Something said by the majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives at a Republican State Committee meeting this past weekend has gotten a lot of attention:
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) suggested that the House's end game in passing the Voter ID law was to benefit the GOP politically.Apart from the fact that not one of these issues has anything to do with the #1 concern of voters everywhere -- the economy -- the claim that instituting a voter ID law will help Romney win the state stands out.
"We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we've talked about for years," said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.
"Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done. First pro-life legislation -- abortion facility regulations -- in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."
This is interpreted by people on the left as a cynical acknowledgment, by a Republican speaking to an all-Republican crowd, that voter ID laws are a sham -- that they're a clever and effective way to disenfranchise legitimate voters.
I'm not sure that's what Turzai believes. I'm not sure that's what his audience believes.
When I started blogging a decade ago, I really thought that the crazier things said by right-wing pols, pundits, and media windbags were just attempts to gull the rubes. I didn't think the people saying them believed what they were saying.
I've sensed a change in recent years. Right-wing leaders seem to be drinking their own Kool-Aid. They seem to be getting high on their own supply.
We know that both Governor Scott Walker and RNC chairman Reince Priebus said before the Wisconsin recall election that Walker would need one or two percentage points over a majority just to offset voter fraud, after that state's voter Id law was blocked for the recall. That means Walker and Priebus were arguing that vote fraud can add well over 40,000 votes to the Democrats' total in a Wisconsin election. Who knew we were so good at this?
On the day of the recall, the lead "story" at Fox Nation was a phone call made to a Washington, D.C., talk radio host by a man who said he was one of a group of Michigan union workers being bused into Wisconsin to vote for Scott Walker. (Why this guy would call a talk radio host in D.C. I'm not sure. Why he'd waste a day of his life to do this, and then blow the whistle en route, I'm not sure.)
I'm beginning to think wingnut pols actually believe this stuff. Why wouldn't they? They think we're satanically evil. They think the whole country is controlled by powerful liberals. They think the president has the means, motive, and opportunity to completely dismantle American capitalism in one term, or possibly two, and still have time left over to confiscate every single gun in America. And, of course, they think he does this in part because he's not an American by birth (a fact suppressed by a massive conspiracy), and because he's been successfully concealing his lifelong fealty to socialist revolutionaries and bomb-throwers.
Some of them are probably still too cynical to believe all this. I don't know about Priebus, for instance. But I think Turzai believes it all. And I think it's even odds whether Walker does.