Voter Fraud Compared to Bird Flu
Well, if it can kill you, it's probably worth taking precautions against, right? And, as it turns out, there's a vaccine specifically designed to prevent bird flu. So we should all go get vaccinated, right?
That's what the Republicans are saying about voter fraud. It does exist in some places, and it might exist here, so we should all get the "vaccine" they're proposing: strict voter ID requirements.
Here's what they're not mentioning:
• The vaccine is very expensive.
• There's no real indication that it'll prevent all cases of bird flu. (It cuts the death toll by 1/3, which sounds impressive until you realize that means from 3 to 2.)
• And side effects from getting the vaccine kill 100 people out of 100,000.
In other words, the "cure" is worse than the "disease". Once the full story is known, only an idiot would propose mass vaccinations, right? Well, in Wisconsin, the name of that idiot is J. B. Van Hollen, the attorney general who aspires to to be the Republican wet-dream successor to such worthies as Katherine Harris (Florida, '00) and Kenneth Blackwell (Ohio, '04).
Now, admittedly, my vaccination analogy falls short in some regards.
1st, it's fairly easy to compare mortality rates, because you've got dead bodies you can count. It's much harder to find fraudulent voters, because hardly anybody brags about it out loud when sober. That's why I'm not going all the way toward saying it never happens. There are no documented cases of it anywhere in Wisconsin, but some of them might be sneaking by under the radar.
2nd, the 100 vaccination victims are largely random — could be anyone! The 100 likely victims of "voter ID", however, are well known to all: the poor, the elderly, students, racial minorities, single mothers, people with 2 jobs, etc. — that is, people much more likely to think of the government as a friend, rather than the enemy, and thus much more likely to vote Democratic.
The Republicans claim the real problem (the analog to the flu) is voter fraud. They are so arrogant (and perhaps so lulled into complacency by the success of the Bush regime's habit of playing fast and loose with the truth) as to think that we suckers will buy that line. (And, FWIW, many people, upon hearing only the GOP side of the story, artfully packaged, do buy that line.)
But anyone who's paying attention recognizes that what the Republicans are trying to pass off as a "solution" is considerably worse than the virtually non-existent "problem" it purports to address: It's really voter suppression.
This is, of course, exactly what the Republicans want, regardless of how much lipstick they smear on the pig by way of protestations of innocence and "We're just trying to enforce the law!". The blind sheep following them may be dumb, but these Mayberry Machiavellis, to give them their due, are not.
Devious, yes. Disingenuous, yes. Clever, yes. Self-interested, yes. Spinmeisters, yes. Dumb, no.
My final word on the subject: I live in Madison, Wisconsin, home to the University of Wisconsin. Any Republican who's dumb enuf to think that you can't fake a photo ID card if you really wanted to cheat at the polls needs to spend a Friday night on State Street.