Nov 11, 2009

Scared GOP launches early false smear against SOS candidate

I am impressed with the qualifications of Wayne State University law Professor Jocelyn Benson, a Democratic candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, but I have been reluctant to support her 100 percent until I see what other Democrats enter the race. But, a screechy press release by the Michigan Republican Party (MRP) raised her stock in my eyes.

The press release took her to task for “holding a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 10, with ACORN-endorsed, and Communist Party U.S.A. approved Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.”

We know ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, the nation's largest community organization of low-and moderate-income families working for social justice - is the biggest boogieman to right-wingers. They dare to empower the poor by registering them to vote, and we know how Republicans hate to see people vote because they know they are the minority party in this country. The charge is voter fraud, but that is simply not true.

Individual ACORN employees have been accused of fraudulent voter registrations, which has nothing to do with voter fraud, and that was caused by hiring people to collect voter registrations and paying them for each one. Those employees who submitted fraudulent voter registrations have been let go.

But accusing a Democrat of voter suppression and the unwarranted attacks on Ritchie are unbelievable and confusing.

“Holding a vote suppression fundraiser in Washington, D.C. seems almost fitting with all the corruption in that city,” said MRP Chief of Staff Josh Venable in the PR. “Mark Ritchie embodies everything that is un-American about our electoral process—communism and cheating. Michigan does not need the Ritchie/Benson ACRON/Communist-style politics.”

We know Republicans know all about corruption, but Communism? Perhaps Mr. Venable has not watched the news in the lat couple of days and seen all the coverage of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Communism? Please. No where in the press release does it even make a case for that false smear.

The PR claims “Benson is known for partisan electioneering. During the 2004 campaigns she developed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) vote suppression program.”

Say what?

Republicans have opposed every single move to increase voter turnout. The Michigan House has passed no reason absentee voting, allowing 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote and early voting that the current GOP SOS supports, but GOP leadership in the Senate refuses to even hold hearings or allow a vote.

I thought the communism charge may have had something to do with the fact that Ritchie is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), a major party in Minnesota. The party was created in 1944 when the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer-Labor Party merged. Former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey was instrumental in this merger. The party boasts some of the most respected liberals in the country, including Humphrey, Vice-President Walter Mondale, Sen. Eugene McCarthy and Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Obviously, the Republicans are scared, and this was the reason for this early, false smear. Benson Spokesman T.J. Bucholz had the best quote in calling out the GOP lies.

"I've watched a lot of Lions' football, so I'm used to seeing desperate plays by losing teams," Bucholz said. "You've got an actual, legitimate party that's resorting to lies in a race that's almost a year away."

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