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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Schlafly’s Straight Talk About GOP’s Voter Suppression Sends Ostrich Pundits into Denial

Maddowblog’s Steve Benen has unearthed a quote from the right-wing Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, which proves more than a little embarrassing for Republicans, who have been parroting the “voter suppression? who us?” defense. It goes like this:

The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that “early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.”
The Obama technocrats have developed an efficient system of identifying prospective Obama voters and then nagging them (some might say harassing them) until they actually vote. It may take several days to accomplish this, so early voting is an essential component of the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign.

To which Benen responds, “Have you ever heard a political figure accidentally read stage direction, unaware that it’s not supposed to be repeated out loud? This is what Schlafly’s published column reminds me of.”
The Schlafly quote will be roundly ignored by the conservative ostrich pundits, like George Will, Russ Douthat, Peggy Noonan and David Brooks, who know perfectly well that Schlafly was telling the raw truth. They will refuse to acknowledge it in any way, because it offends their nostalgic view of their party as stout defender of conservatism, when really it has become the party of contempt for democracy and fair elections, with an increasingly high tolerance for racism.
They also know that there is essentially no voter fraud. But they won’t write about that either, because they can’t do so and still retain the thin veneer of credibility that they believe separates their columns from partisan hackery.
Like her more genteel conservative colleagues, Schlafly has been known to dance around the truth. But not this time. Credit her with telling it straight, as Benen concludes:

And then there’s Phyllis Schlafly, writing a piece for publication effectively saying Democrats are entirely right — North Carolina had to dramatically cut early voting because it’s not good for Republicans.
Remember, Schlafly’s piece wasn’t intended as criticism; this is her defense of voter suppression in North Carolina. Proponents of voting rights are arguing, “This is a blatantly partisan scheme intended to rig elections,” to which Schlafly is effectively responding, “I know, isn’t it great?”

It’s a sad time for opinion journalism, when the top ‘conservative’ columnists can’t take a stand, calling on their party to defend the democratic principle of fair elections with outcomes based on honest debate, instead of suppressing votes.

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