GOP Incoherence and Mendacity

by A. Jay Adler on January 11, 2012
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It is a kind of intellectual zone defense  to respond to accusations of bad behavior by noting that others are sometimes bad too. Political parties should rise and fall on the basis of the their own incoherence and mendacity, and the contemporary GOP, reaching new depths since the 2010 elections, will be recorded for its own. One need only review the mostly successful attempts by newly elected GOP governors in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio to mask ideological animus as budgetary policy and voter suppression of the poor and minorities as protection of the electoral process.

The latter instance we have seen in South Carolina’s Voter ID law, which the Justice Department quashed on the basis of disparate impact that even the state’s own statistics support. Still, South Carolina plans to challenge the Justice Department’s decision in court. Tellingly,

Gov. Nikki Haley called the voter ID law a “very important and pressing issue,” though, when asked, she did not name any instances where voter fraud could have been prevented by a law requiring a DMV-issued photo ID.

And who will be representing South Carolina in its legal challenge?

Fighting on their behalf will be a former DOJ official who claimed that the Civil Rights Division is opposed to protecting the civil rights of whites and who defended the Bush-era politicalization of the division by Bradley Schlozman as an effort to “diversify.”

South Carolina has hired former Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates, who defied DOJ’s instructions and testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights during the Republican-led probe into the infamous New Black Panther Party case, a spokesman for the South Carolina attorney general’s office told The State newspaper.

Former colleagues said that Coates had an ideological conversion after an African-American woman was chosen over him as deputy section chief in July of 2000. Schlozman, who was found to have hired lawyers for their conservative credentials and referred to liberals as “commies” and “mold spores,” called Coates a “true member of the team.”

One further point for now is to note how the libertarian-styled instincts of the GOP to oppose “intrusive” government always lose their salience when the government is state rather than federal and the intrusion disenfranchises those not part of the GOP’s voter base.

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