Under the guise of a neutral-sounding “review,” Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday launched a new federal campaign against state-based efforts to prevent voter fraud.
Holder, who spoke at the Lyndon Johnson presidential library in Austin, Texas, professed to be conducting a “thorough and fair” review of new state laws beefing up voter identification requirements. But his remarks made clear that while the review will certainly be “thorough,” it will not be fair. Because you can’t really be fair when you’ve already made up your mind. From the speech:
As Congressman John Lewis described it, in a speech on the House floor this summer, the voting rights that he worked throughout his life – and nearly gave his life – to ensure are, “under attack… [by] a deliberate and systematic attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, students, [and] minority and low-income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process.” Not only was he referring to the all-too-common deceptive practices we’ve been fighting for years. He was echoing more recent concerns about some of the state-level voting law changes we’ve seen this legislative season.
The nation’s putatively even-handed top law enforcement officer abandoned even the pretense of impartiality by calling citizens to oppose the laws he is supposed to be impassively reviewing.
So speak out. Raise awareness about what’s at stake. Call on our political parties to resist the temptation to suppress certain votes in the hope of attaining electoral success and, instead, encourage and work with the parties to achieve this success by appealing to more voters. And urge policymakers at every level to reevaluate our election systems – and to reform them in ways that encourage, not limit, participation.
It’s disconcerting enough to have the attorney general prejudging the outcome of his own review. What’s really startling is that the man who runs our federal police apparatus would try to gin up people in a campaign against laws duly passed by state legislatures.
Everyone knows that easing registration adds Democratic voters to the polls. Republicans argue that this also eases the type of voter fraud that mainly occurs in urban, Democratic-controlled areas.
The point is not which side is right, only that it’s not the attorney general’s place to wade into a political argument or to conduct a “review” that is biased and that would help Democrats. It’s a perversion of our system of justice.
That this is political is evident from the similarity of Holder’s remarks to those we are hearing from others to raise money. Here’s what Holder said Tuesday:
It is time to ask: what kind of nation – and what kind of people – do we want to be? Are we willing to allow this era – our era – to be remembered as the age when our nation’s proud tradition of expanding the franchise ended? Are we willing to allow this time – our time – to be recorded in history as the age when the long-held belief that, in this country, every citizen has the chance – and the right – to help shape their government, became a relic of our past, instead of a guidepost for our future?
Now take a look at some recent drivel from Michelle at a fundraiser:
The choice we make in this election will determine nothing less than who we are as a country — but more importantly, who we want to be. Who are we? Will we be a country that tells folks who’ve done everything right but are struggling to get by, “tough luck, you’re on your own”? Is that who we are?
Or will we honor the fundamental American belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, and if one of us is hurting, then we’re all hurting? Who are we? Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just the few at the top? Who are we? Or will we give every child a chance to succeed no matter where they’re from, or what they look like or how their money parents are — have. Who are we?
Same speechwriter out of the Chicago campaign shop? You decide.
I guess the politicization of the Justice Department is not too surprising from an administration that long ago abandoning governing in favor of campaigning. What’s shocking is how open they are about it.