THE BLOG
07/11/2011 12:41 pm ET | Updated Sep 10, 2011

There's More Than One Way to Steal an Election

Remember that fellow named Chad from back in 2000? Well, we no longer have to wait for chads, even hanging chads, any more than for the ballot box. There's more than one way to steal an election.

The party started when Republicans manufactured a deficit crisis, and continues now with the drama over raising the debt ceiling. Ronald Reagan presided over one of the greatest budget deficits in the modern era, yet not a peep was heard from members of his party, and George W. Bush reportedly raised the debt ceiling seven times and added $4 trillion to the national debt, much of it coming from tax cuts to the rich, as well as federal subsidies and tax loopholes for big business -- again, without a peep from his own party. So, why all the drama now? Because a Democratic president wants to let tax cuts for the rich expire and is making noises about corporate America paying its fair share.

Yes, at this point, that's what it is, making noises, but even speculation about addressing the egregious disparity between rich and poor is enough to make many on the Hill run with their hands over their private parts, then proclaim the virtues of privatization. Whenever anyone in Washington talks about cutting "entitlements," they're talking about cutting your entitlements, not theirs.

And, one doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out, either. The effort to paint what has been a lackluster recovery as the fault of the current administration does little to camouflage the simple truth that every jobs initiative and economic incentive program the Obama administration has put forth over the past three years has been met with a bombing campaign by his opposition.

Bear in mind that while many may view this president's efforts at defending the working and middle class of this country as anemic, Mr. Obama presided over the biggest tax credit to working families in more than a generation.

Bear in mind, too, that Japan and Germany would pretty much own the auto industry were it not for his leadership.

Not to mention, by having appointed two women to the Supreme Court, the president has taken a seismic step toward ensuring that neither Roe v. Wade nor affirmative action will be overturned anytime soon.

Still, that's not enough for the liberals of his own party, including me. We all want an end to war, and we want it now. We want economic justice, and we want in now.

Even Karl Marx wasn't idealistic enough to believe in instant revolution.

While he may have lost his appeal to Independents, whose attitude toward any Democrat, for the most part, comes down to two simple words, "prove it," the president has a long way to go before losing support from those under 30, as well as men and women of color.

Without support from young people, minorities and women, Barack Obama will doubtless be a one-term president, so it should come as no surprise that more than seven states have already implemented, and others have proposed, laws that will require people to produce identification before casting their ballots.

Rhode Island is now the most recent casualty to a law that requires photo IDs of anyone who wishes to vote, thereby disenfranchising many students who are old enough to vote but who may not possess state driver's licenses. Anyone who has ever been young, a parent or an educator knows that overcoming obstacles isn't among the first things one posts on one's resume.

Those who support voter I.D. legislation contend that it helps prevent "voter fraud," a claim which is ludicrous in light of identity theft.

Another former president, Bill Clinton, thinks this new voter ID legislation is designed to diffuse voter turnout among young people and minorities, both of whom were largely responsible for President Obama's 2008 victory.

The mainstream media and broadcast news have been so preoccupied with the dramatic deadlock over the budget deficit, and now the question of default, not to mention the Casey Anthony trial, that yet again, a dozen years after the first, an election may again be stolen in this country.

For those who think the consequences of this won't be grave, it might be a good idea to brush up on early Barry Goldwater, then move on to the "Contract with America." It wouldn't hurt to remember what the aviation industry has been like ever since President Reagan strangled the air traffic controller's union.

The battle for collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin earlier this year was just a warm-up exercise for what lies ahead if Republicans find their way their way to the White House anytime soon. It's time to shift the spotlight away from spectacles that produce greater circulation, higher ratings and sell more advertising space to where it belongs on an agenda that is invested in obstructionism at the expense of every working man and woman in this country.