Patterico's Pontifications


Obama/Holder DoJ Blinds Itself to Voter Fraud Concerns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:20 am

A couple of things happened recently that deserve to be noticed in the same place. First, some Democrats pled guilty to felonies involving voter fraud — just another example of an increasing number of similar cases around the country.

A total of four Democratic officials and political operatives have now pleaded guilty to voter fraud-related felony charges in an alleged scheme to steal a New York election. 
The latest guilty pleas expose the ease with which political insiders can apparently manipulate the electoral system and throw an election their way, by the forging of signatures of unsuspecting voters that are then cast as real votes.

. . . .

Former Troy Democratic City Clerk William McInerney, Democratic Councilman John Brown, and Democratic political operatives Anthony Renna and Anthony DeFiglio have entered guilty pleas in the case, in which numerous signatures were allegedly forged on absentee ballots in the 2009 Working Families Party primary, the political party that was associated with the now-defunct community group, ACORN. 

Funny how ACORN always seems to come up whenever we hear about voter fraud.

One way you might combat phony registrations like the kind described above would be to demand voters present proper identification at the time of registration and/or voting. And guess what? The Obama administration is invalidating a voter ID law in South Carolina, a move which seems to signal that DoJ will nix a similar effort in Texas. And Eric Holder seems to think the only reason to demand voter IDs is to keep minorities from voting:

At a high-profile speech in Austin earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder echoed Democratic critics in arguing that in-person voter fraud is not a common problem and that photo identification measures may do nothing but suppress turnout of minority and low-income voters.

I guess if you’re not looking hard for voter fraud, you’re not going to see it. But in the story about the Democrats pleading guilty to voter fraud — interestingly, in a case investigated and prosecuted by state officials and not Holder’s DoJ — we are told that a Democrat operative believes such devious practices are a “commonplace and accepted practice.” (On both sides of the aisle, he claims, though no evidence is offered to support this claim.) Granted, the fraud in that instance was absentee ballot fraud and not in-person fraud — but that’s just a reason to tighten controls on absentee voting, not to shrug our shoulders at potential in-person voting fraud.

In addition, forging signatures on absentee ballots is only one source of potential fraud . . .


The Not-So-Golden Age of Political Reporting

Filed under: 2012 Election,General — Karl @ 8:19 am

[Posted by Karl]

Jack Shafer, while noting the proliferation of political websites, nevertheless hails the arrival of OTUS, which aggregates political coverage from ABC News:

As [Jake] Tapper says in this promo, OTUS (short for of the United States as in, POTUS, president of the United States, or SCOTUS, supreme court of the United States) is all about the “power moves, the mini-dramas, the scheming” in politics. Tapper promises that OTUS will flag both the “urgent and the ridiculous,” offer games, display correspondents’ Twitter feeds, and create a stock market-style ticker that assesses the rising and falling worth of candidates with social media.


Not to oversell the current scene, but the proliferation of political news sites—and my apologies to those I didn’t name—means we’re living in a bit of a golden age of political reporting. At least when it comes to national politics and national government, there have never been more reporters competing to break news. Not everything on the menu tastes great, but there’s no denying it’s a feast.

Ironically, when elections are not the hot story, journos and media critics tend to deride horse race journalism on a number of fronts. It perpetuates the illusion of neutral journalism, the illusion that an insider perspective matters, and so on.  But the one I would focus on is this:

[T]here’s a good argument that general elections—in particular, general presidential elections—are driven primarily by “the fundamentals,” especially the state of the economy, and that most of what happens in campaigns (the gaffes, the messaging strategies, etc.) doesn’t amount to much.

That said, such coverage may matter more in primaries, but in general elections, campaign strategies and tactics tend to matter only where there are extreme disparities in resources — ironically, campaigns where strategies and tactics are least likely to matter.

Establishment political journalism — and most of the blogosphere, for that matter — will continue to ignore this, and for good reason.  The public likes drama, which is why most journalism is based around narratives of conflict.  The audience for political journalism is generally predisposed to treat campaigns as a spectator sport. 

However, the world of sports media offers a nice example to draw upon.  One of the biggest stories in sports media over the past month has been the saga of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.  His charisma and outspoken religious beliefs polarize audiences and incense left-leaning, establishment sports media pundits.  Indeed, they were all the more incensed as Tebow racked up a string of unlikely, last-minute victories.  Conversely, those among the Cult of Tebow gloated over those who doubted his lack of talent would be overcome by divine favor.  That the Broncos’ winning streak was due primarily to the team’s defense was mentioned far less often.  Fixating on Tebow draws an audience, but mostly fails at informing that audience.

Today’s political journalism still suffers from these same flaws, even though the subject is ostensibly more important than pigskin scores.  OTUS could just as easily have been named MOTSIOP — More of the Same in One Place.  A Golden Age? Only if you value quantity over quality.


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