PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts

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  1. Beyond your criticism, we shouldn’t forget that the CRC Report was a hideously one-sided and partisan document intended by Chair Mary Frances Berry to be an attack on the incoming Bush administration rather than an attempt to arrive at the truth. There’s no Republican input on the report at all; famously, the report was issued before Republican members of the commission, one of whom is blind, were even allowed to review it. If Kevin and others were citing a nonpartisan document put together by researchers without an axe to grind, that’d be one thing. Instead, the CRC Report is meant to tell a story written by and for the “Bush Stole Florida” Democrats, and it’s about as trustworthy as a polemic by Ann Coulter.

    Comment by Matthew Stinson — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 5:56 pm

  2. Clark, Race and Voting
    Steven Taylor of PoliBlog gets to the bottom of the whole Clark/disenfranchisement discussion. Suffice it to say I agree with Taylor’s policy prescriptions; however, I will say that the use of outdated voting technology in poorer counties seems t…

    Trackback by Signifying Nothing — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 7:16 pm

  3. Well, to the extent you altered your argument I now don’t have a problem with what you’ve said. But here’s what you said in the first post:

    Forty years after four black girls were killed in a church bombing here, Gen. Wesley K. Clark visited the same church on Monday and said African-Americans were still in danger of having their votes go uncounted and their voices unheard.

    It would nice to have some actual examples of this, rather than innuendo.

    At which point, I gave a number of examples which strongly suggested Clark was correct in what he had said. You had a valid point in wanting Clark to give these examples himself; but note that Clark never claimed that the voter system was inherently racist. He merely said, African Americans still have to fear that their votes won’t be counted. And you said for him, African Americans have to fear that their vote won’t be counted, because the voting system, and those who run it, are inherently racist.

    Looks like a strawman.

    Comment by Mikhel — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 9:53 pm

  4. I stand by the statements insofar as the suggestion by Clark is that African-Americans are uniquely at risk. As I noted in my posts, the issue of voting machines and voter roles can affect blacks, whites, hispanics and so forth. So, no, I haven’t altered my srgument, I still think he was race-baiting, but I have better explained myself.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 10:29 pm

  5. Make that “rolls”–I keep, but have mostly caught myself.

    Comment by Steven — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 10:30 pm

  6. But Steven, as the report says (and this is all we have to go on, unless you have Something Else) African Americans were rather uniquely at risk. Look right here, Steven:

    This disenfranchisement of Florida voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of African Americans. Statewide, based on county-level statistical estimates, African American voters were nearly 10 times more likely than white voters to have their ballots rejected in the November 2000 election.[5]

    What more do you want? Findings indicate that — yes — African Americans are uniquely at risk. That may have changed, but if I were black, I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

    Comment by Mikhel — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 11:28 pm

  7. Matthew —

    Your comments don’t come off as any more reasonable than those who argue that Bush only won the election because Jeb was the gubnah. When someone sees something they don’t like, they automatically cry, “Political bias!”. It’d be better if people would concede that maybe blacks were disenfranchised (they seem to think so) and just maybe GW is the legitimate president.

    Comment by Mikhel — Wednesday, December 31, 2003 @ 11:32 pm

  8. Mikhel,

    That is a conclusion drawn from a particular, and politcal, interpretation of the statstics.

    Yes, the probability was higher that African-Americans would be affected, because they are statstically more likely either to be poor, or to be ex-felons. That doesn’t mean, however, that there was institutional racism involved.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, January 1, 2004 @ 7:53 am

  9. Steven —

    Yes, exactly. Where did Clark claim that there was institutional racism involved? You put those words in his mouth (unless you have another quote?) and I charged that your argument was a strawman. At present, this seems an obvious conclusion. I’ve read the article, and Clark never mentions racism: he makes claims concurrent with the facts as presently known. You say he charges racism, but he clearly doesn’t. As I pointed out to you in our email conversation, you can still charge race-bating. If you choose to, I’ll say that you’re reading with too broad a brush. But that’s all fair game.

    But as I have said repeatedly,

    That doesn’t mean, however, that there was institutional racism involved.

    And Clark never said it did.

    Comment by Mikhel — Thursday, January 1, 2004 @ 5:03 pm

  10. Let’s see, if one goes to an African-American church that was once bombed by the KKK and, to quote the NYT piece “Gen. Wesley K. Clark visited the same church on Monday and said African-Americans were still in danger of having their votes go uncounted and their voices unheard.” And then one goes on to talk about the lack of “one man one vote” on some counties, and gto make a large number of allusions to disenfranchisement to a black audience, then I think it is clear that one is trying to inflame fear based on race and to suggest in no subtle way that blacks are specifically at risk for having their votes lost.

    I am unsure how one can interpret this event as some sort of general discussion of voting tech and voter registration rolls.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, January 1, 2004 @ 6:11 pm

  11. Also worth mentioning is the fact that, compared to the one person who claims to have been prevented to vote by reason of having been incorrectly placed on a list, there are thousands who were ineligible to vote but voted anyway – overwhelmingly Democratic, disproportionately black. Compared to wht would have been the case if the law had been properly enforced, there were more blacks who were alowed to vote than should have been, not fewer.

    Comment by DF — Friday, January 2, 2004 @ 7:48 am

  12. … then I think it is clear that one is trying to inflame fear based on race and to suggest in no subtle way that blacks are specifically at risk for having their votes lost.

    It simply doesn’t follow from,

    Suggesting that blacks are more at risk

    To

    Claiming that this must be because of institutional racism

    Again, I simply don’t know how to more clearly state it: your Clark is a strawman. Blacks — from every analysis we have — are more at risk, whether because of racism or because of geographical location in reference to poverty.

    I wonder why Clark talked about these things at that Church? Could it be because he was speaking in front of a black audience? Could it be that this was a specific concern of the audience?

    This is my last word on the subject.

    Comment by Mikhel — Saturday, January 3, 2004 @ 9:25 am

  13. Please explain to me how this is a straw man. I get the impression what you are saying by making that assertion is that you don’t think I have made my case. I do not accept, however, that what I have done is build up a false Clark and then knocked him down. The bottom line seems to be that you simply don’t see that Clark could be race-baiting.

    Let me ask the question like this: if Clark addressed the Southern Baptist Convention and one of his topics was religious persecution, don’t you think that the audience would assume that he was talking about the persecution of Christians, and not of Muslims or Jews?

    Comment by Steven — Saturday, January 3, 2004 @ 10:05 am

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