There’s a new editorial in the Richmond Times Dispatch just posted on their website. When I read it, I had to smile. I wrote essentially the same thing on May 28.
Here is the RT-D editorial in its entirety:
While stumping for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell earlier this year, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a chuckling audience that it had two jobs: “One, get all those people who are going to vote for Bob out to the polls and vote. If they’re not going to vote for Bob, you have another job. Let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on Election Day. Keep’em home. Do the Lord’s work, my friend . . . .”
Huckabee was clearly joking — although he’d be well advised to keep his day job. What’s more, the audience clearly got the joke. Terry McAuliffe did not — or rather, he pretended not to, or pretended that the joke offended his deep and abiding love for representative democracy. He quickly put on his frowny-face and denounced what he termed Huckabee’s “voter suppression effort”:
“When I became the chair of the Democratic National Committee, the very first thing I announced was the formation of the Voting Rights Institute. Every year, we have seen attempts at voter suppression all across the country. Let’s be clear: There are no jokes to be made about denying people the right to vote in this country. It’s not a laughing matter. This is a right that people fought and died for, so as public figures, we must be sure that we are setting the standard . . . .”
Cue the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Funny thing, though. The other day Ralph Nader raised anew allegations that in 2004, McAuliffe — while chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and apparently after he formed his voting-rights institute — set a rather less noble-sounding standard. Nader says McAuliffe offered him money to keep out of 19 states during the presidential race. (The charge originally appeared in a book by Nader’s campaign manager.) A spokesman for McAuliffe denies he offered Nader money but concedes that McAuliffe “engaged in a conversation with Nader to try to convince him not to run, or at the very least to not compete in the targeted battleground states.”
Trying to convince Nader to stay out of key battleground states — and thereby deprive voters of the opportunity to cast their ballots for him — would not have violated any laws. But it doesn’t seem like the sort of thing a paladin of people power ought to do, now does it?