IS THE GOP GOING TO TRY TO MAINSTREAM ITS "FRAUD AT POLLS" NONSENSE THIS YEAR?
For years, Republicans have used the notion that Democrats cheat at the polls primarily in two ways: (1) as a rallying cry in the right-wing media, aimed at the base, and (2) as a publicity campaign meant to help pass vote-suppression laws in states where Republicans control the government. But Republicans haven't really tried to mainstream this line of attack -- Karl Rove may have masterminded vote-suppression efforts in the Bush White House, but voting wasn't a subject Bush himself talked about.
This campaign may be different. I told you on Friday that the right was distorting the nature of a pro-Obama challenge to changes in Ohio's early-voting law -- the pro-Obama forces would like to restore the option of voting in Ohio on the weekend before Election Day for everyone, but they're being accused of trying to prevent early voting during that period for members of the military. Well, now we have not just various Romney surrogates but Romney himself, on Facebook, arguing that the Obama campaign is trying to curtail military voting.
Maybe my memory is faulty, but isn't this new? I don't remember Bush personally saying a word about Democratic challenges to military absentee ballots in 2000 -- that was left to surrogates.
I'm just wondering if the plan is to try to turn alleged Democratic voting skulduggery into the Swift Boat story of 2012.
Add this to the outrageous vote-suppression law in Pennsylvania and you begin to wonder whether the Romney camp's current lackluster efforts in electoral-vote-rich swing states (which Michael Tomasky thinks might be a sign of an impending electoral-vote landslide for Obama) might instead be because the Romney campaign and the right-wing noise machine intend to fight in those states primarily on vote-fraud grounds.
The Romney campaign isn't putting much money into Pennsylvania -- but I bet that will change if the Pennsylvania voting law survives a court challenge. And if the law is overturned or limited, I wonder if Team Romney will go mainstream with charges that an Obama victory in Pennsylvania will inevitably be the result of fraud -- a charge that, hell, Team Romney may level regarding pretty much any swing state, both before and after the votes are counted. I wouldn't put it past these guys to challenge the results of the election not merely if the vote margin in a decisive state is tiny, a la Florida 2000, but if there's a 1 or 2 percent gap in two or three or four states. In other words, I could see the Romneyites arguing that millions of votes were fraudulently cast.
This is just a hunch. But it would be in keeping with the Romney campaign's strategy of running in the general election as if swing voters think like wingnuts. (Recall that a 2009 poll showed that a majority of GOP voters thought ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama.)
I'll leave you with the response in Charles Foster Kane's newsroom to his electoral defeat, from Citizen Kane: