Friday, November 03, 2006
Working the refs and election parties
William Kristol of The Weekly Standard once said, "I admit it. The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures." Rich Bond, former head of the Republican Party, also admitted they often "work the refs" as he put it. They always do it because it works. Some recent cases in point: Kerry being slammed on every media in the country for over 24 hours for omitting "us" in a speech, turning what was meant to be a joke about the intelligence of Bush into a joke of dumb people volunteering to go to Iraq. Never mind he immediately fired back that you would have to be crazy to think he would disparage the troops - the Republican base is crazy and the media plays to them.
In Houston, the city health department started giving flu shots in some of the centers that were having early voting. The Republican party and their noise machine were all over this as inducing poor minority people to vote but not rich white Republicans. Mayor White stopped the program after the complaints. Are many Democrats afraid to be seen as being for their party and for encouraging minorities and the poor to vote? You don't find the GOP apologizing for their several campaigns to keep minorities and the poor from voting despite it benefiting their party.
President Bush himself went to a fund raiser for a Republican accused of attacking and trying to strangle his mistress and urged voters to support him. What would the GOP do if a prominent Democrat did that?
Another candidate in the Houston area aggressively went after an Asian group advertising and distributing discount coupons at and near a polling location. Should Democrats check what stores are having sales near Republican precincts?
My reading of the law also shows that a generic inducement to vote as opposed to a vote for a particular candidate, party, or ballot measure is probably not illegal. I am sure I will get others emailing me soon that I am wrong.
Some law students conducted experiments on holding election day festivals and showed it increased voter turnout. Is this to be illegal? Providing free refreshments outside voting locations, which I personally have seen here in Pasadena - illegal or not?
Originally, voting places were often located in saloons and often free beer was provided, after this fell out of favor voter participation rates started dropping to where we are in our current sorry state. We are too sober, solemn and unhappy at a ritual that should bind communities and groups together. When one party runs on tearing communities apart and restricting and limiting the vote and telling others what to do in their bedrooms and castigating the other party as supporting terrorists perhaps we don't deserve happy party elections.
Let us work to put the party back in the political parties.