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6CA Participation in Vote Fraud Fraud Overruled

[ 16 ] October 17, 2008 |

Excellent news:

Earlier today, the Supreme Court effectively reversed a Sixth Circuit decision which required Ohio’s Secretary of State to implement new procedures which could purge thousands of voters from Ohio’s rolls. The Sixth Circuit’s decision is a stunning piece of results-based judging, as the court not only divided entirely on ideological lines, it also flatly refused to apply a binding Supreme Court precedent to one particular plaintiff: the Ohio Republican Party. Yet, while it is completely inexcusable for the Sixth Circuit to exempt the Republican Party from following a binding precedent, that precedent has unfairly slammed the courthouse doors shut on numerous low-income Americans, so it is no surprise that the Republican Party did not want to be bound by it.

Like Millhiser, I find the rule created by the Rehnquist Court in Gonzaga problematic, but nonetheless while it remains good law federal appeals courts are bound to apply it, and the 6th Circuit conspicuously failed to do so in this case. It’s good to the the Supreme Court reject this unprincipled support for Republican vote suppression efforts.



[ 46 ] October 17, 2008 |


Michelle Malkin is excoriating “liberals” for attempting to destroy Joe the Plumber. It isn’t just the pot calling the kettle black, it’s the pot wandering into the pot store and declaring all other pots black-tinged traitors to our great nation, then offering to run the pot reeducation camp to bring them in line with acceptable and decent container values.

…to be clear, I also endorse this from John Cole:

“Granted, the right-wing whinging is particularly rich after the Beauchamp/Schiavo/Graeme Frost incidents, and the attempts to blame media conduct in regards to Joe the Plumber on the Obama campaign are stupid and predictable, but just leave the guy alone. I don’t agree with him on a lot of issues, but the guy deserves the privacy I would want for myself and for the rest of you….there is a marked difference between reacting to stupid things he tells the press and rooting through shit on the internet speculating about him. Comment all you want to any idiotic things he says.”

Deep Thought

[ 25 ] October 17, 2008 |

If, after blowing a 7-0, 7th inning lead in a potential elimination game the Devil Rays come back and win Game 6, there will still be dozens of sportswriters who will adduce the importance of “momentum” in the subsequent month.

McCain On Abortion

[ 1 ] October 16, 2008 |

I think Dana makes two very good points here. Indeed, not only are health exceptions popular, the dismissive tone of McCain’s scare quotes were instructive in a way that (to put it mildly) isn’t going to help him among moderate women. Obama was also clever to follow-up with the Ledbetter case, which McCain was equally dismissive about. I also agree that Obama’s refusal to cede the moral ground on the abortion issue to McCain was important. It’s true that I wouldn’t be inclined to describe sex as “sacred” or to care whether a woman consulted her “religious adviser” before deciding about whether to continue her pregnancy — but I’m not the median American voter. Sending comforting signals to committed religious voters in ways that don’t compromise on substance is important.

The one thing I’d add is that McCain, as one would have expected, attempted to defend his highly unpopularRoe should be overturned” view by saying that abortion policy should be “left in the hands of the states.” This is, of course, a complete fraud, starting with the fact that McCain has voted for every federal abortion regulation to come down the pike. An even better way to point out the contradiction would have been for Obama to challenge McCain on his position that there should be a constitutional amendment making abortion illegal in all 50 states. This would force McCain to either defend an extremely unpopular policy that makes a complete hash of his “federalism” dodge or to repudiate a position that matters to a lot of his party’s base, and I’m not sure why Democratic candidates never attack this vulnerability. But otherwise, I think Obama did very well.

…More here. And here.

Joe the Plumber!

[ 9 ] October 16, 2008 |

If I understand John McCain’s key message, the average millionaire who benefits from GOP tax cuts is a manual laborer. Why do you all hate Joe so much? If you lie about Obama’s health care plan, the plan will really hurt him! Leave Joe alone!!!!!!!!!

…perhaps he should co-star with Lucky Ducky in an upcoming cartoon….

An Army Of Morons

[ 5 ] October 15, 2008 |

Citizen jornamalism!

I sure wish I had a piece of whatever company is sending Nigerian remittance spam to Bob Owens’s inbox

The Meaninglessness of "Mandates"

[ 0 ] October 15, 2008 |

This is exactly right:

Not me. Or, rather, I think the evidence suggests that mandate is a meaningless concept. America went to the polls in 2000 and whatever you think of what went down in Florida, clearly more people overall voted for Al Gore than for George W. Bush. What’s more, a substantial minority of people voted for a candidate who thought Gore was insufficiently leftwing. And the exit polling made it clear that Bush had the edge over Gore on a bunch of “character” issues. This series of facts, combined with the regnant ideology of mandate-ism, led a lot of pundits to conclude that Bush would, due to his lack of mandate, curtail his agenda. In fact, he did no such thing. And while that was bad for the country, the lack of a mandate wasn’t a practical problem.

Say what you will about Bush, the one thing he understood is that the only meaning of “mandate” is “whether you have the votes in Congress.” And of course the even better example is that FDR — almost certainly the most transformative president of the 20th century — ran essentially as more-Hoover-than-Hoover in 1932, which didn’t seem to affect his actual governance. For this reason, the number of Democrats in the Senate and the number of progressive Democrats in the House will be much more important to whether health care reform can pass and what form it will take than the precise proposals made by candidates during the Democratic primary.

Wingnut Laundering

[ 0 ] October 14, 2008 |

After noting that TIDOSY has asserted that being an (imaginary) victim of sexual assault should disqualify one from the presidency (what about being a victim of torture?), Duncan says that “I’m sure his loving Washington Post profile will be out soon, if he hasn’t had one already.” Not surprisingly, the paper that hired Ben Domenech was well ahead of the curve in profiling this brilliant conservative intellectual.

The Self-Perpetuating Fake Vote Fraud Scam

[ 49 ] October 14, 2008 |

Yglesias says most of what needs to be said about the winger hysteria about the fact that large-scale voter vote drives inevitably lead to some errors. The rhetoric notwithstanding, registration “fraud” is very different from vote fraud, and in fact the former is extremely unlikely to lead to non-negligible amounts of the latter. Even if somehow the fake names get through, since “Mickey Mouse” and “Amanda Huggenkiss” and “Al Koholic” can’t actually show up to vote because they don’t exist it doesn’t actually matter in terms of the integrity of elections. Until Glenn Reynolds et al. can find an example of “Foghorn Leghorn” actually being permitted to vote, this is a trivial issue that certainly doesn’t constitute “vote fraud.”

As Matt says if for some reason it was critically important for virtually every single name collected in mass voter registration drives to be accurate, there’s an obvious solution in effect in many other liberal democracies: have professionals trained by the government be responsible for ensuring that citizens are registered. Of course, we’re not going to hear about that remedy from people frothing at the mouth about ACORN because the point isn’t to make registration a perfect process, but rather to use inevitable errors as a pretext to suppress legitimate voters. Since the Supreme Court has declared that you can do this even if there’s literally no evidence that anyone in the state has fraudulently voted based on an erroneous registration, this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Peak Wingnut Theory

[ 4 ] October 14, 2008 |

Henley on the NAMBLA wing of the Republican Party. Cf. also here and here and here.

IIRC it was a calumny done to Erick Erickson that caused the development of the farcical Online Integritude project. I’m sure somehow thinking that a 10 year-old could have an “affair” with an adult could also be redefined as representing serious integrity by the relevant wingers. Erickson has written plenty of howlingly dumb things before, but this might be a low that can never be surpassed.

To Provide A Useful Contrast With the Man Across the Page

[ 22 ] October 13, 2008 |

Bill Kristol urges John McCain to “fire his campaign.” Given that he was urging McCain to do what he now says has failed as recently as last week, you’d have to say he has a point — a campaign that listens to Kristol is indeed in very bad shape, although it’s really more a symptom than a cause.

Anyway, if there was a Nobel Prize for hackery, Kristol would be the country’s number-one candidate!

FDR’s Constitutionalism, Which Was Preferable To Herbert Hoover’s

[ 28 ] October 13, 2008 |

Shorter Verbatim Jonah Goldberg: “…this election year does look quite a bit like Hoover vs. Roosevelt (and given that choice, I’ll take Hoover.)” He goes on to defend the constitutional vision of the Four Horsemen against the one that has been the broadly accepted norm of American constitutionalism for many decades; apparently the “constitution-in-exile” isn’t always a strawman.

While I’m here, I should also note that Goldberg’s claim that FDR’s “court packing scheme that intimidated the Supreme Court into rubber-stamping New Deal policies” is almost certainly erroneous — the key “switch in time” by median justice Owen Roberts occurred in votes that had been cast in conference before the scheme was even announced, and of course the scheme failed in the Senate before the cases came down (so had Roberts been acting out of political fear he could have switched his vote back knowing that no court-packing law was going to be passed in the near future.)

In a recent issue of N+1, Mark Grief made a claim about this that is just transparently wrong:

Elected to four terms in office, working with Democratic majorities in both houses for his key legislation, he was also the progenitor of a failed and utterly illegal and unconstitutional attempt to pack the Supreme Court when it got in his way.

This is, of course, utterly wrong. The proposed court-packing plan was (as Congress ultimately decided) probably unwise and contrary to informal 20th century norms of judicial independence, but it was completely legal and constitutional. The Constitution does not fix the number of Supreme Court justices, which is left entirely to the discretion of Congress. (Indeed, the Court’s membership fluctuated from 5 in 1789 to as high as 10 before the modern norm was established.) And given that within 5 years FDR was (thankfully) able to “pack” the Court by replacing judges who were clinging to anachronistically narrow conceptions of federal power with those who shared his constitutional vision anyway, the threat to democracy adding judges would have represented was pretty modest. The judiciary is never going to be a long-term obstacle to the key priorities of electoral majorities, and this is in general a good thing.

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