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Smells like victory.

I know I’ve blogged about this whole United States Attorney business before, but the thing has taken a bit of a turn, and I don’t think Left Blogovia is doing a very good job of articulating what is going on.

It seems (and Scott Lemieux is among the people who write about this) that one of the main thrusts of the whole business is what L.B. is calling the Voter Fraud Fraud. That is, this Administration publicly insists that a priority of the Justice Department is and ought to be investigating overvoting, that is, (i) voting by non-citizens and (B) citizens voting more than once. There is little actual evidence that there’s a lot of that sort of thing going on, or—we on the Left have not been convinced, by evidence that has been presented to us, that this sort of thing is a national problem. OK? I’m not saying there is no evidence, and granted, many of our basic premises about governance and society predispose us to have a fairly high bar for considering overvoting to be a national problem. We are more likely to be concerned about people being denied the franchise for one reason and another, and—lo! Left Blogovia is, in fact, concerned with electronic voting machines, with purges from the rolls, with closing polling places, with various barriers to registration and voting. We observe tremendous amounts of evidence—tremendoustre-fucking-mendous amounts of evidence that these are national problems. But then, we would, wouldn’t we.

Anyway, Republicans in the party leadership and, presumably, outside it, see things differently from us in Left Blogovia, and people are different one from another, and that makes the world interesting and fun. So they put pressure on the US Attorneys to address what they see as a national problem. As they probably should. And the US Attorneys look into it, and in at least some cases, they decide there is nothing there. And the Party, which is absolutely sure there is something there, sees this not as a refutation of their pet theory, but as an indication of bad judgment on the part of the US Attorney, and of course if somebody’s judgment is that lousy, it’s a good idea to get rid of them. And rid is gotten.

So, what’s my point? Am I saying that the system worked? No, I am not. It worked badly, in two ways, one of which is being articulated moderately well by Left Blogovia. The US Attorneys, and more generally the Justice Department, should, in fact, exercise independent judgment. If the Party (either party) is unable to convince their own appointed Attorneys, then the Party should really step back and accept that they lose this one. As an example, if under a Democratic Administration, the Justice Department was asked to look into fraud connected with paperless ballots, and that Department and its Attorneys consistently found that there was no fraud worth prosecuting, that Democratic Administration should shut the hell up about it and let it go. Do I think that would happen? No. But if it did, then I should accept it. Just as the Republican Party and the Administration should have accepted this matter, rather than replacing the US Attorneys that exercised independent judgment.

So, that’s all true, and Left Blogovia is whaling on it, and although it isn’t clear whether there was lawbreaking or if it was only the norms of our Constitutional system that were (yet again) demolished, the spotlight is still on it.

But what I am not seeing persuasively articulated is simply this: they are wrong, and we are right. Not because of what the US Attorneys found or didn’t find. They are wrong and we are right on a fundamental principle of democracy. Overvoting is not as big a deal as undervoting, and our Party will stand up for citizens who want to vote. Their Party is more worried about false voting because democracy just smells bad to them, and they want to keep it as clean as possible. We don’t think that democracy smells bad. We want people to vote. We love participation. We want to register as many voters as we can, and we want all those people to actually vote, and if that means that we have to take some resources off the voter-fraud beat, then that’s fine.

See, we in Left Blogovia are, or present ourselves as being, on the Left. I hope that means something. I hope it means that Walt Whitman would blog on our side, not on theirs. What I think that Mr. Whitman would say, what I am saying here, and what I would like us all to say is that we want every single person who has citizenship in our country to come and vote in our elections and make all the voices heard. If one—one—voter has been turned away from a polling place by the Party opposite then shame on them, shame on our nation, shame on our Constitution and our democracy. And if they want to be the Party of turning away voters, if they want to be the Party of not counting ballots, if they want to be the Party that spends our national resources on preventing ballots rather than encouraging them, if they want to be the Party that faints at the stench of democracy, then we should stick it down their fucking throats.

With civility.

Do you want to know, Gentle Reader, why I am a Democrat and not a Republican? Do you want to tell some brother-in-law, some neighbor, some co-worker or cousin or carpool buddy, the difference between the two parties? Let it be this.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


greg palast sez they're all over voter fraud because it gives them cover for a little preventive maintenance.

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