Effect Measure

The fatuousness of the McCain-Palin campaign’s attack on ACORN, a national organization that fights for the rights of low income citizens is matched only by its hypocrisy. McCain has been a past supporter of ACORN and McCain was a keynoter at a recent ACORN sponsored conference. McCain has no quarrel with ACORN. It is just another tactic in his desperate battle to win the election and he doesn’t care who gets hurt as long as he gains. Classic McCain. Unprincipled, dishonest and dishonorable. Not new but a pattern that goes back to his youth.

For years, including years when McCain was an ACORN supporter, the organization has been helping low income people gain the security of home ownership. Now they are being blamed by the McCain – Palin campaign and right wing talk radio for causing the financial meltdown. There is a word for this: scapegoating. It also conveniently distracts from Wall Street and those supported in one way or another by both parties, but more steadfastly by the Republicans. Far from aiding and abetting predatory lenders, ACORN has fought them:

“For almost a decade, ACORN, a community organization of 400,000 families in neighborhoods across the country, has been fighting against the predatory lending practices that have robbed our members of their homes, destabilized neighborhoods, and roiled the global economy.”

“In his newest ad, John McCain’s campaign bizarrely claims, “ACORN forced banks to issue risky home loans, the same types of loans that caused the financial crisis we’re in today.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, ACORN has worked successfully to help working class families get good home loans on fair terms from legitimate banks and has fought vigorously against predatory lenders who have ripped off families in our communities. These predatory loans caused the crisis.”

“For more than a decade, ACORN members have held protests, released reports, and advocated for regulations to protect homeowners from predatory lenders. ACORN organizers and volunteers have been working day and night to help victims of the GOP economic meltdown to save their homes from foreclosure. In fact, ACORN has brought class action lawsuits against several predatory lenders, and has lobbied the Federal Reserve and Congress in support of regulations against predatory lending. ACORN has even been successful in convincing many lenders to treat homeowners more fairly and help families be able to make their mortgage payments and save their homes.”

“Unfortunately, the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans like John McCain have blocked the sensible regulations that ACORN and others proposed that would have averted the mortgage meltdown. If John McCain thinks that community organizers caused the foreclosure crisis, he knows even less about the economy than previously thought.”

“John McCain and the Republicans are desperately trying to shift the blame for the economic crisis they caused with a philosophy of deregulation and indifference to homeowners. All the grainy footage and creepy music in the world can’t cancel out some simple, basic facts, and the facts about the economy are not on John McCain’s side.” (ACORN Statement)

ACORN is also being attacked for promoting “voter fraud,” presumably so that in the event of a McCain loss he can claim that the election was “stolen.” Making the right to vote a partisan issue is despicable. Here is ACORN’s response:

As The Nation pointed out recently, ACORN’s success in registering millions of low-income and minority voters has made it “something of a right-wing bogeyman.” Though ACORN believes that the right to vote is not, and should never be, a partisan issue, attacks from groups threatened by our historic success continue to come, motivated by partisan politics and often perpetuated by the media without full investigation of the facts. As a result, there have been a few recent stories about investigations of former ACORN workers for turning in incomplete, erroneous, or fraudulent voter registration applications. Predictably, partisan forces have tried to use these isolated incidents to incite fear of the “bogeyman” of “widespread voter fraud.” But we want to take this opportunity to set the record straight and tell you a few facts to show how these incidents really exemplify everything that ACORN is doing right:

  • Fact: ACORN has implemented the most sophisticated quality-control system in the voter engagement field, but in almost every state we are required to turn in ALL completed applications, even the ones we know to be problematic.
  • Fact: ACORN flags incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when we turn them in, but these warnings are often ignored by election officials. Often these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards.
  • Fact: Our canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card, so there is NO incentive for them to falsify cards. ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the relatively rare cases where our internal quality controls have identified this happening we have fired the workers involved and turned them in to election officials and law-enforcement.
  • Fact: No charges have ever been brought against ACORN itself. Convictions against individual former ACORN workers have been accomplished with our full cooperation, using the evidence obtained through our quality control and verification processes.
  • Fact: Voter fraud by individuals is extremely rare, and incredibly difficult. There has never been a single proven case of anyone, anywhere, casting an illegal vote as a result of a phony voter registration. Even if someone wanted to influence the election this way, it would not work.
  • Fact: Most election officials have recognized ACORN’s good work and praised our quality control systems. Even in the cities where election officials have complained about ACORN, the applications in question represent less than 1% of the thousands and thousands of registrations ACORN has collected.
  • Fact: Our accusers not only fail to provide any evidence, they fail to suggest a motive: there is virtually no chance anyone would be able to vote fraudulently, so there is no reason to deliberately submit phony registrations. ACORN is committed to ensuring that the greatest possible numbers of people are registered and allowed to vote, so there is also NO incentive to “disrupt the system” with phony cards.
  • Fact: Similar accusations were made, and attacks launched, against ACORN and other voter registration organizations in 2004 and 2006. These attacks were not only groundless, they have since been exposed as part of the U.S. Attorneygate scandal and revealed to be part of a systematic partisan agenda of voter suppression. (via Marc Ambinder)

The Republican noise machine is trying hard to demonize a noble and venerable group who has done more for our vulnerable and less wealthy fellow citizens than most other groups, and certainly more than the Republican Party, one of the forces that has kept people at the bottom, at the bottom. It is done for purely partisan purposes.

It is dishonorable. It is despicable. It is typical.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike the Mad Biologist
    October 14, 2008

    The Republican noise machine is trying hard to demonize a noble and venerable group…. Actually, I think it’s a lot more cynical than that. I think the GOP is trying to delegitimize an Obama victory.

  2. #2 Anon
    October 14, 2008

    Our local paper has run editorial cartoons this week focusing on the ACORN “scandal”; it is appropriate that they are cartoons. Sadly, more people may be swayed by the simple cartoons than by a thoughtful examination of the topic.

  3. #3 Marilyn Mann
    October 14, 2008

    You should take a look at a post on Health Care Renewal. Very strange.

    http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2008/10/healthcare-corruption-as-symptom-of.html

  4. #4 revere
    October 14, 2008

    Marilyn: Wow. That is some really fucked up shit. I left an outraged comment. I really like that blog but that post was pretty bad.

  5. #5 JoeSmith
    October 14, 2008

    Yet in Lake County, IN 2100 of the first 2100 ballots that ACORN turned in were fraudulent, according to CNN.

    Imagine if 1% of all election ballots were made out illegally, what a shift it would have. I mean, JFK would have never been President.

  6. #6 revere
    October 14, 2008

    Joe: Link? Couldn’t find it.

  7. #7 noncarborundum
    October 14, 2008

    JoeSmith -

    ACORN doesn’t turn in ballots. It turns in registrations. Makes a bit of a difference.

  8. #8 neil
    October 14, 2008

    Sigh..,

    I wish I could remember when it was that this blog turned into a political pulpit.

    I know, it’s your blog and you’ll do what you want with it.

  9. #9 Lea
    October 14, 2008

    Hear what you’re saying neil.

  10. #10 Victoria
    October 15, 2008

    Once again Keith Olberman of Countdown fame has hit the nail on the head of this topic

  11. #11 S Silverstein
    October 15, 2008

    Marilyn: Wow. That is some really fucked up shit. I left an outraged comment. I really like that blog but that post was pretty bad.

    Send me an email if you think it should be deleted or censored, and reasons why, and I will consider doing so.

    – SS

  12. #12 Disgusted with politics
    October 15, 2008

    “Unfortunately, the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans like John McCain have blocked the sensible regulations that ACORN and others proposed that would have averted the mortgage meltdown. If John McCain thinks that community organizers caused the foreclosure crisis, he knows even less about the economy than previously thought.”

    Yes!

    See McCain’s admission of guilt and his letter at this site.

  13. #13 Anti-ACORN
    October 15, 2008

    Very interesting. However, all of this does beg the question… why does any candidate NEED the votes of people who are either too stupid or too out of the loop to register to vote without the HELP of ACORN?? Furthermore, do we really want these people to decide the fate of our nation? Whatever happened to people taking responsibility to get out to register and vote themselves, without some organization holding their hand through the process? I mean, if children had the right to vote, I’d understand the need for ACORN. But these people are adults! Why can’t they register to vote without ACORN’s help? If a person doesn’t have the faculties to register to vote on his or her own, do you really think they understand anything about the candidates or what’s going on in the world?

    I say… it’s a free country. If you want to register to vote, then go ahead and do it. If not, then don’t. But third parties pushing the issue certainly leads to inherent questions about fairness and objectivity (i.e., are they encouraging ALL demographics to vote? Do they try to bias those whom they recruit? Do they have an agenda beyond enabling all voters?) There seem to be just too many questions for this group to continue doing what it’s doing, and this is probably best illustrated by the fact that people’s opinions of ACORN are pretty much split down party lines. An interesting observation about a supposedly non-partisan organization.

    And by the way, the “Republican noise machine” is more interested in people being free to do what they want, in contrast to the Democrats who believe people are stupid cattle and need to be led into the polls and told how to vote. Why don’t you trust Americans to vote how they want without you holding their hands through the process?? Do you really believe that low-income and minority Americans are that stupid?

  14. #14 revere
    October 15, 2008

    Neil: The political part started on Day One, just about four years ago. Public health has the word “public” in it.

  15. #15 Kelly
    October 15, 2008

    Just an FYI, the healthcare renewal post has been moved to the blogger’s other blog at
    http://medinformaticsmd.blogspot.com/2008/10/healthcare-corruption-as-symptom-of.html

  16. #16 Kelly
    October 15, 2008

    I posted too quickly. Another note about the blog post referred above — when he moved the post, he lost all of the blog comments. Revere–you might want to repost your comment (if you care about that sort of thing)

  17. #17 Odie
    October 15, 2008

    Anti-ACORN,

    I was registered to vote by my Government teacher in high school. Was it wrong for him to push for us to register because he was unfairly targeting the portion of the population that did not drop out of high school by senior year?

  18. #18 slovenia
    October 15, 2008

    Odie–

    I doubt you’ll get an answer from Anti-ACORN. The stench of troll spoor is in the air. Whew!

  19. #19 JimV
    October 15, 2008

    Re JoeSmith | October 14, 2008 9:56 PM

    This has been discussed over at Ed Brayton’s blog. See there for the links, but my summary is this. Some people whom ACORN hires to get voter registration forms filled out are cheaters who fill out the forms themselves with bogus identities to save themselves work. ACORN screens the registrations to detect this. By law, ACORN must hand in all registration forms, whether they consider them suspicious or not, but they separate out the suspicious ones and pass them, along with their suspicions, to the election officials in one pile (and the others in another pile). The former pile is looked at first, hence the finding of the “first 2100″, yada, yada, yada.

    In other words, it sounds like another failure of a major news media (CNN) to inform us accurately.

  20. #20 Phila
    October 15, 2008

    I wish I could remember when it was that this blog turned into a political pulpit.

    I wish I could remember when conservatives made substantive arguments, instead of making stuff up, or whining that someone has dared to criticize them.

  21. #21 S Silverstein
    October 15, 2008

    Just an FYI, the healthcare renewal post has been moved to the blogger’s other blog at
    http://medinformaticsmd.blogspot.com/2008/10/healthcare-corruption-as-symptom-of.html

    Posted by: Kelly | October 15, 2008 9:08 AM

    I posted too quickly. Another note about the blog post referred above — when he moved the post, he lost all of the blog comments. Revere–you might want to repost your comment (if you care about that sort of thing)

    Posted by: Kelly | October 15, 2008 9:10 AM

    it’s a good thing, too.

    Some of the hysterical comments I received would do no honor to their originators.

  22. #22 Tasha
    October 15, 2008

    “…why does any candidate NEED the votes of people who are either too stupid or too out of the loop to register to vote without the HELP of ACORN?? Furthermore, do we really want these people to decide the fate of our nation?”

    Anti-ACORN,

    I hate to break it to you, but it’s unconstitutional to make such judgment calls. Every single United States citizen over the age of 18 has the legal right to vote, regardless of intelligence, literacy, income, race, country of origin, or ability to take five minutes out of their busy day to register on their own. Many of the people who don’t register to vote aren’t stupid or ignorant. They’re busy. We’re talking about single moms working double shifts, elderly people without access to cars or internet, etc. etc. etc. Or, if they’re anything like me, persistant procrastinators (I am registered, by the way) Anyway, the possible scenarios are endless, so there is no need to make such judgment calls. The fact that a group has offered the option to make it easier to fit registration into their busy lives is a good service that should be praised.

    And if the targeted groups tip the balance one way or the other, than a good politician should be prepared to account for that. But not through slander and false accusations. Perhaps a good politician would reach out to these disenfranchised new voters.