Monday, May 14, 2007


At this writing it is still uncertain whether the Texas Legislature, exercising its Texas-size and legendary unwisdom, is going to pass a poll tax surrogate in the form of a voter ID bill, requiring would-be voters to prove they are citizens. We'll see. A lot of Republicans, in the course of what passes in the Texas Capitol for debate, have been bleating piteously about the danger to our way of life posed by noncitizens swamping the polling places.

A lot of Democrats, and indeed many other reasonable people, have been flummoxed by the this episode of Vote Fraud phobia. Elsewhere in the country, we see a certain manic quality, for example, in the Republican explanation for the wholesale firing of federal prosecutors, that the fired prosecutors didn't show enough zeal in prosecuting vote fraud. The official excuse is beyond strange, because there is no evidence that vote fraud had occurred significantly in the bailiwicks of the fired prosecutors, or indeed, had occurred at all.

So what's up with that, one wonders.

The problem from the POV of the Bushies is not "vote fraud," but instead the more pressing and serious danger of "votefraud." "Votefraud" is pronounced sternly as a single word, and is a dogwhistle Republican code for the franchise when exercised by Democrats.

And as you will recall the Republicans have striven mightily to prevent votefraud, most notably and successfully in the 2000 Florida election, when, at the behest of Jeb Bush, many thousands of black voters who were in fact eligible to vote were put on a list of people to be turned away from the polls. The votefraud of these black voters was twofold; first, that their names resembled those of released felons who, under Florida law, were not supposed to vote; and secondly and more importantly, that black Florida voters traditionally vote about 9 to 1 in favor of any Democrat.

So, even though massive votefraud occurred anyway, such that slightly over 50 percent of Florida voters cast their votes in favor of Al Gore, the votefraud suppression list made the results close enough that Governor Jeb could ask the Supreme Court to intervene to appoint his brother president, to prevent the additional votefraud of a recount.

It was too close a call, and they didn't like it.

So we can see why votefraud is an ever-present concern of the Bush Administration. Once you understand the nature of the problem, it's obvious why prosecutors, even Republican-appointee prosecutors, would be fired if they were unwilling to interrupt the investigation of crime and political corruption to pursue the politically urgent matter of Democrats voting.

And given that many of prosecutors all around the country were actually doing their statutory (as opposed to political) job, it's not a bit surprising that Karl Rove wanted to fire them one and all, clean house and begin anew, kind of like God dissatisfied with his own handiwork, to start over again, in this case with a Justice Department arkfull of the faithful few and a lot of dumb animals--though if Mr. Rove had been in charge of the actual Biblical Ark, he would have brought on board a lot more sheep than the letter of the Law allowed, for who could wish to see the Texas Legislature drown?

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