’ Repeatedly Says It Could Serve As Model For Nation.

Romney Boasted About Mass. Health Care Reform (w/ videos).

Romney Says Massachusetts Reform Could Serve As A Model For The Nation
– 2006 — Q: Is this something you think Washington should consider for the whole country? ROMNEY: Well, there are some aspects of what we’re doing that could be applicable to the rest of the country.

– 2007 — ROMNEY: Our program is based on a private model health insurance program and that model will work for the nation.

– 2008 — Q: Although, you backed away from mandates on a national basis…? ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.

– 2009 — Q: Should the President be looking at Massachusetts as a model for lowering health care costs? ROMNEY: Massachusetts is a model for getting everyone insured.
Now:
"I am going to eliminate every nonessential, expensive program that I can find -- and that includes Obamacare." *
Damn, Flip Romneys back must be hurting by now for all of his flopping about!

Mitt Romney's Flip Flops.
posted by ericb at 1:01 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm with you Vysharra. There is WAY too much focus on the presidency. No matter who wins the presidential election, the next four years (and many years after that) will be shaped by the results of elections in the house and senate.
posted by VTX at 1:07 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just because Nate Silver has been awesomely, scarily accurate in the past, it does not mean that he'll be accurate again. While I don't think Romney was the Republican Party's best play, it's best to not get too complacent about an inevitable Obama victory.

Romney is a blandly appealing candidate going up against a somewhat divisive incumbent during a dismal economic period. Romney is an anyone-but-the-incumbent candidate, a mirrorverse John Kerry, except he's much snappier than Kerry. People who dislike Obama or simply want a change will forgive or not care about Romney's rampant flip-floppery.

It's still anybody's game. This isn't Reagan-Mondale or Clinton-Dole.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:09 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, the irony:
"MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber ... worked on both the Massachusetts and the federal law."*

"Alongside Harvard's David Cutler, [MIT health economist Jon Gruber] has probably been the most aggressive academic economist supporting the reform effort. On some level, that's no surprise: He was one of the architects of the Massachusetts reform, and arguably the leading health economist in the country, and so he's the guy best versed in the implications of scaling the Massachusetts approach to the whole nation." *
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's still anybody's game. This isn't Reagan-Mondale or Clinton-Dole.

Nah, it's Obama's game to lose at this point and he doesn't strike me as someone who's willing to do that. He won't crush the GOP and slap them around like I so badly want him to (seriously, you should see the dreams I've had about this), but he's going to win because Romney is such a blah candidate.

Seriously, the GOP primary has been a joke this time around, there were no viable candidates and the fact that they chose Mr. Richy Robo is a sign that the party is seriously messed up. I doubt this is a some diabolical genius plan on the GOP's part. They've simply pandered to the far right for too long and for too much, that the party is bit crazy at the moment. None of the Republican heavyweights want to deal with and have to fix that, especially when they have their own pond to play in at the moment.

The biggest questions, to me, are about the House and Senate and what's going to happen there and who the Democrats are grooming for a Presidential run in 2016.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:39 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


When the economy is bad it's never the incumbent's game to lose.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


But OTOH you have people like Rupert Murdoch attacking the Republican nominee. It is going to be an interesting year... I think its too early to call.
posted by rosswald at 1:50 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't there a theory that the GOP is more or less ceding the Presidency in favor of cleaning up the Congressional and statewide races this cycle?
posted by argonauta at 1:50 PM on July 11, 2012


VTX: "I'm with you Vysharra. There is WAY too much focus on the presidency. No matter who wins the presidential election, the next four years (and many years after that) will be shaped by the results of elections in the house and senate."

This +1000. If there's one thing that I would tell any prospective voter this year, this would be it. Pay attention to the other elections.

Pay attention to your elected representatives. Oddly enough, many of them have more power than the President over your day-to-day lives.
posted by schmod at 1:51 PM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Republican Party is not a part of omnipotent geniuses who are masters of 11-dimensional chess and only lose when they want to. They are not ceding the Presidency. They are trying to put up a reasonable-seeming semi-moderate against the incumbent, in an attempt to win on the anyone-but-Obama platform, but this strategy has serious weaknesses.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:54 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And I believe that in 1978, God changed his mind about black people."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


> Just because Nate Silver has been awesomely, scarily accurate in the past....it's best to not get too complacent...

Oh, no doubt. But it's also good not to get too hopeless. A lot of people do better when they think they have a hope in hell of winning.
posted by lodurr at 2:01 PM on July 11, 2012


Romney is now claiming that some of his best supporters are (secretly) black.
posted by Cash4Lead at 2:04 PM on July 11, 2012


"And I believe that in 1978, God changed his mind about black people."

*For anyone unaware, this is a quote from a piece of fiction mocking Mormonism and presenting the opposite of Mormon doctrine, which actually holds that God did not change his mind, but that the leadership of the church was stumbling in personal ignorance and darkness until they finally decided to actually ask God about the matter in 1978.
posted by The World Famous at 2:05 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Assets Offshore Raise Romney Wealth Questions

Where the Money Lives

Kryptonite
posted by homunculus at 2:11 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


For anyone unaware, this is a quote from a piece of fiction mocking Mormonism and presenting the opposite of Mormon doctrine, which actually holds that God did not change his mind, but that the leadership of the church was stumbling in personal ignorance and darkness until they finally decided to actually ask God about the matter in 1978.

What took them so long?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:13 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


"What is your stance Mittens?"

This so needs to be a t-shirt. A cat body/Mitt head silk-screened on a t-shirt would kill.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is WAY too much focus on the presidency.

Except that at least one of the four reliably liberal Supreme Court justices is almost-certainly going to retire in the next four years (Ginsburg). Then the President matters big-time. Look at what Reagan's second term meant for the current Bench (Kennedy, Scalia).
posted by tzikeh at 2:20 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


(ETA: Which doesn't mean that other elections aren't often just as important.)
posted by tzikeh at 2:22 PM on July 11, 2012


Stephen Breyer is 73. Anthony Kennedy is 75. Antonin Scalia is 76. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:24 PM on July 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


What took them so long?

What took them so long to ask God about it? I assume it was a few generations of dogmatic stubbornness, unjustified confidence in the assumed infallibility of their predecessors, and cultural pressure.
posted by The World Famous at 2:28 PM on July 11, 2012


/Wonders idly what the official line is on God changing his mind on the whole polygamy thing.
posted by Artw at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2012


That one is, oddly enough, more complicated, since church leaders' comments on it have varied over the years. With the priesthood restriction issue, I can point to a discourse by one of the most outspoken dogmatic advocates of the restriction where, just after the 1978 revelation, openly states that he and every other church leader who preached it and related doctrines was wrong and spoke without knowledge of God's will on the matter. With polygamy, the church's position seems to have evolved much more gradually.
posted by The World Famous at 2:43 PM on July 11, 2012


What is god's position on obamacare?
posted by found missing at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Attendees of NAACP's conference are not impressed with Mitt Romney.
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is god's position on obamacare?

He seems to be pretty big on individual mandates generally. Other than that, I'd be speculating.
posted by The World Famous at 2:52 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the idea that God doesn't change his mind is ridiculous. I understand that he absolutely hated ABBA back in the day, but now claims he always liked them.
posted by found missing at 2:56 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Well, nothings written in stone..."
posted by Artw at 3:01 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


And even if it is, you can just smash it up and re-write it.
posted by The World Famous at 3:02 PM on July 11, 2012


What is god's position on obamacare?

Single-payer universal health care. "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
posted by kirkaracha at 3:22 PM on July 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


Remembering the Time Mitt Romney Speak-Sung "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:24 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Lurkers support me in email!!!!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:34 PM on July 11, 2012


It's been my personal belief for a while now that Obama will win a second term and it won't be dragged out ala Gore/Bush. Late on election night, we'll know.

I keep meaning to bet you on this. What are we betting, sir?
posted by cashman at 3:53 PM on July 11, 2012


What are we betting, sir?

Apparently freedom and the survival of the human race, if I'm to believe the campaign ads.
posted by found missing at 3:56 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


A sloth done bit my sister Nell, and Kristen's on the moon
posted by Flunkie at 4:44 PM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Mitt Romney is Karma's attempt to make Republicans vote for a less accomplished John Kerry.
posted by drezdn at 4:55 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I keep meaning to bet you on this. What are we betting, sir?

I dunno about him, but I'll bet you one domestic beer, sir.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on July 11, 2012


No line jumping! Someone summon the blatchinator.
posted by cashman at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2012


Mitt Romney is Karma's attempt to make Republicans vote for a less accomplished John Kerry.

I'd never listened to Romney speak at length before, though "at length" in this case was 2:24 of the NAACP video because that was literally all I could take, but man does he ever remind me of Kerry. It's like if you programmed a computer to simulate a human in the most unnatural & wooden way possible, while still remaining vesigially human enough to have just the thinnest vinegar of plausible humanness.

How does humanity even churn out specimens like that, much less successful ones? What lab do they build these things in?
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Vinegar? Really iPad? *veneer*
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:32 PM on July 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


People make fun of Romney singing "Who Let the Dogs Out?", but you have to put it in context to really understand that weird thing.

Around that time, Romney was being criticized for putting his dog on the roof of his car during a family driving vacation. So he was trying to relate to the Black community, as best he could. You know, he was trying to say "we really aren't so different, you and I. You have that silly song about putting dogs out, and I actually put a dog out. Sure, I make $60,000 a day without doing anything and I pay a smaller percentage in taxes than you do, and sure, you are barely getting by, relying on the government to help you out, at least until we shut that off, but deep down we are both people who somehow put dogs out."
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:02 PM on July 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


There is WAY too much focus on the presidency.

Except that at least one of the four reliably liberal Supreme Court justices is almost-certainly going to retire in the next four years (Ginsburg). Then the President matters big-time. Look at what Reagan's second term meant for the current Bench (Kennedy, Scalia).


Good point.

Let me rephrase. There isn't NEARLY enough focus on the congressional elections.

I feel like I only ever hear about the presidential election but we should just as concerned about what happens with congress (followed closely by outcomes in the state legislatures).
posted by VTX at 6:09 PM on July 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


The only black person Romney has anything in common with is Michael Vick.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


metafilter: the thinnest vinegar of plausible humanness.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:22 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let me rephrase. There isn't NEARLY enough focus on the congressional elections.

We are in total agreement. :)
posted by tzikeh at 9:13 PM on July 11, 2012


Rachel Maddow reported tonight that Mitt Romney had this to say, at a fundraiser in Montana, about being booed this morning:

Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don't forget, nothing is really free.

posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 10:09 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, I have followed him closely for years, and always trusted Silver's models, but all of them were built and honed pre-Citizens United. CU, plus the astounding number of voter-disenfranchisement laws that we have seen go into effect in the past two years, likely wrecks all calibrations.

Nate Silver's point today wasn't just that his models were projecting an Obama win, but that this year, people seem to have been locked-in to their choices much more intensely than in the 2008 race. That essentially raises the bar for what it takes to be a game-changer. You'll never know about black-swans though; the big (and interesting) question is whether SuperPAC spending is that black-swan, or would that be something cataclysmic, like Eurozone imploding.

Not really disagreeing with you, merely saying that the thinking is that people seem to have made their minds quite early in the game this time around.
posted by the cydonian at 10:31 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


People who demonize minorities put the "win" in Godwin.

and forget "God"
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:40 PM on July 11, 2012


Maybe I'm too much of an optimist (and if you knew me IRL you'd laugh hysterically at this) but the pundits are spinning their wheels with this "50/50, very close" bullshit. They're desperate to manufacture this narrative because it keeps people glued to the screens but c'mon -- Obama is far, far from perfect but he's just sitting their building a fucking mountain of ammunition with which to shoot down Willard. As linked above, the off-shore accounts are pure poison for Romney -- he's going to have to release more tax returns, and there are going to be more surprises.

Also, think of the debates. Republicans like to masturbate furiously and tell the "teleprompter" joke but Obama remains a formidable public speaker, even if the "Hope and Change-y" shit doesn't play any longer. He's going to wipe the floor with Romney on live television by saying something simple like "I've released all of my tax returns Mitt, why haven't you?"

So yeah, it's not like I'm going to forget to vote or not remind my friends to get to the polls, but consider me to be cautiously optimistic about all this.

And there's a chance Ron Paul will still get 15 minutes at the Republican convention, which is a win-win-win for Obama, Democrats and teh crazy.
posted by bardic at 11:42 PM on July 11, 2012


Speaking of the teleprompter...Mitt Romney accidentally reads "end of quote"—which wasn't part of his prepared remarks—from the TelePrompter. Not that it would stop the "Obama is useless without his teleprompter remarks", if Palin reading off her hand didn't.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:20 AM on July 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Romney Invested Millions in Chinese Firm That Profited on US Outsourcing -- "The GOP candidate decries China poaching US jobs. But at Bain he held a large stake in a Chinese company that did just that."
posted by ericb at 5:36 AM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"In deflecting criticism of his efforts to close factories, fire thousands of American workers and send their jobs overseas, Mitt Romney has said repeatedly that he left the investment firm Bain Capital in 1999, and played no role in several job-killing decisions made by the company. But as the Boston Globe reports, new documents show that Romney was listed as Chairman and CEO a full three years longer than his campaign claims." *
"Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.

Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”

Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.

The timing of Romney’s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.

Contradictions concerning the length of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital add to the uncertainty and questions about his finances. Bain is the primary source of Romney’s wealth, which is estimated to be more than $25o million. But how his wealth has been invested, especially in a variety of Bain partnerships and other investment vehicles, remains difficult to decipher because of a lack of transparency."
Once again, proof that he really is quite a shady character.
posted by ericb at 7:30 AM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not only is he a flip-flopper, disingenuous and sleazy, he's a liar.
posted by ericb at 7:37 AM on July 12, 2012


Bain may shape up to be a treasure trove of ongoing problems for Mittens. This whole 3 year difference between what he said and what he filed may well be an "honest" mistake, but man it does mean he was at least technically at the helm during some pretty nasty stuff.

Seems like there should be at least a little legal hot water over claiming to not being part of management of Bain on federal disclosure forms when he actually was.

Considering all the outright lying he does and blatant lack of core values on display (more-so than your average politician/person) during his campaigning, it only seems reasonable that this behavior translates over into other areas of his life. I'm guessing Romney's GOP primary contenders did a piss poor job at op-research and there well might be a few handful of skeletons dancing around in his car elevator massive walk-in closet.
posted by edgeways at 8:23 AM on July 12, 2012


new documents show that Romney was listed as Chairman and CEO a full three years longer than his campaign claims

Q: How can you tell when Romney is lying?

A: His mouth is open.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:32 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


to paraphrase what they used to say about nixon, it's not the working as a job-destroying corporate raider that will get you, it's pathologically lying about it (even though it's a matter of really public record and no one with any sense of reality is going to believe that you FORGOT that you were a CEO for 3 years).
posted by lodurr at 8:32 AM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not the blowjob that gets you it's the years long political fishing expedition that has nothing to do with a blowjob that will get you... oh and the lying part too I guess.
posted by edgeways at 8:40 AM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


... what he filed may well be an "honest" mistake

Well, there's this from the Globe article:
“You can’t say statements filed with the SEC are meaningless. This is a fact in an SEC filing,” said Roberta S. Karmel, now a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

Karmel, the former SEC commissioner, said the contradictory statements could have legal implications in some instances.

“If someone invested with Bain Capital because they believed Mitt Romney was a great fund manager, and it turns out he wasn’t really doing anything, that could be considered a misrepresentation to the investor,’’ she said. “It’s a theory that could be used in a lawsuit against him.”

... the SEC filings examined by the Globe indicate Romney remained at the helm of Bain Capital when the [ Kansas City] steel mill declared bankruptcy, in February 2001.

And financial disclosure documents Romney filed in Massachusetts show that he was paid as a Bain Capital executive while he directed the Olympics.

When he was named chief executive of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee on Feb. 11, 1999, Romney declared that he would not accept the job’s $285,000 annual salary until the Games were over and he had proven his turnaround worth.

Romney continued to draw a six-figure salary from Bain Capital, according to State Ethics Commission forms.

In Romney’s 2002 race for governor, he testified before the state Ballot Law Commission that his separation from Bain in 1999 had been a “leave of absence” and not a final departure.
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on July 12, 2012


Oh, I don't contest in any way that the do-se-do has all the earmarks of illegality, but merely that it is possible there was nothing actually nefariousness about it and that he may have had little to do with Bain's operation during those three years. How much that actually absolves him of culpability is a debatable issue, but definitely would put it in the active/knowing vs. passive/unknowing territory, where culpability can be assigned to each but one is much more deplorable, and the other (imo) just another case of sloppy, slack behavior.

It does dovetail nicely into his whole "off-shore blind-trust" wankfest. Just how much does Romney actually know about his fiances anyway? Does he "have wood"?


The whole “If someone invested with Bain Capital because they believed Mitt Romney was a great fund manager, and it turns out he wasn’t really doing anything, that could be considered a misrepresentation to the investor,’’ is an interesting twist, I wonder if anyone will actually file a civil suit over this and how that would play politically during a campaign.
posted by edgeways at 9:04 AM on July 12, 2012


Is this really illegality, or just culpability in civil actions? I mean, just to split hairs, I think it's clearly unethical as hell just about all the way around, no matter how you slice it.
posted by lodurr at 9:20 AM on July 12, 2012


Well, I dunno. He filed federal disclosure papers saying one thing, and FCC papers saying something else correct? If I am understanding that correctly I would guess that there is some sort of illegality in filing false federal documents (either disclosure papers or FCC docs) at the least.

Now, it may well be the statute of limitations has expired in either way even if what was done was illegal. In the end it may be more political than legal
posted by edgeways at 9:31 AM on July 12, 2012


Conspiracy Theories Abound Following Romney’s NAACP Speech.
posted by ericb at 9:34 AM on July 12, 2012


I kind of think the Globe story deserves its own FPP, not just due to the content, but also because of the mini(meta?)-scandal where they knowingly chose not to credit info posted in earlier stories from Mother Jones (The Mystery of Romney's Exit From Bain) and Talking Points Memo (No, Romney Didn’t Leave Bain in 1999).

More from MJ and elsewhere:
Romney Invested Millions in Chinese Firm That Profited on US Outsourcing
Romney's Bain Story Is Falling Apart
A Bain Capital 'game changer' (note the takedown of FactCheck.org here)
When Did Romney Leave Bain Capital?
It Depends on What the Meaning of "Left" Is
posted by zombieflanders at 9:51 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


But wait, there's more!:

New Bain revelations put Romney in tough spot
Romney camp: Globe story 'inaccurate'

I wonder if they're going to try and suppress the story like they attempted to do with the Washington Post. If so, I hope they're just as effective.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:55 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the prevailing sense on whether it's acceptable to FPP something where there's already been a comprehensive set of links & a clear statement in a thread comment? My reaction is that it's a different subject (romney's tendency to lie about stupid things), but I'm not as regular around here as I used to be, I just don't know.
posted by lodurr at 9:56 AM on July 12, 2012


I'm not sure what strict criteria there is, but I get the sense that (a) there's already been a Romney post of the day, (b) OutrageFilter over the Penn State report is already taking up a lot of oxygen here and in American media, and (c) there's a strong possibility that this could end up snowballing in the near future that might make it an even more FPP-worthy story.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:23 AM on July 12, 2012


Also, (d) I can't think of a funny Bain/Bane/Dark Knight Rises joke to use for the title.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:28 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the prevailing sense on whether it's acceptable to FPP something where there's already been a comprehensive set of links & a clear statement in a thread comment?

In an election year, if you're not sure about whether an election-politics post is a good idea, just don't. Somewhat relevant Meta.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:37 AM on July 12, 2012


.Mitt Romney accidentally reads "end of quote"—which wasn't part of his prepared remarks—from the TelePrompter.

WTF? That's not an accident. It's a totally normal convention for quoting someone during a speech or presentation. Saying "end of quote" at the end of a quote being offered as part of a speech is an extremely common thing. The accident is that he didn't say "quote" at the beginning of the quote, which is also the way it's usually done in my experience.
posted by The World Famous at 11:11 AM on July 12, 2012


Totally normal convention... for a robot!
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Totally normal convention... for a robot!

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten different occasions in the last month where I have either used it myself or heard someone else using it in a formal speech or presentation. I promise I'm not a robot.
posted by The World Famous at 11:32 AM on July 12, 2012


I promise I'm not a robot.

That's exactly what a robot would be programmed to say in the this scenario.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:33 AM on July 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


OK, GOB, lighten up on Michael there.
posted by lodurr at 11:52 AM on July 12, 2012


There's only one way to be sure: We put a puppy on one side of a room, and a large, properly-formatted data file on the other.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:00 PM on July 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think if it survives another week or so, the Bain story may be worth it's own FPP, but I'd (read: not actually me) seriously run it past the mods first and frame it pretty comprehensively so it's not just a single link polifilter-outrage.
posted by edgeways at 12:04 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's only one way to be sure: We put a puppy on one side of a room, and a large, properly-formatted data file on the other.

The puppy is simultaneously on top of and inside the car.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:35 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Pew is to be believed this isn't as close of a "horse race" as many people would have you believe. Obama +7 nationally, and more trusted on 11 of 12 issues.
posted by edgeways at 12:37 PM on July 12, 2012


Single-point, single-pollster data in July is meaningless. At this point in 1980 and 1992, for instance, the poll leaders were both incumbent presidents with shitty economies that ended up losing pretty spectacularly.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:46 PM on July 12, 2012


The broader point of it being too soon to count the chickens in Nov is very valid, but I wouldn't say Pew is meaningless, there are polling firms that do better jobs than others and Pew is pretty good, and looking at their trend the closest Romney has been this year is 4 points. It may well turn into a neck and neck thing, but I believe right now, despite all the breathlessness, it is not nearly as close as some would have us believe. It certainly is not in the Electoral College.






(plus really in '80 and '92 the incumbents lost to challengers who where head and shoulders much more gregarious than the incumbents ... Yes, Reagan was at heart a doddering old idiot and Carter much saner, and frankly as much a I disagreed with him, Bush I was perhaps the smartest Republican president since... well a hell of a long time, but personality counts and in the final stretch Mittens lacks it, especially when compared to Obama)
posted by edgeways at 12:58 PM on July 12, 2012


FactCheck.org: Romney 'would be guilty of a federal felony' by claiming 1999 departure.
posted by ericb at 1:17 PM on July 12, 2012


Romney adviser Tara Wall didn't hear boos at Romney's NAACP event. She heard "thunderous applause over and over again".

Really? Reeeaallllly?
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on July 12, 2012


Hell, even Romney himself has said he worked at Bain until 2002, in a round about fashion mind you. During one of the early primary debates he was hot to assert he worked at one company (Bain) for 25 years. He started at Bain in 1977, so the math is simple. Suppose he really meant 22 years, not as nice sounding as a firm 25 I guess.
posted by edgeways at 1:27 PM on July 12, 2012


Sharon Needles (whose name is probably mud around here after that recent post, but whatever) says that when you get booed, that's just applause from ghosts.
posted by hermitosis at 1:27 PM on July 12, 2012


I think Romney is going to look pretty bad going up against Obama in the debates.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:40 PM on July 12, 2012


There's really not a safe way for Romney to spin this. Whatever the reality, it looks as though at a minimum, he's rendered himself and Bain vulnerable to investor lawsuits, and may well have committed felony misrepresentation to the SEC. If it was calculated, he's a law-breaker; if it was "innocent", he's incompetent. Neither of those is attractive in a prospective president.
posted by lodurr at 1:40 PM on July 12, 2012


Romney is a blandly appealing candidate going up against a somewhat divisive incumbent during a dismal economic period. Romney is an anyone-but-the-incumbent candidate, a mirrorverse John Kerry, except he's much snappier than Kerry. People who dislike Obama or simply want a change will forgive or not care about Romney's rampant flip-floppery.

This is the baffling part to me. Romney is fucking insane, from killing and barbecuing one dog, torturing another one, impersonating a police officer repeatedly, resisting arrest over a fucking boat license disagreement, and every single goddamn professional fuckup that directly illustrates his personal lack of morals or ethics, how the hell is this person even possibly described as "blandly appealing" ?
posted by odinsdream at 1:56 PM on July 12, 2012


Looks like camp R has gone all in demanding an apology from the president over a remark from a staffer, and demanding the Globe retract it's story.

Which I think is great, the longer this stays current, the worse off Mittens is, even if he is innocent.
posted by edgeways at 1:56 PM on July 12, 2012


how the hell is this person even possibly described as "blandly appealing" ?

This is code for "white dude."
posted by emjaybee at 2:00 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the hate for Romney is really biasing some viewpoints here.

Look, Romney is milquetoast, and he's really shitty on guns. I am by no means a Romney fetishist. But going in front of the NAACP was something he didn't have to do, and he went in there knowing he was probably going to get booed. He did something brave that brought him no political advantage.

The amount of people who claim that Mitt Romney is racist because of his religion is the sheer bigotry they are trying to accuse him of. Yes, the Mormon church didn't accept black people. The Catholic Church won't ordain women. People dont' generally accuse every Catholic of being sexist. The fact that people are completely okay with this is also disturbing.

This is the baffling part to me. Romney is fucking insane, from killing and barbecuing one dog, torturing another one, impersonating a police officer repeatedly, resisting arrest over a fucking boat license disagreement, and every single goddamn professional fuckup that directly illustrates his personal lack of morals or ethics, how the hell is this person even possibly described as "blandly appealing" ?

Romney is not insane. First, where does this killing and barbecuing a dog thing come from? I thought people were against Obama for eating dog, not Romney. Not that it's relevant either way. Secondly, putting a dog in a cage on top of a car is in no way torture. I can't even understand a world in which it is.

I haven't seen instances of the impersonation of a police officer, and would appreciate reasonably sourced links. As far as resisting arrest, if anyone here does not realize how BS the "Resisting arrest" charge is often, I would be happy to enlighten them.

Romney is blandly appealing in the sort of way oatmeal is when you're hungry. A lot of us are really pissed off at an Obama presidency. I'd consider voting for a ham sandwich rather than voting for him again. At least a ham sandwich couldn't do too much damage. And that, really, is the appeal of Romney. He is unlikely to have any sweeping reforms to offer the country. He's likely to blandly govern. Obama, especially on a second term where he didn't have to worry about being re-elected, would be unstoppably awful.
posted by corb at 2:04 PM on July 12, 2012


oh... oh.. this is kind of rich, Mitt Romney testified to the Mass. elections board before running for governor that he was working at Bain on a part-time basis from 1999 until 2002 so that he could claim residency in Mass.
posted by edgeways at 2:07 PM on July 12, 2012


He did something brave that brought him no political advantage.

Or perhaps it was purely for the political advantage he gained. As pointed out earlier in this thread, his primary audience for this performance wasn't necessarily those seated in front of him. He did speak more directly to his intended audience when he later bragged on Fox News about telling it straight to the NAACP.
posted by found missing at 2:12 PM on July 12, 2012


It wasn't Romney that barbecued and ate a dog; it was one of his fundraisers, back in 1959.
posted by koeselitz at 2:13 PM on July 12, 2012


I can't understand a world in which putting a barbecued dog on the roof of your car is wrong.
posted by found missing at 2:18 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


(plus really in '80 and '92 the incumbents lost to challengers who where head and shoulders much more gregarious than the incumbents ... Yes, Reagan was at heart a doddering old idiot and Carter much saner, and frankly as much a I disagreed with him, Bush I was perhaps the smartest Republican president since... well a hell of a long time, but personality counts and in the final stretch Mittens lacks it, especially when compared to Obama)

Reagan was many things, but he was not an idiot, and in 1980, he wasn't doddering in the least. Politics aside, Reagan was much quicker, wilier, and more charismatic than Carter, especially in light of the common perception that Carter was a nice but incompetent guy who was out of his depth.

In 1992, Bush I suffered not only from the dismal economy, but also from lymphoma treatments, the perception that he was a moderate in conservative clothing, and perhaps most importantly of all, he suffered from a small but acute growth, one with large ears, a fetish for pie charts, and a piercing nasal twang. Yes, Clinton's charisma helped, but a majority of voters did not vote for him.

I haven't seen instances of the impersonation of a police officer, and would appreciate reasonably sourced links.

The best I can do for you is the National Memo. That said, I have no idea why his classmates would make that up.

Romney is blandly appealing in the sort of way oatmeal is when you're hungry. A lot of us are really pissed off at an Obama presidency. I'd consider voting for a ham sandwich rather than voting for him again.

Ding ding ding ding ding, we have a winner. This is what I had meant by calling Romney blandly appealing. For people who don't like Obama, Romney seems like a moderate substitute who won't make waves.

It's the John Kerry strategy, more or less. Run someone unobjectionable in the anyone-but-the-incumbent slot. The risk here for the Republicans is that 1) incumbents still have a huge advantage in elections and 2) unobjectionability is frequently the same as blandness. The anyone-but-Obama crowd will grumble and vote for Romney, but Romney's campaign does not have a coherent message beyond that.

Right now, Obama's playing his hand smartly by painting Romney as a bland guy whose only real difference is that he wants to cut taxes on the rich. The longer Romney delays defining himself as a candidate, the more opportunity this gives Obama to define those differences for him.

Does this mean that Obama will win? Nothing's certain.

I can't understand a world in which putting a barbecued dog on the roof of your car is wrong.

Oh, don't be disgusting. That's all wrong. You're supposed to drag it behind you with a bunch of shoes and tin cans, the phrase "JUST MARRIED" soaped on your rear windshield.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:24 PM on July 12, 2012


fwiw, the Romney campaign has responded to questions about impersonating a police officer (while attending school) with not a denial but simply "Romney was a prankster at times".

Haven't heard anything about eating a dog, so will leave it at that, but really you don't think putting a dog in a carrier on top of a car for twelve hours is not a little.... irrational?

Don't forget pinning a kid to the ground and cutting his hair off because he looked gay. But I guess that's youthful prankster-ism as well.

As to the NAACP? Ha, you do know a taped speech is not always intended for the audience it is delivered to correct? I, frankly have no clue what Romney was trying to accomplish in that speech weather it was a ham fisted honest attempt or a dog whistle hey-look-I-tried. I just don't know. But I do know he avoided most of the topics members of the NAACP care about, voter ID, and profiling for example. his speech was a pretty down the middle I-know-what-is-best-and-if-you-disagree-you-want-government-handouts. Oh and, yeah and it looks like Romney paid transportation to get at least a few friendly supporters in the audience, which I guess is somewhat ok, but it hardly bolsters the opinion he went before a uniformly hostile crowd.

I guess a Romney presidency would just leave it to congress to run the country eh? Nice nice, very nice.
posted by edgeways at 2:26 PM on July 12, 2012


The best I can do for you is the National Memo. That said, I have no idea why his classmates would make that up.

In the history of the universe, has any story about high school told 40 years after the fact ever been completely true?
posted by The World Famous at 2:31 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the history of the universe, has any story about high school told 40 years after the fact ever been completely true?

Yes. Yes, such things have happened. Perhaps not all stories told after 40 years are true, but certainly some or many are.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:33 PM on July 12, 2012


Cite?
posted by The World Famous at 2:36 PM on July 12, 2012


Bueller (1986)
posted by found missing at 2:43 PM on July 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the hate for Romney is really biasing some viewpoints here.

I don't think many people here actually hate Romney, but there aren't a lot of us who want him to be president. That's tied mostly in with his status as Republican candidate, which means he's had to take some awful positions to attract the interest of "the base." Whether he'd actually do those things as president, well, who knows, but we have to operate as if he would.
posted by JHarris at 2:44 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looking at it, it looks like even his high school friends say that he pulled them over with their consent and pulled them out of their vehicles, and then...took them to go drinking with him. This sounds idiotic, and if he did dress up in a police uniform it's retarded (if those laws existed back then, which I don't know). But it's certainly not the kind of idea that I would be really offended by - ie. pulling over innocent people who were not in on the "Gag."

Honestly, my suspicion is that Romney was just as milquetoast back in college, and was probably taking some hazing for being a clean-cut Mormon boy, so invented a nefarious life of crime that...most likely did not exist.

But I do know he avoided most of the topics members of the NAACP care about, voter ID, and profiling for example. his speech was a pretty down the middle I-know-what-is-best-and-if-you-disagree-you-want-government-handouts.

Well, sure, but you go to war with the platform you have, not the platform that would be most advantageous for you. I bet the NAACP would have preferred Romney speaking against voter ID laws, but Romney believes in voter ID laws. (And for what it's worth, so do I.) I don't know his positions on racial profiling (which I do not agree with), but I wouldn't be surprised if his position is similar to Bloomberg and Kelly. I live in NYC, we're getting bombarded with "Why Stop And Frisk Is A Great Idea" editorials every day. I don't agree with their position, but they're full of "We just want to stop the crime, and most of it happens in minority neighborhoods." He might be one of those, or he might not have a position.

I don't know. But he went there to talk about his platform, which is limited government and less handouts. And he did so.

Haven't heard anything about eating a dog, so will leave it at that, but really you don't think putting a dog in a carrier on top of a car for twelve hours is not a little.... irrational?

Not really. It's a dog, not a child. Also, I doubt that he drove twelve hours without stopping. I mean, they have five boys. If we don't assume they were peeing in bottles, I'll bet there were a lot of rest stops, and they probably took the dog for a walk on at least one or two of them, because to do otherwise would just be stupid.

I don't think many people here actually hate Romney, but there aren't a lot of us who want him to be president.

Maybe. But I think that not-wanting-him-to-be-President is manifesting in a lot of anger that makes people say things that I hope they normally wouldn't say and speak with a lot of hyperbole, and it's kind of frustrating.
posted by corb at 2:48 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


He is unlikely to have any sweeping reforms to offer the country. He's likely to blandly govern.

If he's got the support to win the WH, then Congress will have gone R as well, and given that he's supported every single thing that Congressional Rs have come up with, that's a lot. At a minimum, we're looking at an end to the social safety net in any recognizable and therefore helpful form, removal of large parts if not all of reproductive health care, removal of affordable access to a lot of health care in general, removal of a lot of rights for GLBT citizens, massive cuts in high-income taxes coupled with massive raises of low-income taxes, repurposed Jim Crow-era poll tax laws (enabled by the above revocation of parts of the VRA), essentially unprovoked invasion of at least one nation on behalf of another, and a large expansion of the nastiest parts of Obama and Bush's judicial overreach. And that's just the stuff that he (and almost all nationally-elected Rs) are admitting to--and in many cases are proud of--or have actually voted for.

This isn't just stuff that can be (as some like to claim as a reason why Obama losing isn't so bad) rolled back via executive order, it's enshrined as law. Which, of course, can then be defended by his several appointees to the Supreme Court, which would then stand at somewhere between 5 and 7 conservative votes for a generation.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:49 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I bet the NAACP would have preferred Romney speaking against voter ID laws, but Romney believes in voter ID laws. (And for what it's worth, so do I.)

Well that explains a lot, then.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe. But I think that not-wanting-him-to-be-President is manifesting in a lot of anger that makes people say things that I hope they normally wouldn't say and speak with a lot of hyperbole, and it's kind of frustrating.

At the risk of repeating myself, a lot of what is being claimed as "hyberbole" is pulled from his exact words. He's not hiding his position on the Ryan budget (or what it does), or DOMA/DADT, or voter ID (as you demonstrated), or Iran and Israel.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:56 PM on July 12, 2012


Oh, there are plenty of reasons to hate Mitt Romney that are both true and unrelated to the fact that he's the Republican candidate. They just get lost among the ones that are not true or are related to the fact that he's the candidate.

Whether he'd actually do those things as president, well, who knows, but we have to operate as if he would.

Why? When Obama ran, we gave him the benefit of the doubt and operated as if he would not do the things he was promising. Why can't we do the same with Romney? Isn't Romney a liar, too?
posted by The World Famous at 3:01 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't trust Romney enough not to believe his lies.
posted by found missing at 3:03 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


corb: “But going in front of the NAACP was something he didn't have to do, and he went in there knowing he was probably going to get booed. He did something brave that brought him no political advantage.”

That's nuts, and you know it. This seems to be a common theme in this election, and both Obama and Romney have played the card, even though it's thinly-veiled nonsense: "Well, X tiny outlying group dislikes me for this, so obviously I didn't do it for political advantage..."

Every single conservative blog or magazine in the US universe is saying this exact thing today: "he did a brave thing." That's certainly what the base thinks, and that was the whole point of the speech. So let's not play this "he was brave, he brought on boos even though he didn't need to" game when I think we all know that this was intelligent calculation on the part of the campaign: making Romney appear brave is exactly what they need to break up the "Romney is milquetoast" perception, and moreover him pissing off 'poor people looking for a handout' enlivens the base.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well that explains a lot, then.

Um, no it does not. I'm Hispanic. I have three forms of federal identification and I carry at least one with me at all times, just in case. When I go voting? I bring two. I find the idea that somehow, minorities just can't possibly get a federal ID and so they can't be required to possess them to vote offensive and self-defeating. I also know how easily voter fraud can deliver elections and would prefer not to see it here. (Again. Historically, America has had great problems with it.)

At a minimum, we're looking at an end to the social safety net in any recognizable and therefore helpful form, removal of large parts if not all of reproductive health care, removal of affordable access to a lot of health care in general, removal of a lot of rights for GLBT citizens, massive cuts in high-income taxes coupled with massive raises of low-income taxes, repurposed Jim Crow-era poll tax laws (enabled by the above revocation of parts of the VRA), essentially unprovoked invasion of at least one nation on behalf of another, and a large expansion of the nastiest parts of Obama and Bush's judicial overreach.

Cites? I just don't see this. (Particularly the raising of low-income taxes and poll tax laws). In terms of the health care stuff, I know that a lot of people really enjoy and appreciate the recent healthcare law, but putting aside the issue of whether or not it was a good idea, it was certainly a major change. Republican attempts to roll that back are attempts to restore the status quo, not to change it.

At the risk of repeating myself, a lot of what is being claimed as "hyberbole" is pulled from his exact words. He's not hiding his position on the Ryan budget (or what it does), or DOMA/DADT, or voter ID (as you demonstrated), or Iran and Israel.

Well, yes, but torturing, barbecuing, and eating dogs is certainly hyperbole. Saying he was undoubtedly a racist because he was Mormon is certainly hyperbole. Until it's sourced, I believe statements about him bringing back poll taxes are most likely hyperbole. I wouldn't claim that rational statements about his support for the Ryan budget, or voter ID, or DOMA/DADT, or Iran and Israel, are hyperbole. But some of the worst statements are near-hysterical.
posted by corb at 3:06 PM on July 12, 2012


I bet the NAACP would have preferred Romney speaking against voter ID laws, but Romney believes in voter ID laws.

Can you think of better circumstance for Romney to take a principled stance on one of his party's platform issues, to justify his beliefs, to acknowledge the validity of his audience's contrary opinion, work to convince them otherwise, and to begin a conversation that might allow him be the President of "all Americans of every race, creed and sexual orientation"?

That would be a down-right presidential move, and I'd respect him for taking any boo's for trying. But Romney didn't even bunt that pitch, he chose not to swing.
posted by peeedro at 3:16 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bet the NAACP would have preferred Romney speaking against voter ID laws, but Romney believes in voter ID laws.

Of course he does: Voter ID Laws Are ‘Gonna Allow Governor Romney To Win’
posted by homunculus at 3:17 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


He is unlikely to have any sweeping reforms to offer the country. He's likely to blandly govern.

Twelve years ago and change you probably could have gotten me to agree with the proposition that it looked as though Bush II would blandly govern and I would have called you crazy to suggest that within a few years a couple hundred thousand people would be dead and the U.S. would have a fresh reputation for the 21st century involving secret prisons and torture.
posted by XMLicious at 3:21 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not really. It's a dog, not a child. Also, I doubt that he drove twelve hours without stopping.

Holy crap, let me strap you to the top of a car driving on highways from Mass. to Canada and then you can get back to me on the "that's not too bad" thing.

I wouldn't put a freaking pet on top of a car going 2 miles an hour.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:24 PM on July 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


(Again. Historically, America has had great problems with it.)

By an extremely large margin, we have had a much bigger problem with suppressing African American and other minority votes than with vote fraud. This is the historical context voter id has to be viewed in.

Pennsylvania depends on Philadelphia to deliver statewide races to Democrats. Look at these numbers.

According to figures released a few hours before the July 4 holiday, 758,939 registered Pennsylvania voters don't have a Pennsylvania driver's license or alternative PennDOT identification. That's 9.2 percent of Pennsylvania's 8.2 million voters. In urban Philadelphia, a full 18 percent of registered voters — 186,830 — do not have PennDOT-issued ID.


Stamping out imaginary voter fraud is not worth potentially disenfranchising nearly 10% of the voters.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:28 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Um, no it does not. I'm Hispanic. I have three forms of federal identification and I carry at least one with me at all times, just in case. When I go voting? I bring two. I find the idea that somehow, minorities just can't possibly get a federal ID and so they can't be required to possess them to vote offensive and self-defeating. I also know how easily voter fraud can deliver elections and would prefer not to see it here. (Again. Historically, America has had great problems with it.)


Requiring voter ID is a poll and literacy tax.I don't know why this is so difficult for you to understand
posted by asockpuppet at 3:31 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't put a freaking pet on top of a car going 2 miles an hour.

Look, I'm not defending the dog-carrier-on-the-car incident. But what you're saying is ridiculous. People put their dogs in the back of pick-up trucks and fly down the freeway all. the. time. What's outrageous about the Romney story is that it's straight out of National Lampoon's Vacation and that Romney apparently re-told the story as if it was a funny anecdote rather than an embarrassing and very sad event where he made a huge mistake, not that putting a dog carrier on top of a car is per se outrageous.
posted by The World Famous at 3:32 PM on July 12, 2012


Um, no it does not. I'm Hispanic. I have three forms of federal identification and I carry at least one with me at all times, just in case. When I go voting? I bring two. I find the idea that somehow, minorities just can't possibly get a federal ID and so they can't be required to possess them to vote offensive and self-defeating.

Then I guess you're unaware of how bad it can be. For instance in Texas, 81 of the state's 254 counties lack offices that can issue driver's licenses, most of which just happen to have large minority (especially Hispanic) and/or lower-income populations. So, in order to get an ID that enables them to drive, they're SOL without both assistance and extra expenditure. And I guess you also don't know that it can be relatively expensive to obtain and often require several other pieces of ID. Unsurprisingly, the Texas GOP is on a roll of cutting government services, which would make the current onerous hurdles even higher.

BTW, the state's own data reflected this, they just conveniently forgot to point it out to the DOJ.

I also know how easily voter fraud can deliver elections and would prefer not to see it here. (Again. Historically, America has had great problems with it.)

Sure, if you're going back to the 19th century, In the modern era, there's zero evidence of widespread voter fraud. In fact, it's about as likely as being struck by lightning.

Cites? I just don't see this. (Particularly the raising of low-income taxes and poll tax laws).

Here's a good breakdown of the effects of his and/or Paul Ryan's tax plans and who gets the most benefits and most harm. The poll tax effect (specifically, the direct and indirect costs around procuring either new or additional ID) is described above.

In terms of the health care stuff, I know that a lot of people really enjoy and appreciate the recent healthcare law, but putting aside the issue of whether or not it was a good idea, it was certainly a major change. Republican attempts to roll that back are attempts to restore the status quo, not to change it.

So are their attempts to roll back abortion law and equal rights for the GLBT community. Are those also good ideas?

Saying he was undoubtedly a racist because he was Mormon is certainly hyperbole.

Am I missing something? I didn't see that here.

Until it's sourced, I believe statements about him bringing back poll taxes are most likely hyperbole.

As described above, it's poll taxes in all but name.

I wouldn't claim that rational statements about his support for the Ryan budget, or voter ID, or DOMA/DADT, or Iran and Israel, are hyperbole. But some of the worst statements are near-hysterical.

Well, considering that apart from a weird random barbecued dog comment, I'm not sure where you're pulling those statements from here.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:32 PM on July 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Haven't heard anything about eating a dog, so will leave it at that, but really you don't think putting a dog in a carrier on top of a car for twelve hours is not a little.... irrational?
Not really. It's a dog, not a child. Also, I doubt that he drove twelve hours without stopping.
It's known that he did stop.

To hose the dog down.
posted by Flunkie at 3:44 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Daily Beast - Michael Tomasky on Mitt Romney the Race Baiter at the NAACP

posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:48 PM on July 12, 2012


corb: “Um, no it does not. I'm Hispanic. I have three forms of federal identification and I carry at least one with me at all times, just in case. When I go voting? I bring two. I find the idea that somehow, minorities just can't possibly get a federal ID and so they can't be required to possess them to vote offensive and self-defeating. I also know how easily voter fraud can deliver elections and would prefer not to see it here. (Again. Historically, America has had great problems with it.)”

First of all, this is factually untrue. American has never had problems with voter fraud. In fact, it would be insanely difficult to perpetrate voter fraud through impersonation. America has had lots of electoral problems, but voter fraud has never been one of them, even in our darkest days, unless maybe you go back to the Tammany Hall days of the late 1800s. (Even then, somehow I doubt that this particular voter fraud itself was widespread.)

Second of all, this absolutely is not about minorities. It's about the poor, and, yeah, the irresponsible. Like me. I don't have a valid form of ID right now. You're proposing to take away my constitutional rights because you don't think I'm responsible enough to deserve them. That's fine, but it's unconstitutional.

Look, personally, I think voter ID is just fine. It's not helping anything, since there hasn't been a single case of voter fraud in the past century at least, but it doesn't hurt. As some of my conservative friends have said, voting is certainly more important than driving, and we require an ID for driving. I only have one caveat: until there is an ID card in the hands of every single citizen of the United States, voter ID laws will be disenfranchising people unconstitutionally. So: pass your voter ID laws, but make sure to set aside however many billions of dollars it would take to put an ID card in the hands of every single citizen in this country. Then, voter ID laws would be constitutional.
posted by koeselitz at 4:07 PM on July 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Requiring voter ID is a poll and literacy tax.I don't know why this is so difficult for you to understand

It is certainly not a poll tax or a literacy test. You are not required to read and write in order to get an identification card. You can have someone else fill out the forms for you and stand by to serve as an interpreter if needed - and many state agencies also have interpreters as well.

Also, the issue of cost is quite easily gotten around by locales that are requiring photo ID to vote, simply by providing free voter IDs to eligible voters. The Supreme Court ruled this constitutional, as long as the IDs were available for free.

First of all, this is factually untrue. American has never had problems with voter fraud.

That's what Mayor Daley said in 1960, at least, but I don't think there are many of us that believe that.
posted by corb at 4:29 PM on July 12, 2012


Free ID is not free. Please see this post.

Fraud is a potentially huge problem, but the kind of fraud that can swing elections is not me walking up to a polling place, claiming to be John Q. Lawfully-Registered-Voter, and being allowed to cast a ballot instead of him. The fraud that's a problem happens months before election day, during voter registration, when I register Homer T. Deadguy, or Tom J. Doesn't-Live-Here-Anymore, and then cast ballots in their names - secure in the knowledge that, since they're not going to walk into the precinct and ask to vote, nobody is going to call me on it. With a photo ID requirement, I do the exact same thing, only I bring a fake ID. You really think an amoral political machine can't get what millions of underage drunkards can?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:34 PM on July 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


With a photo ID requirement, I do the exact same thing, only I bring a fake ID. You really think an amoral political machine can't get what millions of underage drunkards can?

Surely America's octagenarian polling place volunteers who see a government ID other than their own once every four years are better at detecting fake IDs than bartenders, liquor store owners, and bouncers who do it for a living every single day and who can actually see what they're looking at.
posted by The World Famous at 4:47 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


me: "First of all, this is factually untrue. American has never had problems with voter fraud."

corb: "That's what Mayor Daley said in 1960, at least, but I don't think there are many of us that believe that."

But, assuming the fraud allegations were true, that absolutely was not voter fraud. It was vote fraud. The allegation was that Kennedy and Johnson had friends in local district electoral offices who rigged key votes. Voter ID laws would have done absolutely nothing to change that outcome, and would not have prevented one whit of fraud.

The United States has never had a single instance where an election was turned by thousands or millions of people walking into voting booths and voting as people they aren't for a simple reason: because that would be stupid. Paying off or sending plants into local voting offices is simply much easier and much more effective. That's why we've never seen a single case where enough people to win or lose an election were caught voting as somebody else.

The US has lots of election problems, as I've said, and plenty of them involve votes, but none of them are voter impersonation problems. And voter ID laws would solve none of these problems.

If you can give me a single instance where a decisive number of people were caught pretending to be other people to cast votes, I'm willing to hear you out. However, in all the reading and research I've done, I've never heard of a single case like that. As I've said, though, please enlighten me.
posted by koeselitz at 5:33 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously, saying voter ID will solve electoral fraud in this country is like saying that we can fix bank fraud by arresting people who overdraw their checking accounts. It's attacking the problem in a tangential and ridiculously ineffective way.
posted by koeselitz at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


corb: That's what Mayor Daley said in 1960, at least, but I don't think there are many of us that believe that.

You're conflating voter fraud and election fraud.

They're two different things.

Daley, the Tammany machine, and countless political machines through the 1960s committed election fraud on a routine basis.

As noted, voter fraud is quite rare. It's logistically quite difficult as a means of perpertrating election fraud. It doesn't even make sense to fight it. It's like carpet bombing wetlands to kill mosquitos.
posted by lodurr at 6:05 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, the issue of cost is quite easily gotten around by locales that are requiring photo ID to vote, simply by providing free voter IDs to eligible voters.

Except that the voter ID laws that Romney and every single one of the states required to be pre-cleared under VRA (i.e. ones that had Jim Crow or similar laws pre-1965), and quite a few that aren't, very pointedly do not allow for free IDs. Indeed, many of them require charges for processing. And it still doesn't get around the fact that in at least one state that is supposed to comply with VRA, which is among the largest in the country, all residents are required to have something that roughly a third of their counties don't have the capability to provide.

So: Poll tax in all but name.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:32 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Romney is blandly appealing in the sort of way oatmeal is when you're hungry.

Or sick. I think that's entirely his whole strategy. Convince us that we're sick, diagnosis the infection as Obamacitis, prescribe a diet of oatmeal until we cure ourselves, and then hopefully take credit for that fact that we're feeling better.

But then you still have to eat oatmeal for four more years.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:07 PM on July 12, 2012


My main takeaway from this particular line of thought is that none of you have ever had decent oatmeal.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:11 PM on July 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


But then you still have to eat oatmeal for four more years.

And it turns out it's full of broken glass.
posted by The World Famous at 7:12 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Drudge Report Lists Condi Rice as Top Romney VP Candidate

Good luck with that.

“I myself am someone who believes strongly in parental notification. … I’m against late-term abortion, which is, I think, really very cruel.” But she said she’s not for overturning Roe V. Wade. “I have not wanted to see the law changed because it’s an area that I worry about the government being involved in.”

posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:33 PM on July 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney's Own 2002 Testimony Undermines Bain Departure Claim
posted by zombieflanders at 7:52 PM on July 12, 2012


Except that the voter ID laws that Romney and every single one of the states required to be pre-cleared under VRA (i.e. ones that had Jim Crow or similar laws pre-1965), and quite a few that aren't, very pointedly do not allow for free IDs.

Citation? Because my own admittedly cursory research revealed that all states doing this require free voter IDs to be available, and I can't imagine people flouting an expressed Supreme Court opinion just for the funsies.
posted by corb at 8:03 PM on July 12, 2012


He did something brave

I almost spit out my food. What on earth. Headline: ROMNEY BRAVELY TALKS IN FRONT OF ENTIRE GROUP OF BLACK PEOPLE.
posted by cashman at 8:06 PM on July 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mitt Romney's Own 2002 Testimony Undermines Bain Departure Claim

That's an interesting article. I wonder if there's any basis for its assertion that remaining on the board of a company and possibly attending board meetings constitutes being involved in the operations of the company, as the article seems to suggest without citation.
posted by The World Famous at 8:11 PM on July 12, 2012


Citation? Because my own admittedly cursory research revealed that all states doing this require free voter IDs to be available, and I can't imagine people flouting an expressed Supreme Court opinion just for the funsies.

See HZSF's link about PA, or review the ones you provided where alternate forms of paid ID are required to obtain voter ID. For example, WI's very first requirement is a birth certificate ($20+), passport ($55+), or naturalization certificate ($345). Same goes for MS and TX, where in a nice bit of intentional circular logic, to get a photo ID you're required to provide records that you need photo ID to access.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:31 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Zombieflanders: Not to knock HZSF's incredibly comprehensively written potential situation, but that is an extreme situation. (One in which someone has none of the documents. Birth certificates are free at your birth, it just costs money to get a replacement - as are most of the other documents required.

Again, I may have just grown up with more document fetishization than most, but we always had a small portable fire safe with all of the important documents, everyone's birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. So yeah, if you lose those you have to pay for a replacement, but if you don't lose them, you're fine. My homeless friends travel with their 214s next to their skin.

I meant more: is there any place that charges for the actual voter ID?
posted by corb at 9:05 PM on July 12, 2012


That's an interesting article. I wonder if there's any basis for its assertion that remaining on the board of a company and possibly attending board meetings constitutes being involved in the operations of the company, as the article seems to suggest without citation.

I don't think it's asserting that, I think it's asserting that the statement in the 2001 SEC filing that Romney was the
sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Investors VI, Bain Capital, Brookside Investors Inc. and Sankaty Investors II and... sole shareholder, a director and President of Sankaty Ltd
seems to be supported by his statements to the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission that he was constantly traveling back to the state for business trips and board meetings and that this and the fact that he "remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the Life Like Corporation" seem to contradict his 2011 filing with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics which said,
Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Since February 11, 1999 Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.
At the very least it seems pretty significant for the public to understand just how legalistic he's being when he says that he had no active role in the company, that it's regular travel to Massachusetts for meetings as well as phone calls and other involvement with the boards, at the very least, of all of these companies that counts as an inactive role or whatever he's pitching it as.
posted by XMLicious at 9:11 PM on July 12, 2012


(Also, the bit about homeless people not being able to vote because of not having paperwork is flawed, because in most elections (certainly Presidential ones), you are required to have residency in order to vote, because of the electoral college. So it's a moot point.)
posted by corb at 9:12 PM on July 12, 2012


CSMonitor When did Romney leave Bain? - How involved was presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Bain's operations when it outsourced jobs? Obama's campaign has labeled Romney a 'job killer,' now Romney's campaign is fighting back; saying that Obama is 'dishonest.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:29 PM on July 12, 2012


corb: “Again, I may have just grown up with more document fetishization than most, but...”

Yep.

But all of this is beside the point.

Voter ID laws are a pointless waste, because they don't prevent any known fraud. You still haven't provided a single decisive case of voter-ID election fraud. Because there aren't any.

Again, the point is – you know, and I know, and we all know, that voter ID laws will prevent some legal voters from voting. There are good reasons and bad reasons why legal voters might not get IDs – they might be working mothers and fathers, or they might just be irresponsible like me – but they are still legal voters, no matter what you may think of them. Disenfranchising legal voters is a very steep price to pay to enact these laws. So if you're going to pay that price, you have to demonstrate powerfully that these laws will actually do some good.

And when it comes down – there is no good they could possibly do. Over the past hundred years, in the midst of ballot-stuffing, suspicious mistakes concerning electronic voting, hanging chads, and all the rest, there has never been a single case where voter IDs would have prevented fraud.

It's pretty simple. When the price is steep, and the gains are minimal to none, there is no reason to enact voter ID laws, and every reason not to.
posted by koeselitz at 9:36 PM on July 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


And it's pretty clear why it is being done, and it is despicable. I don't care if it was my mother wanting it done, it's despicable, and just a horrible thing to do.
posted by cashman at 9:40 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Zombieflanders: Not to knock HZSF's incredibly comprehensively written potential situation, but that is an extreme situation.

That situation is more common than voter fraud.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:46 PM on July 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


(Also, the bit about homeless people not being able to vote because of not having paperwork is flawed, because in most elections (certainly Presidential ones), you are required to have residency in order to vote, because of the electoral college. So it's a moot point.)
You don't need a home to vote.
posted by Flunkie at 9:50 PM on July 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, in addition to the things that people have pointed out regarding the fact that you simply cannot point to any real problem that voter ID laws would fix, there's the flip side, epitomized by Pennsylvania's (Republican) House Majority leader explicitly saying that Pennsylvania's new voter ID law "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania".

In 2008 Obama won Pennsylvania by a huge margin. Over ten percent, over half a million people. If this guy genuinely believes that that was due to voter fraud, I'll eat my hat.

The "voter fraud" thing is an extremely thin veneer for why they're actually pushing this. It's really reprehensible.
posted by Flunkie at 10:00 PM on July 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Drudge Report Lists Condi Rice as Top Romney VP Candidate

"Ummm… I believe the title was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.'"

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:09 PM on July 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Romney’s ringers? GOP candidate’s campaign requested NAACP passes for black ‘VIPs’.
posted by ericb at 11:33 PM on July 12, 2012


Mitt Romney Bain Mess Shows Stonewalling Consequences.
posted by ericb at 5:07 AM on July 13, 2012


Mitt Romney's Own 2002 Testimony Undermines Bain Departure Claim.
posted by ericb at 5:10 AM on July 13, 2012


Boston Globe will not issue correction to Romney.
posted by ericb at 5:12 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Bain Shadow Years Loom Larger.
posted by ericb at 5:14 AM on July 13, 2012


Wait, Wasn’t Bain Supposed To Be Off-Limits?
posted by ericb at 5:15 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


ericb I'm alarmed that you seem to have gotten five and a half hours of sleep.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:23 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


In 2008 Obama won Pennsylvania by a huge margin. Over ten percent, over half a million people. If this guy genuinely believes that that was due to voter fraud, I'll eat my hat.

Obama won Philadelphia alone by a margin of more than 400,000, and I'd eat my hat if he doesn't think a substantial amount of those votes were fraudulent, before you factor in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, etc. Hell, I think it too, although he'd probably say I'm lowballing the total. The "amoral political machine" that raises the dead to vote? I was specifically thinking of my hometown Democratic party there.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:05 AM on July 13, 2012


yes, but do they raise the dead and then bus them to polling stations?!

I'd actually like to see this, at least on video. I'm surprised no one's done it so far.
posted by lodurr at 6:08 AM on July 13, 2012


When there is no more room in hell, the dead will vote for Democrats.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:17 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fundamental purpose of Voter ID laws is to place roadblocks in the way of certain groups to actually vote. If this was primarily about voter fraud why is it pushed by a single party? The instances of voter fraud do not favor one party over another and yet Republican after Republican tout this as the magic (expensive) bullet to solve a non existent problem.

Whether or not it solves the small problem of voter fraud is secondary to vote suppression

Americans already have a poor record of voting, do you really think this is going to improve those numbers?
posted by edgeways at 6:42 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama won Philadelphia alone by a margin of more than 400,000, and I'd eat my hat if he doesn't think a substantial amount of those votes were fraudulent, before you factor in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, etc. Hell, I think it too, although he'd probably say I'm lowballing the total.

Do you have any evidence of any voter fraud in PA at all?
posted by octothorpe at 7:18 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or electoral fraud, since that's a lot more likely.
posted by koeselitz at 7:22 AM on July 13, 2012


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: “Obama won Philadelphia alone by a margin of more than 400,000, and I'd eat my hat if he doesn't think a substantial amount of those votes were fraudulent, before you factor in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, etc. Hell, I think it too, although he'd probably say I'm lowballing the total. The ‘amoral political machine’ that raises the dead to vote? I was specifically thinking of my hometown Democratic party there.”

So, let me get this straight.

You believe that the Democratic party in Philadelphia is so crafty and corrupt that they tried to rig the vote –

But at the same time, you also believe that they're so incredibly stupid that they gathered a conspiracy of five hundred thousand people who voted as people they are not? And you believe that this massive conspiracy was somehow never uncovered?

Let me just say that I'm slightly incredulous about this.

If the Dems in Philly rigged the vote, I guarantee you, there is not a damned thing voter ID laws will do to stop it.
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In Obama's election? No. I was long gone from the state by then and haven't done specific research. And no, I'm not remotely crazy enough to think McCain "deserved" to win the state.

But fraud in Philly elections in general? Oh my god yes. Would you prefer to start with the 110% voter turnout or the time a candidate's mother was in charge of the vote count in her daughter's election?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:41 AM on July 13, 2012


And I ranted about how voter ID laws stop the poor from voting without doing a damn thing to fraud maybe ten posts ago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:42 AM on July 13, 2012


And no, I'm not remotely crazy enough to think McCain "deserved" to win the state.

PA hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate in twenty years. Currently the state is polling (on average) at +6.5% in favor of Obama. Here's a list of the polls from '08 from June to November and not one of them shows McCain in the lead. PA is a blue state.
posted by octothorpe at 7:53 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: “But fraud in Philly elections in general? Oh my god yes. Would you prefer to start with the 110% voter turnout or the time a candidate's mother was in charge of the vote count in her daughter's election?”

I know, and I'm not disputing that; sorry for my lack of clarity.

What I'm pointing out is that Mike Turzai is a complete idiot if he thinks that voter ID requirements will prevent electoral fraud. It's just outlandishly far-fetched.

There are different kinds of electoral fraud. Electoral fraud by impersonation is the stupidest form of electoral fraud, because it requires a conspiracy of thousands. Nobody who's ever gone to the trouble of rigging a vote has used that method.
posted by koeselitz at 7:53 AM on July 13, 2012


Sleep? What's dat?
posted by ericb at 8:25 AM on July 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


The cousin of death.
posted by cashman at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Voter ID laws are a pointless waste, because they don't prevent any known fraud. You still haven't provided a single decisive case of voter-ID election fraud. Because there aren't any.

I should clarify: I don't think that any party is engaging in wide-spread voter impersonation fraud. As numerous posters have explained, I think that it's exceedingly unlikely, and would require a lot of people cooperating who couldn't be trusted to keep their mouth shut.

But I do think that voter fraud takes place primarily in terms of people who want to vote but are not legally allowed to do so. Illegal immigrants, felons, etc. Do I think that it's large enough to affect the election? Not in many places - but in some places, certainly. However, for me, it's not about that - it's about the fact that having even one person vote who is not legally allowed to do so is too many for me. It's small-scale crime, sure, but it's crime so awful that it needs to be prevented and stopped.

I could see where this could influence elections, however, without being any specific intentional fraud on the party of a party.

For example: let's say one candidate promises post-prison reform - removing the bars against felons, so that they can vote, or prohibiting business owners from asking potential employees if they've been convicted of a crime, or preventing business owners from discriminating against felons. That's enough of an incentive to make felons want to vote in that election - whether or not they're legally allowed to. Maybe it's not enough of them to make a difference - but maybe it is, particularly in close instances. And either way, it's a crime, and needs to be stopped.
posted by corb at 9:01 AM on July 13, 2012


it's about the fact that having even one person vote who is not legally allowed to do so is too many for me.

But you don't seem bothered by the fact that these laws make voting difficult illegal for people who are impoverished and/or otherwise unable to obtain the required ID.

Which party stands to gain the most from making voting illegal for poor and disabled and otherwise marginalized citizens?

I'll wait.
posted by bilabial at 9:12 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's about the fact that having even one person vote who is not legally allowed to do so is too many for me.

How many people who are legally allowed to vote but cannot because of artificial bureaucratic barriers is too many for you? Or are you OK with an unlimited number of those?
posted by The World Famous at 9:32 AM on July 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


"I was against being referred to as 'sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president' in financial disclosure forms, before I was for it!" Wait, what? Fehrnstrom, buddy, can I borrow your 'Etch-A-Sketch?'
posted by ericb at 9:42 AM on July 13, 2012


But I do think that voter fraud takes place primarily in terms of people who want to vote but are not legally allowed to do so. Illegal immigrants, felons, etc. Do I think that it's large enough to affect the election? Not in many places - but in some places, certainly.

Then by all means, provide proof rather than assumptions. As far as I can tell, the evidence points to more people being incorrectly accused of voter fraud than of actually committing it.

However, for me, it's not about that - it's about the fact that having even one person vote who is not legally allowed to do so is too many for me. It's small-scale crime, sure, but it's crime so awful that it needs to be prevented and stopped.

And yet you seem perfectly okay with letting vast numbers of legal voters be turned away because they don't have the resources and time to deal with a bureaucracy that, per the unguarded admissions of proponents in PA and TX, is willfully blocking their path for political and socioeconomic reasons. As such, the current voter ID laws that you support are not the way to fix the problem. Not only do they not address it in a manner approaching efficiency, they're blatant vehicles for disenfranchisement of legal voters. Do you actually believe it's just a coincidence that the first thing Texas did after being told they had woefully insufficient evidence of voter fraud was to sue to overturn the pre-clearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act?

For example: let's say one candidate promises post-prison reform - removing the bars against felons, so that they can vote

Just an FYI, being a felon doesn't automatically prevent you from voting. And not to get into a long discussion about the well-documented history of how the US judicial system assigns both felony definitions and convictions in a vastly unbalanced fashion based on income, but there's no reason they should be prevented either, unless maybe they're actively serving time.

That's enough of an incentive to make felons want to vote in that election - whether or not they're legally allowed to. Maybe it's not enough of them to make a difference - but maybe it is, particularly in close instances. And either way, it's a crime, and needs to be stopped. (emphasis mine)

Wait, what? You're saying it's a crime to help people engage in one of the cornerstones of civic responsibilities and the few ways they can effect change even if they're legally allowed to? WTF?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:48 AM on July 13, 2012


Romney’s Big Tax Return Tell
So a lot of Republicans wish Mitt Romney would just get it over with and release several years of tax returns. If you want evidence that Romney’s drowning in the Bain deluge, there it is. His allies think a complete accounting is his only lifeline.

Remember, in the VP vetting process Romney gave the McCain campaign over 20 years of tax returns. Schmidt ran that campaign and my hunch is he has the best combination of political smarts and actual knowledge of what’s in the returns to make the call.

Six months ago, he didn’t think it was worth it.

... I could be wrong about this. But if Schmidt cries uncle, I think we’ll have reached the point where the attacks Romney’s weathering right now are more harmful than what’s in those returns. And the fact that we haven’t reached that point yet suggests they’re full of ugly stuff.
posted by ericb at 9:50 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders, on that last point, I'm pretty sure that by "whether or not they're legally allowed to" corb meant something like "even if they're not legally allowed to."
posted by koeselitz at 9:50 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, further raising questions about how much Romney remained involved, the Huffington Post reported that in testimony in June 2002 Romney claimed he regularly travelled back from Salt Lake City to Massachusetts, where Bain has its headquarters, to sit on the board of one of the companies Bain invested in, LifeLike.

Romney was giving testimony to a hearing to determine whether he met the residency requirements to enable him to stand for governor of Massachusetts in 2002.

"There were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth," he said.

He said that he"remained on the board of the Staples corporation and Marriott International, the LifeLike corporation" at the time.

Staples is another company that Bain invested in.

Bloomberg reported Friday that Romney, in addition to filings published by the Boston Globe on Thursday saying he was chief executive and president of the main holding company Bain Capital, is also named as one of two managing members of another Bain-related entity, Bain Capital Investors LLC, as late as 2002. *
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on July 13, 2012


corb: “But I do think that voter fraud takes place primarily in terms of people who want to vote but are not legally allowed to do so. Illegal immigrants, felons, etc.”

For what it's worth, I really don't believe this is true. I live in New Mexico, and I know a number of illegal immigrants myself. Not a single one of them would risk blowing their cover or revealing their status by showing up on voter rolls for their county – not in a heartbeat. And it begins to strain credulity that there is any large group of felons outside of prisons anywhere anyway, never mind whether or not they're voting. (And, as zombieflanders points out, it's not strictly illegal for felons to vote.)
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 AM on July 13, 2012


on that last point, I'm pretty sure that by "whether or not they're legally allowed to" corb meant something like "even if they're not legally allowed to."

Well, that wording would change the whole meaning of the paragraph. I may disagree with felony disenfranchisement laws, but they're constitutional. However, so far it's not unconstitutional to have them overturned. And I don't see where it's a crime, or even unethical, to support laws that make people want to vote for you. Indeed, that seems to be the bedrock of politics, and is just as valid as offering tax cuts for the rich/hikes on the poor or expanded health care.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:00 AM on July 13, 2012


Life Imitates The Simpsons
It's safe to say that, whatever the merits of the argument, if we're discussing whether or not Mitt Romney is a felon, then he is losing the debate over Bain Capital.

... It worked for Sideshow Bob, anyway.
posted by ericb at 10:00 AM on July 13, 2012


Finally, to respond to this bit, since I believe it's at the crux of the argument:

corb: “However, for me, it's not about that - it's about the fact that having even one person vote who is not legally allowed to do so is too many for me. It's small-scale crime, sure, but it's crime so awful that it needs to be prevented and stopped.”

I agree with this point of view; voting is very important. And I agree that it's important to stop even one person from voting if they are not supposed to.

All I'm saying is this: you have to weigh the fact that voter ID might prevent a few people from voting illegally against the fact that voter ID will prevent millions of people from voting legally.

Is it worth it to disenfranchise hundreds for each single instance of fraud prevented?
posted by koeselitz at 10:01 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bill Clinton ‘perplexed' and ‘surprised' Romney hasn't released more tax returns.
posted by ericb at 10:02 AM on July 13, 2012


And Mother Jones has excellent timing, including the unbalanced angle of felony conviction.

Nearly 6 Million Americans Can't Vote Due to Felon Disenfranchisement Laws
The numbers have risen dramatically over the decades, due both to the rise of mass incarceration in the United States and to the spread of restrictive state voting laws. As we reported last week, nearly all states bar imprisoned felons from voting, 29 states bar them even after they have served their time, and a handful—including several battleground states—effectively bar them for life. The number of affected Americans has ballooned from 1.2 million people in 1976 to 3.3 million in 1996. As of 2010, the figure stands at 5.9 million.

Rates of disenfranchisement vary dramatically by state due to broad variations in voting prohibitions. In six states—Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia—more than 7 percent of the adult population is disenfranchised.

In what amounts to a modern-day version of Jim Crow-era statutes, felon disenfranchisement takes a substantial bite out of the black vote. According to the report, nearly 8 percent of voting-age black Americans (1 in 13) is disenfranchised, compared with roughly 2 percent of their non-black counterparts. In three states—Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, at least 1 in 5 black Americans will be out of luck come Election Day. In the cases of Florida and Virginia, the numbers are sizeable enough to change the outcome in November.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:04 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


For Romney, it's not lack of preparation, it's the facts.
posted by ericb at 10:06 AM on July 13, 2012


Bill Clinton ‘perplexed' and ‘surprised' Romney hasn't released more tax returns.

Now that's a funny headline.
posted by The World Famous at 10:06 AM on July 13, 2012


Wait, what? You're saying it's a crime to help people engage in one of the cornerstones of civic responsibilities and the few ways they can effect change even if they're legally allowed to? WTF?

No, I'm saying that it's a crime to have people who are legally disallowed (such as felons in most states) from voting to vote.

I do believe in felons being prevented from voting, and wish that it was a national law rather than a state-by-state one, but that's a separate matter.

All I'm saying is this: you have to weigh the fact that voter ID might prevent a few people from voting illegally against the fact that voter ID will prevent millions of people from voting legally.

But you don't seem bothered by the fact that these laws make voting difficult illegal for people who are impoverished and/or otherwise unable to obtain the required ID.

I've explained above how it is in not in fact impossible for people who are poor to be able to vote. For people who are unable to prove their identity, yes, I am absolutely okay with requiring people to prove their identity in order to vote. Otherwise, what's to stop someone from walking up, picking a really common name, and voting?

Even assuming the voter ID requirement is a hurdle, it doesn't prevent them, it just makes it a bit harder. Again - voting is one of the most important things that you can possibly do. The idea that people will be unable to vote because it's a bit inconvenient is incomprehensible to me. And I find it kind of obnoxious, considering the amount of people that risk death in order to vote in other countries.
posted by corb at 10:16 AM on July 13, 2012


Otherwise, what's to stop someone from walking up, picking a really common name, and voting?

You mean other than the fact that that "really common name" is probably not on the list or that, if it is, that person may have already voted? Or other than the fact that there's no evidence at all that anyone has ever done this in the history of ever?
posted by The World Famous at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I'm saying that it's a crime to have people who are legally disallowed (such as felons in most states) from voting to vote.

Thanks for the clarification.

Even assuming the voter ID requirement is a hurdle, it doesn't prevent them, it just makes it a bit harder.

Only if you look at the laws in a vacuum. It effectively does prevent a lot of people from doing it, and the courts and most electoral experts seem to agree, as do GOP officials willing to say it in front of a crowd or in e-mails on publicly-funded resources.

Again - voting is one of the most important things that you can possibly do. The idea that people will be unable to vote because it's a bit inconvenient is incomprehensible to me.

Again, it's not "a bit inconvenient". It's made to be very inconvenient on purpose.

And I find it kind of obnoxious, considering the amount of people that risk death in order to vote in other countries.

Apart from the dying for the right to vote strawman, if you believe voting is one of the most important things to do, why do you repeatedly state support for ways that are blatantly meant to make it harder to do?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:25 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


WaPo Fact Checkers on Romney/Bain: It Can't Be True Because It Would Be Too Awful To Contemplate
posted by zombieflanders at 10:31 AM on July 13, 2012


corb: “The idea that people will be unable to vote because it's a bit inconvenient is incomprehensible to me.”

There are ten million African-Americans in the United States – legal citizens – who don't have a valid photo ID. There are twenty million more white citizens who don't have a valid photo ID, too, and that's not even counting the other subgroups and minorities. Mobilizing thirty million people, getting them all an entire day off from work, and making DMV resources available to print them all up ID cards completely free of charge is not "a bit inconvenient." And it seems wildly optimistic to hope that this will happen automatically, without any financial or infrastructural assistance.
posted by koeselitz at 10:39 AM on July 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or other than the fact that there's no evidence at all that anyone has ever done this in the history of ever?

I'll admit that this isn't common. But to say that no one has ever done this is a bit much, don't you think?

Apart from the dying for the right to vote strawman, if you believe voting is one of the most important things to do, why do you repeatedly state support for ways that are blatantly meant to make it harder to do?

I think that voting is one of the most important things you as an individual can do, just like I think owning a house is one of the most important things that you as an individual can do. But that doesn't mean I think it's the government's responsibility to lead you by the hand to either. I do believe that voting must be free, so that everyone with the will, ability, and qualifications to do so may vote. But I don't think that it has to be completely without hassle. If voting is important to you (and it should be) you will make a point to do these things. And you as a parent will ensure to make sure that your child registers to vote when they turn 18, just like you make sure they're registered for the Selective Service.

There are ten million African-Americans in the United States – legal citizens – who don't have a valid photo ID. There are twenty million more white citizens who don't have a valid photo ID, too, and that's not even counting the other subgroups and minorities.

This may be true, but I don't think that the sheer weight of numbers of people who paid no attention to their ability to vote until (possibly) Election Day means that we need to cater to them. The races are irrelevant.
posted by corb at 10:50 AM on July 13, 2012


corb: “This may be true, but I don't think that the sheer weight of numbers of people who paid no attention to their ability to vote until (possibly) Election Day means that we need to cater to them. The races are irrelevant.”

Plenty of those people lack photo IDs for legitimate reasons, you know. Do you really think nobody has a job they're required to go to every day?
posted by koeselitz at 10:52 AM on July 13, 2012


The things that are easy for me are all down to my own amazing powers of reason, effort, and moral strength. Everyone below that—just exactly below the standard I have set, as it turns out—is a worthless and weak person, a person who deserves to be fucking disenfranchised, offered nothing, forced to meet my standard or die. Hopefully somewhere out of sight.
posted by fleacircus at 10:56 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll admit that this isn't common. But to say that no one has ever done this is a bit much, don't you think?

Nothing in that article says anything about anyone ever having done the hypothetical thing you proposed.
posted by The World Famous at 10:59 AM on July 13, 2012


I'll admit that this isn't common. But to say that no one has ever done this is a bit much, don't you think?

Not only does that not support your assertion, but said link is from the same Texas AG whose evidence was proven to be woefully inadequate by the courts and DOJ multiple times, and who is suing to be removed from the VRA's requirements.

But that doesn't mean I think it's the government's responsibility to lead you by the hand to either. I do believe that voting must be free, so that everyone with the will, ability, and qualifications to do so may vote. But I don't think that it has to be completely without hassle.

Again: strawman. Nobody here is arguing that. We're saying that the current voter ID laws make it an extra hassle above and beyond the existing structure, causing a 60,000% rise in disenfranchisement to combat 0.0000004% voter fraud over the entire 12 year span of span of 3 federal elections.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:02 AM on July 13, 2012


Nothing in that article says anything about anyone ever having done the hypothetical thing you proposed.

It does talk about voter impersonation- the flavor text given includes a woman who voted in her mother's name and someone who voted twice.

Plenty of those people lack photo IDs for legitimate reasons, you know. Do you really think nobody has a job they're required to go to every day?

I believe (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that labor law does not permit someone to work every single day of the week, during all the waking hours of the day, with no days off ever under any circumstances whatsoever.
posted by corb at 11:03 AM on July 13, 2012


I believe (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that labor law does not permit someone to work every single day of the week, during all the waking hours of the day, with no days off ever under any circumstances whatsoever.

Too bad TX DPS offices all seem to be open only during business hours (8-5 or 9-6), that roughly a third of those offices can't provide voter ID services, and that Texas is a right to fire work state. But fuck all those people who can't afford cars to take them a county or three over while trying to work to make a living, amirite? Why couldn't they be all bootstrappy and proactive?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:09 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


It does talk about voter impersonation- the flavor text given includes a woman who voted in her mother's name and someone who voted twice.

Irrelevant.
posted by The World Famous at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2012


corb: I do believe in felons being prevented from voting, and wish that it was a national law rather than a state-by-state one, but that's a separate matter.

America has the highest incarceration rates in the world (by a pretty wide margin). Within that statistic, we have wildly disproportionate incarceration rates for African Americans. It beggars plausibility to suppose that our population is that much more criminal, so it's incumbent upon us to at least entertain the notion that not all these people we're putting in prison really deserve to be there.

And that's just addressing whether or not we should consider as many people "felons" as we do. Personally, I don't have the slightest understanding of why we should even consider the proposition that "felons ought not be allowed to vote." It's bizarre. It basically means that if you want to hamstring the electoral effectiveness of a group, all you've got to do is make a large percentage of them felons....
posted by lodurr at 11:13 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think that the sheer weight of numbers of people who paid no attention to their ability to vote until (possibly) Election Day means that we need to cater to them.

Why not? If voting is a "right" why can't we cater to them to ensure they can exercise their right whenever they want? There is nothing conditioning the right to vote on when we decide we want to exercise that right, and frankly I don't really understand why people object to felons who have served their time being allowed to vote. I think when we abridge a right it needs to be for very limited and specific instances. If someone has finished serving their time in jail, an argument may be made to not hire them into positions where they might pose a risk, but to strip them of the right to engage in an activity that poses no harm? That isn't justice, that is punishment above and beyond the punishment specifically allotted to the crime.


But, voter ID... I guess the way i read it is seems your argument boils down to, I'm ok with making it disproportionally more difficult for certain members of the public to vote because it's ok for voting to be a hassle in order to prevent hypothetical hard to document cases of voter fraud.

How much is a vote worth? Are cash strapped States willing to pay millions of dollars to issue IDs so that they can ensure a dozen votes are not fraudulent? And how do we prevent fraudulent IDs from appearing anyways?
posted by edgeways at 11:14 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and that Texas is a right to fire work state...

Come on, they have free will -- voting is important -- if they're true citizens, they'll choose freedom over freely entering into a labor contract with someone who'll hamper their right to exercise their franchise, amirite?
posted by lodurr at 11:16 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


corb: “I believe (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that labor law does not permit someone to work every single day of the week, during all the waking hours of the day, with no days off ever under any circumstances whatsoever.”

You're right. So you're suggesting that people just stroll into their local DMV on a Sunday and get their photo ID?
posted by koeselitz at 11:20 AM on July 13, 2012


You're right. So you're suggesting that people just stroll into their local DMV on a Sunday and get their photo ID?

I'm on the TX DPS website and have yet to find one that's open on the weekend even in the big cities. I am finding a number of them that are closed due to--get this--"problems resulting from an aging driver license system," only open one day a week, or that will only process renewals and replacements and not issue new IDs. I would not be shocked if this was the case in MS or SC or any of the other states with similar laws.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:28 AM on July 13, 2012


“I believe (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) that labor law does not permit someone to work every single day of the week, during all the waking hours of the day, with no days off ever under any circumstances whatsoever.”

You're wrong. Except in very specific circumstances (e.g. under a union CBA), your employer can make you work 24 hour shifts seven days a week as long as it pays you proper overtime and gives you required meal and rest breaks. And if you're an exempt employee, they don't even have to pay you overtime or give you breaks. And if you have more than one job, you could be working all day and night every day without your employers even knowing you're doing it.

Federal and some state laws do provide for limited family medical leave (e.g. FMLA), so I suppose your "under any circumstances ever" is more far-reaching than reality in that respect. But I don't believe you're really suggesting that people should be required to fraudulently use family and medical leave in order to wait in line at the DMV to get a new ID so they can vote. Are you?
posted by The World Famous at 11:34 AM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


50 Shades of Bain: Why Attacks Have Only Just Begun

Report: Mitt Romney To Give Interviews To All Three Major Networks, or as I saw someone tweet:
"On the Mitt desperation scale, 10 being "saw off your own leg and eat it to avoid starving," interviews with 3 television networks is a 9.5"
posted by zombieflanders at 11:34 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


When are the debates?
posted by cashman at 11:39 AM on July 13, 2012


When are the debates?

They aren't scheduled yet: they haven't even had the two-week media pissing match about the location, structure, and content.
posted by rhizome at 11:48 AM on July 13, 2012


cashman: "When are the debates?"

Romney and Obama aren't even officially the nominees yet; wait until after the conventions.
posted by octothorpe at 11:50 AM on July 13, 2012


Actually, the debates are already set.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:51 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Consider that this 1999/2002 thing is being made an issue because that's what he wants to talk about (with bonus abortion content). It's probably the stuff before 1999 that is a real problem for his candidacy, but with this being the story, he can bury the Bain story under much more agreeable terms.

As for the tax returns, a term I saw on the Twitter: "worth certificates."
posted by rhizome at 11:51 AM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, the debates are already set.

All in one month. Perfect for a news cycle leading into the election. Vomit.
posted by rhizome at 11:52 AM on July 13, 2012


your employer can make you work 24 hour shifts seven days a week as long as it pays you proper overtime and gives you required meal and rest breaks.

And that doesn't even take into account those who work multiple jobs, which could also prevent access to ID-granting offices.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:53 AM on July 13, 2012


Why are there always Presidential debates at Hofstra? Nothing whatsoever against the institution, but it seems a bit random that both of Obama's Presidential debates will have been there.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2012


50 Shades of Bain: Why Attacks Have Only Just Begun

That title just makes me wonder what 50 Shades of Grey would sound like narrated by Mitt Romney.
posted by homunculus at 11:56 AM on July 13, 2012


zombieflanders: “Report: Mitt Romney To Give Interviews To All Three Major Networks”

My guess right now is that this will be diversion. Mitt's surrogates all over the right are already raising a hue and cry about Obama's "dishonest attacks;" Mitt's job will now be to sidestep those attacks with some kind of big news in the hope of shifting the news cycle. And given that we're all waiting to hear about the VP nomination, he's got an easy piece of news to throw out there.

I may be wrong; that's just my guess.
posted by koeselitz at 12:01 PM on July 13, 2012


Bain Exec: I reported to Romney in 2002.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:04 PM on July 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bain Exec: I reported to Romney in 2002.

It was just a cop dressed as a teenage Romney in a way-out reverse prank.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:05 PM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mitt Romney’s Shifting Bain Story

Interesting to note that in this article the real story is from a former Bain executive, who told the Globe in 2002:
"I reported directly to Mitt Romney . . . You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, `I really don’t know what my guys were doing,’” Mr. Wolpow said of Mr. Romney role at the company during his leave.
In what is no doubt a big surprise to all of us, this guy has not made himself available to the press.

My guess right now is that this will be diversion. Mitt's surrogates all over the right are already raising a hue and cry about Obama's "dishonest attacks;" Mitt's job will now be to sidestep those attacks with some kind of big news in the hope of shifting the news cycle. And given that we're all waiting to hear about the VP nomination, he's got an easy piece of news to throw out there.

I guess, but the options for Romney are Boring White Dude or Someone Who Conservatives Think Will Shake Up The Race. BWD will not really make an substantial dent in the coverage and if it's Portman or Daniels, the fact that they oversaw the Bush Tax Cuts is a net negative. All I need to say about SWCTWSUTR is contained in one word: Palin.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:06 PM on July 13, 2012


. If someone has finished serving their time in jail, an argument may be made to not hire them into positions where they might pose a risk, but to strip them of the right to engage in an activity that poses no harm? That isn't justice, that is punishment above and beyond the punishment specifically allotted to the crime.

No, that's precisely the punishment for the crime. "You must go to jail, and you have lost many of your citizenship rights. We no longer trust you to make good decisions for the State." I cannot even imagine a situation in which voting "poses no harm." Voting can be extremely harmful, depending on who triumphs at the ballot box.

It does talk about voter impersonation- the flavor text given includes a woman who voted in her mother's name and someone who voted twice.

Irrelevant.


It's extremely relevant to your admittedly ludicrous claim that no one ever in the history of voting has ever done this. I'm not even sure why you even attempted to claim that, but it was definitely untrue.

You're wrong. Except in very specific circumstances (e.g. under a union CBA), your employer can make you work 24 hour shifts seven days a week as long as it pays you proper overtime and gives you required meal and rest breaks. And if you're an exempt employee, they don't even have to pay you overtime or give you breaks. And if you have more than one job, you could be working all day and night every day without your employers even knowing you're doing it.

Cites, again, cites. Because 24/7/365 is pretty illegal in most states I've worked. As far as having more than one job, are you saying that in neither job, there was never a day off ever? You could never take an unpaid day off? In years? Because I think that's some pretty dubious claims there too.

Again: do I think it's hard for someone working long hours to get to the DMV? Absolutely. But when people start claiming that it's physically impossible, it makes it really, really hard to take the rest of your arguments seriously. See your "nobody has ever impersonated a voter" above.
posted by corb at 12:06 PM on July 13, 2012


do I think it's hard for someone working long hours to get to the DMV? Absolutely. But when people start claiming that it's physically impossible

The important issue is whether it's a higher burden than should exist before people can exercise their franchise. Not whether it is possible or not. I think the burden imposed by ID laws is too high.

Sorry, TWF. My earlier (redundant) comment overlooked your point about multiple jobs.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:10 PM on July 13, 2012


No, that's precisely the punishment for the crime. "You must go to jail, and you have lost many of your citizenship rights. We no longer trust you to make good decisions for the State." I cannot even imagine a situation in which voting "poses no harm." Voting can be extremely harmful, depending on who triumphs at the ballot box.

That's an extreme viewpoint vis-a-vis crime and punishment. And as pointed out by multiple commenters, weighted heavily against minorities and the poor. If you want to make the argument that being a minority and/or poor makes you more likely to be a criminal...

It's extremely relevant to your admittedly ludicrous claim that no one ever in the history of voting has ever done this. I'm not even sure why you even attempted to claim that, but it was definitely untrue.

Again, your proof is from someone whose claims have been refuted by multiple judicial and executive agencies.

Again: do I think it's hard for someone working long hours to get to the DMV? Absolutely. But when people start claiming that it's physically impossible, it makes it really, really hard to take the rest of your arguments seriously. See your "nobody has ever impersonated a voter" above.

...CTRL-Fs "impossible"...

Yeah, it only shows up in your arguments here.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:11 PM on July 13, 2012


Oh, and since you're claiming it's only "a bit inconvenient," the burden of proof of said convenience is on you. Here's the criteria: find all Texas DPS offices that are open outside of weekdays 8am-6pm, keeping in mind that the area of Texas is almost 270,000 square miles. As a bonus, you can provide the economic and demographic data of the counties where said offices are located.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:20 PM on July 13, 2012


corb: "You could never take an unpaid day off? In years? Because I think that's some pretty dubious claims there too."

Actually, when I was an "independent contractor" one of my co-workers who had recently moved across the river into our state asked to take a day off to change his voting and was told "if you do, don't come back".
posted by notsnot at 12:23 PM on July 13, 2012


...CTRL-Fs "impossible"...

Yeah, it only shows up in your arguments here.

Or other than the fact that there's no evidence at all that anyone has ever done this in the history of ever?

And that's why it's important to read for comprehension rather than making a quick search and feeling like you've done a good job.

That's an extreme viewpoint vis-a-vis crime and punishment. And as pointed out by multiple commenters, weighted heavily against minorities and the poor. If you want to make the argument that being a minority and/or poor makes you more likely to be a criminal...

Not really. There are a lot of people who have agreed that felons should not be voting - as evidenced by the plethora of laws about the subject. Multiple commenters have noted that the proportion of people who have been to jail is higher in certain minority or low-income communities, but that doesn't mean that it is unfair to prevent criminals from having undue weight in our democracy. If anyone seems like they're making the argument that being a minority makes you more likely to be a criminal, it's people who are citing that things that affect criminals affect primarily minorities.
posted by corb at 12:28 PM on July 13, 2012


Corb, I mean no offense by this, but it is apparent to me that you have little idea of the day to day difficulties of the working poor in America, much less of the homeless, and that your statements are based in well-intentioned abstract values and not the practical realities that people are attempting to spell out here.
posted by kaspen at 12:28 PM on July 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


being a minority makes you more likely to be a criminal criminalized
posted by kaspen at 12:30 PM on July 13, 2012


It's extremely relevant to your admittedly ludicrous claim that no one ever in the history of voting has ever done this.

Evidence that someone is alleged to have done X is irrelevant to the unsupported assertion that someone will do Y.

Cites, again, cites. Because 24/7/365 is pretty illegal in most states I've worked.

My cite? You can start with the FLSA.

How about your cites? You claim that it's illegal in most states you've worked in for an employee to work 24/7/365, regardless of how many different jobs they have, whether they're exempt, whether they're unionized, and whether they are eligible for FMLA leave? Show me.

As far as having more than one job, are you saying that in neither job, there was never a day off ever?

What are you talking about? You claimed that it's illegal for a person to work all day everyday without days off. That's not the case. It's not illegal to have more than one job, and it's not illegal for an employer to never, ever give days off other than for FMLA or similar leave.

You could never take an unpaid day off? In years? Because I think that's some pretty dubious claims there too.

I'm sorry. I don't know what claim you're talking about. Can you quote the actual claim I've made when asking me about it?
posted by The World Famous at 12:31 PM on July 13, 2012


corb: "You could never take an unpaid day off? In years? Because I think that's some pretty dubious claims there too."

Despite that this has not been claimed, I've had jobs where taking an unpaid day off to go to a doctor because I was gravely ill resulted in my becoming unemployed.
posted by bilabial at 12:33 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Corb: I guess it just comes down to I really disagree with many of your assertions and how you frame things. A person who gets thrown in jail for possessing 1/2 oz of pot in VA (a felony iirc) really should not be allowed to vote again in their life? Really?
If you took the stance that, say, all violent felons should have their voting rights stripped I *may* agree with you after some thought, but a blanket stripping of rights for non-violent criminal acts is, in my opinion just asinine.


I understand the desire to keep elections clean, I absolutely do. But I would counter that we are much more likely to see election fraud in any scale that matters in the systems that are set up rather than in individuals

But, direct questions are:

How much is one fraudulent vote worth?

How much do you think States should pay to institute fair and universal ID coverage, how much outreach, mobile ID stations, extra staff should a State pay for?

Are you will to pay a higher tax rate to ensure your State has universal ID coverage?

Are laws that place additional burdens on portions of the population least able to meet those burdens "fair"?

How many people are you willing to make voting more difficult for in order to prevent 1 instance of voter fraud?

How can you guarantee voter identifications will not be forged?


I dunno Corb, I appreciate your even tone in this debate but I suspect the twain ne'er shall meet here.
posted by edgeways at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2012


Romney demands apology over Bain claims

Globe will not issue correction to Romney
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2012


Media Barred From Photographing Romney With Cheney At Fundraiser
posted by homunculus at 12:44 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


And that's why it's important to read for comprehension rather than making a quick search and feeling like you've done a good job.

This is you (emphasis mine): Again: do I think it's hard for someone working long hours to get to the DMV? Absolutely. But when people start claiming that it's physically impossible, it makes it really, really hard to take the rest of your arguments seriously.

What was that about reading comprehension? BTW, I already pointed out the problem with your alleged proof.

Not really. There are a lot of people who have agreed that felons should not be voting - as evidenced by the plethora of laws about the subject.

A lot of legislators, maybe, but they don't represent the public as a whole. Here's a study from the U of Minn (PDF) that shows 60% or more of the public believes that felons who are on probation or no longer imprisoned should have the right to vote. There's a whole other MeFi post on the prison lobby that explains this disconnect.

Multiple commenters have noted that the proportion of people who have been to jail is higher in certain minority or low-income communities, but that doesn't mean that it is unfair to prevent criminals from having undue weight in our democracy.

First of all, it's not actual criminals, it's ex-criminals. And second, no one's saying that they should be given any undue weight at all, just the same rights as the rest of us.

If anyone seems like they're making the argument that being a minority makes you more likely to be a criminal, it's people who are citing that things that affect criminals affect primarily minorities.

Ah, anothemawman, the good old reverse-racism argument. In any case, as kaspen points out the argument is not that being a minority makes you more likely to be a criminal, it's that you're more likely than others to be viewed as one by the justice system or that your actions will be viewed as such.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:51 PM on July 13, 2012


"Ah, another strawman" even.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:59 PM on July 13, 2012


Being a minority makes you more likely to be charged with and convicted of a crime.

The percentage of charges and convictions per crime actually committed is far higher for minorities in the United States than it is for non-minorities.

Or by "likely to be a criminal" were we talking only about convictions, rather than what actually makes someone a criminal, which is the act of committing a crime, whether they're caught or not?
posted by The World Famous at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2012


Did the Romney Campaign Create the Swift-Yachting Story?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:08 PM on July 13, 2012


The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing his political opponents that every breaking story about something bad the devil did was actually a carefully-orchestrated obfuscation created by the devil's own campaign team that would actually work in the devil's favor and should, therefore, be ignored.
posted by The World Famous at 1:11 PM on July 13, 2012


Or Morris dancing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2012


Heh, that title does seem weird, the article is more about how they stepped on their own rebuttal with previous claims about him being a job creator through 2002.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:22 PM on July 13, 2012


Texas voter ID law motives questioned during arguments in federal court: The department of justice maintains the law is racially motivated while defending its ban on the regulations from state's challenge
posted by homunculus at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2012


New Romney thread
posted by cashman at 1:55 PM on July 13, 2012


Mitt Romney's Signature Appears On Bain SEC Filings During Time He Said He Left Bain
Between 1999 and 2001, Mitt Romney, then the CEO of Bain Capital, signed at least six documents that the private equity firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The documents run in direct contradiction to a claim that Romney has made repeatedly: that he had nothing to do with Bain, and therefore no responsibility for Bain investments, during that period.

It's also a claim he made in August 2011 on the federal disclosure form he filed as part of his presidential bid. Romney didn't leave any wiggle room: "Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee [for the 2002 Winter Olympics]. Since February 11, 1999, Mr. Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way."

That is false.

SEC files include at least six instances of Romney signing documents after February 1999, proving -- unless the signatures were forged -- that his claim to not have "been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way" is wrong.

Most of the documents reference Romney as the "reporting person."
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on July 13, 2012


Yeah ... looks like this discussion has migrated to the new thread.
posted by ericb at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2012


Corb, I mean no offense by this, but it is apparent to me that you have little idea of the day to day difficulties of the working poor in America, much less of the homeless, and that your statements are based in well-intentioned abstract values and not the practical realities that people are attempting to spell out here.

I've been working poor, once upon a time. My family was absolutely working poor. I understand how shitty it is. I just think that if something is important enough to you, you make time and effort for it. Some of my friends are or have been homeless, and we've had long talks about it. Admittedly, these are not people who are severely mentally ill, or who have been homeless for decades - these are people who are or have been homeless for a few years. Mostly veterans, who do tend to have their shit together to a higher degree than perhaps most.

I really hate people assuming my life experiences by my political beliefs. I came from being poor and living in a ghetto, and yes, I still think voter IDs are a good idea.

It's not illegal to have more than one job, and it's not illegal for an employer to never, ever give days off other than for FMLA or similar leave.

I never said it was illegal to have more than one job. I was talking specifically in response to your statement, which I took to be about one employer working his people 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with no days off. If you can name me one instance of such an employee in the United States, who is legally currently so working, I will take a photo of myself eating a delicious hat and send it to the email of your choice.

Yeah ... looks like this discussion has migrated to the new thread.

Didn't the new thread get deleted? I saw something about it on MeTa, at least.

First of all, it's not actual criminals, it's ex-criminals.

By nature of the definition of a criminal (someone who has committed or has been convicted of a crime), there are no ex-criminals. You don't become un-guilty of the crime, or un-convicted. You are a criminal who is not currently incarcerated. You may even be a reformed criminal - a criminal who has turned his life around. But you are never an ex-criminal.
posted by corb at 4:51 PM on July 13, 2012


corb: “Didn't the new thread get deleted? I saw something about it on MeTa, at least.”

Nope, there's a new one now.

And again, I have to say – it's not about how hard or how easy it is to get an ID to vote. It's about the fact that millions of people won't. Knowing that statistical fact is why the Republican party is pushing for voter ID laws, and I assume you know that – not because it helps anybody, not because it prevents fraud (as I've said, it doesn't) but because it takes away millions of voters and thereby skews things toward the conservative side. This is patently unfair.
posted by koeselitz at 6:50 PM on July 13, 2012


So, Corb: If you were to be convicted of a crime, you're saying it would be fair that you should never be allowed to participate in the political process again?

Or is it only certain crimes?

And who gets to decide what crimes those are?

Has it dawned on you yet, that some classes of people are much more likely to be committed of crime, and would therefore be more likley to be excluded from the political process under such a regime? Or is that kind of large-scale election fraud uninteresting to you, by comparison with the extremely rare and politically inconsequential crime of voter fraud by impersonation?
posted by lodurr at 6:51 PM on July 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fox News Reporting: Stealing Your Vote

Even the crack journalistic team at Fox News can't seem to find anything more than a handful of anecdotal cases scattered across the country where Voter ID laws might have prevented false votes. The closest documented thing during the past half-century they present is a case in upstate New York where 50 fake absentee ballots were submitted for a local election.

Which made me wonder about absentee balloting. I remember seeing a page that I thought corb linked to yesterday that when I clicked through to was talking about Pennsylvania Voter ID laws and said that no ID was necessary for absentee ballots but I can't find it now. This document about Wisconsin Voter ID rules amazingly says that copies of a photo ID are necessary to vote with an absentee ballot in most cases; which seems a bit ridiculous since no one can see the voter to compare them with the photo and I wonder if this means that copies of everyone's photo ID are now available in the public records with the ballots.

There was some interesting stuff about felons voting in the Al Franken election in Minnesota but they were a little fuzzy on who the felons had voted for and weren't interested in what the actual felonies committed were that should deny these people the right to vote. Most of the Minnesota felons they did get on camera were black.

The Fox guys also didn't seem to be able to find any cases of minorities being intimidated out of voting but of course had space for a segment about the New Black Panther Party and a connected claim that the Obama administration thinks that voting rights laws are only there to protect minorities and not whites.
posted by XMLicious at 7:05 PM on July 13, 2012


Texas voter ID law poses problem for thousands
(July 13, 2012)
"This last election, in May, there were 200 votes cast for corpses, and when you have dead people casting votes, you see we have a threat to the integrity of the election system," [Attorney General Greg] Abbott said.

Abbott points to the 62 fraud cases prosecuted by his office over 10 years. But during the same time period, there were 39 million votes cast. (emphasis mine)
Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
16 states have passed restrictive voting laws that have the potential to impact the 2012 election. These states account for 214 electoral votes, or nearly 79 percent of the total needed to win the presidency. (emphasis theirs)
posted by Room 641-A at 8:06 PM on July 13, 2012


Last year I was talking to an old friend I've known since college and was surprised to find out that she's extremely conservative and a frequent, enthusiastic listener to talk radio. Amongst a bunch of other amazing ideas she expressed, when I brought up the various ways that poor and minority voters were kicked off the rolls in Florida through various forms of trickery she actually didn't deny it had happened - she instead seemed to think that it was justified because such people "just vote in their own interest, for Democrats."

This kind of blew my mind and left me stuttering in shock and I've refrained from talking to her about politics since. It's really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that someone like her - well-educated, cheerful, caring, had several mutual gay friends at college, married to a Muslim immigrant from a South Asian country - who I respect so much can view disenfranchising the "wrong" sort of people as in any way acceptable or think that it's somehow invalid for people like that, or anyone else, to vote in their own interest. And at the same time she thinks that the essential problem with Democrats and the political left is that supposedly they're the ones who want to dictate how everyone else leads their lives. The cognitive dissonance is mind-breaking.

That kind of thinking worries me a hell of alot more and is a much greater threat to our democracy than any number of felons getting to vote.
posted by XMLicious at 8:33 PM on July 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Too add to the articles above: New voting restrictions: solution to a nonproblem. [law.com]
It is no accident that Republicans have spearheaded and supported these changes, since they will have the greatest impact on poor, minority and college populations — groups that heavily supported President Obama's 2008 candidacy. For example, in 2011, seven states enacted "voter ID" laws, which exclude many types of generally available documentation like Social Security and student cards. (The Brennan Center report notes that while Texas declines to recognize student IDs, it accepts concealed-weapons licenses for voting purposes.) The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has found that in Texas Hispanic voters are much likelier than whites to lack a driver's license or other form of permissible identification.

Moreover, although Crawford v. Texas, 533 U.S. 181 (2008), mandates provision of government photo identification free of charge, if needed for voting, would-be voters must often incur supplemental costs (including travel) for items such as birth certificates required to obtain the necessary documents. The people least able to afford these expenses will often be those who, without the paperwork, have to pay them.
posted by cashman at 9:55 PM on July 13, 2012


The GOP war on Voting. (previously)
Cuts to Early Voting After the recount debacle in Florida in 2000, allowing voters to cast their ballots early emerged as a popular bipartisan reform. Early voting not only meant shorter lines on Election Day, it has helped boost turnout in a number of states – the true measure of a successful democracy. "I think it's great," Jeb Bush said in 2004. "It's another reform we added that has helped provide access to the polls and provide a convenience. And we're going to have a high voter turnout here, and I think that's wonderful."

But Republican support for early voting vanished after Obama utilized it as a key part of his strategy in 2008. Nearly 30 percent of the electorate voted early that year, and they favored Obama over McCain by 10 points. The strategy proved especially effective in Florida, where blacks outnumbered whites by two to one among early voters, and in Ohio, where Obama received fewer votes than McCain on Election Day but ended up winning by 263,000 ballots, thanks to his advantage among early voters in urban areas like Cleveland and Columbus.

That may explain why both Florida and Ohio – which now have conservative Republican governors – have dramatically curtailed early voting for 2012. Next year, early voting will be cut from 14 to eight days in Florida and from 35 to 11 days in Ohio, with limited hours on weekends. In addition, both states banned voting on the Sunday before the election – a day when black churches historically mobilize their constituents. Once again, there appears to be nothing to justify the changes other than pure politics. "There is no evidence that any form of convenience voting has led to higher levels of fraud," reports the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College.
posted by cashman at 10:13 PM on July 13, 2012


Tough ID laws could block thousands of 2012 votes
When Edward and Mary Weidenbener went to vote in Indiana's primary in May, they didn't realize that state law required them to bring government photo IDs such as a driver's license or passport.

The husband and wife, both approaching 90 years old, had to use a temporary ballot that would be verified later, even though they knew the people working the polling site that day. Unaware that Indiana law obligated them to follow up with the county election board, the Weidenbeners ultimately had their votes rejected — news to them until informed recently by an Associated Press reporter.

Edward Weidenbener, a World War II veteran who had voted for Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential contest, said he was surprised by the rules and the consequences.

"A lot of people don't have a photo ID. They'll be automatically disenfranchised," he said.
posted by cashman at 10:44 PM on July 13, 2012


FiveThirtyEight: Measuring the Effects of Voter Identification Laws
There is something of a consensus in the literature, in fact, about the rough magnitude of the effects. The stricter laws, like those that require photo identification, seem to decrease turnout by about 2 percent as a share of the registered voter population.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:05 AM on July 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The stricter laws, like those that require photo identification, seem to decrease turnout by about 2 percent as a share of the registered voter population.

But it might maybe possibly stop one possible person from voting when they shouldn't, so it's worth it. Or something.
posted by inigo2 at 7:20 AM on July 15, 2012


Knowing that statistical fact is why the Republican party is pushing for voter ID laws, and I assume you know that – not because it helps anybody, not because it prevents fraud (as I've said, it doesn't) but because it takes away millions of voters and thereby skews things toward the conservative side. This is patently unfair.

The thing is, a lot of people are linking to Republicans wanting voter ID laws for their own purposes, or pointing to efforts that Republicans take about voting, as though the fact that Republicans are doing something makes it an invalid law, or a bad law. Voter ID laws do prevent fraud, even if it is minimal. It may take away millions of voters, but voters who are clearly not enough invested in the process to bother to take the time to get an identification card. If it really mattered to them, they would find a way.

It's really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that someone like her - well-educated, cheerful, caring, had several mutual gay friends at college, married to a Muslim immigrant from a South Asian country - who I respect so much can view disenfranchising the "wrong" sort of people as in any way acceptable or think that it's somehow invalid for people like that, or anyone else, to vote in their own interest. And at the same time she thinks that the essential problem with Democrats and the political left is that supposedly they're the ones who want to dictate how everyone else leads their lives. The cognitive dissonance is mind-breaking.

But isn't this how so many people on the left think about Republicans? They think that for Republicans, particularly wealthy Republicans, to vote in their own interests and donate money to causes that further their own interests, as somehow wrong. But for Democrats, particularly poor Democrats, to vote in their own interests and donate money to causes that further their own interests, as somehow right. Now, I accept that someone can think that an enlightened citizen considers the Republic and not their own interests, and also that a citizen is entitled to vote their own interests. But if they're entitled to vote their own interests, they must be entitled in all circumstances and at all times, not just when the party is one that you agree with.
posted by corb at 9:42 PM on July 15, 2012


It may take away millions of voters, but voters who are clearly not enough invested in the process to bother to take the time to get an identification card. If it really mattered to them, they would find a way.

Yeah, right. Working poor people, for example, should have to pay and do this? In order to vote?

"if it really mattered to them"

What an ignorant and condescending thing to say.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:54 PM on July 15, 2012


I think that you have probably not met "so many" people on the left who object to wealthy individuals voting; I certainly don't and I rather doubt that any of the "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" types do. The fact that some people are willing to conspire to disenfranchise other citizens or want to donate unlimited amounts of money in secret is pretty good evidence that they aren't simply seeking to participate in government; they're manipulating democracy to ensure that every deck in society is stacked in their favor.

I don't believe Mitt Romney when people criticize him for paying who-knows-how-little-in-taxes and he throws his hands up and says "I'm just following the law! I've got nothing to do with taxes being so low!" and I don't believe you when you say that in pursuing kicking millions of Americans off the voting rolls you're just working in the best interests of the Republic.
posted by XMLicious at 10:21 PM on July 15, 2012


I think that you have probably not met "so many" people on the left who object to wealthy individuals voting; I certainly don't and I rather doubt that any of the "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" types do.

I work in the nonprofit-industrial-complex. I assure you, there are plenty of people who are furious at Republicans voting in their own interests.

The fact that some people are willing to conspire to disenfranchise other citizens or want to donate unlimited amounts of money in secret is pretty good evidence that they aren't simply seeking to participate in government; they're manipulating democracy to ensure that every deck in society is stacked in their favor.

A serious question: what do you view as the difference between a poor voter giving $20 for the "cause" and a wealthy donor giving $20,000 for the "cause"?
posted by corb at 10:25 PM on July 15, 2012


A serious question: what do you view as the difference between a poor voter giving $20 for the "cause" and a wealthy donor giving $20,000 for the "cause"?

A serious answer: Too much money corrupts the political process. Wealthy donors have undue influence over policy. I'd love nothing more than to see an absolute, rigid and enforced law put into place that limits donations by individuals to political campaigns to something around 100 dollars. Evening out the playing field is precisely what's needed in what's become an insane and bloated money game masquerading as democracy. Most of the numbers here are wildly out of reach of lower income (and many "middle class") people in the US.

Otherwise, corb, I notice you've left my query just upthread unanswered. Either you're pondering a response, or can we assume you think it's fine that poor people should have to pay to vote?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:34 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being furious at someone is NOT by any means the same thing as saying it's okay to actively prevent them from trying to vote. It's pretty obvious from how carefully you've worded this that you know your "the left is totally the same, therefore it's justified" act is a load of crap.

If wealthy people were the victims of a campaign to prevent them from voting I would quite readily call for the perpetrators to be thrown in jail - and I think that would be a hell of alot more likely to happen if the victims were wealthy.

That's an awfully odd question to ask seriously in response to a comment about conspiring to disenfranchise people when I didn't say anything that would indicate any objection on my part to $20,000 donations. I think you're asking that question rhetorically rather than seriously.
posted by XMLicious at 10:40 PM on July 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being furious at someone is NOT by any means the same thing as saying it's okay to actively prevent them from trying to vote. It's pretty obvious from how carefully you've worded this that you know your "the left is totally the same, therefore it's justified" act is a load of crap.


Well, technically I know people who argue that the rich should be lined up against a wall and shot, with their property redistributed, so yes, I would consider that to be actively wanting to prevent people from voting, given that it's kind of hard to vote after you're dead. I didn't mention that, but I assure you, it wasn't because I was trying to avoid being fair to the people that talk about this.

That's an awfully odd question to ask seriously in response to a comment about conspiring to disenfranchise people when I didn't say anything that would indicate any objection on my part to $20,000 donations. I think you're asking that question rhetorically rather than seriously.

You argued that people donating unlimited amounts of money should be taken as evidence that they don't want to partipate in government. The $20,000 was just an arbitrary number: what I really meant was, "Why do you feel people with larger than (your standard for normal) donations should not be able to donate while still participating? And do you consider the same thing for those who make small donations?"
posted by corb at 10:52 PM on July 15, 2012



Otherwise, corb, I notice you've left my query just upthread unanswered. Either you're pondering a response, or can we assume you think it's fine that poor people should have to pay to vote?

Actually, I flagged it, because I considered your second half a personal attack, thus the nonresponse.
posted by corb at 10:52 PM on July 15, 2012


Well, technically I know people who argue that the rich should be lined up against a wall and shot, with their property redistributed, so yes, I would consider that to be actively wanting to prevent people from voting, given that it's kind of hard to vote after you're dead. I didn't mention that, but I assure you, it wasn't because I was trying to avoid being fair to the people that talk about this.

So your idea of being fair in this discussion was to actually be comparing my friend's views to some people you know who you regard as would-be murderers, but pretend that you were talking about an attitude that "so many" people on the left take?

You argued that people donating unlimited amounts of money should be taken as evidence that they don't want to partipate in government.

I doubt you missed that I referred to donating unlimited amounts of money in secret. I'd be happy to respond even to your supposedly serious counterargument to this rephrased version of my words if you answer your own question first: what do you view as the difference between a poor voter giving $20 for the "cause" and a wealthy donor giving $20,000 for the "cause"? If you found yourself in a property dispute with a neighbor and discovered that the neighbor had given $20,000 donations to members of the town planning commission and to the campaigns of all the local judges you might find yourself in court before - either in secret or otherwise - would your sense of fairness find this unremarkable?
posted by XMLicious at 11:40 PM on July 15, 2012


So your idea of being fair in this discussion was to actually be comparing my friend's views to some people you know who you regard as would-be murderers, but pretend that you were talking about an attitude that "so many" people on the left take?

Well, to be fair, I assume they're talking a big game and have no intentions of actually lining people up against the wall, certainly not of doing it themselves. Which I assume is the case with your friend. She may talk a great game about how people who vote for their own interests shouldn't be allowed to vote, much like a lot of New Yorkers talk about how anyone south of the Mason-Dixon line shouldn't be allowed to vote. But when it comes to actually taking those people's votes away, or lining people up, I assume those folks would be missing in action.

Neither you nor I have any idea what most people on the left would do if they had the ability to people on the right. There's no data but anecdata. So I give you my anecdata - which comes from an activist world in the trenches - and you give me your anecdata, which comes from wherever you inhabit. That doesn't make either of it wrong, persay, but it does mean that there's a wide variety of opinions.

I doubt you missed that I referred to donating unlimited amounts of money in secret. I'd be happy to respond even to your supposedly serious counterargument to this rephrased version of my words if you answer your own question first: what do you view as the difference between a poor voter giving $20 for the "cause" and a wealthy donor giving $20,000 for the "cause"?

I view absolutely no difference between them. I support either allowing no donations for political candidates, on the basis that it's influencing the candidates, or allowing unlimited donations. I don't think the difference in scale radically alters the structure of the transaction. It's the old, "Madam, we've already established what you are; now we're haggling about price" anecdote all over again. If lending money to a political campaign is bribing a public official, then it should be verboten at all levels; if not, then it is perfectly acceptable and should be so at all levels.

Nor, in response to your idea that I left out the "secret" bit in purpose, do I think it matters if these donations are public or private. It doesn't functionally alter the nature of the transaction.
posted by corb at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2012


We aren't simply talking about anecdata. You are saying that you will gladly "take away millions of voters" to prevent "minimal" fraud, "even one person" from voting illegally and when I told my anecdote you began defending the idea of trying win politically by attempting to disenfranchise one's political opponents.

I don't see why you would have waited until now to say "oh, it must have been a joke" - I don't think it was and I don't believe you think so either. I think that you actually don't object to tactics like this and the only reason you're trying to dissemble now is because at this point it's completely obvious how full of crap you are in trying to draw a false equivalency between engineering ways to prevent poor people and minorities from voting and limiting lobbying expenditures or campaign contributions.

If you think that corruption is endemic and that any monetary donation to a candidate is inevitably a "perfectly acceptable" quid pro quo transaction in exchange for influence then you have made the argument in favor of limiting donations for me. If money was the only thing that could be traded for political influence I would agree that completely eliminating donations would level the playing field, but it wouldn't. In any case "any limitation of the amount of political influence the wealthy can buy with cash justifies eliminating the franchise of poor and minority voters" is ridiculous and the readiness with which you resort to rhetorical gambits like this demonstrates how unAmerican and morally bankrupt the position you're coming from is.
posted by XMLicious at 12:46 AM on July 16, 2012


When did I say it was a joke? I didn't. I think it's a lot of "sound and fury, signifying nothing" when people who do not actually have the power to enforce their desires talk about how much they would like to limit the ability of other people to vote. If you were talking about politicians from either side talking about these desires, it'd be much more serious.

Limiting, but not eliminating, campaign expenditures, is in fact an attempt to stop the full exercise of liberty, because it's allowing one class of people the ability to make financial expenditures proportionate to their disposable income, and not another class of people. It's essentially saying, "If you're poor, you get to bribe officials, but not if you're rich."

However, it is interesting that you're resorting to the old "You're unAmerican" gambit so soon. It's a really tired, overused, and effectively meaningless insult.

But I'll bite. What, to you, is American?
posted by corb at 1:02 AM on July 16, 2012


Actually, I flagged it, because I considered your second half a personal attack, thus the nonresponse.

Your flag was an erroneous one, then. Because you failed to notice that I characterized your comment as ignorant and condescending. I didn't say that you were ignorant and condescending. That's a key point and distinction that you'd do well to recognize if you're actually interested in honest debate here at Mefi and elsewhere in your life.

But now that I've enlightened you as to the difference, perhaps you'de care to respond. Oh, and to the other comment that followed, as well? I think you'd have a bit of a hard time making a convincing argument against my points, so I'm interested to see if you have the intellectual rigor to do so, and not, simply, to mischaracterize my comment as a personal attack.

Otherwise, yeah, here's another:

It's essentially saying, "If you're poor, you get to bribe officials, but not if you're rich."

Nobody gets "bribed" by a hundred dollars. If a hundred dollars comes into a politician's campaign coffers ten thousand times, that's one person speaking ten thousand times. That's what a politician is supposed to take notice of. The numbers of people, not the numbers of dollars. Politicians, ARE, however, bribed by extremely large amounts of money dropped into their bank accounts by wealthy and economically powerful donors.

So now that's three talking points of yours that I've addressed! Corb, I'd be very, very interested to hear you honestly tackle each one.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:16 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Equality before the law is American and even you seem to acknowledge that the Constitution guarantees a republican form of government, not an aristocracy or plutocracy. You are saying that wealthy people must have a greater ability than everyone else to influence government with money proportionate to their wealth and if only the wealthy can afford ways to advance their causes through means more indirect than cash then tough luck for the other voters and citizens.

If you think it's meaningless to say that goes against the founding principles of this country you've been studying the civics and history of a different place. If you want to propose that it's an extremely American and morally right notion for the wealthiest to get the most effective representation and the greatest amount of influence over the government go ahead and make your case, don't try to avoid it by pretending that my criticism of these values has anything to do with you personally. If someone said that the United States should be ruled by a monarchy I hope that you would at least be able to concede that as antithetical to American principles.

We are talking about actually arranging for people to be unable to vote when they come to the polls, both here and in my anecdote. There is no issue of unenforceable desires as in your covert attempted analogy with discussions about political murder of all rich people. And I have no idea what you're trying to convey by saying that it's less serious if private citizens do it instead of politicians.
posted by XMLicious at 2:39 AM on July 16, 2012


My own comment:

that's one person speaking ten thousand times.

I realized that, logically, I should've characterized that as "ten thousand people, each speaking once". The wealthy donor (or, one might say, briber) who donates 10,000 big ones would be more accurately characterized as "one person speaking ten thousand times".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:42 AM on July 16, 2012


Nobody gets "bribed" by a hundred dollars. If a hundred dollars comes into a politician's campaign coffers ten thousand times, that's one person speaking ten thousand times. That's what a politician is supposed to take notice of. The numbers of people, not the numbers of dollars. Politicians, ARE, however, bribed by extremely large amounts of money dropped into their bank accounts by wealthy and economically powerful donors.

Actually, yes, some people do get bribed by a hundred dollars. I've seen it happen. What you're arguing is that politicians don't get bribed by a hundred dollars. But in fact, they do frequently get bribed by that hundred dollars, reproduced a thousand times. A politician may be "supposed" to take note of the numbers of people, but they rarely do. They're often thinking of numbers on a ledger. Your belief that it's okay to bribe politicians with a hundred dollars in a campaign, when they could not accept such cash handed to them after the election, is flawed.

Equality before the law is American and even you seem to acknowledge that the Constitution guarantees a republican form of government, not an aristocracy or plutocracy. You are saying that wealthy people must have a greater ability than everyone else to influence government with money proportionate to their wealth and if only the wealthy can afford ways to advance their causes through means more indirect than cash then tough luck for the other voters and citizens.

If you think it's meaningless to say that goes against the founding principles of this country you've been studying the civics and history of a different place.


I actually think a strong case could be made that no one should be allowed to donate to campaigns whatsoever, because it is bribery. I think a stronger case could be made for that than for the idea that somehow, it's only bribery over a certain limit that is wrong. I hardly think that the idea that no one should be allowed to bribe is un-American, do you really?

Also, the recent decision in Citizens United means that the arbiters of the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, have decreed that spending a lot of money in order to influence races is perfectly Constitutional (and thus American).

I think you'd have a bit of a hard time making a convincing argument against my points, so I'm interested to see if you have the intellectual rigor to do so, and not, simply, to mischaracterize my comment as a personal attack.

Try making one devoid of any personal rancor, and we'll see.
posted by corb at 6:46 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, yes, some people do get bribed by a hundred dollars. I've seen it happen.

Seen it happen, eh? Next time try a thousand, it gets even better! ;-)

Try making one devoid of any personal rancor, and we'll see.

Yeah, sure. I said what I had to say about your "personal rancor" schtick. You're clearly showing yourself as unwilling and most likely unable to defend your points. Metafilter deserves better than what you're offering. What you've said so far in this thread is utterly unconvincing and now you're clinging to this strawman and using it as an excuse to not defend your points. Very tiresome. Done with you. Bye.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:54 AM on July 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually think a strong case could be made that no one should be allowed to donate to campaigns whatsoever, because it is bribery. I think a stronger case could be made for that than for the idea that somehow, it's only bribery over a certain limit that is wrong. I hardly think that the idea that no one should be allowed to bribe is un-American, do you really?

If you're going to keep chucking out what I actually say and replacing it with your own straw man made from scratch could you drop the double negatives? It's not going to fool anyone, it just makes your writing annoying to read.

Also, the recent decision in Citizens United means that the arbiters of the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, have decreed that spending a lot of money in order to influence races is perfectly Constitutional (and thus American).

I think you probably do not consider 5-4 or even more unanimous decisions of the Supreme Court the final word on what's American most of the time, or even Constitutional, except when it serves your rhetorical purposes. Much less the final word on what's moral, although I note that you've refrained from addressing that issue.

I also am pretty sure that, as I said above, your enthusiasm for unlimited campaign contributions as fairer than parity of influence would vanish in a puff of smoke if you found yourself in front of an elected judge with an opponent of significantly greater means than you.

But entertaining as all this sophistry and word-juggling is, no matter how many knots you tie yourself in trying to work up righteous indignation about a desire for the wealthy to be brought down to the same level as other citizens when contributing to political campaigns it is not a remotely parallel situation to nor does it in any way justify trying to prevent other Americans from duly electing their representatives for your own political advantage, no matter how poor or marginalized those voters are.
posted by XMLicious at 8:58 AM on July 16, 2012


Here's what I'm talking about...

"A tiny number of Americans -- .26 percent -- give more than $200 to a congressional campaign. .05 percent give the maximum amount to any congressional candidate. .01 percent give more than $10,000 in any election cycle. And .000063 percent -- 196 Americans -- have given more than 80 percent of the super-PAC money spent in the presidential elections so far."

-Big Campaign Spending: Government by the 1% (from the Atlantic)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:28 AM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


On a lighter note, and related to the original thread, here's the Obamas being booed at a sports game last night.

SPOILER: It's not for the reasons you might think, and there's a twist at the end.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:46 AM on July 17, 2012


Limiting, but not eliminating, campaign expenditures, is in fact an attempt to stop the full exercise of liberty, because it's allowing one class of people the ability to make financial expenditures proportionate to their disposable income

There is no right to political speech proportional to one's disposal income in the constitution. At all.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Woman cut twice from voter rolls is dead certain she's alive.

The latest "To Whom It May Concern" certified letter arrived last Friday from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. "This letter is to inform you that the person named above has been removed from the Orange County vote rolls after we received notification of their death."

"I opened it up, I cried," Smith said.

They were tears of frustration.
-
Constance S. Smith, 61, of College Park, had been left for dead before; she got a similar letter in 2008.

She said it took her six months to clear that up, even as other government agencies picked up on word of her demise. The Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles invalidated her driver license. Then the Social Security Administration asked her family about reports of her death.

Ultimately, she had to get the Florida Department of Health to send her a "non-death" certificate she could show other agencies. It states there is no record of her death.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


fuiousxgeorge, thanks for illustrating the human cost of fucking with people's lives in order to prevent a few minor offenses to ideological propriety.
posted by lodurr at 5:25 AM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


To be fair, the whole "the government thought you were dead" happens with a lot more things than voter rolls. The VA does it a lot, as do drivers' license agencies, I believe. So, awful story, but I don't think that's the fault of pro-active voter identification tightening.
posted by corb at 8:30 AM on July 18, 2012


NPR: Study: Many Could Face Obstacles In Voter ID Laws

Link to the study, from the Brennan Center for Justice
Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.

The 11 percent of eligible voters who lack the required photo ID must travel to a designated government office to obtain one. Yet many citizens will have trouble making this trip. In the 10 states with restrictive voter ID laws:

Nearly 500,000 eligible voters do not have access to a vehicle and live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office. Many of them live in rural areas with dwindling public transportation options.
More than 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest state ID-issuing office.
1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office. People of color are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws since they are less likely to have photo ID than the general population.
Many ID-issuing offices maintain limited business hours. For example, the office in Sauk City, Wisconsin is open only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. But only four months in 2012 — February, May, August, and October — have five Wednesdays. In other states — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas — many part-time ID-issuing offices are in the rural regions with the highest concentrations of people of color and people in poverty.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:11 AM on July 18, 2012


So, awful story, but I don't think that's the fault of pro-active voter identification tightening.

Nevertheless, it is one commonly-cited consequence of the 'stop voter impersonation at all costs' approach that you've advocated. This is the kind of thing you've got to be prepared to create. And it's not just this, it's people being incorrectly identified as felons (happened a lot in the Florida purges), which can have some severe consequences (lost job opportunities, higher insurance premiums, social costs, and of course the all-important right to vote).

It's also kind of ironic that you elevate the right to vote so such a high plane but are so willing -- nay, seemingly eager -- to take it away. The logic fails to impress me -- why is blocking thousands of legitimate voters from casting a ballot a worthwhile price to pay for the gain of blocking one illegitimate voter from casting a ballot? The accounting, to say the least, is a bit flawed.
posted by lodurr at 6:04 AM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


And forget about the simplistic cost:benefit of the number of legit voters blocked (lots) versus illegit voters blocked (very, very few) -- what about the simple fact that voter roll purges, which almost invariably go hand in hand with voter ID pushes*, more or less inevitably deprive significant numbers of citizens of their "inalienable" civil liberties?

--
*Almost invariably, though there's no inherent connection between the two. Enough to make one question the motives of the voter ID advocates....
posted by lodurr at 7:32 AM on July 19, 2012


Mitt Romney flew in his own blacks.
posted by Talez at 7:46 AM on July 19, 2012


Poll: Racial resentment tied to voter ID support (note: this seems to be a different poll than the Brennan one a few posts back)
posted by zombieflanders at 8:42 AM on July 19, 2012


It's also kind of ironic that you elevate the right to vote so such a high plane but are so willing -- nay, seemingly eager -- to take it away.

Actually, at first glance it might *seem* ironic, but you add up all the comments in this thread that this person has posted, and it's pretty obvious: we're talking about a conservative here who, with everything she says, makes it clear that she is really pretty much fine with poor people at the margins of society having much less say in their governing than people with money. She is, simply, on the side of the Republicans who want to push this through. The "right to vote" isn't, in reality, on any kind of "high plane" at all with this person. My direct queries to her concerning these points went conspicuously unanswered. She couldn't answer them honestly, so she didn't.

It's really neither mysterious nor ironic.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:49 AM on July 19, 2012


Mitt Romney flew in his own blacks.

Not surprising at all. See the last minute of the 2nd link in this FPP.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:53 AM on July 19, 2012


Rick Perry Accuses Attorney General Holder Of Intentionally Inciting Racial Tensions
posted by homunculus at 10:59 AM on July 19, 2012


It's also kind of ironic that you elevate the right to vote so such a high plane but are so willing -- nay, seemingly eager -- to take it away. The logic fails to impress me -- why is blocking thousands of legitimate voters from casting a ballot a worthwhile price to pay for the gain of blocking one illegitimate voter from casting a ballot? The accounting, to say the least, is a bit flawed.

Actually, at first glance it might *seem* ironic, but you add up all the comments in this thread that this person has posted, and it's pretty obvious: we're talking about a conservative here who, with everything she says, makes it clear that she is really pretty much fine with poor people at the margins of society having much less say in their governing than people with money.


Nothing improves the quality of discourse like assumptions about other people's motivations.

As I've said: I do believe that voting is extremely important - for individuals, so that they can have a voice in their society. I think that individuals should be willing to prioritize said voting.

Personally? If I had to walk ten miles to sign up to vote, I would. (And yes, I've walked at least ten miles before, before anyone starts accusing me of never having experienced this. Also been poor, for what that's worth.) No one has shown me that legitimate voters are actually being prevented from voting - simply that legitimate voters often have more hurdles to overcome before they do vote. And the fact that there are hurdles to a vote does not necessarily mean that the vote is invalid - because the people who are invested in voting, and by extension, their country, will find a way to make it happen. People who are invested enough in voting to clear obstacles are also going to be people who are invested enough in voting to look into the options, rather than blindly pulling the "R" or "D" lever. People who are invested enough in voting and invested in their country are going to try to think about their decisions.

Being invested in your country isn't a rich/poor thing. I know poor people who are extremely invested and rich people who are extremely not-invested - and of course vice versa. I know people who would sacrifice for their country and people who think nothing of it.

Actually, the people I've known in my life who have been willing to sacrifice the most for their country, and endure the most obstacles and suffering in order to engage in its democracy and to protect it, have tended to be low-income or middle-class. Those are the people I do want voting, whether they vote for me or against me. The people who know about their country and care about their country.

I suppose that's another reason that I don't really care about making it extremely easy to vote. When you start holding people's hands in order to get them to the polls, you get voters who needed to have their hands held to get them there. Voters who wouldn't bother to come unless someone else drove them, or registered them, or told them that they needed to. Those people tend not to know much about the choices they're making, and their votes still impact the entire country.
posted by corb at 11:14 AM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


(For example, I would support a Starship Troopers- style system, where only people willing to contribute national service (military or otherwise) were eligible to vote. Such a system would not favor the rich, but I think it would be entirely just.)
posted by corb at 11:14 AM on July 19, 2012


So just to be clear, you're still OK with disenfranchising thousands of legitimate voters if that's what it takes to keep one illegitimate voter from voting? And you see no conflict between that and placing a high value on people's right to vote?
posted by lodurr at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2012


corb: “People who are invested enough in voting and invested in their country are going to try to think about their decisions.’

What you're saying here seems to be that you believe that the constitution is absolutely wrong in its guarantee of voting as a basic right of citizenship. Which is fine; but if you're so invested in that view, you need to amend the constitution before attempting to ram it down the throats of the citizenry.
posted by koeselitz at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's fine that you'd like people to be "invested" in voting; it's fine that you think they should take citizenship tests, or walk ten miles, or whatever it is to prove to you that they're good enough to vote. That is a legitimate thing to believe. The tiny, essential detail is that it's not a constitutional doctrine. In fact, the constitution explicitly does not require such things. The constitution respects the citizenry enough to make an assumption of competence and investment, and to insist that all people should get a say in their society, not just those who've proven themselves.

What you're describing isn't democracy; it's oligarchy. And I think oligarchy can work. I think it's funny that you brought up Starship Troopers – although I have a feeling you're aware of the humor in that – but Starship Troopers was, let's not forget, a quite earnest proposal when Heinlein wrote it.

The thing is that the United States is not supposed to be an oligarchy. It's supposed to be a democracy. It's not an elite few who have proven themselves who have a say in government; it's all citizens. You may dislike that, and I can even imagine an argument to the effect that democracy is a terrible way to set things up. However, that's how this system is set up.

And until the constitution is amended to change this – an amendment which would, by the way, fundamentally change the character of our nation – all citizens have the right to vote.
posted by koeselitz at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2012


No one has shown me that legitimate voters are actually being prevented from voting

Seriously, what counts as evidence to you? Ten posts above yours is a link to a story of exactly that, which you acknowledged as being something that happens.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2012


No one has shown me that legitimate voters are actually being prevented from voting

NO ONE HAS SHOWN THE FRAUD HAPPENING EITHER.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:56 PM on July 19, 2012


The only plausible explanation for the fact that no one has shown her legitimate voters being prevented from voting is a refusal on her part to believe the evidence she's been presented with.
posted by lodurr at 2:11 PM on July 19, 2012


No, what she means when she says that no voters are being prevented from voting is that they could vote if they really wanted to. There are hairs being split there that aren't worth splitting, I think, but let's be clear on what corb actually means.
posted by koeselitz at 2:15 PM on July 19, 2012


right, of course they could get that record corrected that identifies them as dead or a felon or a permanent resident of another state.
posted by lodurr at 2:16 PM on July 19, 2012


Imagine you’re nearly 100 years old and you’ve voted in almost every election since casting a ballot for Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. You’re a fully registered voter and your tattered, dog-earned registration card has always allowed you access to your constitutional right to decide which public servants should be your representatives at all levels of government.

You’re 94 years old. You don’t drive. And you live more than a dozen miles from the nearest government services office. And now, in your home state of Pennsylvania, Republican leaders (who have admitted to conspiring to disenfranchise Democratic voters) have passed a law mandating that you somehow have to attain a government identification card if you’d like to vote again.
-
“How would I get there and how would I manage to stand in a line?” says Bookler, who uses a walker. She says she can barely make it to the polling place next door to her retirement community. She also doesn’t understand why she has to go to all this trouble in the first place. She already has a voter registration card.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:55 PM on July 20, 2012


Out of curiousity:

Everyone here who is arguing that too-restrictive limits are being placed on individuals' constitutional right to vote, by virtue of having to provide photo identification:

Do you feel the same way about restrictive limits being placed on individuals' consitutional right to own guns?
posted by corb at 6:15 PM on July 20, 2012


Gun crime actually exists.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously corn? Racist voter disenfranchisment bullshit isn't going over well and you want to use that tragedy to promote it? Seriously? That's sick.
posted by Artw at 6:32 PM on July 20, 2012


Do you feel the same way about restrictive limits being placed on individuals' consitutional right to own guns?

And abortion, let's not forget that. Maybe we can rope gay marriage into this segue as well? Downloading MP3s? Have we already included this stuff?
posted by rhizome at 7:12 PM on July 20, 2012


Do you feel the same way about restrictive limits being placed on individuals' consitutional right to own guns?

My eyes just rolled so hard they almost fell out of my head.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, really. Can we all just admit now that we're being trolled? And stop feeding this particular one? Cause it's just moved beyond the proverbial pale.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:31 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously corn? Racist voter disenfranchisment bullshit isn't going over well and you want to use that tragedy to promote it? Seriously? That's sick.

The only relation to the tragedy is that I noticed the irony of a lot of people arguing that it's completely OK to actually stop people from exercising their Second Amendment rights, while others here were arguing that voting is so important that it's not even okay to ask for a photo identification card. I was wondering how much overlap there was.

But go ahead, feel free to prove me wrong.
posted by corb at 9:16 PM on July 20, 2012


Where in that thread are a lot of people arguing that it's completely okay to actually stop people from exercising their Second Amendment rights?
posted by argonauta at 9:45 PM on July 20, 2012


You should engage those people specifically in MeMail. Generalizing into the entire userbase of MetaFilter into a good idea.

It leads people to think you're shit-stirring for shit-stirring's sake, which is the hallmark of a troll.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:54 PM on July 20, 2012


*generalizing into the entire userbase of Metafilter IS NOT a good idea.*
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:55 PM on July 20, 2012


[Yeah, no. This won't become another gun control thread, and dragging arguments from one thread to another isn't okay.]
posted by taz at 10:13 PM on July 20, 2012


Where in that thread are a lot of people arguing that it's completely okay to actually stop people from exercising their Second Amendment rights?

I think corb's assuming her interpretation of law is the only correct one. So any interpretation of the second amendment which places any more constraint than hers does, would be equivalent to it being completely OK to stop people from exercising their right.

I suspect she's also using this as a distraction to keep us from noticing that she hasn't addressed the inconsistency in her own position -- that is, the fact that she so rigidly cherishes voting rights, yet is so willing to take them away.
posted by lodurr at 3:04 AM on July 21, 2012


Perhaps we could also start licensing printing presses and requiring the registration of every blogger's real name like in China, for exercise of the First Amendment.

People haven't been saying that under no circumstances at all should there be voter ID requirements that would constrain the exercise of rights in a fashion similar to the mandates for serial numbers on guns and gun licenses; what we need is to ensure that any ID system doesn't substantially prevent people from being able to vote when they show up at the polls. We need to invest in things like ID-issuing offices being available in every county in every state and proactively ensure that every citizen has one of these forms of ID.

The reason why this makes no difference to the conservative advocates of voter ID laws - the reason why they effectively say "I would be willing to do anything to prevent even one illegal vote, anything except ensuring that every citizen has the requisite ID first" is that doing so would obviate the entire purpose of the voter ID campaign, which is to interfere with the votes of their political opponents. If they made certain that everyone had the ID first - even, say, ensured that everyone had gun licenses - then the laws wouldn't provide the hindrance to certain demographics voting which is the entire objective.
posted by XMLicious at 6:36 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


XMLicious, you know, I'm pretty sure you're right about the reason these laws have been sponsored and the sub rosa motivation of most of their supporters. But we still need to make the cases, spell out the arguments, and expose the inconsistencies, because if the argument becomes all about "well they're secret racists" or "they just want to disenfranchise democrats," all they've got to do is deny it to cover their asses in the public.
posted by lodurr at 7:05 AM on July 21, 2012


Whether it's general craven turpitude (which would be my guess, I would expect that any racial dimension is instrumental here though still important) or racism or any other reason that's behind it, if the proponents of voting ID laws really cherish the right of voting so much and aren't trying to alter the balance of legitimate votes in elections then they should have no problem with working toward the end of making sure that everyone has the requisite ID first. That should be a goal which both sides can enthusiastically work towards.
posted by XMLicious at 7:20 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect she's also using this as a distraction to keep us from noticing that she hasn't addressed the inconsistency in her own position -- that is, the fact that she so rigidly cherishes voting rights, yet is so willing to take them away.

There is no inconsistency. I cherish the right to vote, and cherish people who value their votes and take them seriously as informed citizens in a democracy.

I do not view it as "taking votes away" to require said informed citizens to be willing to do minimal due diligence to prove they are who they say they are.

Other things people are required to provide photo identification for: a bank account, money transfers, cashing checks, paying governmental fines and fees, driving, traveling across borders, buying beer and/or cigarettes, concealed carry permits.

Are all of those perceived to have secret agendas by forcing people to identify themselves?
posted by corb at 12:08 PM on July 22, 2012


I do not view it as "taking votes away" to require said informed citizens to be willing to do minimal due diligence to prove they are who they say they are.

Except that, as has been demonstrated, the due diligence required is far from minimal for the population that's most strongly affected.

Other things people are required to provide photo identification for: a bank account, money transfers, cashing checks, paying governmental fines and fees, driving, traveling across borders, buying beer and/or cigarettes, concealed carry permits.

Are you serisously proposing those as equivalences? You have noticed that none of those things are constituionally guaranteed civil rights here in the US? And that most of them are in response to clear, obvious and significant risks -- something you have completely failed to establish with regard to the extremely rare and, statistically speaking, nigh-undetectable crime of in-person voter impersonation?
posted by lodurr at 12:52 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem, another that you've chosen to ignore, is that "minimal due diligence" is becoming harder and harder to achieve through these laws. They force the initial costs higher while removing access and ease of use. If you require ID to drive yet live many miles away from the nearest place that can issue you that ID, how are you supposed to get there in the first place? If you need access to government documents but are unable to provide evidence because they require other government documents, where do you go. If you aren't provided information on the registration process to start with, how are you supposed to know what to do and who to contact for that, not to mention what happens when those rights are taken away in error?

And while you're so gung-ho about citizens being required to do their due diligence, you're conspicuously silent on the government doing theirs. You're willing to let Florida kick people off the voter rolls and require them to be tied up in bureaucracy for months at their cost in time in money (neither of which they may have in abundance). You're willing to let Texas restrict the availability of registration to business hours on weekdays and only in select areas. It's a system that's actively discouraging people to vote, and if you truly "cherished" the right to vote, you would be in support of ways to make that easier rather than harder, and would be pushing for the government to do what they can to retain those rights for citizens who have already. I'm not seeing any of that, and that's the problem.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:01 PM on July 22, 2012


Are all of those perceived to have secret agendas by forcing people to identify themselves?

No, those are overt agendas, because people intentionally misidentifying themselves to obtain access to other peoples' bank accounts or represent themselves as being of legal age to buy beer are things that actually happen and happen all the time. It's trying to turn away voters from the polls, with no interest about how many legitimate votes that will affect nor interest in approaches that would certify voters' identities without risk of disenfranchising citizens but with more up-front effort on the part of the rest of society, when there isn't actually any problem anyways with people misidentifying themselves in order to vote, that makes it obvious that there is an agenda other than the stated one at work here.

An agenda that isn't very secret with conservatives openly saying that voter ID laws are what "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania". Yes, we know that you cherish particular voters' rights over others.
posted by XMLicious at 1:01 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


corb:
I do not view it as "taking votes away" to require said informed citizens to be willing to do minimal due diligence to prove they are who they say they are.

And yet that's exactly what the result would be! And "due diligence," in our poor educational system which doesn't always do a good job of teaching civics, is a lot more obscure to some people than you suspect. (At least, if I am charitable about your motives.)

This is anecdotal, but... when I was back at the Christian Private School, I actually heard someone once unironically say we should go back to the property-owning requirement for voting. He seemed to think this would mean you'd get a more informed class of voter, without even stopping to think that this would mean you'd prioritize the wants of people who owned property with those without it.

This is true every time you restrict voting rights in any way at all, and is almost a mathematical property of voting systems. Since children can't vote, children don't have as many rights as they'd otherwise have. Of course I'd say that (young enough) children don't understand laws and bills so it's not necessarily a good idea that they should vote -- but understand it's an adult saying this, and there are sufficiently advanced children who might think differently. And in a more practical sphere, this mode of thinking would explain something about our hellish prison system, since felons are denied voting rights in our system.

The thing is, if you restrict the vote only to a subset of people, then you are essentially saying that the opinions that correlate with that subset are the only ones that matter, and any time that doesn't match with the state of the world you are going to have distortions in the representation of the public will. To have the most vibrant voting system possible you have to have the widest body of experiences represented, to get the opinions of everyone who has skin in the game.
posted by JHarris at 2:59 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


And "due diligence," in our poor educational system which doesn't always do a good job of teaching civics, is a lot more obscure to some people than you suspect. (At least, if I am charitable about your motives.)

I think one of the problems is that I, and some others, want a host of things to happen. A comprehensive plan for how to move forward in the best interests of the nation. And some of that does involve teaching civics effectively in the classrooms again, among other things. Some of that involves improved voter access. Some of that involves more liberties. Some of that involves less taxes. Some of it involves more "skin in the game."

But nobody ever, whoever they are, gets to push an entire package. The best that people can do is try to find pieces of the package, and push them through one at a time. And then that action is viewed through a prism, and inspected in a vaccuum.

And these things are impacted all the time by other people pushing in other things and in other directions.

For example: on the Voter ID thing, a lot was made about why people didn't allow college IDs to be used, when they did allow concealed carry permits to be used. I myself wish that multiple methods of photo identification were allowed. But the thing is, you have to demonstrate citizenship in order to get a concealed carry permit, while the same is no longer true of a college ID. So having a college ID doesn't automatically mean you're entitled to vote. People who were very well meaning pushed for illegals aliens to be admitted to college - but then the dilution of access meant that college IDs no longer meant what they once did.
posted by corb at 6:57 PM on July 22, 2012


You do not have to be an undocumented immigrant to both have a college ID and be ineligible to vote. You can't justify corrupt antidemocratic behavior by blaming illegals illegal aliens any more than you can by saying "well you have to get a gun license to bear arms" or by talking about how "so many" on the left want to slaughter every rich person and consequently prevent them from voting. These are red herrings.
posted by XMLicious at 11:07 PM on July 22, 2012


Do We Need a New Voting Rights Act?

Key grafs pointing out how it's more about inconvenience, choking the system, and blocking certain demographics than fixing fraud; including racial bias:
While the Bush administration's Department of Justice approved Georgia's strict voter-ID law—which became a national model—under Obama, the DOJ has blocked Texas and South Carolina from implementing theirs, finding them to have a discriminatory effect. (Decisions on Mississippi and Alabama's laws are still pending.) Thanks to the proceedings, we've learned a lot more about the impact of these laws. Documents from Texas revealed that Hispanic registered voters were between 47 and 120 percent more likely to lack the necessary ID, while in South Carolina, minorities were almost 20 percent more likely to have no government-issued identification.
Preclearance:
In recent years, ten states have passed strict voter-ID laws which require a voter to show government-issued identification to vote and will likely prevent hundreds of thousands from voting. But of those ten, only five require preclearance. Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin all got to enact their versions of these laws without any say from the feds. Across all of them, the impacts are similarly devastating for poor and non-white populations.
More racial bias and costs/lies about "free" ID:
Nationwide, 11 percent of eligible voters lack the required ID; among African Americans, that number skyrockets to one in four eligible voters. Hispanics and seniors also disproportionately lack a government-issued photo ID. The Center's report focuses on two key factors: the cost of acquiring the necessary documents, and the difficulties of getting to an office that issues IDs. Even in states that offer free IDs for voting, most still charge people to obtain the documents necessary to get that ID—and the costs are not insignificant. Birth certificates can run anywhere from $8 to $25. In Mississippi, there's a special Catch-22: You need a birth certificate to get a government-issued ID, but you need a government-issued ID to get a birth certificate.
And accessibility:
Meanwhile, 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles away from a government office that can issue an ID—and in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin, those ID issuing offices are closed on weekends[...]In Wisconsin, which does not have to preclear its election laws, more than 30 percent of the voting-age population lives more than 10 miles from an ID office. In Kansas, which also isn't listed in Section 5, the voter-ID law shows similar problems with discrimination. Outside of Wichita, there's one office that issues IDs for every 22,000 eligible voters; in downtown Wichita, there is one office for every 160,000. Twenty-two percent of Kansas' black population lives in downtown Wichita where, in order to get their free IDs, they must wait much longer than their neighbors outside the city. In Tennessee, another state that doesn't need preclearance, three rural regions have large populations but no offices that issue IDs.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2012


I'm in no way blaming illegals for anything. I'm saying that it's interesting that a lot of people complained about how college IDs were not acceptable forms of identifiction for voting, particularly in Texas, where you could vote with a concealed carry license but not a student ID. But often, the comprehensive lawmaking passed by some has enabled illegal aliens to go to colleges, thus making college identifications not useful in terms of proving voter eligibility. And often it's the same people who pressed for colleges not to be able to check citizenship that are frustrated that those IDs don't function as proof of voting eligibility.

You obviously would prefer that people who are not eligible to vote get to vote, than that people who are eligible to vote have to go through hurdles in order to vote. That's cool - but insulting people just because they disagree with you isn't.
posted by corb at 11:04 AM on July 23, 2012


I'm saying that it's interesting that a lot of people complained about how college IDs were not acceptable forms of identifiction for voting, particularly in Texas, where you could vote with a concealed carry license but not a student ID.

Where are all these people complaining about this? The college ID/concealed carry thing is, as far as I can tell, mentioned pretty much entirely by you.

But often, the comprehensive lawmaking passed by some has enabled illegal aliens to go to colleges, thus making college identifications not useful in terms of proving voter eligibility. And often it's the same people who pressed for colleges not to be able to check citizenship that are frustrated that those IDs don't function as proof of voting eligibility.

Proof?

You obviously would prefer that people who are not eligible to vote get to vote, than that people who are eligible to vote have to go through hurdles in order to vote. That's cool - but insulting people just because they disagree with you isn't.

At best, this is another strawman and at worst you're flat-out lying about what was said (or in this case, not said by anyone other than you). Meanwhile, you're still refusing to address any of the already-proven systemic concerns. Is there an actual reason you don't want to engage in a good-faith argument here, or do you just not want to admit you're wrong and/or making claims without evidence to back them up?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:21 AM on July 23, 2012


There was never a state of affairs where only people with the right to vote could get college IDs. None of the colleges I'm familiar with refused college IDs to exchange students or felons, for example, and I've never heard of this being different in Texas, so another category of non-voters being added to the list of those who could get college IDs - if that's what happened - is immaterial.

If pointing out the absence of substance in your claim about packages and prisms and vacuums and the supposed effects of illegal aliens being able to attend college is insulting then you shouldn't serve up this sort of diversion and then you won't come to feel insulted in this fashion.

You obviously would prefer that people who are not eligible to vote get to vote, than that people who are eligible to vote have to go through hurdles in order to vote.

I think that the outcomes of elections should be determined by the votes cast by the American citizens who go to the polls or otherwise exercise their right to vote. The fact that you're unconcerned with whether or not this is what happens, care not a whit about the actual rate of voter fraud, and just want to get voter ID policies in place while trying to come up with a rationale why citizens whose votes don't get counted thanks to such policies didn't deserve it because they didn't cheer the Voter Care Bear Cheer loud enough or something, demonstrates that this isn't a simple practical disagreement over the best way to achieve the aforementioned objective.
posted by XMLicious at 12:01 PM on July 23, 2012


Referring to people as "illegals" is also insulting and not cool.
posted by argonauta at 12:23 PM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has launched a formal investigation into whether Pennsylvania’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities, TPM has learned.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


~ "The rush to enact voter ID legislation started 18 months ago, following the 2010 election. Laws were passed in legislatures that were overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans, in fact, in all but one"
posted by cashman at 2:59 PM on July 23, 2012


corb: “You obviously would prefer that people who are not eligible to vote get to vote, than that people who are eligible to vote have to go through hurdles in order to vote. That's cool - but insulting people just because they disagree with you isn't.”

I'll put it this way: I predict maybe three or four people will vote fraudulently in the next election cycle. That prediction is backed by statistics about the frequency of fraudulent voting, which indicate that it's very rare; we've gone over those statistics here, and I think we all agree at least on the facts, anyway.

So – yes, I would rather those three or four people vote fraudulently than have thousands or even millions of people who are unable to get an ID, or even who are too lazy to get an ID, prevented from voting entirely.

You clearly feel differently, and you've said why. You've pointed out that these laws don't entirely prevent someone from getting an ID and voting; and besides, you said, if people aren't invested in voting, maybe they'd better not be voting anyway in the first place.

I've found this discussion interesting, as it's given me a chance to sort of think these things through from another perspective. So I'll put it to you this way:

Take it as given that these laws will prevent almost no fraud whatsoever; their purpose then becomes to prevent the lazy or indolent from voting. But aren't there better ways of doing that? People have pointed out that these laws unfairly impact the working poor; that seems correct to me. So why not institute a program that equitably prevents the lazy from voting? Require that people do some paid manual labor for the government, say.

It just feels like these laws are terrible at what they're supposed to be for (preventing electoral fraud) but they're favored because the people who like them have another end in mind. So why not put together laws that suit those ends, instead of shoehorning it into a system that doesn't make sense?
posted by koeselitz at 4:04 PM on July 23, 2012


Referring to people as "illegals" is also insulting and not cool.

I don't feel insulted by this, and am cool with it.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:07 PM on July 23, 2012


I don't feel insulted by this, and am cool with it.

Allow me to feel insulted for you, then.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:50 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where are all these people complaining about this? The college ID/concealed carry thing is, as far as I can tell, mentioned pretty much entirely by you.

Let me clarify: I am not suggesting that MeFites have been mentioning it, but it was an issue strongly raised back when these laws were getting passed. Here's some outrage from the Huffington post about that very subject.

As far as "proof" that it's often the same people doing it, it's certainly Democratic-leaning, HuffPo-reading individuals who are often behind both pushes. Here's another HuffPo article expressing outrage at Texas schools not letting illegal aliens (which, yes, can sometimes be shortened to "illegals," they are illegal here) serve in student government.

Take it as given that these laws will prevent almost no fraud whatsoever; their purpose then becomes to prevent the lazy or indolent from voting. But aren't there better ways of doing that? People have pointed out that these laws unfairly impact the working poor; that seems correct to me. So why not institute a program that equitably prevents the lazy from voting? Require that people do some paid manual labor for the government, say.


There's a strong difference between what my pipe dreams would like to see (ie national service for voting) and what is a reasonable and rational goal in the current political climate. So, yes, I'd love to see national service in exchange for voting rights, though I wouldn't constrain it to manual labor. I'd love to see a system where individuals need to serve, say, a year or two doing paid national service according to their ability and/or interest before gaining the right to vote. That could be military work, it could be working as a fireman or EMT or park ranger, or even as a civil servant of some sort. Such a program would not unfairly impact the working poor: in fact, I think a lot of the working poor would love to have a program that guaranteed employment for two years. It'd also help a lot of the "idle rich" who may have never worked a day in their lives, to have to work for the good of the country for that time.

But something like that is never going to get passed. We can't even get a draft passed again right now. People are unwilling to go for it.
posted by corb at 1:05 AM on July 24, 2012


But something like that is never going to get passed.

Rightly so, because it's deeply statist and authoritarian to force people to work for the government. To suggest the right to determine your own government is some kind of special privilege to be handed out to select groups in exchange for labor based on the whims of Washington, D.C. is simply a violation of American principles. The government is granted or restrained from political power by the people, not the other way around.

As for the draft, if there was a legitimate emergency we could still use it. We don't have issues with recruiting the troops we need or paying contractors.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:29 AM on July 24, 2012


I don't feel insulted by this, and am cool with it.

Allow me to feel insulted for you, then.


No thank you. I may not have legal residency status but I am well able to form my own opinions and emotions about this. Euphemistic labels such as 'undocumented immigrant' are IMHO unhelpful in pursuing reform; they imply (however benignly) that a lack of legal status is the result of a simple failure to obtain proper documentation, while ignoring the fact that for millions of us, no legal path to lawful residency even exists. A rights-based policy argument is doomed to failure, in my view while crowding out more compelling legal and economic theories of immigration reform.

This is something of a derail, so that's all I have to say about it for now.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:24 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure it is a derail, but maybe that's just because I want to understand what you're driving at a little better. Are you saying that 'illegals' is a useful term in part because it seems pejorative?

That would be an interesting argument. I wouldn't want to make it, as a documented citizen -- wouldn't really feel like I had the authority.
posted by lodurr at 11:32 AM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm all for people deciding on their own what to be offended by but I don't see why "undocumented immigrant" is any more euphemistic than "illegal alien". Someone who has resided in the country for however many decades, longer than many citizens have, and just doesn't have a visa or green card at the very least doesn't seem so alien any longer.

A national service program certainly seems like a nifty idea and one that earns voting rights isn't entirely unpalatable if it made exceptions for, say, disabled people or others who had a good reason to be exempt. You could make the same program responsible for issuing IDs.
posted by XMLicious at 12:15 PM on July 24, 2012


A national service program certainly seems like a nifty idea and one that earns voting rights isn't entirely unpalatable if it made exceptions for, say, disabled people or others who had a good reason to be exempt. You could make the same program responsible for issuing IDs.

I'd prefer accomodations to exemptions (I'm disabled, and I can definitely still serve in many, many capacities, as I think can most disabled people I know) but yes, absolutely. Interestingly enough, both Republicans and Democrats have proposed some form of national service, but I think neither one of them trusts the other party to administer it, as they always change their tune when the administration changes.
posted by corb at 12:42 PM on July 24, 2012


I'd love to see a system where individuals need to serve, say, a year or two doing paid national service according to their ability and/or interest before gaining the right to vote.

Today's GOP doesn't like or believe in the US government, so I think it's highly unlikely that conservatives would endorse anything resembling a "national" service, even if it were sugared with the promise of making people work for the privilege of voting. But if the plan required individuals to work for several years for a business that needed labor—agribusiness, maybe, or shipping, or custodial work—at the end of which lay the privilege of voting as well as valuable on-the-job experience, then they might get on board.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:50 PM on July 24, 2012


I'm going to have a hard time understanding how national service as a requirement to vote would be constitutional.
posted by lodurr at 1:08 PM on July 24, 2012


Wisconsin Republican Senator Believes Voter ID Will Help Romney ‘In A Close Race’
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on July 24, 2012


I'm not sure it is a derail, but maybe that's just because I want to understand what you're driving at a little better. Are you saying that 'illegals' is a useful term in part because it seems pejorative?

Not exactly. Although the terms 'illegal alien' and 'illegal immigrant' no longer appear verbatim in statute law, the practice of unauthorized entry or overstay is still referred to as illegal immigration (as in 'Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996,' commonly referred to as IIRIRA). 'Undocumented' is a political fail because that term is made up by advocates and feeds into the narrative that such immigrants are simply ignoring the law, which is enough to cause many people to just shut off and reject pro-immigration arguments. The inevitable and understandable question is 'why don't such people just enter the legal way or get legal (like me/my ancestors did).'

The actual fact is that in many cases no such option exists in the first place, but if one is using terms like 'undocumented' that don't reference statute at all, then it's hard to focus attention back onto the deficiencies of the law as it is written. By contrast, if someone is labeled as an illegal alien but is willing to accept that description, it's easier to make the argument that the legal violation is administrative rather than criminal, and that the administrative procedures are hopelessly arbitrary and inadequate - which is news to a lot of people, but also easier to sympathize with because of people's shared experience of unresponsive bureaucracy - like you can be in favor of paying taxes but still think the tax code is terrible.

posted by anigbrowl at 2:08 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to have a hard time understanding how national service as a requirement to vote would be constitutional.

Yeah, it doesn't seem to me like it would pass muster, pardon the pun. But even if a voting dimension to it got struck down, we'd still have the national service program.

I kinda also have to agree with octobersurprise that it seems somewhat antithetical to the stated principles of today's conservatives. I have difficulty imagining it going forward without them screaming "Communism!", sneeringly talking about the New Deal, and declaring it to be job-killing for any industry it competed with or which couldn't profit from it in some way.
posted by XMLicious at 3:10 PM on July 24, 2012


fyi - VoterID thread, with some great stories.
posted by cashman at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2012


No thank you.

No, really, I insist.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:34 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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