Tim Noah asks:
Either this is false naiveté on the part of Tim Noah--in which case I find it annoying--or Tim Noah genuinely does not understand that in the eyes of American conservatives an America in which fewer poor and Black people vote is a better America. William Rehnquist's attempts to stop Black people from voting were one of the things that made him a hero to conservatives, and a natural choice for the Supreme Court by Nixon and for the Chief Justiceship by Reagan.
Isn't he a little old to be learning that this is what Michael Gerson and David Brooks and Ross Douthat and Mitt Romney and company really believe?
Why won’t some principled conservative commentator like David Brooks or Michael Gerson denounce the Republican party’s voter-suppression efforts? I find this genuinely puzzling. I don’t expect actual GOP politicians to condemn the voter-suppression movement within their ranks, because they have a partisan interest in, well, suppressing votes…. But for anyone who’s free to contemplate voter suppression from a more disinterested journalistic perch, the utter phoniness of the GOP’s movement to squelch voter fraud must surely be obvious….
The bad motives of the voter-fraud movement have gotten pretty hard to ignore. The New York Times and the Atlantic both ran, recently, exposes about True the Vote, a Tea Party offshoot that harasses voters in minority neighborhoods. Mike Turzai, Republican leader of the Pennsylvania House, achieved YouTube stardom when he blurted out, in June, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania? Done.” A Pennsylvania judge’s effort not to "to infer that other members of the General Assembly shared the boastful views of Representative Turzai" was undermined last week by Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican, when he told a Pittsburgh radio station, "As Mitt Romney said, I mean, what, we have 40-some [percent] of the people that are living off the public dole, living off of their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. So, I mean, if individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that." In Ohio, Franklin County Republican Chairman Doug Preisse, when asked whether it was fair to end weekend voting, said, “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.”
These shenanigans have, of course, been going on a long time; William Rehnquist, for instance, was a “ballot security” activist before he went on the Supreme Court, and did his best to keep minorities from voting in Arizona. But now voter suppression has gone respectable, with Voter ID laws in 33 states, and it’s acquired a growing urgency as the country’s white majority slips away….
That is not an argument, or a set of practices, that any principled conservative should tolerate. I’m surprised and disheartened that so many do.