Electoral Intimidation, 2008

Every election since 2000 (at least, based on my recollection), we’ve been innundated with warnings and examples of voter intimidation.  Voter intimidation and supression appear to be rather broadly defined; it may involve the presence of a police officer near a polling place, or an elderly poll worker accidentally handing you a Republican Party ballot when you request a Democratic ballot.  Whatever it is, it appears to be primarily directed at voters casting votes for Democrats.  Since 2000, the only year I haven’t heard scores of stories about disenfranchised voters was 2006, curiously the year Democrats reclaimed the House and Senate.  (Well, there is the notable exception of former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who after losing in the primary election blamed her loss on voter intimidation and not her Capitol Hill antics.)

In recent weeks we’ve learned how ACORN, the ‘non-partisan’ community organization, formerly tied to Barack Obama, has been targeting low-income and inner-city residents (i.e. likely Democratic voters), registering them by the hundreds of thousands, many registrations which are turning out to be fraudulent.  In some instances in Ohio, residents were allowed to register and vote on the same day.  Of course, this is a no-win situation for Republicans.  Any attempts to counter fraud will of course be coutered with charges of intimidation, as the New Mexico GOP has learned.

So then we have the story of ‘Joe the Plumber’ , an Ohio resident who became famous when he directly challenged Barack Obama at a campaign event about his tax proposals, causing Senator Obama to make his infamous comment: “I think when you spread the wealth around, it is good for everybody.”  Within moments of his newfound instant fame, Joe Wurzelbacher found himself the subject of numerous investigations by government officials with seemingly less than pure motives (via Ed at hotair.com):

The Columbus Dispatch reports that at least one culprit has emerged from the misuse of public information to attack Joe Wurzelbacher — and to no one’s surprise, she’s a Democrat and a big Barack Obama supporter.  Helen Jones-Kelly decided to check on Wurzelbacher as soon as he became an issue in the third presidential debate.  But this maxed-out donor to Obama swears that she had no political reasons for her sudden curiosity about Wurzelbacher:

Of course not.  I’m sure Ms. Jones-Kelly, as director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services frequently makes random checks on people who pop up on the news; just doin’ her job.  By the way, Joe the Plumber has also had criminal and motor vehicle searches performed on him.

So back to the topic of the post; how is this not a hot story on intimidation.  Clearly Joe poses a threat to the election of Senator Obama.  Is it too much of a stretch to think public officials sympathetic to Obama would use their access to private records in a political way?  Where that effectively supresses a citizen’s first amendment right to exercise free speech, where’s the discussion?

Surprisingly, efforts at silencing voices critical of the Obama campaign are being coordinated by the campaign itself as with this incident which occured during the Democratic convention in Denver:

In a surprising attempt to stifle broadcast criticism of its candidate, the presidential campaign of freshman Illinois senator Barack Obama is organizing supporters to confront Chicago’s WGN radio station for having a critic of the Illinois Democrat on its main evening discussion program.

“WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears,” Obama’s campaign wrote in an e-mail sent to supporters. “He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. (Wednesday night) pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.”

The campaign urged supporters to contact radio station WGN.  Consequently, the station was flooded with complaints.

Then we have the “Truth Squads” in Missouri where top law enforcement threatened charges against critics of Obama.  Check out the video here.  No mention of whether they intend to charge those making untrue statements against Sarah Palin or John McCain.

What would Mr. Hope n’ Change himself have to say about such behavior?  Well, we don’t have to wonder since he answered the question for us at a campain rally in Nevada:

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”

Michael Barone at Townhall.com adds this:

Today’s liberals seem to be taking their marching orders from other quarters. Specifically, from the college and university campuses where administrators, armed with speech codes, have for years been disciplining and subjecting to sensitivity training any students who dare to utter thoughts that liberals find offensive. The campuses that used to pride themselves as zones of free expression are now the least free part of our society.

Obama supporters who found the campuses congenial and Obama himself, who has chosen to live all his adult life in university communities, seem to find it entirely natural to suppress speech that they don’t like and seem utterly oblivious to claims that this violates the letter and spirit of the First Amendment. In this campaign, we have seen the coming of the Obama thugocracy, suppressing free speech, and we may see its flourishing in the four or eight years ahead.

This doesn’t bode well for the future.

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Filed under Obama, Politics, Presidential Campaign

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