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Voting Foreclosure

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What is the deal with rich Republicans and their houses?

John McCain has at least 8 houses, too many for him to keep count. Sarah Palin likes to quietly charge the State of Alaska per diem for sleeping in her own house at night. George W. Bush built a fake "ranch" in Crawford, a place he had never lived before, just because Karl Rove told him he'd need a scenic backdrop when he went on his frequent, extended vacations. Dick Cheney had to pretend his home was in Wyoming, when he was really living in Texas raking in the big bucks from the big energy boys, in order to avoid the ban in the U.S. Constitution against electors voting for two candidates from their same state. And George H. W. Bush used to claim he "lived" in a hotel room in Houston, instead of on the family estate in Maine, partly to avoid state income taxes.

Meanwhile the Republican Party, led by this crew of rich, out-of-touch "homies" is preparing to deny the right to vote to Midwesterners who have already suffered from home foreclosures.

I'm not kidding. Republican Party officials in states like Michigan and Ohio have admitted that they are preparing to challenge voters at the polls, using home foreclosure data--the idea being that if your home has been foreclosed upon, of course you had to move, which means your address has changed and you are vulnerable to being challenged at the polls!

According to the Michigan Messenger (with a tip of the hat to lefarkins blog), Michigan's Macomb County GOP Chair, James Carabelli, was very clear: "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses." And according to David Rosenfeld at Miller-McCune, "Franklin County Election Director and County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse told reporters he didn't rule out challenges before November, particularly because of increased home foreclosures..."

Fortunately, the Obama Campaign is on the ball, as usual, and has already filed suit to block the Republicans from illegally and shamefully using home foreclosure lists to deny voting rights.

But think about what the Republicans are attempting. John McCain can't even count his wife's houses. Sarah Palin can't live without her per diems. But their party wants to deny Americans the right to vote because their addresses have changed, even when it's due to the tragedy of home foreclosures.

This is sick. It's just not right. Haven't people who have lost their homes--many of them due to sub-prime schemes and scams--suffered enough without the Republican Party piling on and trying to deny them the right to vote? John McCain should be ashamed of his party. Oh wait, that's the old John McCain I was thinking of.

This is the sad reality, that the party of Abe Lincoln has devolved into trying to take away the right to vote from people because they've lost their houses. And guess what? They won't be targeting all voters, or even all home foreclosures. They'll be targeting mainly urban areas for their "voter caging" schemes. That's code for focusing on African-American voters, and Latinos, plus other urban Democrats. For shame.

In July of 2005, the then-Republican National Chair, Ken Mehlman, made a big show of apologizing to the NAACP for the GOP's race-baiting history. The Concord Monitor quotes him as saying: "Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong." Ironically given the current circumstances, he even pledged that Republicans would help African-Americans own their own homes.

The Republican Party promised they would reach out to African-American and Latino voters, rather than try to use racial wedge issues to suppress their votes as had been done so often in the recent past.

This was before the Justice Department voter suppression scandals broke, so I guess that promise is "inoperative" now, just like the promises the GOP made after caging scandals targeting minority voters in New Jersey and Louisiana 2 decades ago . We're back to the old voter suppression playbook, a despicable Republican Party tradition that goes back to Strom Thurmond and Richard Nixon's Southern strategy, up through Jesse Helms and Lee Atwater racial wedge issues, right on up to the voter suppression schemes of Katherine Harris in Florida in 2000 and Ken Blackwell in Ohio in 2004.

Like so much of the GOP agenda, the more that party claims to change, the more it acts just the same. Three years ago, they acted like they were sorry. Now their mantra is clear: foreclose on your house, foreclose on your vote.