From The “Double Standard” Files: Obama’s Voter ID Lie

"What? No, I think he looks just fine! He always looks fine!"

“What? No, I think he looks just fine! He always looks fine!”

This will undoubtedly be called a partisan post, and when it is, I will be ticked off. It is not partisan to object to outright lies. It is partisan to ignore and accept lies according to who the liar is. This is the bind the news media has placed itself in, and a brilliant, throbbing example occurred during President Obama’s last press conference.

Discussing his concerns about state voter ID  laws, Obama said,

“We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote.  It traces directly back to Jim Crow and the legacy of slavery, and it became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise. . . . we are the world’s oldest continuous democracy, and yet we systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote….This whole notion of election-voting fraud, this is something that has constantly been disproved. This is fake news.”

Wait, by “this is fake news,” was the President really  announcing that what he just said was fiction? That would be very impressive, and a great new standard: imagine if the news media did that, and flagged their misleading stories!  But I’m pretty sure that he was trying to make us believe what isn’t true, and a falsehood that supports the phony narrative that efforts to ensure the integrity of elections are really racist plots. Explicates John Fund:

“All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting. Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption…In 2012, I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., of election officials from more than 60 countries; they convened there to observe the U.S. presidential election. Most were astonished that so many U.S. states don’t require voter ID…. [O]ur neighbors require voter ID. Canada adopted voter-ID requirements in 2007 and saw them reaffirmed in 2010; they have worked smoothly since, with almost no complaints. Mexico’s “Credencial para Votar” has a hologram, a photo, and other information embedded in it, and it is impossible to effectively tamper with it. …Britain is painfully learning that it too must take steps to restore confidence in its elections. Sir Eric Pickles, a former Conservative cabinet minister, warned earlier this year, in a government-commissioned report titled “Securing the Ballot,” that voter fraud had been allowed to fester in Muslim communities because of “politically correct over-sensitivities about ethnicity and religion.” Sir Eric said that the authorities were in a “state of denial” and were “turning a blind eye” to fraud cases. Last month, Theresa May’s government responded to the problem. It announced that “endemic corruption” meant that voters in certain areas will now have to show photo identification. The government may even require people to prove their UK citizenship before granting them the right to vote.”

As for Obama’s attempt to link current efforts to make sure voters are who they say they are to the racism of Jim Crow, that is fiction as well. Jim Crow era illegal efforts to keep blacks from voting involved outright intimidation, poll taxes and absurdly difficult literacy tests designed to block black citizens. Voter fraud was rampant, and there were no voter identification requirements. Besides, under Jim Crow, being black was often sufficient identification to get you stopped at the polling place. Obama’s statement is fake history. It is also unethical for the President of the United States, particularly one who has (falsely) styled himself as a scholar, to misuse that perceived authority in order to mislead the credulous  public and pass along falsehoods. This, of course, has been an often legitimate complaint by the news media against Donald Trump. The same journalists  never seemed to care so much when it was Obama spouting fake facts.

Disgraced fake news purveyor Dan Rather had the gall to post on Facebook over the weekend:

“Facts and the truth are not partisan. They are the bedrock of our democracy. And you are either with them, with us, with our Constitution, our history, and the future of our nation, or you are against it. Everyone must answer that question.”

Well put, Dan!  Did you take issue with Obama’s lies about voter ID laws in other Western democracies? Dan didn’t, but then almost nobody in the mainstream media did either, because Obama’s lies don’t count, and besides, they were too busy pointing out that Trump’s Inauguration crowd wasn’t as large as he claimed it was.

Here is my favorite part! PolitiFact, the Democratic Party and progressive bolstering fact-checking organization that has been caught repeatedly covering for their favorite politicians and applying stricter standards to everyone else, decided to examine Obama’s claim about other nations. (It didn’t dare tackle the fake history, because even PolitiFact couldn’t wiggle out of that one.) Dutifully admitting that, yes, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, India, Canada, Spain, France, Malta, Belgium, Mexico all require identification, it explained–but! but!-–that in most of those countries, ID was “easy to get.”

Not easier to get than in the U.S., now. Just easy. In fact, identification is easy to get in the United States, too. There is no evidence that anyone who wants to vote and is a citizen can’t get proper identification.

PolitiFact’s verdict? Obama’s statement that “We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote” was “half-true.” No, really, that’s what they said. How can a statement that the U.S. is the only anything be “half true”? It is either true, or it is a false. This is false. It is not true at all.  Most of the advanced democracies do make it “harder to vote,” which means, honest people will agree, harder than just walking up and voting.

PolitiFact is a partisan fraud, just like Snopes. If a journalist cites it, that tells you that the journalist is a hack.

This kind of deliberate complicity with lies coming from one side of the political divide is just another reason why no one can or should trust the news media until journalists prostrate themselves before us, list their ethical transgressions, promise to rededicate the profession to objectivity and fairness and give us reason to believe that they mean it. It doesn’t mean that they should not subject the flood of misinformation coming from the Trump Administration to legitimate scrutiny, but it should make us skeptical of their motives and judgment.

21 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, Rights, U.S. Society

21 responses to “From The “Double Standard” Files: Obama’s Voter ID Lie

  1. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Too late, Jack, there’s no way to argue the truth with those who are devoted to their own version of the facts. I already read posts this morning on fb about how not only do the Democrats have every right and duty to ensure the SCOTUS headcount stays at 8 for the duration of Trump’s presidency, that the Democratic Party is in good shape to take back the House in 2018, and an impeachment in which both parties will join together to take down “the orange man-thing” is just around the corner.

  2. Chris Marschner

    Perhaps not germane to this post but with all the talk about health care as a right it is interesting that I had to provide a photo id along with my insurance card at the doctor. It serms to me that most of the insurance fraud originates with providers and not the insured.

    It seems to me that it would be a better allocation of resources to help people obtain photo id’s so they can not only vote but get bank accounts, travel on air carriers, etc rather than spending money on politics to help those without id’s stay disenfranchised from a variety of other everyday activities that could help them advance socially and economically.

  3. The political left’s arguments about Voter ID are another good example of how Liberal magical thinking, Progressive magical thinking, and most important is how Liberal critical thinking works.

  4. Photo ID is worthless at the polls if all you have to do to get registered is to check a few boxes. So you show up to vote, show your ID (which obviously matches the Registration) which is bogus to begin with. What’s the point? California made a mockery of the entire system a few years back when they handed out Voter Registration cards that asked 1) Name & Address
    2) SSN (which was never checked or verified by anyone) and 3) Are you a U S Citizen (evidenced by checking a box) It was never verified. Of course, now they’ve tightened up the rules. But those thousands and thousands that were registered with no verification whatsoever are still registered and …. surprise! ….are still voting.

  5. Photo ID is worthless at the polls if all you have to do to get registered is to check a few boxes. So you show up to vote, show your ID (which obviously matches the Registration) which is bogus to begin with. What’s the point?
    California made a mockery of the entire system a few years back when they handed out Voter Registration cards that asked 1) Name & Address
    2) SSN (which was never checked or verified by anyone) and 3) Are you a U S Citizen (evidenced by checking a box) It was never verified. Of course, now they’ve tightened up the rules. But those thousands and thousands that were registered with no verification whatsoever are still registered and …. surprise! ….are still voting.

  6. Anytime Obama said “this notion of…”, he was about to pretend a real issue was imaginary (“this notion of election voting fraud…”), or he was about to tear down a strawman (“this notion that poor people should not be treated in hospitals…”). Always partisan, and usually dishonest. I won’t miss him, despite my misgivings about his successor.

  7. Chris

    I read the Politifact article, Jack, and find it much more convincing than yours. You write:

    Dutifully admitting that, yes, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, India, Canada, Spain, France, Malta, Belgium, Mexico all require identification, it explained–but! but!-–that in most of those countries, ID was “easy to get.”

    Not easier to get than in the U.S., now. Just easy.

    But that misrepresents what Politifact wrote. Politifact did, in fact, write that ID was easier to get in those countries than it is in the U.S., quoting an article that said:

    “Countries such as Spain, Greece, France, Malta, Belgium, and Italy provide national identity documents to their citizens to use for many purposes, including travel, banking, and healthcare access as well as voting. In Spain, Greece, Malta, Belgium, and Italy, possession of such documents is compulsory. By contrast, the United States has never required or provided a national identity document.”

    The article was written in 2009, but this part of it is still true today.

    They also explained the differences between voter ID laws in the US and voter ID laws in Canada:

    Then again, Mexico strives to ensure that every voter has its national photo ID and Canada offers leeway on the types of ID accepted at the polls.

    In 2015, we confirmed that to vote in Mexico, every eligible citizen has to have a tamper-proof photo-ID card with a thumbprint and an embossed hologram though at the time Kenneth Greene, a University of Texas expert, told us it would be a mistake to compare Mexico’s history of fraud with the few credible incidents of U.S. voter fraud that could have been headed off with photo ID from 2000 through 2014.

    According to a Canadian government website, Canada offers voters an array of ways to self-identify at the polls, extending to, say, a label on a prescription container plus a library card.

    When I read the statement from Obama, I first agreed that it was a lie, since I interpreted it as saying that we’re the only industrialized country that requires voter ID. But that’s not what he said.

    Reading it more closely, my only issue with his statement is that it implies the US has uniform voter ID laws, when they actually only exist in a few states. But that was Politifact’s problem as well. I would have gone further and called the claim “mostly false” for this reason, but Politifact’s actual analysis is usually better than it’s ratings. I think everyone should read the article and see which of you made a more convincing argument.

    There is no evidence that anyone who wants to vote and is a citizen can’t get proper identification.

    I’ve read plenty of stories of citizens, mostly elderly, who couldn’t do exactly that. You’re telling me they don’t exist?

    The Jim Crow comparison was imperfect, but fair; we know for a fact that some GOP lawmakers have passed voter ID laws for the express purpose of reducing black turnout.

    • Chris

      For the record, I would support a compromise wherein voter ID is required at the polls if all American citizens are automatically issued a free ID card, with any necessary travel expenses also provided by the government.

      Since GOP lawmakers have closed DMV offices in majority black counties at the same time they were passing voter ID laws, I doubt many would be receptive to this compromise.

      • Chris,

        How do these people cash their Social Security checks? How do they drive a car, fly in a plane, attend the democratic national convention? How do the oppressed minorities visit the doctor, or use their EBT cards?

        ID is free in Texas, and only takes the wish to get, if you are a citizen. You do not even have to travel, just present documentation through the mail or get directions online.

        This is a straw man and has been for years.

        • My favorites are the desperate foiled voters who fly to Washington or state capitals to testify about the hardship of getting IDs to vote, when they were able to get ID to fly, because they wanted to testify how racist Republicans were.

    • I’m telling you that their votes aren’t suppressed. PolitFact, as usual, relies entirely on one advocacy paper. His assessment is not unanimously supported, nor does it examine all the US jurisdictions. Having been to some of those countries where supposedly ID is “easy,” and knowing the level of poverty, the distances, and the transportation available in rural areas, it’s obvious that the comparisons are dishonest. What an Irishman would call “easy” a US citizen woud call “impossible.”

      And only is only, Chris. Can’t weasel around that. If you find that “only” isn’t “only,’ than that’s not “half-only” but not “only.” Untrue, not “half true.” Anything, though, to avoid calling Obama on another lie.

      • Chris

        I didn’t weasel about”only,” I explained why the statement ““We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote” may in fact be true. Those other countries that require ID do apparently make an effort to make it easier for people to get ID. Of course, there are other metrics than voter ID I think one would want to look at when determining whether other countries try and make it harder for people to vote, so at worst Politifact’s analysis is incomplete.

  8. I recognize there are flaws in the things I watch, but mentally accounting for the “exception” that was edited out of this video, this is my favorite video on the subject:

    • But, but, but, that can’t possibly be correct it doesn’t correlate with the Liberal critical thinking skills that we’ve been taught.

      • Becky

        This particular ID issue isn’t a problem everywhere. Not only because the laws aren’t everywhere, but because of locations and rules for where and how to get ID. It’s harder for aged people or people not born here, in some places, to prove what’s necessary to get the ID. I have served as an election judge, and plenty of people offered it to me though I was not allowed to ask for it. I have no real issue with fair ID laws when there are ways to access the ID for those who need extra help. What the courts are working through right now are those laws that are applied differently across all populations AND the difficulty issue with rural distance. But frankly, rural distance is a bugaboo on a number of fronts. Think insurance of several sorts and healthcare. The video’s producers went to Harlem instead of rural Alabama or Missisippi, where distance and lack of paperwork has been a noted issue. Jack’s earlier post about closure of certain offices in certain counties pointed out that making it harder to get ID makes it harder to vote.

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