Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Deal Breaker 2012

On our recent trip, we found ourselves amused by the account of a court case coming up in Nevada. Some years back, a pair of men had created an "art car" from a school bus, turning it from a mundane vehicle into something resembling a Spanish galleon, presumably without cannon. For quite a while it was a big draw at local festive events, but then it was put into storage, where its condition deteriorated. The storage facility had a change of owners, and at some point, the new owner put the doomed vehicle to the torch.
The dispute revolved around the question of just who owned the galleon in its last days, and what, if anything, was owed to its original owners. I'm not sure how it turned out, or even if  a decision has been rendered. Regardless, the whole affair seems like the best reason I've come across to drop all my other commitments and spend each day hanging around courtrooms waiting for the chance to witness interesting cases argued in front of a judge.

Let's face it. It would take quite a bit to get me to vote Republican most of the time, though I don't doubt the GOP has some worthy candidates.
I can think of plenty of reasons to go Democratic, as I have since the '70s. But almost all of them are arguable in some way. This applies to things like taxes, Medicare, employment, social issues, blah, blah, blah. Even past decisions can be argued: the GM bailout, the stimulus, foreign policy, etc.
Almost all hugely bad political decisions have their defenders. Sure, (for instance) Nixon did things that were wrong, but wasn't it for the good of the country? Iran-Contra broke the law, but we got some hostages back, didn't we? Attacking Iraq didn't turn out too well, but we were just trusting our (and Germany's) intelligence. Vietnam was kind of a disaster, but we meant well. Each disaster seems to have a "but", no matter how bad hindsight reveals the decision to have been. Same with good decisions. You can find people who insist that Medicare has been bad for the country.
Aren't there any matters that can be considered both "wrong" from the standpoint of relative wisdom and morally lacking? Could we attach this perfidy to more than one individual, but just one political party?
I believe there is such an issue in this election which I fear will be with us for awhile. It's the issue of voter ID, which sounds benign enough, but is not. The goal is simple enough. Nationwide, Democrats outnumber Republicans. The path to winning for the GOP is, therefore, a bit harder than for Democrats. Republicans must either work harder to get every single (R) safely in the right corral along with some (I)s, OR find a way to drain big numbers of (D)s from their corral.
They can't come out and openly threaten Democrats who vote, although attempting to scare them into changing is both traditional and at least legal. Instead, the (R)s have happened on an issue which has given them leverage to change voter rolls in some key states. The cover issue is "voter fraud", which alleges that hordes of unqualified people could overwhelm the polls on Election Day claiming to be someone else in order to tip the election to the (D)s.
The operative word here is "could", because a huge effort by the Bush administration to find evidence of this practice turned up next to nothing. Regardless, the GOP undertook after the 2010 midterm election to make it harder to vote. More specifically, it will be harder for elderly, younger, poorer and minority voters to vote, all of these being groups more likely to pull the (D) lever. Every state goes about this differently, but some surprisingly bold tactics are now in place. In Ohio, it goes so far as to have different (shorter) hours and fewer days of early voting ONLY in Democratic-leaning counties.
This, I believe, meets the criteria of "deal breaker". It is wrong to make it harder to vote when two centuries of past trends has tended to allow more, not fewer voters. The effort to reverse a two century trend is 100% Republican, and no important GOP candidate seems courageous enough to point out that this is  morally wrong. Not Romney, Ryan or Fox News or former presidents or former senators now earning  big bucks as lobbyists. All of them know that this is a phony issue, but none are willing to admit it. I just can't think of anything more black-and-white, and until at least one Republican agrees, I just don't feel I can support them.   



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