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.