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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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Kudos to the GOP on New Voting Initiatives

Uploaded: Mar 31, 2014
Fair-is-fair: at times, I have been critical of positions and tactics used by the Republicans – but when they do something that is an unconditionally Good Thing for the country, I want to acknowledge it. Their new election and voter registration initiative is a major departure, an expression of confidence in their message, and I'll say it – an incredibly meaningful shot in the arm for true democracy in America.

Over the weekend, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced the new initiative. He was flanked by Congressional leaders Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell – both of whom face tough re-election bids this fall. Gov. Scott Walker of WI joined the group by video feed. It was the talk of the Sunday network news talkies.

"We took our lumps in 2012, and that led to a lot of soul-searching among the broad spectrum of Americans who inhabit our big tent," Priebus announced. "From log cabin Republicans to evangelicals, from the inner-cities and barrios to Wall Street, farmers, doctors and lawyers, middle class 'soccer moms' and the fortunate few – they all came together to craft a message of New Inclusiveness. And what better way to demonstrate that our message resonates with all Americans than to launch a voter registration initiative that we're calling the Republican Party's 'Citizen Opportunities Now.'"

Remarkably, the new voter outreach program will commence operations in swing states of Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Colorado – all sites of important mid-term elections battles in 2014. Cantor picked-up the narrative: "We are so confident that our message of personal responsibility, gumption and Kevlar bootstraps resonates with hard-working Americans that we're unconcerned about demographics – the more the merrier as we paint this whole great nation red."

Specifically, Republican-controlled legislatures in those states are poised to pass new funding for more polling stations, voting booths and poll workers, and so all locations can be open longer. It also expands the availability of early voting opportunities. More generally, the Party has endorsed the recommendations and 'tool-kit' of the bi-partisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration as to modernization, efficient management, greater access to exercise the franchise, and use of technology in the voting process. Apparently past emphasis on voter ID requirements will become a thing of the past, as well.

In a statement, the RNC downplayed its past emphasis on preventing fraud in the election process. "We believe there are sufficient safeguards in-place to overcome any isolated incidents of misconduct, and we call on our Democratic colleagues across-the-aisle to work with us to ensure free and fair elections" the statement concluded. The Koch brothers and Karl Rove's powerful American Crossroads SuperPAC separately signaled their concurrence in a well-orchestrated demonstration of Party unity. They will underwrite significant parts of the programs.

The voter registration initiative also brings together diverse elements of the GOP, from the Tea Party on the right to the more moderate, hipper Ripon Society. Those two groups have often been at-odds, but this new direction gives them something heartfelt that they can rally around, together. Each will start by plying its own natural constituencies – the TeaPers, we're told, will be given strategic space for sign-up booths near casino slots rooms, in hospitals, bingo parlors and all-you-can-eat buffets. The bolder Ripons are venturing into soup kitchens and college quadrangles, union halls, and this summer plan to target outdoor rock festivals, salsa dance contests and rap concerts.

"There is nothing – Nothing – more basic to a functioning democracy than the right of its citizens to be heard in the election of their public officials," Walker stated. "As Ronald Reagan said, 'it is morning in America,' and that includes the dawning realization that our message of rugged individualism and fiscal responsibility is for everyone. It's how we roll in the Badger state – and Go Badgers!" he added in reference to University of Wisconsin's recent success in the March Madness college basketball tournament.

I will be the first to admit that I didn't see this one coming. I'm not even sure I can absorb it all. I had come to believe that the GOP would use any potential tool at its disposal to seek advantage and squelch opposition. I disliked that the Koch Brothers, with their newly-won freedom from limited campaign contributions, bankrolled predominantly negative, patently misleading ads about candidates and issues like climate change, health care and food stamps. I now see that those funds can be used for constructive, salutary purposes that promote the general well-being.

I suspect that these programs will have a ripple effect through Independents and the Democratic rank-and-file. The GOP has certainly seized the good governance initiative – it'll be fascinating how the President chooses to play this one – will he welcome these moves and get on-board, or try to obstruct them for fear that someone else will get the well-deserved credit? As the Administration reels from Russia's Putin out-maneuvering the Prez in Europe, will his leadership take yet another hit? Stay tuned.

In summary, I obviously owe the GOP and local Republican readers an apology – that Republican Party CON is the real deal, at least for a day.

Further reading here.

Comments

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 1, 2014 at 10:50 am

I assumed this must be an "April Fool's" joke in which Tom actually kept an open mind about the Republicans, rather than his usual partisan advocacy for his beloved Democrats. However, after reading his blog, I think he is actually genuine in his praise for the Republicans voter program. Maybe there is actually hope for our country, that all sides, can worry more about what is best for our country, rather than what is best for their political party. Tom, thanks for following the lead of Pope Francis, and being open to new thoughts, new ideas, and inclusiveness.

Now, if only Daric Barton went half way to third, rather than back to second base to tag up on Donaldson's long fly, like I taught my players in little league 10 years ago, the A's would have scored yesterday. Let's go Oakland!!!


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Turn-about is fair-play, Am -- happy April Oneth!

Tagging-up on Donaldson's long fly, however, was boney-headed. And I haven't seen anything yet to recommend Johnson -- he may be bullpen's weakest link.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Didn't have to read past the first sentence to realize this was an April fool's joke. In fact, the fourth and fifth words gave it away because Tom is ALWAYS critical of Republicans.

Good political humor always needs an element of truth to make it believable. Thankfully none of this post sounds believable. Citizens need to prove they are citizens when it comes to voting. If some citizens have trouble getting proper identification, then that is the issue we need to bend over backwards to fix. If they have no identification they are probably facing much more urgent issues that maybe life threatening or at least detrimental to their well being.

Here are some much more believable April fool's Day topics for Tom:
- Democrats admit that fifty years of welfare programs have not improved the status of the poor and, in fact, have created generations of families dependent on the government.
- Democrats admit that global warming is a hoax and that average temperatures have not increased in the past 15 years rendering their climate models useless.
- Democrats admit that of the seven million who have allegedly signed up for Obamacare, only one or two million were previously uninsured. The rest of the signup were from the pool of about six million who lost coverage due to Obamacare.
- Democrats admit that their desire to always raise taxes and spend more money is intended to make us weaker and poorer as a nation.
- Democrats admit that their desire to raise the minimum wage will hurt those at the bottom of the wage scale but will help drive up union wages ensuring continued funding for Democrat candidates.
- Leading Democrats admit that they opposed the Iraq War for political reasons. Oh wait, apparently Hillary Clinton has already done that. Never mind.
- Leading Democrats admit school choice leads to better education and confess that their children are getting a better education in private schools.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 1, 2014 at 4:13 pm

You know, I saw a presentation on the business of blogging recently, in which the presenter advocated for creative bases of compensation, in preference to just an amount-certain per article or click.

That got me thinking -- if I could figure out how to get paid according to the heaping helping of humorless hostility that I routinely absorb hereabouts, why, I'd be rich. I mean, there must be some therapeutic pay-out for some commenters -- avoided psychiatric bills, or maybe divorce costs, foregone road-rage consequences, etc. If only I could monetize it ... I guess that is just the internet dilemma we all face.


Posted by BF, a resident of Diablo,
on Apr 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Mr. Thin Skin cries again.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 6:17 am

It's a pleasure to serve your needs. That'll be Ten Bucks, please.


Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 7:07 am

Tom; you were right about Johnson,,weakest link in bullpen. I would like to see Doolittle as closer.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 8:17 am

Hi Am: I hope these two games, so far, don't come back to haunt the A's. I don't much care for booing your own guy, but it sure looks like batting practice when Johnson's out there -- every hit has been solid, and he's earned that ERA of 45.00, so far.

I heard another fan say that he's historically been a slow starter, but I can't confirm -- hope he's right! If so, I'd put JJ elsewhere in the 'pen for a while. Ditto on your Doolittle take -- I think he's ready.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Tom's original topic in this thread was about voter identification and an attempt to ridicule the Republican position using April fool's day. Of the eight previous comments, only one stayed on topic, mine. In fact, Tom has encouraged the thread to go off topic, apparently because even he has lost interest in his topic.

This is part of the problem with the PW discussion forum. Too many articles devolve into off topic discussions, insults, etc. Not content that Tom's own blog's go in those directions, Tom is now frequently posting off topic comments and personal insults on Tim Hunt's blogs.


Posted by Zoilo, a resident of Canyon Creek,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I'm glad the Republicans are doing something about the millions of fruadulant voters who are never mentioned in the Constitution. Its about time!But Tom's for-tae is writing about baseball! I like the Astros.


Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

It's hard to figure out who wins the right wing alternate universe award on this thread; Doug Miller posts the largest number of myFACT assertions, but Zoilo's apparent belief that there are "millions of fraudulent voters" is pretty stunning in its reality-free essence. (I'm assuming Zoilo isn't complaining about the 14th or 19th Amendments, which would be unconventional but at least give his numbers a mathematical relationship to real-world events.)


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

This was meant to be an April fool's slam on Republicans about voter registration policies without having to describe the Democrat policy. Is it more likely or less likely to have illegal aliens show up at polls if identification is not required? Whether the number of fraudulent votes in in the millions, thousands or hundreds, sometimes elections are decided by a few votes. The election process must have integrity. Citizens must trust the system. The Democrat position is more likely, not less likely to lead to fraudulent results. A better approach is to make sure identification cards are easily obtained. These cards are necessary to obtain many safety net benefits. We should make sure that those most in need get identification cards.


Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Doug, don't be a weasel. "Voter fraud" isn't really the issue and you know it.
The number of fraudulent votes cast isn't in the millions, thousands or hundreds. The overwhelming majority of actual fraudulent votes are cast by people who own homes in two states, and either vote in both or in the wrong one. (Mostly Republicans, incidentally.) Occasionally you'll find an ex-felon who was eligible to vote in one state and moves to another where the voting laws are different. But voter ID laws wouldn't do a thing about the handful of actual votes cast by people who are not eligible to vote.

Many millions of dollars have been spent year after year trying to find even a handful of actual fraudulent votes that would have been caught or prevented with voter ID - and those efforts have come up with nothing. Every one who casts a vote gives their name and address. The voting bona fides of very person who casts a vote can be investigated and verified. It's been done - over and over. Results? Bupkis. The democratic position won't change the likelihood of fraudulent votes being cast one bit.
Web Link

But "voter fraud" isn't the actual goal of the Republican push, and you know it.

The actual goal is to prevent people who have a Constitutional right to vote from being able to cast a ballot. The weak spin on the issue which you faithfully repeat wouldn't fool a 12 year old. If you are to be believed, Republicans can only "trust" a system where only the people **you** approve of can vote.
Web Link

I suggest you try to salvage your integrity and refrain from making patently non-credible excuses for cynical abuses of the rights of American citizens. You lose any semblance of credibility and make reasonable people wonder whether you're intentionally duplicitous or just gullible.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Voter fraud is the real issue and you are afraid that without fraud that Democrats can not win elections.

Is it more likely or less likely to have illegal aliens show up at polls if identification is not required? Answer that question. In California it is easy for someone to go to a polling place, look at a list of who has not yet voted, look at their address and then vote as that person.

Name calling, slander and making things up are a weak response and a sign that you are losing the argument. Your assertions about Republicans are silly. Read more widely. Get off of the left wing websites. Get out in your neighborhood and talk to some people.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

I have a photo ID on my Driver's License, but the photo was taken 20 years ago and I don't look like that much anymore. So it might hold up the line while the poll takers try to determine whether the woman in the photo, who is 20 years younger and 80 lbs. lighter, is the same as the fat old broad trying to vote.

It seems to me there's a much easier way to track voter fraud and eliminate fraudulent votes. I've been voting for since 1964 and voted in 2013 for the last odd year election in San Ramon. I recall signing my name in a book next to my printed name and address. If a bogus Rosalind Rogoff tried to vote using my name, he or she would have to sign my name in the voting book. Unless this fraudulent voter is also a skilled forger, his or her signature would not match the one on my registration card.

The signature books can be scanned into a computer and matched to all of the registration records. If the signatures don't match, those votes can be discarded. This way the fraudulent votes would not be counted, which of course would ensure Republican wins everywhere without holding up the lines of voters to verify everyone's photo ID.


Posted by local, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Voter fraud in California is SO easy. If you are part of a political organization, you can get from the registrar of voters office a list of the registered voters and which elections they have voted in; either in person or absentee, and if they are a permanent absentee voter.

Armed with the information, a campaign only needs to look at registered voters who are not registered absentee who typically do not vote. Then have somebody go to that polling place during the election. Before entering the polling place, look at the list of registered voters for that precient and verify that person has not shown up to vote already (just in case). Every polling place has a list of registered voters and hourly the poll workers cross off the names of those who have voted in person that day. If the person they want to vote as has not shown, up, from that list you have their name and address so you just have to say you are that person, and vote. Since the person they impersonated rarely votes, the registered voter has no idea that somebody has voted using their name.

California makes it so easy for voter fraud.

The solution, ask for an id. If they do not have an id, have them vote provisional. Provisional means that the election office does an extra level of scrutiny (perhaps calling the registered voter to make sure it was them who showed up). Since every voter is sent something in the mail before the election to let them know where they vote, you could allow people to vote with the mailer the elections office sent if you do not have an id.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 6, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Voter Fraud Handbook in CA: Web Link

HAPPY TRAILS!


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 6, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Nice to see that someone acknowledges the potential for voter fraud and the need to protect the integrity of our election process. But after the computers or election officials have later analyzed signatures, how do you go back and "discard" the fraudulent votes? Sounds nice but that can\'t be done.

I travel frequently. I have never been delayed at an airport because someone\'s photo didn\'t match their appearance. The TSA would pull someone aside and work on the issue while others proceeded through the line. Likewise, polling sites have multiple poll workers. Voters could still be processed while a question about ID is resolved. A provisional ballot could be processed which is dependent on a resolution of identification.



Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Apr 6, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Great link Cholo. A lot of the voter fraud described on the Secretary of State's website cannot be prevented with a photo id. Most of it is vote by mail or absentee voting for dead uncles, family pets, or multiple registrations in different locations.

I suspected that there would be (or should be) no way to tell who the phoney Rosalind Rogoff voted for, but comparing election day signatures to voter registration cards would be a way to find out the number of mismatched signatures and the precincts with the most mismatches.


Roz


Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 7, 2014 at 8:39 am

Doug: I have already answered your question once; I'll answer it again: no, it won't. Because we don't have voter ID now, and it isn't happening now. That's the real world.

Let me repeat: that is the real world. That is what actually exists, not a theory about what "could happen." Your claims have been investigated by republican state governments all around the country, spending millions of dollars in a desperate effort to find any real world evidence that what you claim is true. It isn't true. Simple as that. (Local: it's actually pretty easy to understand why there isn't any significant amount of voter impersonation fraud, but I won't even try to get you to reason with logic. We'll just stick to the verified fact that it doesn't exist for now.)

In fact, the reason for spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money is to prevent American citizens and taxpayers from voting. That's what voter ID actually ***does do*** in the real world.

I understand that the right wing considers reality an annoying technicality. That's why you resort to myFACTS(tm) instead. But to insist that the state should spend millions of dollars, ostensibly to prevent non-existent voter impersonation fraud, but in reality to suppress the votes of people you want to marginalize, goes too far.

I don't know what your neighbors think, Doug. I doubt that you do, either. But neighborhood opinion doesn't change reality.

Voter impersonation fraud is not a "big issue." It's a "Big Lie." Propaganda. A fake story used to facilitate a malignant act which can't be justified truthfully. There's a fraud here, all right, but it's not anything that voter ID would address.

Now, if you are really concerned about vote fraud, tighten up the absentee voting rules. While the percentage of votes involved is still tiny, there actually are a detectable number of fraudulently filed absentee ballots.

Oh, but wait. That would affect Republican votes. So you're not interested in that means of fighting vote fraud, are you? Well, Doug, what do you say? Are you interested in tightening the absentee ballot rules?


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Yes, "Peter" I am very interested in suppressing all votes by those not eligible to vote, be it by ballot on election day or through the absentee voter process. And I agree with you that as more and more people choose the absentee route that it will become a bigger part of the problem. So, I am happy to join you.

Sorry that you misunderstand my question, "Is it more likely or less likely to have illegal aliens show up at polls if identification is not required?" Reading the rest of that paragraph explained that it was a general question, not a California based question.

As to the significance and frequency of voter fraud, the jury is still out. Experts are divided. But Americans are more concerned with voter fraud than restricting the vote of eligible voters. And they are overwhelmingly in favor of voter identification according to a Washington Post poll conducted just before the 2012 election.

And I do know many of my neighbors. I have lived in this neighborhood for almost 25 years.

Can we agree to stop the name calling, insults and slander? Socrates once said, "when debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser".


Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Doug, I've answered your question twice now; why not demand that I answer it for the third time since you didn't like the first two answers?

No, voter ID won't make it "less likely" that people will impersonate real voters and cast votes in other people's names. It can't, because that isn't happening now. Not in California, not anywhere else in the country. How do you make something "less likely" than something that's not even happening? "Not happening" is about as unlikely as you can get.

Sorry, Doug. When I see BS, I call BS. It's simply factually untrue that "experts are divided" about voter impersonation fraud. No one who is an "expert" in voting procedures believes that there is any significant voter impersonation fraud in the U.S. because that is simply and factually untrue. It doesn't exist on anything above an anecdotal level. If it did, it would be detectable, but millions of taxpayer dollars spent chasing that will 'o the wisp have come up empty.

If "Americans are concerned" it's because they've been told falsehoods. That's why telling the truth is important, and "agreeing to disagree" with people who aren't telling the truth isn't appropriate. Americans were "concerned" about WMDs in Iraq, too. So much so that a significant chunk of the people who got their information about the world from Fox News actually believed that they had been found there - three months ***after*** the searched performed after the invasion had proved that story was bogus.

This one is easy. The facts are readily available. The only "disagreement" is between the truth and cynical propaganda.

Voter ID ***does*** suppress legitimate voting. It ****doesn't**** prevent voter impersonation fraud because there isn't any voter impersonation fraud to prevent. Those are facts.

So when a partisan puts out phony arguments about why voter ID is really for the good of the country (and not just an slimy tactic designed to improve his party's electoral chances through skullduggery) that spade should be called a spade.

Now maybe you actually don't know the truth. Maybe you're just a befuddled puppet of the propaganda spinners, repeating stuff you really don't understand. If so, I'm sorry (on so, so many levels.) But if you do know the truth, and push the propaganda anyway, then you're just another cynical dissembler.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Apr 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

"Peter" it is easy and cowardly to hide behind a phony name and toss grenades at those with whom you disagree. Try to be civil.

Go read the WSJ article that Tom selectively quoted. It is fair and balanced. There are legitimate questions about voter fraud. That is why 74% of the respondents in a Washington Post poll are in favor of voter identification. Certainly not all of them watch Fox News. Probably few of them do.


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