13 comments

  1. Loren, the flip side of that argument could be that the VRA is working well now and that’s why only 6 counties have had objections. If the law says don’t spit on the sidewalk and no one spits on the sidewalk, that behavior might change if the law is no longer there to provide guidance.

    I think this is like exhibit 13,353,434 in the Republican Have No Problems Using the Courts to Achieve What They Can’t Get Done Legislatively file.

  2. Loren says:

    I think this is like exhibit 13,353,434 in the Republican Have No Problems Using the Courts to Achieve What They Can’t Get Done Legislatively file.

    Except that the the court-based method they’re encouraging is specifically based on the “bail-out” provisions of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Several counties in Virginia have successfully bailed out in the past, by doing exactly what Westmoreland is pushing.

    Granted, there’s more to it than just DoJ objections. The most burdensome is probably “All changes affecting voting have been reviewed under Section 5 prior to their implementation.” The failure to submit a single change for federal approval during the past 10 years could potentially sink a bail-out effort.

    And Section 4 also has a 10-year “recapture” period, during which time any further violations can cause VRA coverage to be reinstated. So if you think that the VRA is the only thing keeping Southern politicans from reverting to the racist ways of four decades ago, then there’s your failsafe.

  3. atlantaman says:

    “the flip side of that argument could be that the VRA is working well now”

    The VRA, at least the part where DOJ has extra oversight over 8 States was always supposed to be temporary, that’s how it passed Constitutional muster to begin with and that’s why it has to be renewed every 25 years. So to say, “Well because there have been no violations so the VRA is working” is contradictory to the temporary intent of the law.

    “If the law says don’t spit on the sidewalk and no one spits on the sidewalk, that behavior might change if the law is no longer there to provide guidance.”

    The analogy is a little off. It would be more like if there was a temporary federal law (that was passed 50 years ago before many in the state were born and when spitting on sidewalks was all the rage) that only banned spitting on the sidewalks in the State of Georgia. If currently there were few infractions in the entire state, none in most counties, it would be quite reasonable to ask that this special law either not apply to Georgia or that it be applied to all 50 states – especially since there are states with a much bigger spitting problem

  4. Hoosier Daddy says:

    The analogy of spitting on the sidewalks is way off.

    The law required spitting on black people, women, children, Jews, Catholics…

    It was the duty of all proper white men to practice their aim. No drooling.

  5. I have never understood the republican fetish with gutting the VRA. It seems like any gains they could gain by being able to futher jerrymander districts would be conterbalanced by their masks (or hoods) coming off vis-a-vis minorities. Although I personally am a fan of anything that makes republicans look like ignorant bigots, I do not understand why they would willingly want to open themselves up to that charge.

    Is it just voter mathematics? Do the republicans get 1.5 white racist votes for every minority vote they lose this way?

    Anyway, keep it up Georgia republicans, you guys are awesome! It may not matter in our state but in some cloce races around the country hopefully Westmoreland & Norwood’s votes can be pinned on national republicans.

    Look at how much ‘Macaca’ hurt G. Allen in VA . . . . True or not voting against the VRA just makes the republicans look racist.

    I mean, if the GOP can try to equate Barrow with Pelosi I’m sure some Dem in Minnesota can make it look like these votes mean the GOP wants to reinstate Jim Crow.

  6. atlantaman says:

    “I have never understood the republican fetish with gutting the VRA. It seems like any gains they could gain by being able to futher jerrymander districts would be conterbalanced by their masks (or hoods) coming off vis-a-vis minorities.”

    There is no way to intellectually argue only a few states should have special federal voting laws assigned to them due to something that happened a generation ago when Alpharetta was a rural farming community and Atlanta was on the verge of gettingn their first major league sports team from Milwaukee. So the libs have to resort to the first page in their playbook – just arrogantly act like you are on some sort of moral high ground and call the Republicans racists.

    The irony is in GA the VRA has done more to help Republicans get elected then any advertising campaign or get-out-the-vote effort. By being forced to pack lots of blacks in special districts it ensures more guaranteed Republican districts (the ones who really get screwed are the white Democrats). I’m against the special provision in the VRA simply on principle alone. I think it’s just as insulting to the folks in 2006 Georgia as it would be to suggest that Nelson Mandella’s government in South Africa was racist due to all of its years of apartheid. It’s absurd to label Georgians as a bunch of racists for something the majority of us had nothing to do with. Most were not even born yet and the older ones were probably living in another part of the country.

    You mention the “hoods coming off” which is just utterly repulsive and shows an inability on your part to debate the reasons why some states should still be labeled racist by the Federal Government – yet the only current US Senator to have ever actually worn a “hood” happens to be a Democrat.

  7. atlantaman,

    you make a good point about how much the vra has actually helped republicans by packing black districts. one of the things i fear most about an “independent” redistricting commission is that they might do just that – create as many 90% aa districts as possible. and it’s probably more likely they’ll do that if the vra is still in place. so you make excellent points. why would westmoreland and norwood be obsessed with this if it’s been so good for the republican party? and the only conclusion i can come to is that being racists has been good for the republican party and they don’t know when to turn off the spigot (unlike sonny who abandoned all the flag crap once he got elected).

    i mean, who is more than arguably the most “progressive” republican in our delegation. i would say it’s easily without question jack kingston. and he is also the only georgia republican, if memory serves, to vote for vra extension. good for him.

  8. atlantaman, Your points are well thought out & I’m sure are correct (I’m no VRA historian).

    If the bush/rove era has tought us anything, though, it is that reality always takes a back seat to perception- Our current administration speaks with derision about the ‘reality-based community’. The average voter nationwide has no idea about what the VRA means. All they know is it had something to do with giving minorities the right to freely vote back in the 60’s. Because the VRA does not affect the entire country, those outside of the south know even less about it then we do. Even though it is not based in fact, when there are headlines (as there were a few months back) about Georgia congressmen trying to block the continuation of the VRA it feeds into all kinds of Bull Connor, racist stereotypes. Whether those feelings are based in truth or not matters not a whit in the political world we live in. Lies & stereotypes sway voters & win elections- Look at what the GOP did to Max & Kerry . . . regardless of how you feel about the outcome of those races 2 veterans were smeared just enough to change the outcome of the elections.

    My point was that I think the dems have finally learned to use some of the same tactics (or at least I hope they have) . . . This VRA business makes excellent fodder for political ads. The house will be won or lost partially in places like CT, PA, OH & NY this time around. If the GOP can say that Dems are illegal-alien-loving, appeasment minded traitors on the airwaves then I’m sure that the Dems can run ads saying that a vote for the GOP is a vote for segregation & hatred . . . Both statements are horrible, but what’s good for the goose is good for the hander- For too long the dems have been bringing knives to a gun fight & I sense that is changing.

    That’s my point on this. If you know that your opponent is coming to attack you then why hand them a weapon? What I cannot figure out is what benefit do these congressmen get that makes them feel like it is worth is to vocally keep making these anti Voting Rights Act statements?

  9. atlantaman says:

    “why would westmoreland and norwood be obsessed with this if it’s been so good for the republican party?”

    It’s a matter of principle. The provision in the VRA basically labels a few states as racist compared to the other states in the union and I resent it. I feel Georgia has moved beyond it – at least to the point that all the states in the Union have.

    “one of the things i fear most about an “independent

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