Sunday, October 19, 2008

The little ACORN that grew into a mighty oak

In the third presidential debate, McCain told us that the biggest threat to the US, a threat 'maybe destroying the fabric of democracy' was not Al Qaeda, not the economy, not the Iraq war, but ACORN.

ACORN, "who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country" (as McCain said at the debate), for those who've been living under a rock the last few days is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a group that goes out and registers people to vote. As required, once signing people up, ACORN submits all registration cards to local election officials to have them verified, and have been the ones most frequently highlighting the false registrations. And somewhat unsurprisingly, people like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys have submitted registration cards (the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys having been registered in Nevada, where none of them reside).

ACORN is not perpetrating voter fraud. At worst, it's voter registration fraud, which is quite different, since voter fraud requires showing up and voting as someone else with fake identification. And since ACORN has been reporting fraudulent registrations, it doesn't even look like they're trying to perpetrate voter registration fraud.

Note that even McCain couldn't come out and say straight up that ACORN is evil - he's got deniability having couched his attack at the third debate in terms of 'maybe' - maybe it's going to destroy the fabric of democracy, and maybe it's the greatest fraud in voter history - McCain never came right out and said it was.

Of course he accomplished his goal, if his goal was to get his base all riled up and somehow associate ACORN with Ayers and terrorism (at the debate, McCain's ACORN remarks followed immediately after his dismissing Ayers as a washed-up terrorist).

Post-debate, ACORN offices in Boston and Seattle were vandalized and a worker for ACORN received a death-threat. Nice going, McCain. It's good to know for once and for all how the GOP feels about having people actually vote. Remember the good ol' days when voters were mostly white, over 50, and conservative? I guess this is the panic that results from seeing that slip away.

Finally the media seems to have acknowledged that the ACORN voter-fraud discussion was blown way out of proportion.

How involved is the GOP is this fiasco? Robert Bauer, general counsel for Obama's campaign, in response to a leak to the media that the FBI was investigating ACORN for voter fraud, stated that McCain's campaign and the GOP are "fomenting specious vote-fraud allegations and there are disturbing indications of official involvement or collusion." The Obama campaign called for a special investigation into improprieties surrounding these reports.

I'm just glad to know that the US is doing so well right now that somehow the biggest threat against our democracy is ACORN. That said, death threats and vandalism against an organization that goes out and registers people to vote??? Really??? Shame on you, GOP...shame on you...


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