Bob Herbert: The Real Scandal

Thank you, Bob Herbert, for this:

It never ends. The Republican Party never gets tired of spraying its poison across the American political landscape.

So there was a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann, telling Chris Matthews on MSNBC that the press should start investigating members of the House and Senate to determine which ones are “pro-America or anti-America.”

Michele Bachman is a good example of what is wrong with the GOP. You’re either with them, or against America. You’re either a good-patriotic American, or your a traitorous, cheese-eating monkey. And don’t even try to create an equivalency between Obama supporters who decry real racism (dead bear with Obama sign tied on) and McCain supporters who call Obama supporters communinists (Palin, et al).

More from Herbert:

But the party is not content to stop there. Even better than demonizing opponents is the more powerful and direct act of taking the vote away from their opponents’ supporters. The Republican Party has made strenuous efforts in recent years to prevent Democrats from voting, and to prevent their votes from being properly counted once they’ve been cast.

Which brings me to the phony Acorn scandal.

John McCain, who placed his principles in a blind trust once the presidential race heated up, warned the country during the presidential debate last week that Acorn, which has been registering people to vote by the hundreds of thousands, was “on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history.”

It turns out that a tiny percentage of these new registrations are bogus, with some of them carrying ludicrous names like Mickey Mouse. Republicans have tried to turn this into a mighty oak of a scandal, with Mr. McCain thundering at the debate that it “may be destroying the fabric of democracy.”

Phony registrations are not the problem. Those are easily caught. Voter supression is the real problem:

when it comes to voting, the real threat to democracy is the nonstop campaign by the G.O.P. and its supporters to disenfranchise American citizens who have every right to cast a ballot. We saw this in 2000. We saw it in 2004. And we’re seeing it again now. In Montana, the Republican Party challenged the registrations of thousands of legitimate voters based on change-of-address information available from the Post Office. These specious challenges were made — surprise, surprise — in Democratic districts. Answering the challenges would have been a wholly unnecessary hardship for the voters, many of whom were students or members of the armed forces.

Snip

That sort of thing is widespread. In one politically crucial state after another — in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, you name it — the G.O.P. has unleashed foot soldiers whose insidious mission is to make the voting process as difficult as possible — or, better yet, impossible — for citizens who are believed to favor Democrats.

I feel confident that Obama will win by a margin that is large enough to make voter-suppresion a non-issue. But we still must be alert to what they are trying to do.

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