Monday, October 13, 2014

Mittens Checks In As GOP Tries to Deflect Media Attention From Despicable Voter Suppression Tactics

Failed 2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney: back on the political trail
Our old friend Mittens (Romney) was back in the news again today, bringing his folksy, substance-free brand of conservatism to the great state of New York to fire off a couple of political cheap shots at incumbent Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Republican gubernatorial opponent, West Chester County Executive Rob Astorino, isn't likely to make a dent in Cuomo's commanding double-digit lead, or overcome hizzoner's deep-pocketed backers, name recognition or mastery of Albany politics. Republicans know that.

They certainly couldn't have forgotten that Romney got his political clock cleaned during the November 6, 2012 presidential elections when President Obama took the state of New York by an overwhelming margin of 63.35% to Romney's 35.17% on the way to a decisive 2nd term victory.

So it's not like Mittens is some kind of political rock star in New York; aside from some sparsely populated upstate rural areas, the voting populace soundly rejected he and former vice-presidential candidate Congressman Paul Ryan's economic policies in 2012.

The real reason the GOP asked Mitt to pen an open letter to New York voters criticizing Cuomo as a "typical corrupt New York politician" was more likely just a calculated PR ruse designed to help deflect the pummeling the Republican brand took in the media last week.

And it wasn't just the media taking Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to task for the economic disaster resulting from his bizarre Tea Party-inspired "experiment" to use failed Reagan-era supply-side economic theories to jump start the Kansas economy.

Even Republicans have publicly criticized Brownback's combination of massive tax cuts (for guess who?) and huge cuts in state spending on things like education and job training programs for the current sad state of the Kansas economy. More than 100 Kansas Republicans fed up with the Tea Party's grip on power publicly backed Brownback's Democratic opponent for governor, statehouse leader Paul Davis.

As the members of the editorial board of the Washington Post observed back in late September:

"Mr. Brownback’s Kansas trial is rapidly becoming a cautionary tale for conservative governors elsewhere who have blithely peddled the theology of tax cuts as a painless panacea for sluggish growth. Most key indicators suggest that job creation and economic growth in Kansas are lagging those of its neighbors."
  
Romney's political cheap shots at Cuomo served the GOP's purposes by making media headlines and also temporarily serving to put a more moderate face on the Republican party. Plus it's valuable low-cost media attention; media focus that won't be turned on the Republican right wing's ongoing effort to sway the outcome of the upcoming November elections by actively violating the right to vote for many Americans.

Did you hear about 79 year-old Joy Dunn of Arkansas?

Check out the article on ThinkProgress.org. She's an African-American resident of Little Rock, AK who can recall the time when black citizens like herself had to pay a $2 poll tax in order to vote; a sum which could represent a week's wages for rural blacks in the south during the time of Jim Crow.

Ole' Jim is apparently alive and well in Arkansas as Ms. Dunn's recent vote in a March special election in Arkansas was returned to her in the mail along with a note saying it was not counted because she had not provided copies of her ID.

She's never had to provide copies of her ID to vote in the decades she's been voting - and of course, no state or local municipal agency ever contacted her directly, or informed her to notify her that she had to; even though she does have valid state ID's.

Ms. Dunn manged to have a friend take her ID's to the library to photocopy them so she can vote in the November elections; but how many elderly residents in rural areas found their votes returned and don't have someone to help them figure out how to comply with state ID laws in order to vote? How many just gave up?

Similar doings are still going on down in North Carolina. The weekly news roundup on the Friday October 10th edition of NPR's Diane Rhehm Show featured some interesting discussion on the status of voter suppression in America. A caller from NC called in to say that he'd worked as a voting monitor at a polling site in a NC community with a liberal arts college and a fairly large black population.

He claimed that many people had received information in the mail that intentionally gave them the wrong polling location for their address or district. When many of those who'd received the bogus info showed up at what they thought was their correct polling site, they were not permitted to cast a vote.

The GOP's ongoing efforts to undermine the fundamental right to vote as a campaign tool is a disturbing travesty that fundamentally violates the law and drags the nation backwards into a much darker era.

Thanks to the destructive influence of the Tea Party extremists who now control the Republican party at the behest of right-wing billionaire backers like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson (who seek to "reverse social engineer" the nation back into their own warped perception of a Democracy), the GOP is unapologetically ethically bankrupt at this point - lacking both scruples and a sense of decency and fair play.

The old joke about a politicians taking candy from babies has been replaced by a brutal reality where the GOP (literally) steals votes from the elderly, the poor and working class and students seeking to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.

Mitt Romney's cheap shots won't change that.

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