How ACORN Stole the 2012 Election

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Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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  1. Avatar NewDealer
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    says:

    Kevin Drum considers this part of the Fox News Effect. NewsCorp and other places have created a perfect sealed chamber that allows them to believe this stuff. Our own Tod Kelly noted how the 24/7 drumbeat of hysteria has created a frenzy for many non-scandals.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/12/fox-news-effect-republicans-still-think-acorn-alive-and-stealing-elections

    And as I have mentioned before, Richard Hofstatder’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics is probably the smartest and most insightful essay ever written about the American political system. Everything Hofstatder wrote then can apply to the right today. There has always been a sizeable minority of the American right that is outright nuts. They see themselves as the only defenders of freedom and values. Keep in mind that I have no idea what they mean by freedom but it is certainly not anything that comes to my mind when thinking about the word.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to NewDealer
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      says:

      David Frum had commentary on it barely a year ago:

      http://nymag.com/news/politics/conservatives-david-frum-2011-11/

      But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics. Outside this alternative reality, the United States is a country dominated by a strong Christian religiosity. Within it, Christians are a persecuted minority. Outside the system, President Obama—whatever his policy ­errors—is a figure of imposing intellect and dignity. Within the system, he’s a pitiful nothing, unable to speak without a teleprompter, an affirmative-action ­phony doomed to inevitable defeat. Outside the system, social scientists worry that the U.S. is hardening into one of the most rigid class societies in the Western world, in which the children of the poor have less chance of escape than in France, Germany, or even England. Inside the system, the U.S. remains (to borrow the words of Senator Marco Rubio) “the only place in the world where it doesn’t matter who your parents were or where you came from.”

      We used to say “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.” Now we are all entitled to our own facts, and conservative media use this right to immerse their audience in a total environment of pseudo-facts and pretend information.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to M.A.
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        says:

        I read this last year as well. Frum is an interesting guy. He is certainly conservative in many ways to the core. I doubt we would believe in the same policies to solve problems but he certainly understands what is going on the right and that it is not good.

        Or as TNC says: Liberals have a media, conservatives have a press office (paraphrase).Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to M.A.
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        TVD and at least one other regular poster here were questioning the very validity of polling the week before the election. (As well as making some truly amusing claims about statistics, even if I doubt they saw it that way).

        But what struck me wasn’t polling denialism — it was TVD’s firm, fervent belief that Benghazi was gonna bring down the President even if he won. It was a coverup and a scandal and god knows what else (he didn’t commit, just linked to people with paranoid theories and speculated that it was ‘bigger than liberals thought’).

        Like Fast and Furious was. Like Solyandra was. Each and every scandal is the one that WILL bring down the President, even if no one outside of Fox has even heard of it.Report

  2. Avatar MFarmer
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    says:

    I doubt “ACORN” stole the election, but Bertha Lewis says they are stronger than ever under new names. The Root interview might be a rightwing fabrication, though.

    The Root: After ACORN disbanded, many chapters reorganized under new names. How are they faring a year later?

    Bertha Lewis: There are 18 independent organizations around the country. Some of the old ACORN chapters were combined, with several states becoming one entity. We learned great lessons from our tribulations, and we decided that organizing by any other name is still organizing. The former chapters and their boards incorporated themselves, renamed themselves and made sure that the reforms I had been putting in place around structure, financial management and operations were carried on. I’m happy to say that they’re very strong, and we’re in about 25 states.

    Glenn Beck and the conservative right actually helped us create 18 bulletproof community-organizing Frankensteins that they’re going to have a very hard time attacking. We owned up to what our weaknesses were, we were realistic about our strengths, and so these new entities are carrying on ACORN’s work of organizing low- and moderate-income folks. Thank you very much, Rush Limbaugh.Report

    • Avatar LauraNo in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      I didn’t know about this, I’m glad you mentioned it.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      Nothing so frightening as organized low and moderate-income folks!Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      There’s one thing I just don’t understand: what’s wrong, what’s fraudulent, about organizing low and moderate income folk?

      That seems the root of the accusations of racism Republicans get the left; the perception that the right deems organizing those folk a fraud; that they’re not entitled to vote. Combined with the knowledge that many black/hispanic voters are low income and the notion that Republican efforts to restrict voting rights with things like ID requirements fall heavily on minority voters, it does seem to add up to racism.

      It feels to me, as a lefty, that the code has just switched for n-word to poor. Is there any other way to explain it? Because we’ve got fraud and election theft on the right, and voter disenfranchisement and racism on the left, all while describing the effort to get Americans to participate in the electoral process.Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to zic
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        says:

        what’s wrong, what’s fraudulent, about organizing low and moderate income folk?

        The right wing dislikes the fact that low and moderate income folk don’t tend to vote their way. That’s really it – it’s about the “wrong people” voting in higher numbers due to organizing.

        And the GOP, or at least some GOP officials, are now admitting that they had deliberate intent to engage in voter suppression with voter ID laws and that GOP cries about “voter fraud” were a mere pretext.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to zic
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        says:

        what’s wrong, what’s fraudulent, about organizing low and moderate income folk?

        They’re uppity and don’t know their place….and want stuff.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic
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        says:

        Don’t forget eliminating women’s sufferage. Because women are too “flighty” to vote republican.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to zic
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        I don’t believe that there’s ill will on either side of the argument about loosening up the voting process. One side genuinely wants to make it easier for more people to vote, and fears that the other side is motivated by racism. The other side is worried about integrity, and suspects the other side of voter fraud. If we could get past the idea that the other side is trying to cheat, we could maybe construct some decent laws.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          And if Charlie Crist and other people who were in on the creation of the ID laws would stop saying in public that they were intended to suppress Democratic votes, we might be able to believe otherwise.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to zic
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        says:

        Are MA, Nob, and Kim serious? Not a sarcastic question.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Ann Coulter’s the current guppy. She’s just the start. I predict that they’ll run more women laying out the same line, until it becomes a right wing meme, and then Limbaugh and the others can start riffing on it.
          Five Years until actual bills for eliminating women’s right to vote start hitting conference.

          This is why, I kneel and pray that we get a conservative party around here.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Pinky: Jim Greer and Charlie Crist are now admitting that the GOP’s rhetoric about “voter fraud” was a facade, a fraud; the entire reasoning for the push on Voter ID and the elimination or reduction of early voting days was to disenfranchise and suppress the vote of demographic groups (mostly minorities) that the GOP isn’t strong with.

          This is factual. And I am completely serious in pointing it out.

          Every time the veil slips on the GOP, there’s an effort to cover it back up, but the veil has slipped. The evidence is damning as to what the GOP base really believes and holds to, and there is a large amount of it that is sexist and/or racist.

          We might also get into their disdain for the 1st amendment, the incredibly anti-science behavior; packing state boards of education with creationists when given the chance, putting creationists like Paul Broun who believe evolution, climate science and embryology are “lies from the pit of hell” on the House Committee on Science and Technology.

          There are serious problems with the GOP. Serious problems resulting from becoming so hyper-partisan within their bubble that they cannot see what is around them. I’ve learned to watch my words very carefully around some otherwise good people I consider friends, simply because disagreement on any number of topics results in spittle-flying invective about the “muslim kenyan usurper.”

          The worst part is that the GOP leadership doesn’t work to fix the issue, instead they play the game of dog-whistling. If there are currently votes to be had pandering to isolationist, xenophobic, racist fools then they will pander to isolationist, xenophobic, racist fools and the good of the nation and progress of society be damned.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          No, they aren’t.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to MFarmer
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      says:

      Barack Obama’s GOTV campaign was far more sophisticated than the clunky old ACORN model. In this election Obama fielded a set of online tools called Dashboard.

      Team Obama beat the GOP all the way around the block before Rush Limbaugh could finish adjusting his neck tie in the morning. The GOP is, to put it plainly, incapable of adapting to social networking. They only understand one-way communications. Those days are gone forever.

      Housing reform goes on apace. It’s going on here in New Orleans under many different names. ACORN isn’t part of any of it. ACORN failed the accountability test long before Barack Obama even began to run for office. I knew who they were, back in Chicago, and thought something was sorta iffy about them.

      I don’t believe community organising or housing reform advocates should take sides in politics: it only opens their supporters up to charges of paying off friends, never a good place for any organisation to put its donors and/or supporters. Either run for office or get out of the community organising line of work. Let the politicians come to you, let them back your positions. Don’t back theirs. Voter registration drives aren’t outright support for a candidate: efforts of that sort are meant to get residents to vote for referendums affecting the community. No harm done there by my lights.

      The GOP hates community organising and voter registration drives. They do everything in their power to raise the barrier to the voting franchise. But it’s funny: within their own enclaves, they do attempt to register their own, often within churches and businesses. The GOP seems to focus on the ACORNs of this nation, precisely because that’s how they organise themselves.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP
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        says:

        But it’s funny: within their own enclaves, they do attempt to register their own, often within churches and businesses.

        I’ve often thought the best window into how the GOP thinks and operates is the things they accuse liberals of doing. It’s hard to refrain from measuring others with your own yardstick.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic
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          says:

          The GOP never really knew what hit them. I’m put in mind of that scene from Star Wars, Luke is flying toward the Death Star, everyone around him is getting shot to pieces, in the gritty flanged radio traffik we hear “Stay on Target!” They really hoped Romney would blow up Darth Obama’s Death Star, that somehow the Force would take over, that there would be a triumphal march at the end of an improbably heroic struggle.

          It doesn’t work that way in politics. There is no Staying On Target. Political parties are about winning elections, not preaching sermons. It’s only comparable to a war, covering ground, identifying allies and opponents. But mostly it’s about General Sherman’s adage, being firstest with the mostest, being nimbler and better informed.

          The GOP is not going to fix this problem any time soon. Their demographics are just awful. The GOP is trying to adapt but I just don’t see them making headway in urban demographics, where the votes are. It’s a simple matter of logistics, there’s more ground to cover in rural areas where the GOP is strongest.

          To win, the GOP will have to give up some dearly-beloved positions and make inroads in the Blue Cities. I just don’t see the GOP leadership (also in demographic trouble, dominated as it is by Old Crocodiles) making those changes. Even if they run Marco Rubio or someone young enough to bring some vitality to their positions, they’d have to back off their ignorant fearmongering and they just won’t get there.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP
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        says:

        I don’t believe community organising or housing reform advocates should take sides in politics: it only opens their supporters up to charges of paying off friends, never a good place for any organisation to put its donors and/or supporters. Either run for office or get out of the community organising line of work. Let the politicians come to you, let them back your positions. Don’t back theirs. Voter registration drives aren’t outright support for a candidate: efforts of that sort are meant to get residents to vote for referendums affecting the community. No harm done there by my lights.

        +1Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to BlaiseP
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        says:

        I have personally participated in Republican-sponsored voter registration drives in lower-income and Hispanic communities. What you’re saying is false.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          Why does the GOP so consistently oppose motor-voter and many other such initiatives?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP
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            says:

            Because it’s wrong to expect voters to have Driver’s Licenses?Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to BlaiseP
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            says:

            Specifically – Increases in voter registration, combined with early voting, absentee voting, provisional voting, and the lack of an ID, all combine to increase the possibility of mistakes or fraud.

            Generally – For the reasons they say. If we can’t assume good faith on the part of our opponents, we’re in trouble.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to BlaiseP
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            says:

            Specifically – Increases in voter registration without verification and without removal of previous addresses, combined with early voting, absentee voting, provisional voting, and the lack of an ID, all combine to increase the possibility of mistakes or fraud.

            Generally – For the reasons they say. If we can’t assume good faith on the part of our opponents, we’re in trouble.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              This problem should have been solved in 1995. It clearly isn’t solved. If we’re to assume good faith on the part of our opponents and recognise the problems inherent in fraud, why then are we still fighting this battle in Anno Domini 2012? The GOP has made its rhetorical bed very hard and must not complain overmuch if it is now made to lie down in that bed. The GOP has consistently demonstrated bad faith on this issue since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and continues to do so to this very day.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                The Republican Party championed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It implemented policies that had been in the Civil Rights Act of 1957 by Eisenhower, but were removed by Johnson in the Senate. In 1965, there were 19 votes against it in the Senate, 17 of those were Democrats. (In the House, both parties contributed relatively equally to the nay votes.)Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                And If you ran Ike (even Zombie Ike), I’d vote for him in a redhot minute.
                Hell, I’d vote for Nixon if you ran him.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                And only a hundred years before that, it passed the 15th Amendment.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                …and implemented Reconstruction, and fought against the Klan, and opposed lynchings, and reintegrated the military…Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Yeah. When did those guys turn into Strom Thurmond? (Though it was Harry Truman who integrated the US military.)Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                It was mostly Eisenhower in 1944, then Eisenhower as president actually getting it done, undoing racist Woodrow Wilson’s work. Strom did switch parties, but if you look into it, most of the Democratic politicians in the South stayed loyal to their party.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Preez to read what was said “Since the VRA”. The GOP welcomed the Dixiecrats in with open arms thereafter.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                Parties do typically welcome new voters. But the Southern slide toward the Republicans can be seen in the data going back to the 1930’s. And don’t forget the military tradition of the South – the Democrats alienated a lot of the South with their stand against the Vietnam War in 1968. And also, don’t forget about the fact that the South was still largely Republican in representation into the 1980’s. So the usual depiction of the Republican Party as the new Party of Racism is largely myth.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Dang it. I’m just doing typos all over the place. That should read “still largely Democratic”. Bull Connor and his gang stayed in power for a long time, loyally Democratic.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                The military tradition of the South (rolls eyes to heaven) had nothing to do with the mass exodus of the bigots from the Democratic Party. Nixon’s Southern Strategy was one long, vicious dog whistle.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                KnowNothings are still KnowNothings. Better to call them xenophobes than racists, as it better conforms to their policies.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Really, name-calling and eye-rolling? How about counter-arguments?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Hey – I just thought of something funny. BlaiseP is calling Kim a racist. I mean, if Kim would have supported Nixon, she’s gotta be, right? The dog whistle and all?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Pinky,
                Oh, come now sir! Blaise and you can do better than THAT!
                If you’re going to call me a racist, have the balls to say it yourself,
                and back it up yourself.

                Who knows, you might even be right!Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Republican candidates in the South were running on “states’ rights” coded racism starting in 1948. Their first full-on Southern Strategy campaign was 1968.

                Reagan started his 1980 campaign by championing “States’ Rights” while standing on the graves of murdered Freedom Summer voter registration volunteers in Philadelphia, MS and then continued on to constantly vilify blacks during the rest of the campaign.

                Charlie Crist rips his own party’s dishonesty about voter ID and the best you can come up with to describe a Republican former state governor is to call him “not the most Republican-friendly source.” Lawrence Wilkerson comes out and says “Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists, and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander in chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin, and that’s despicable” and the howls echo from the right wing to have him expelled from the GOP.

                Scott Walker, stooge in chief of the not-so-great state of Wisconsin, was in a public television debate with David Duke in 1992 and stated the Wisconsin GOP’s position on Duke’s racial supremacism, anti-semitism, and holocaust denial: “The distinction we’re making is not one of saying his issues are extreme, they certainly are not.”

                And you have the utter gall to claim we are being unfair if we say we don’t think the GOP is being honest, or if we think there’s clear evidence the GOP are not just a little bit racist?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to M.A.
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                I can’t find that Scott Walker quote online. I’d love to see it in context.

                States’ rights wasn’t code, at least for a large percentage of the people who advocated it. Assigning things to code is an act of bad faith. I’m telling you, if you want to have a serious discussion about issues, you’ve got to believe what people say about their own motivations. It doesn’t take utter gall to disagree with you – especially where you’re wrong.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                States’ rights wasn’t code, at least for a large percentage of the people who advocated it.

                You know, I can’t figure out a polite way to say this, but I feel it needs saying anyways.

                You’re delusional.

                “States’ Rights” was the name of the segregationist party that nominated Strom Thurmond for president.

                When Reagan said “states’ rights”, he was absolutely advocating for racist policies, like stopping the IRS from withholding tax-exempt status from private schools that still practiced racial discrimination.

                The same GOP members pushing “states’ rights” have recently brought back the completely unconstitutional “nullification doctrine” and disobedience of court orders (like the court orders that desegregated Southern schools), too. If that tells you anything at all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Colorado legalizing weed == States’ RightsReport

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                And I will argue that weed needs to be taken care of as a matter of federal law for that reason.

                Colorado “legalizing” weed isn’t really legalizing it, it’s still covered under the CSA. You want to truly legalize, you need to deal with the CSA. And no court in the land is going to argue that weed isn’t presently connected to interstate commerce enough for the federal government to claim jurisdiction.

                “Nullification” is not valid.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                I’m pretty sure that we hammered out that the definition of “Interstate Commerce” used by the federal government also covers “humping”.

                As such, I’m willing to say that you do not have quite as much jurisdiction as you’re claiming.Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                MA, you don’t seem to recognize that the particulars of the drug argument don’t matter; what matters is that you’re drinking from the same cup you just labelled necessarily racist.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Pinky, I just said that weed legalization would need to be handled at a federal level, Colorado law attempting to nullify it is invalid.

                Article VI, Clause 2, and all that.

                Please reread and understand that my name isn’t Jaybird…Report

              • Avatar LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to Pinky
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                This indent has cured my pangs of nostalgia for TVD.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                So if I grow my own weed in Colorado, don’t sell it to anybody, and just smoke it myself can I challenge my subsequent arrest on the grounds that I’m not engaging in commerce, let alone interstate commerce?Report

              • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                MA – You’re right; I read that too quickly. Thanks for the link; I’d been searching for that particular quote, and I couldn’t find it. I also saw a couple of links to a youtube video that had been taken down. But I just watched the first part of the debate, and you really did take that quote badly out of context. Walker said that Duke was talking about legitimate issues, but had enumerated them earlier: welfare reform, job protection, job security. Not, as you said, racial supremacism, anti-semitism, and holocaust denial.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                This was covered by Raich v. Ashcroft (which eventually became Gonzales v. Raich).

                Since she presumably would have bought it on the black market if her friends didn’t give it to her for free (using California seeds, California dirt, California water, and California sunshine), it’s interstate commerce because her not buying it had an impact upon interstate commerce.

                I am not making this up.

                Which led us to ask “would engaging in sex be covered as well?” and we concluded that, yeah, technically. Since, presumably, you’d be buying it on the black market if you weren’t getting it for free, your *NOT* purchasing it is Interstate Commerce.

                See also: Health Insurance.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                I know Raich. I was wondering what M.A. would say about it.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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              says:

              Vote disemfranchisement under the “guise” of removing those with previous addresses.
              Present and accounted for!

              Here stands one voter whose name was deliberately dropped from the rolls (had to call and bitch to get it back on, but Had To Know to know enough to call).Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          re-ally? Where were these?Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I consider myself politically aware and up-to-date on the news. I get my news from a variety of sources, most of which the likes of the gentleman from Port St. Lucie would accuse of being “in the bag for Obama.” NPR, NBC (note: it’s no longer MSNBC) and the other networks, the Gray Lady, the Fish Wrapper.

    But it was not until reading this post, this morning, that I was even aware that ACORN is not only defunct, but had been so for quite some time.

    So I now suspect that I flatter and delude myself when I call myself well-informed and politically aware. But more FOX News and the rest of the media of the right is obviously not the answer: so loud were the echoes from the Conservasphere’s Outrage Machine that even I, no longer a member of the Conservasphere, was distracted from reality by the anger, the repetition, the pointing and screeching. They were the source of the problem, the instruments if not the authors of the manipulation that resulted in my ignorance.

    I’ve learned a valuable lesson today.Report

  4. Avatar Sam
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    says:

    The most rational conclusion to draw would be that the rightwing media is detached from reality.

    The more this goes on, the harder a time I have a agreeing with conclusions as decent as this one. The persistent and insistent belief that it isn’t Obama that’s beating them – that it couldn’t be THAT guy, that it has to be something else (ACORN or the “liberal” media or gifts or corruption)? There’s got to be more to it than simply the rightwing media’s very casual relationship with reality.

    I’ll give you an example – although I’m a goofy looking dude, I’ve played enough basketball to know how to be a competent player, and under the right conditions, I can score in bunches. I’m 32 but the local university has a Rec Center, so I play against college students, and if I get going, I’ll occasionally run into guys who refuse to respect that I’m beating them. My shots (all bank shots from 45 degrees) are lucky or bullshit or they weren’t really playing or they were drunk last night or whatever. It just can’t have been me that bettered them.

    So then, what’s the breaking point for Republicans? At what point do they realize that they’re losing to a guy who is better than their candidates? At what point do they acknowledge that maybe it’s Obama and not a complex series of churning conspiracies? Or does it simply never happen?Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Sam
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      says:

      “So then, what’s the breaking point for Republicans? At what point do they realize that they’re losing to a guy who is better than their candidates? At what point do they acknowledge that maybe it’s Obama and not a complex series of churning conspiracies? Or does it simply never happen?”

      I think it is going to get worse before it gets better. There is also the possibility of the Republican Party going the way of the dodo and being replaced by a center-right party and a far right party.

      About a quarter of the electorate will always be far-right extremists of the current mode. Right now they can assert a lot of influence in the GOP. John Judis notes that the Club for Growth is already trying to stack the deck against reasonable conservatives for questioning Orthodoxies. In a system with multiple parties, this 25 percent would only control a handful of seats and that is it.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to NewDealer
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        Only works if they lose the mid-terms.

        If those masses of low to moderate income voters don’t get out and vote in non-presidential elections, letting tea-party candidates continue to sweep up local, state, and house seats, the feedback loop won’t work properly.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to zic
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          says:

          The feedback loop is locked into the House right now, sadly. Gerrymandered districting has left the House remarkably stable; only around 10 percent of the districts in the USA could be considered competitive.

          It’s not a coincidence that the GOP/TEA party went on a big push in the 2010 elections. They knew that districting was at stake and in many respects their goal was to take over as many state houses as possible in order to cement their margins via districting.

          They can’t win nationally, they can’t win many Senate races, but they can stuff as many Democrats into as few districts as possible and spread the remainder out into districts that become unwinnable. And before someone pipes up and screams – yes, Democrats have on occasion done this too, which is all the more reason to make it illegal and require nonpartisan algorithms rather than relying on partisan state legislatures to do districting.

          You don’t get rid of many of these people, no matter how hard you try. And it’s no coincidence that the worst-of-the-worst partisans come from the “safer” districts. They’re the districts that are decided in a primary, where appealing to the base at all costs is the priority because the primary winner knows they’ll barely have to campaign come time for the general election.

          I’ll remind you that last month, I abstained from three races on the ballot. All three consisted of the Republican nominee (GOP primary winner) and Libertarian nominee (actually the GOP primary loser, who the Libertarians nominated in a transparent bid to appear somehow relevant).

          That’s three races where the Democrats didn’t even bother to put up a candidate, because the district was such a lock. There are a few other races on the same ballot where the Democrat nominee probably was outspent 200 to 1, because no serious contender would even bother running in the district except to get name recognition for future elections.

          Noncompetitive elections screw up the system, and they’re what has made the House so unfortunately partisan. Nobody there is worried about winning in the general any more, it’s all about fending off a primary challenge from the knuckle-draggers.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to M.A.
            Ignored
            says:

            Despite the GOP gerrymandering, the technique backfired horribly at a national level. There are two ways to gerrymander: packing and cracking. Packing makes sure my district stays safe. Cracking dilutes your power. The GOP were too smart by half. In their attempt to Crack the safely Democratic districts, they inadvertently created situations where their supposed margins of victory weren’t safe enough.Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to BlaiseP
              Ignored
              says:

              It was only an 8-seat switch, Blaise. They cemented their wins quite well with gerrymandering; they lost the national presidential election handily, lost out on every competitive Senate seat they could have possibly lost (including losing Olympia Snowe’s seat to an Independent), lost the popular vote in terms of House numbers, and yet translated that popular-vote loss into a 234-201 seat majority hold on the chamber.

              That’s gerrymandering at work, doing what it was designed to do: turn a losing vote into a “representative majority” illegitimately.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh it was all quite legal, so we’re told. We seem stuck with this situation for a decade. But the GOP’s domination of the House is no longer that big a deal, strategically. Unless they can put their own judges on SCOTUS, they won’t be able to push much of their Conservative Agenda stuff.

                The House is a strange beast and getting stranger all the time. Look at all those dozens of motions to repeal ACA which went nowhere. SCOTUS eventually said most of the law was legal. The GOP can bluster and fret and make all sorts of meaningless gestures but unless they can get legislation passed or get it struck down in SCOTUS, it’s all so much fetid wind.

                And there’s the greed angle to consider. House members like to bring home the bacon. The House is full of fine upstanding people preaching the gospel of Fiscal Responsibility, as long as they’re in Washington. But if these Republicans send us over the fiscal cliff, they will go back to their districts to face lynch mobs.Report

          • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to M.A.
            Ignored
            says:

            “which is all the more reason to make it illegal and require nonpartisan algorithms rather than relying on partisan state legislatures to do districting.”

            Passed and just re-affirmed here in Cali. One thing we did right!Report

          • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to M.A.
            Ignored
            says:

            It’s not a coincidence that the GOP/TEA party went on a big push in the 2010 elections. They knew that districting was at stake and in many respects their goal was to take over as many state houses as possible in order to cement their margins via districting.

            As true as this is, in usual liberal fashion I will say that this was as much the fault of liberal activists who were throwing hissy fits than anything else.

            Voter turn-out from Democratic core constituencies was abyssmal in 2010, and part of it came from a lack of understanding the importance of census year elections.Report

  5. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    I have to agree that the “right wing media” is detached. Of course, so is the “left wing media”. They are both echo chambers, and the false premise that reporters are not biased but are “professionals” still gives me chuckles. Right.

    Given that, I still support sided media. I’d rather have Fox News known for being a sided media establishment rather than trying to hide it like some of the “mainstream” media outlets do. You know what you getting there. Not so much other places, so the “BS” meter has to be working harder.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Moral equivalence between “biased by their education, upbringing, and sympathies, often unconsciously” and “dedicated propaganda machine” is unpersuasive to me.Report

    • Avatar LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Say what you will about the Fox News ethos….Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      I’d rather have Fox News known for being a sided media establishment rather than trying to hide it like some of the “mainstream” media outlets do.

      But, Fox doesn’t cop to being media that takes a side. They proudly call themselves “Fair and Balanced” after all. I don’t see how the fact that their bias is too obvious to hide makes their model less BS than what you are calling mainstream media outlets.

      Honestly, your position toward Fox News is more baffling to me than that of those in their audience who are ignorant of the network’s bias. I mean it’s one thing to get taken by a shyster when you are unaware that you’re being sold a bill of goods, it’s quite another to know what you’re getting is snake-oil and buying it anyway.Report

      • Avatar LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to Scott Fields
        Ignored
        says:

        “Its easier to fool a man than to convince him he is being fooled.”Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Scott Fields
        Ignored
        says:

        I consider “Fair and Balanced” to be the equiv of “All the news that’s fit to print” or some other tagline. It’s clear that they are sided. This whole F&B thing is schtick, in my opinion. I’m sure it fools some folks, but those that are that easily fooled deserve it.

        I really don’t see why position is baffling. Foxed is biased, we both know that, whether they admit to it or not. If I watch them, and I do very infrequently, I already know the angle the stories will come from. That’s not the case for other media.Report

    • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Why do you think unbiased media is impossible?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Shazbot5
        Ignored
        says:

        Because people cannot escape their preconceptions, their background, their upbringing and associated notions. It’s too much a part of who they are. I’m fine with that. Just don’t lie to me or deceive yourself that you’re unbiased. Everyone has biases.Report

  6. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
    Ignored
    says:

    To feed in the right wing media echo chamber bullet point, here is Ann Coulter on Sean Hannity, trying to explain to Sean how temporarily raising taxes on the top 2% until the GOP wins back the Senate and Presidency in 2/4 years (LOLz) is the smart political thing.

    Report

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