Thursday, March 29, 2007

Potpourri

The WaPo has a good article called The Myth Of Voter Fraud alluding to those cases that the fired U.S.A's weren't prosecuting:
Allegations of voter fraud -- someone sneaking into the polls to cast an illicit vote -- have been pushed in recent years by partisans seeking to justify proof-of-citizenship and other restrictive ID requirements as a condition of voting. Scare stories abound on the Internet and on editorial pages, and they quickly become accepted wisdom.

But the notion of widespread voter fraud, as these prosecutors found out, is itself a fraud. Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch. Where fraud exists, of course, it should be prosecuted and punished. (And politicians have been stuffing ballot boxes and buying votes since senators wore togas; Lyndon Johnson won a 1948 Senate race after his partisans famously "found" a box of votes well after the election.) Yet evidence of actual fraud by individual voters is painfully skimpy.
Glenn Greenwald makes the point that Neoconservative radicalism has reshaped our political spectrum. Once again the odious David Brooks gets some much deserved bashing.

On every front, the Bush administration has ushered in vast expansions of federal power -- often in the form of radical and new executive powers, unprecedented surveillance of American citizens, and increased intervention in every aspect of Americans' private lives. To say that the Bush movement is hostile to the limited-government ends traditionally associated (accurately or not) with the storied Goldwater/Reagan ideology is a gross understatement.

But none of this expansion of government power has been undertaken in order to promote ends traditionally associated with liberalism either -- none of it is about creating social safety nets or addressing growing wealth disparities or regulating business. Instead, federal power is enlisted, and endlessly expanded, in service of an agenda of aggressive militarism abroad, liberty-infringement domestically, and an overarching sense of moralistic certitude and exceptionalism. This movement is neither "liberal" nor "conservative" as those terms are understood in their abstract form, but instead, is radical in its attempt to fundamentally re-define the American government and the functions it serves.

[...]

And now here is Brooks, very explicitly repudiating the Goldwater/Reagan template and admitting that this movement is devoted to large expansions of federal power -- justified in the name of "protecting" Americans -- all devoted to what that movement claims is promotion of some objective Good. The central tenets of the right wing movement in this country -- which has seized and now defines the term "conservative" -- are easy to see. They're right there in plain sight -- they want to expand government power in pursuit of mindless, bloodthirsty warmongering and empire-building abroad, and the accompanying liberty-infringement at home.

As a result, to be considered "liberal" or "leftist" now means, more than anything else, to oppose that agenda. All of the people now deemed to be on the "left" -- including many who have quite disparate views about the defining political disputes of the 1990s -- have been able to work together with great unity because all energies of those "on the left" have been devoted not to any affirmative policy-making (because they have had, and still have, no power to do that), but merely towards the goal of exposing the corruption and radicalism at the heart of this extremist right-wing movement and to push back -- impose some modest limits -- on what has been this radical movement's virtually unlimited ability to install a political framework that one does not even recognize as "American."

Digby revisits from whence it came. Election stealing is not some new aberration but how BushCo came into being. It's what they do.
[S]ince I first started writing on-line, one of my recurring themes is that the modern Republican party has become fundamentally hostile to democracy.(And we already knew they were crooks.)

And here we are, six years later, actually debating whether the Bush White House has been manipulating the electoral system. For god's sake --- of course they have been. This administration was installed through crude manipulation of the rigged levers of power in the Bush family's political machine and they see such outrageous conduct as perfectly legitimate. Indeed, I'm sure they believe "it's not Machiavellian" to use the Department of Justice to rig the vote --- it would be Machiavellian not to.

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