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Posted by IndyOp in Election Reform
Sat Jun 17th 2006, 06:31 PM
that we seem to talk about, in some ways, only tangentially.

We cannot solve a problem we cannot clearly, concisely define.

We cannot counter the arguments of a bully if we cannot speak the whole truth DIRECTLY TO the entire nation.

We must REVEAL the 'values' and 'goals' held by 1,000's of fanatical Republicans who are determined to 'win' elections. Why? Our problem is NOT Karl Rove. Our problem is that Karl Rove is just one of 1,000's of fanatical Republicans who have moved from anti-democratic 'questionnable behavior' (like misrepresenting their opponents during campaigns); to 'clearly unethical behavior' (voter misinformation, providing bad equipment to precincts likely to vote Democratic); and on into illegal behavior (phone jamming, rigging machines to switch votes, ballot box stuffing, targeting minorities for voter suppression and more).

Voting machines do not steal elections.

Republicans use voting machines to steal elections.

And they use a wide variety of other methods including, especially, voter suppression. (Though dirty, dirty politics is also going to be in full-force this summer and fall).

The 'values' and 'goals' held by 10,000+ fanatical Republicans who are determined to 'win' elections.

While the upper-eschalon of Republicans are pretty clearly operating solely out of the sickness of greed and power -- they've done a fantastic job getting 1,000's of Religious Right to see the goal of politics as doing God's work. Of course, they are dedicated. Of course, they are likely to step over the line. They are living the belief that "The ends justify the means."

ONE: Paul Weyrich is the Father of the Reagan Revolution, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and Free Congress Foundation. Weyrich & Richard Viguerie worked together on the first successful direct-mail campaigns for Ronald Reagan.

Weyrich, speaking in private to a church to Republican activists said this: “How many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome? Good government! They want everybody to vote! I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections, quite candidly, goes up as voting populace goes down.” (This is an audio recording played often by Thom Hartmann on his radio show.)

Weyrich has a very different message in an article entitled Easy Voting Brings Low Participation online: "Former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter have come up with a series of recommendations aimed at increasing participation in national elections. Among the proposals the former presidents have put forth are (a) to hold elections on a national holiday, such as Veterans Day; (b) to make convicted felons eligible to vote after they have served time; (c) to permit people who aren't on the voter rolls on Election Day to vote, sorting out their eligibility in the days after the election…. I am glad that Pres. Bush’s reaction has been lukewarm…. The truth is simply this: The easier we have made it to vote, the lower the voter participation.”


TWO: My right-wing degree

How I learned to convert liberal campuses into conservative havens at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, alma mater of Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Jeff Gannon and two Miss Americas.

By Jeff Horwitz

May 25, 2005 | One recent Sunday, at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, a dozen students meet for the second and final day of training in grass-roots youth politics. All are earnest, idealistic and as right wing as you can get. They take careful notes as instructor Paul Gourley teaches them how to rig a campus mock election.

It's nothing illegal -- no ballot stuffing necessary, even at the most liberal colleges. First you find a nonpartisan campus group to sponsor the election, so you can't be accused of cheating. Next, volunteer to organize the thing. College students are lazy, and they'll probably let you. Always keep in mind that a rigged mock election is all about location, location, location. "Can anyone tell me," asks Gourley, a veteran mock electioneer, "why you don't want the polling place in the cafeteria?" Stephen, a shy antiabortion activist sitting toward the rear of the class, raises his hand: "Because you want to suppress the vote?" "Stephen has the right answer!" Gourley exclaims, tossing Stephen his prize, a copy of Robert Bork's "Slouching Toward Gomorrah."

The students, strait-laced kids from good colleges, seem unconvinced. The lesson -- that with sufficient organization, the act of voting becomes less a basic right than a tactical maneuver -- doesn't sit easy with some students at first. Gourley, a charismatic senior from South Dakota and the treasurer of the College Republican National Committee, assures them: "This is not anti-democracy. This is not shady. Just put somewhere where you might have to put a little bit of effort into voting." The rest, Gourley explains, is just a matter of turnout.

There is no better place to master the art of mock-election rigging -- and there is no better master than Morton Blackwell, who invented the trick in 1964 and has been teaching it ever since. Blackwell's half-century career in conservative grass-roots politics coincides neatly with the fortunes of the conservative movement: He was there when Goldwater lost, when Southern voters abandoned the Democratic Party in droves, and when the Moral Majority began its harvest of evangelical Christian voters. In the 1970s, Blackwell worked with conservative direct-mail king Richard Viguerie; in 1980, he led Reagan's youth campaign. Recently, he's been fighting to save Tom DeLay's job.

Yet Blackwell's foundation, the Leadership Institute, is not a Republican organization. It's a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) charity, drawing the overwhelming majority of its $9.1 million annual budget from tax-deductible donations. Despite its legally required "neutrality," the institute is one of the best investments the conservative movement has ever made. Its walls are plastered with framed headshots of former students -- hundreds of state and local legislators sprinkled with smiling members of the U.S. Congress, and even the perky faces of two recently crowned Miss Americas. Thirty-five years ago, Blackwell dispatched a particularly promising 17-year-old pupil named Karl Rove to run a youth campaign in Illinois; Jeff Gannon, a far less impressive student, attended the Leadership Institute's Broadcast Journalism School.


THREE: Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement calling on Governor Barbour to denounce the phone jamming scheme and demanding that Mehlman stop stonewalling on this case: "Today we learned that both the current RNC chairman and a former RNC chairman are linked to a criminal campaign to keep people from voting in New Hampshire. Governor Barbour should immediately denounce GOP Marketplace's conduct in this phone jamming scheme and make clear the degree to which he or his investment company benefited from it. Again, I encourage Chairman Mehlman to end the Republican stonewall and answer the many questions that remain regarding the involvement of the White House staff and the RNC in this shameful and illegal activity. It's a simple question, what did they know and when did they know it?"

While the AP revealed Barbour's financial interest in the company hired to block phone lines at Democratic get-out-the-vote phone banks, Knight Ridder today highlighted the disturbing parallels between this scandal and Watergate.

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More? See ModMom's 4 STEPS TO HOW THE GOP STOLE THE '04 ELECTION (and will repeat again)
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