28 September 2012
The Republican ACORN
Democrats are reveling in irony and slamming the hypocrisy card on the table following reports that a company, Strategic Allied Consulting, hired by the Republican party to conduct voter registration drives in several states, has been accused of fraudulent tactics. In an obvious echo of the charges against the ACORN organization, SAC is accused of registering dead people and all the usual stuff. Like ACORN officials, SAC bosses blame the "irregularities" on "bad apples." And just as with ACORN, the SAC people are almost certainly correct. When you pay people to do this sort of registration work -- not to mention whatever additional incentives might be offered -- some people are going to find shortcuts to success, or at least shortcuts to meeting goals. When this was done by ACORN workers, Republicans saw it as a conspiracy to steal elections, but they'll certainly admit no such thing in light of the charges against SAC. This is hypocrisy no matter how sincere Republicans were (and are) in their denunciations of ACORN. I don't think that many Republicans were lying when they accused ACORN of conspiracy. They knew that ACORN had a mandate to organize poor people, and for many Republicans that's a dangerous conspiracy right there. I doubt whether something called Strategic Allied Consulting had any comparable political agenda prior to the Republicans hiring them, and I doubt more whether they had any reputation as champions of the poor. This story doesn't really fit the Republican profile, since SAC was recruiting voters rather than suppressing them, so there's not much Democrats can do with it apart from, first above all, laugh at the Republicans, and then refute the Republican assumption that election fraud is somehow an inherently Democratic, liberal, progressive or leftist activity. On the other hand, this would be a good time strategically for Republicans to admit their error in working with SAC and also double down on their determination to eliminate fraud by making it harder than ever for people to even register to vote. It's not okay for either ACORN or SAC to create incentives for registration fraud, but there also needs to be a way to get citizens on the voting rolls easily without help from such organizations and without anyone questioning their actual right to vote. Democrats will want to laugh at the SAC story and have a right to, but I'm more interested in seeing how the two parties, and others, respond seriously to this news.