Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review: How the Obama Administration Threatens to Undermine Our Elections

I have written twice before (here, and here) about the new series of political pamphlets from Encounter Books. Encounter is producing these pamphlets as,"...indispensable ammunition for intelligent debate on the critical issues of our time." They are small (the one discussed here is 35 pages) and cheap ($5.99). In How the Obama Administration Threatens to Undermine Our Elections (Encounter Broadsides), author John Fund attacks,"...dubious measures that make our current system even more prone to confusion and manipulation...".

This is the third in the series. I have been reviewing these in the order I have received them which is why I haven't reviewed the second book yet. I have to admit that I was a little suspicious of the topic for this one. I was very excited to read the first book in this series, but I wasn't so excited about this book. However, after reading the book, I have to say that Mr. Fund has done a good job laying out his case.

Mr. Fund points to the administrations action in some areas, and inaction in others, to make his point. He discusses a couple of cases that the Justice Department has dropped that were slam dunks / handed to Mr. Holder on a silver platter. Yet for some reason, this administration has dropped them. The case of voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers is one example. From Mr. Funds book:

Bartle Bull couldn't believe his eyes. The former civil-rights lawyer had been arrested in the South during the 1960's. He once forced local officials in Mississippi to remove nooses that were hanging from tree branches outside polling places. But until election day 2008 in Philadelphia, he had never seen a man brandishing a weapon blocking the entrance to a polling place. And now he can't understand why the Obama Department of Justice has dropped its case against the New Black Panther Party, the hate group (according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League) whose thugs he saw threatening potential voters with truncheons when they tried to vote.

Mr. Fund goes on to discuss how after the Justice Department obtained a default judgment against the accused members of the Black Panthers, the Justice Department suddenly dropped the charges. There are other examples of this in Mr. Funds pamphlet, and there are examples of policy decisions the Obama Administration is pursuing that could make federal elections more fraudulent instead of less. Mr. Fund ends with a paragraph that should worry conservatives and liberals alike:

If we do not demand that the Obama administration and its allies in Congress abandon schemes and policies that further undermine confidence in our electoral system, we are headed for crises that will shake our electoral system and will make us look back on the disputed presidential vote of 2000 with something like nostalgia.


the anonymous guy said...

Some facts about this case:

1) The DOJ has successfully lodged an injunction against the guy with the billy club: he's banned from every standing in front of a polling station like that again. That sounds pretty damn successful.

2) While we can all agree that people with weapons outside of polling places is generally a bad idea (and was a bad idea in this specific case), the charge of "voter intimidation" is a little far-fetched here. This is a very heavily democratic precinct: republican presidential candidates drew 8, 24, and 13 votes over the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections, compared to many hundreds of votes for the Democratic candidates. So if these cats were intimidating anybody, it was mostly Democrats.

3) The Obama Administration is in fact conducting an investigation to see if the case was handled correctly.

These facts tend to make Mr. Fund's claims seem pretty overblown.

It's not like anybody's claiming that Obama actually lost the popular vote, but became President anyway.

the anonymous guy said...

Three more facts:

3) There were no voter complaints about intimidation on this day at this polling place. The *only* complaint filed was by a Republican guy who was not in fact a voter at this precinct.

4) I don't have much interest in the New Black Panther Party, but the national party in fact suspended the Philadelphia chapter after hearing about this incident.

5) The Justice Department attorney who brought the charges in the first place was hired by a notorious DOJ official found guilty of lying to congress (!) about his politically motivated hiring of under-qualified, ideologically driven right-wing attorneys.

Andy, this is really pitiful. Wanna bash Democrats? Look into the $$$ some of them are making from big pharma, and from the banking sector, and how that's changing how they vote.

That would show a real threat to our democratic system, unlike this goofball story you've posted.

Andy D said...

1)If this had happened in the south, would you be ok with a result of this guy being banned from standing in front of a polling station with a weapon?

2)If I understand point 2 correctly, this is ok in your book because few people in the area vote Republican?

3)Good. I would like to see the results of that investigation, and I hope it results in the DOJ picking this case back up.

A quick point, most of these claims weren't Mr. Funds, they were Bartle Bull's. Mr. Bull worked for Robert Kennedy's Presidential campaign, and worked to ensure fair voting practices in the South. He is considered a prominent civil rights activist. He called this the, "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" he had seen. This is hardly a Republican operative trying to smear a Democratic president. A Washington Times story notes that one of the Black Panthers was able to gain access to the polling station as a Democratic Poll Watcher.

3 again) So if no complaints were filled, even though what they did was obviously wrong, it's ok in your eyes?

4)Good. The guys involved in this should be removed from the Black Panthers.

5)This one is actually my favorite. Have you looked up the record of many of the czars? If we shouldn't act on this because this attorney was caught lying to congress, should we then listen to any of the czars who did similar things? What about those who broke the law when they filed there taxes?

I agree that Barney Franks and others in the Democrat Party represent a huge threat to our Democracy. That doesn't mean this story doesn't warrant action by the Justice Department. By dropping the charges, DOJ gives their quiet approval of this behavior.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy, here's just the low-hanging fruit.

For a "prominent civil rights activist" Bartle Bull is pretty unheard of in such circles. But he's appeared in a similar role ("liberal" raging Obama critic) before.

I'd be interested in seeing *any* civil rights activism he's done in the past 20 years. There may have been something--I just don't find it.

Andy D said...

It seems like most of his work was in the 60's. He's been an author since then. Does that mean his opinion is less valid?

the anonymous guy said...

I don't know: if you're trying to get a reliable opinion about civil rights and voting, "Republican novelist" and "fierce Obama critic" sounds less convincing than "prominent civil rights activist."

To be clear: you can't name *any* civil rights work from the past 20 years on the part of the guy you were calling a "prominent civil rights activist."

I've said it before: you might want to get some better sources for your stories, bro.

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