Watching John McCain attack our veterans has become the norm these past few years, with his status as a symbol for the American veteran merely a weird plot twist in his history. We have watched him stand on the Senate floor for five-and-a-half hours, leading the fight against the dwell time amendment that would give our troops more time between tours. We have seen him speak out against the 21st Century GI Bill that would expand education benefits for our troops for the first time since the Senator himself used them to pay for college. Like a bizarro-world version of Mark Foley, who ruthlessly fought pedophiles while being one himself, so goes McCain's inexplicable record on veterans issues.
But finally, he's put his mouth where his money is. McCain and Palin, who both have children in the Armed Forces, have declared Ohio troops and hospitalized vets unqualified voters.
I get emails from McCain's Ohio arm to try to keep an eye on what they're doing there. Ohio will probably decide the election, but it has a Republican party establishment that would purge every voter without a butler from the rolls if it had the chance. This is what they sent out after the debate last night under Palin's name:
The Obama-Biden Democrats and their allies are exploiting loopholes in Ohio election laws that we fear may result in unqualified voters casting ballots.
The "loophole in Ohio election laws" that Palin is talking about is not a loophole at all, just a very sensible premise that is standard for absentee ballots -- that a vote is not technically cast until it is tabulated. Republican groups cited a rule that requires 30 days between registration and voting and sought to disqualify absentee ballots that were filled out on the same day as registration. Same-day registration and filling out of absentee ballots is the best option available to unregistered troops abroad and hospitalized vets in VA facilities. The "Obama-Biden Democrats and their allies" include non-partisan veterans advocacy groups like Veterans For America and IAVA that fought tooth and nail to defeat a lawsuit that challenged this very sensible notion to protect thousands of troops and vets from disenfranchisement.
With deployed troops donating 6:1 in favor of Obama, the cynic in me can see why the GOP doesn't want their votes to count. Then the decent person in me chimes in and says, "I can't see how anyone could try to block a deployed soldier's right to vote and be able to live with themselves."
Despite Gov. Palin's strange relationship with colloquialism ("Hockey Moms across America," anyone? How many are there?), the use of the term "unqualified voters" in a country that generally lets citizens over the age of 18 vote is the kind of phrase that should've been phased out long before the word "email" was phased in. With regards to the only American citizens who don't get to vote, felons, that's left up to the states. In Ohio, felons are disqualified from voting only while incarcerated, and I'm pretty sure Palin isn't talking about prison visitors stuffing stacks of voter registration forms and absentee ballots into God-knows-where in the name of democracy, though that would be quite the heist.
That leaves the troops and hospitalized veterans, the target of this power-grab. Nope, don't want those dangerously unqualified voters pulling the levers at all...