Friday, April 20, 2007

Eyes on the Lies

Listeners to NPR this morning could be forgiven for being befuddled by the analysis of Juan Williams and Deborah Amos. Their discussion of the US attorney firings scandal is a tour de force in doublespeak and mangled logic. Amos gets things rolling with this Orwellian assertion: "…in fact voter fraud has been a focus of Republicans for some time." She might be forgiven if she were saying that committing voter fraud was the "focus of Republicans" but, alas she's not.

Does Juan Williams, the author of Eyes on the Prize, set the record straight? Not a chance; he takes the baton and is off and running, claiming that - for Republicans - voter fraud has been "a concern of theirs for decades. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist began his public career as a young lawyer in Arizona- this is half a century ago – serving as a poll watcher for the GOP there."

Reread that if you can! Fresh, young lawyer Rehnquist starting out as a humble citizen watching the polls down in Arizona: it's almost a Norman Rockwell painting - except that Rehnquist the racist was in Arizona trying to suppress minority voters, something he continued to do for the rest of his career (culminating in the seizure of the Presidency for Boy George in 2000).

Williams mercilessly soldiers on, "Basically, wherever reports have suggested that people were voting illegally, Republicans have tried to get the law to address the problem or the perception of a problem." Tried to get the law to address the problem - Holy *#%& ! Honestly, I couldn't make this stuff up.

As if aware of the perversity of his assertions, Williams does qualify things a bit: "Let me say here that a recent Election Assistance Commission report said the extent of voter fraud is open to debate today. That report was edited to downplay the expert conclusion that there’s little actual voting fraud taking place." (It was edited all right.) Williams notes that for Republicans "there’s a focus on putting in place voter identification programs" which he observes "reduces voter turnout especially among minorities."

Amos isn't about to let this one go that way. She asks, "And how does this ballot integrity make Democrats react?" Ballot integrity? That is a serious case of turning a phrase on its head, especially considering that the Ballot Integrity Project counters everything that the Republican intimidators have been trying to do.

Laughing out loud Williams answers Amos's question, "Well - absolutely drives them crazy! They see it as voter suppression." (Oh, those cwazy Democrats.)

Amos wraps this one up with a real prize winner: "So when a Republican-appointed US attorney investigates and says, 'No, there’s not a lot of voter fraud, or only a few cases not worth pursuing,' the Justice Department gets caught in the middle." Huh? Caught in the middle? Go figure...

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