Politics: July 2012 Archives

There is one candidate for President who won an election by challenging the legitimacy of minority voters who supported minority candidates by using purges of the voter rolls. But despite the cries of racism from the Democrats when similar tactics are used by Republicans today -- making sure that voters are actually legitimate -- the "guilty" party here is Barack Obama, not Mitt Romney.

In his first election for public office in 1996, Obama was up against four candidates for a state senate seat in Illinois. Through a supporter, Obama challenged the petitions of all four of his opponents. All four came up short in the challenges, and Obama won the seat unopposed.

And it's not just that these signatures were from fake people, or non-citizens, or even people who weren't registered voters at the time they signed: some of the signatures were eliminated simply because these were legal voters, but were part of a purge of the voter rolls, and so they were effectively un-registered by the time the petitions were being verified.

I have no big problem with any of this, except that the voters apparently weren't properly notified their registrations were purged, so they could take action to fix it. That aside, these candidates did not have enough legitimate voter signatures on their petitions. Case closed.

The problem is that Republicans are being attacked as racist and anti-democratic for engaging in purges of the voter rolls, even though a. this is how Obama won his first election for office, b. the Republican voter reforms are a far more open and careful process, with several levels of checks and ways to fix your registration (even on election day).

So what's the difference? Is it because Obama is black, or a Democrat? I don't know, but I can't think it's about the time that's passed, because I can't see how if Romney did this, the press wouldn't be all over it.

Long story short: Cheryl Pflug, Republican State Senator in WA, was bought off by Democrat governor Christine Gregoire: virtually the moment filing for office closed, Gregoire offered Pflug a cushy state job, and she accepted, leaving that previously safe seat up for grabs between Issaquah councilman and Mark Mullet (D), and businessman Brad Toft (R). She says she wasn't bought off, but literally everyone knows she was. How else to explain the timing?

Dino Rossi left that seat to run for governor in 2003, and Pflug was appointed to fill the vacant seat, then won election the next time around. So while he can't run on the ballot for the next term, Rossi was a good candidate to finish out the current term, so he was appointed to do so, and Toft (the only Republican in the race) is being backed to replace her this fall. Pflug blasted this for some reason ... but I can't figure out why. She says Rossi and the state party are playing Godfather. So, they shouldn't appoint someone to fill her vacant seat, using the same process that got her the same job from a vacancy by the same man? They shouldn't back the only Republican in the race?

Can anyone tell me what the heck she's talking about and how it makes any sense?

Stolen Valor Act

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I see nowhere in the Constitution where the Congress is given authority to tell us we cannot lie, even about whether or not we received a military honor. The Supreme Court agreed last week, and struck down the Stolen Valor Act.

Yes, Congress can make laws about lying in certain cases where it might cause direct harm to someone else (e.g., fraud) or obstruct justice (e.g., perjury). But lying about a medal? While that could cause some hurt feelings and justifiable anger, that's not nearly sufficient to justify a valid law under our Constitution.

Justice Alito recognizes this principle in his dissent, but claims that such lies "inflict real harm." But even if true, certainly they do not always inflict real harm, and the law's language ignored whether or not harm occurred. Alito talks about people who commit fraud with their lies, but that is already a crime, and this law includes all lies, whether they cause such harm or not.

He then says these lies "tend to debase the distinctive honor of military awards," that families are harmed "when an impostor takes credit for heroic actions that he never performed," and that it is a "slap in the face" against people who did serve. None of this is an infliction of real harm. I don't want to get psychoanalytical here, but we control our own feelings. If their lies make you feel bad, that's on you, not them.

It really is just about personal feelings. And there's no implication in our Constitution that protecting personal feelings is sufficient cause to take away our fundamental rights. The KKK has the right to say terrible things about various religious and ethnic groups, causing significant hurt feelings, and most of what they say is lies, too (though granted, it's not the same thing, but the hurt feelings and negative effects on society are significantly worse).

The decision was correct. The conservatives -- usually in the right -- were wrong on this one.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from July 2012.

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