It’s been almost two years since I wrote about Fox News’ witch hunt against Eric Holder. In 2010, the witch hunt was focused on a bogus accusation that he had refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation because they were black. I said at the time that he was being set up as a voter-fraud boogeyman – meaning that if a midterm election or elections results were close and the Republicans saw political hay to be made out of yelling “voter fraud!” or “voter intimidation!” they would have trotted out Holder as Exhibit A to racially fear monger their case. There are even more reasons to think that while Republicans – and Fox – howl about document releases in the Fast and Furious scandal and special prosecutors for national security leaks, they’ve got at least one eye on using Holder to help them yell “voter fraud!” this November, too. UPDATED.
Since 2010, the New Black Panther Party “intimidation” accusations have fizzled but the voter fraud war has escalated. 10 states have passed new voter ID laws in either their 2011 or 2012 legislative sessions. 30 states – and the number could rise to 32 by November – presently have laws in place that will require all voters to show ID at the polls this fall. Last year, former President Bill Clinton said, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.” In one of the latest battles, there’s a raging controversy in Florida over Governor Rick Scott’s efforts to combat voter fraud (an almost non-existent problem) by, as the Huffington Post reported, “proposing or passing an array of new rules that could have huge implications for black and Latino voters.” Even The Daily Show has joined the national discussion with a satirical smack down of Scott.
And guess who has upped the ante? Attorney General Holder has sued the State of Florida to stop its purge of voters from its registration rolls and objected to five different voting changes in other states on the grounds the changes were discriminatory. Florida has also threatened to sue the Department of Homeland Security to gain access to its database of citizens for use in the state’s voter purge.
If Obama wins a narrow re-election victory – and indications are that may well happen – you can bet your “fair and balanced” mantra that Fox News and its Republican cronies will look for any excuse they can politically muster to cast the results of the election in doubt. Especially if it all comes down again to a narrow victory in Florida. Whether Holder is still Attorney General or resigns, whether he’s cited for contempt or not, Fast and Furious, the New Black Panthers, the national security leaks and even the trials of Guantanamo detainees – plus anything else that can be thrown against the wall and made to stick will all be used to paint the Obama administration as corrupt, contemptuous of the law and overly partial to minorities. Can’t you just hear Donald Trump yammering away about it on the curvy couch now?
I hope the Democrats are ready.
UPDATE: Greta Van Susteren said tonight on On The Record that Florida has sued the U.S.
I would track some of this all the way back to Florida in 2000, when Fox prematurely called the state and the election for Bush. I went to sleep at 130am thinking that Bush had been elected, and woke up at 5am to see that it was back in limbo.
There was plenty of evidence of voter suppression in Florida in 2000, as has been documented. The attempted recounts and the circus surrounding them only exacerbated the situation there. I remember at the time the GOP was making noises about recounting other states, like New Mexico, if they didn’t get their way in Florida. When the Supreme Court cancelled the recount and gave the election to Bush, the GOP magically dropped their concern for the voters of New Mexico, since they no longer needed them.
The wildest part of what happened in Florida is that in the only statewide recount ever done, Al Gore was shown to have won the state by some 72 votes. Gore would not have won a recount of just the 4 counties he cherry-picked, but he did win the full recount. But by the time this count was done, 9/11 had already happened and the Dems did not want to make any more hay out of it.
I also remember hearing about voter suppression in Ohio in 2004 – about people waiting for hours in the rain to vote, or being sent away from the polls. But in 2004, Bush had enough votes in Ohio to convincinly take it – which of course gave him the election. It wasn’t a landslide by any means (certainly not the landslide the GOP was predicting) but the swing votes gave Bush just enough to stay in office another 4 years. Which unfortunately resulted in the things he did then…
I first noticed the fear mongering over voter fraud in 2004, when Kerry v. Bush threatened to be a close race. I thought then and I think now that the voter fraud “controversy” was a way of laying the bed for a challenge if Bush lost in a close race. Instead, he won a narrow victory and voila! Fox forgot about its concerns. In 2008, I don’t think Fox saw any point in yelling voter fraud in those results and voila! They forgot about it again. In 2010, with control of Congress at stake, it was possible that the balance of power could tip in a close election and voila! The NBPP controversy suddenly arose.
I’m surprised Fox didn’t yell voter fraud in the 2008 Al Franken senate race which, if you recall, was so close Franken wasn’t declared the winner for months. But I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts (as my mother used to say) that they didn’t have a GOP accomplice on the ground in MN to help them work it.
Let’s see. First they want to dredge up the Black Panther non-issue, which was effectively dismissed under Bush’s Justice Dept before Obama came into office. The Obama people get in, confirm that there’s nothing going on, and a former Bush admin guy decides to blow the whistle on what amounts to his disagreement with his bosses.
Then they want to bring up Fast & Furious, a program begun under Bush that didn’t work. The Obama people inherited it and tried to make it effective, only to see it for the mess that it was. They stopped the program and began an investigation which has ramifications all over the place for how we currently deal with Mexican cartels and other threats. The GOP moral flag wavers like Darrell Issa and John Cornyn go on the attack, knowing that Justice can’t just hand them documents about current investigations, and then demand the resignation of the AG under specious logic. And Fox News cheerleads.
And then they want to bring up a news story about Obama admin staffers talking to the press about previously discussed strategies. They insist this will lead to the death of US servicepeople (and are undoubtedly waiting to see if any such casualties happen, if ever). The story doesn’t gel, and Fox News is reduced to throwing tantrums about it without anyone doing anything but shrugging their shoulders. Then Fox News tries to bring up a false equivalency to Valerie Plame, who Karl Rove tried to target as a direct message to her husband when he defied the GW Bush Admin. Which would work if people didn’t know that Plame was undercover and that her contacts in the Middle East were likely compromised and killed as a result of the GOP’s unfortunate actions.
They can keep playing this game all they want. Eric Holder will continue as AG until the end of Obama’s 1st term, regardless of the harassment and nonsense thrown at him by GOP flag wavers. And it won’t change the fact that Mitt Romney is unable to inspire most of the country and has little chance to gain any momentum before November.
The only reason you consider Holder to be “incompetent, insufferable or indefensible” is because he’s a Black man who works for a Black (Dem) President. If he were doing the same things for a white (GOP) President, you wouldn’t have the least problem with him and you damn well know it, you sorry troll.
None of the Dubya AGs went after legitimate GOP voter fraud cases (can you say “Ann Coulter?”; I’m sure you can) or GOP voter intimidation cases (I’ll point out the irony that Rick Scott’s currently responsible for more voter intimidation than the New Black Panthers were ever accused of—you don’t seem to have a problem with that) nor do you seem to have a problem with the fact that “Fast and Furious” began in the Dubya Administration under the name “Wide Receiver” (with AG Gonzalez in charge).
Of course, don’t let the facts get in the way of your right-wing trolling. After all, everyone knows that the truth has a liberal bias, and all the spin from FoxNoise (and the “No-Spin” from Bill “You say loofah, I say falafel” O’Reilly) can’t change that.