Lost the maelstrom of Weinergate was this delightful piece of intellectually honest, measured rhetoric from new DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Thank goodness for Democrats, our nation's self-appointed civility police force:
Raising the rhetorical stakes around local battles over voting laws, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz yesterday compared Republican efforts to tighten access to the polls to notorious segregation-era Jim Crow laws. Roland Martin asked Wasserman Schutlz about the laws in an interview on the African-American network TV One's "Washington Watch" program, according to a transcript from the network:
[I]f you go back to the year 2000, when we had an obvious disaster and - and saw that our voting process needed refinement, and we did that in the America Votes Act and made sure that we could iron out those kinks, now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally - and very transparently - block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. And it's nothing short of that blatant.
What GOP-backed measure is supposedly Jim Crow-esque, according to the Democrats' new fear-monger-in-chief? Voter ID laws, of course, which require citizens to validate their identity and eligibility prior to voting. Despite being so "blatantly" draconian and racist, these common-sense statutes enjoy wild popularity nationwide -- even in such notoriously right-wing precincts as Senator Al Franken's Minnesota. While conservatives insist that such measures are a necessary and appropriate safeguard against voter fraud, liberals counter that voter ID laws are designed to suppress minority turnout, and threaten to disenfranchise Democrat-leaning constituencies. Recent evidence suggests this gripe is unfounded:
Republicans counter that detecting and proving voter impersonation is tricky under current law precisely because few states require photo identification. Plus, they add, there is no evidence that the requirement reduces minority participation. In Georgia, where photo IDs became a requirement in 2007, minorities voted in record numbers in 2008 and 2010.
Turnout among Hispanic voters jumped 140 percent in the state in 2008 and 42 percent among blacks compared with 2004, a change attributed in part to President Obama’s candidacy. Two years later, in the midterm election, turnout also rose among Hispanics and African-Americans, according to data from the Georgia secretary of state.
Confronted over her offensive and intemperate remarks, Wasserman Schultz has backpedaled, sort of:
Wasserman Schultz responded Monday by dialing back her comments. "Jim Crow was the wrong analogy to use," she said. "I don't regret calling attention to the efforts in a number of states with Republican dominated legislatures, including Florida, to restrict access to the ballot box for all kinds of voters, but particularly young voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans."
Reminder: The 'new tone' only applies to Republicans.