EJ Dionne, writing at the Washington Post, is outraged that anyone is paying any attention to either DOJ whistleblower J. Christian Adams or the Dept. of Justice's decision to drop charges in the case of the New Black Panthers. He is in equaly incoherent rage that anyone is paying any attention to Fox News. Eugene Robinson has likewise written the same in his most recent op-ed at the Washington Post, tossing in a charge of racism for even raising the issue that the DOJ may be racist in its application of the law:
After the Shirley Sherrod episode, there's no longer any need to mince words: A cynical right-wing propaganda machine is peddling the poisonous fiction that when African Americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites.
A few of the purveyors of this bigoted nonsense might actually believe it. Most of them, however, are merely seeking political gain by inviting white voters to question the motives and good faith of the nation's first African American president. This is really about tearing Barack Obama down. . . .
Then there is Bob Herbert at the NYT, as well as their resident drama queen, Frank Rich - and do see see this ridiculous piece by Brian Stetler. Each one of those pieces, and I dare say hundereds of others throughout the nation this past week, hits precisely the same talking points. They are:
- Fox is racist propagana machine which no other media outlet should follow
- Fox played a central role in getting Shirley Sherrod fired (all studiously ignoring that Fox News Channel never mentioned Sherrod's name prior to her being fired)
- The DOJ's refusal to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation is not merely meaningless, but to even ask that the matter be investigated is racist
- J. Christian Adams was once a poll watcher for the Bush administration and thus he has no legitimacy.
This is damage control by the left because the race card is losing its legitimacy. They want to make the charges of reverse racism at the DOJ go the way of Rev. Jeremiah Wright during the election campaign - just fade away. It is a blatant attempt to stifle any discussion of the issues raised by Mr. Adams. The fact that they can work in an ad hominem attack against Fox News is, to them, just an added bennie.
Let's review the charges that have been raised against the Obama DOJ, taking not that they go far beyond just the New Black Panther matter.
1. The DOJ's prosecution of the New Black Panther case was dismissed after a judgment of guilt had been entered. There was no apparent reason for this dismissal.
1A. The DOJ has flatly refused to honor lawful subpoenas to answer questions before the Civil Rights Commission investigating whether the dismissal was based on racial preference.
1B. In addition, the DOJ has transferred the key witness who was handling the New Black Panther case, Christopher Coates, to South Carolina, outside the reach of the subpoena power of the Civil Rights Commission.
2. A very serious charge has been leveled that the DOJ, again on grounds of race, is refusing to enforce Secion 8 of the Voting Rights Act - that part of the motor voter law that requires states to periodically update their voting roles by purging the rolls of the deceased, felons, and others ineligible to vote.
2A. J. Christian Adams has testified under oath that by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes that "We're not interested in those kind of cases. What do they have to do with helping increase minority access and turnout? We want to increase access to the ballot, not limit it." The only possible way this could increase access to the ballot would be to invite vote fraud.
2B. In March, 2009, the the Obama DOJ dropped a case filed in 2006 against Missouri, for that state's refusal to clean up its voting rolls. The suit alleged that over 33% of Missouri counties had more registered voters than residents of voting age. The state had done nothing to clean up the voting rolls when the suit was dismissed.
3. According to Abigail Thernstrom, there is also reason to be concerned that the Obama DOJ is going to improperly use its powers under the Voting Rights Act to force race conscious drawing of political districts following the 2010 Census.
4. The DOJ is apparently stonewalling implementation of the MOVE act designed to insure that the votes of our soldiers deployed outside of their home states are counted. In the 2008 election, 17,000 military votes went uncounted. According to Eric Eversole in today's Washington Times, because of the DOJ's refusal to enforce the Move act, military voters will again face widespread disenfranchisement in the 2010 election. (H/T Instapundit)
There is more than ample cause to be concerned that Obama's Dept. of Justice is acting unlawfully by deliberate and racially unequal application of the Voting Rights Act. Indeed, the charges made above go directly to the sanctity of the ballot box - and thus to the very foundation of legitimacy of our form of government.
The left's desire to push this aside using the race card is scandalous. All of this is deserving of a thorough investigation. There is no doubt that allegations of this type of conduct by the DOJ during the Bush years would have seen the MSM clear cutting entire old growth forests to get enough paper to handle the avalanche of outraged opinion pieces and supposedly objective news articles decrying the DOJ. And indeed, on charges of "politicization," the left spent months destroying the carreer of Bush AG Alberto Gonzalez. "Politicization" is a meaningless charge. Racism in the unequal application of our voting laws is not.
To add an addendum, there has been much back and forth of late on the right regarding whether or not the right should be pursuing the New Black Panther matter. Abigail Thernstrom of the Civil Rights Commission believes that the matter is too small to warrant much attention and that conservatives are blowing it out of proportion. Andrew McCarthy and Peter Kirsanow strongly disagree. Interestingly, Paul Mirengoff of Powerline has concluded that the dismissal itself of the New Black Panther case may have been justified, though he takes no position on whether the dismissal itself was motivated by improper considerations of race. Scott Johnson of Powerline argues that it is the motivation that makes this a serious issue, and Hans Von Spakovsky, a voting rights expert, disagrees strongly with Paul's conclusion. It makes for fascinating reading. I include the links below:
Abigail Thernstrom - The New Black Panther Case: A Conservative Dissent
Andrew McCarthy - The Case Against the New Black Panthers (responding to Thernstrom)
Abigail Thernstrom - Yes, the Black Panther Case Is Small Potatoes (reply to McCarthy)
Peter Kirsanow - A Response to Thernstrom on the New Black Panther Case (H/T Instapundit)
Scott Johnson (Powerline) - The New Black Panther Party Case: Just Blow It
Paul Mirengoff (Powerline) - The New Black Panther Party Case: My Final(?) Look
Hans A. von Spakovsky - Dissenting with Paul Mirengoff: New Black Panther Case Should Not Have Been Dismissed
Paul Mirengoff (Powerline) - The New Black Panther Party Case: A Reply to Hans von Spakovsky