Friday, October 26, 2012

The great Joplin Tornado voting scandal

(The following is my latest Daily Kos blog.)

Never let the facts stand in the way of a great story.

Two months ago, I wrote a blog post about political opportunists, primarily Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and conservative gadfly Dana Loesch, attempting to capitalize on the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, by making it sound as if the Obama Administration (and in Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration) had stood by silently while voters in the areas stricken by the tornado were disenfranchised.

This report, which Kinder used in an effort to garner more Joplin votes in his successful primary election, has reared its head again, thanks to the same combination, Kinder and Loesch, who stoked the fire last time.

In a radio interview with the CNN analyst and editor, which started with complaints about a UN team coming to observe how elections are conducted in this state, it did not take long for the dynamic duo to mention how the UN (supposedly under the auspices of the Obama Administration) is coming to look at elections to make sure there is no voter intimidation. Loesch remarked that the administration put no effort into making sure that Joplin voters were no disenfranchised. Kinder readily agreed.

In August, this was also jumped on by Republican attorney general candidate Ed Martin who said, “It is an outrage to everyone in this state that Attorney General Chris Koster has not intimidated an investigation when thousands of our fellow Missourians may be unable to vote through no fault of their own. This is not about playing politics, but ensuring that each citizen has the ability to fulfill their right as an American citizen and gets to vote this August.”

At that time, Loesch claimed that the Obama Administration and the state were not doing anything about the Joplin situation because the voters here are primarily Republican.

“President Obama and Eric Holder often talk of how the government can help, and they preach against the evils of disenfranchising voters. So where are they?’

Loesch, Kinder, and Martin tried to whip this up into a major scandal and failed, primarily because there was nothing to the story.

The uproar began with a Joplin Globe story that detailed how thousands of new voting cards were being returned, undeliverable, most of them in the Joplin and Duquesne areas that were hit by the tornado.

As far as I can determine, Dana Loesch, Peter Kinder, and Ed Martin never asked the one person who could have given them accurate information, Jasper County Clerk Bonnie Earl (the chief elections officer and a Republican) what was going on.

Her response to this "scandal" was featured in The Turner Report:

“My office is required, by law, to send voter cards every two years. This was the year for us to do that. The post office, by law, cannot forward those cards. Yes, we have had other elections since the tornado, but this was the year we were to send the cards. It is the voter’s responsibility to change their address. Voters will not be turned away if they don’t have a new card. They must present one of the legally required form of identification to vote.”

I received that e-mail just before the August primary election. No scandal occurred with that election and no one has been talking about any such problem with the November election- until now.
There is no voting scandal in Joplin, except for those who are willing to take their information fifth-hand from parties who stand to benefit from a juicy, non-existent scandal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is also pretty much how Rush Limbaugh operates, getting his information fifth-hand rather than going straight to the horse's mouth for the facts. Remember, he likes to rely on the Drudge Report for many of his stories. Has he even once called someone while he was on the air to see if something was actually true or false, as the case may be?