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October 4, 2004
More Wild Conspiracy Theories From John Kerry

John Kerry did the worst kind of pandering last night at the East Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Cleveland. Kerry told the predominantly black church that the GOP is actively suppressing the black vote in battleground states, a claim which he repeatedly makes and for which he gives absolutely no evidence:

"In battleground states across the country, we're hearing stories of how people are trying to make it harder to file for additional time, or how they're making it harder to even register," Kerry told an enthusiastic congregation at East Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

"We're not going to let that happen because the memories of 2000 are too strong. We're not going to allow 1 million African Americans to be disenfranchised."

At a stop in Ohio earlier Sunday, Kerry told a voter concerned about ballots cast by military personnel overseas that Democrats are aware of voting problems and are concerned.

It's hard to know where to begin with this nonsense. In the last point, the party that sued Florida in an effort to throw out military ballots was the Democrats, not the Republicans, in 2000. It was Al Gore who attempted to disenfranchise men and women serving overseas, not George Bush. To assign that crap to Republicans -- especially when the GOP can count on overwhelming support from military personnel, by all polling -- insults the intelligence of everyone subjected to it. The East Mt. Zion Baptists should be offended by Kerry's assumption of their stupidity.

Even more concerning is Kerry's spouting of ridiculous and debunked Oliver Stone-worthy conspiracy theories that needlessly undermine confidence in the elections. What does it say about Kerry's ability to lead a democracy that he has to torpedo the institutions that he needs for legitimacy once elected? What does it say about his leadership style that he assigns the crudest conspiracy theories to his political opponents? It reminds one of the worst days of the Nixon White House and the infamous enemies lists, and Kerry hasn't even been elected yet.

The GOP offered a solution to ensure the appearance of fairness, and Kerry responded with more race-baiting:

"Like so much of his campaign, John Kerry's false charges of voter intimidation are baseless," said [GOP] spokesman Steve Schmidt. He said Democrats rejected a GOP offer to put a lawyer from each party in every voting district across the nation on Election Day.

Kerry said he has his own team of lawyers "of all color and all mix" examining possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on Nov. 2.

Kerry talks a lot about George Bush being a divisive politician, but Kerry may be the most paranoid racebaiter since ... well, since Al Gore.

UPDATE for Truck: I've covered the Florida issue last month in this post. The main thrust is here:

The Civil Rights Commission reported that African-American voters in Florida were more likely to have spoiled ballots or be denied a vote than other voters, but never quantified the number of voters. It claimed that 14.4% of African-American voters could not successfully vote in the 2000 general election. The total number of African-Americans in Florida for 2000 was 2.3 million. If half were adults, that would make a potential electorate of 1.15 million. Registration rates for African-Americans in 2000 were about 75%, one of the highest rates for all ethnic groups. Voter turnout for this group in 2000 was 61% of this 75%, or about 526,000 votes. If 14.4% of these voters were unsuccessful, that represents just under 76,000 votes -- nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but a far, far cry from one million votes.

But let's take a look at where these voters were disenfranchised, according to the USCCR. As the nation painfully learned in the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle in Florida, the counties control the ballot preparation and voting procedures in the Sunshine State. In the executive summary of the report, the commission specifically mentions Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties -- all controlled by the same party: Democrats. In fact, 24 of the 25 counties that had the highest ballot-spoilage rates were run by Democrats, not Republicans.

The only state-level function specifically pointed out by the commission was the felon purge list, which has only been confirmed to have kept three eligible voters from casting ballots on Election Day in 2000.

The links are in the original post, and the facts demonstrate that Republicans did nothing to "suppress" the black vote in 2000. It's a lie, a well-debunked smear, and the fact that Kerry continues his trade in such wild conspiracy theories should disqualify him for command with rational voters.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2004 6:12 AM

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