A TIME cover story from 2007 couldn’t have seemed more wickedly hollow than it did yesterday on what was a historic June 28th in America. The fireworks included Congress voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of the Congres, distinguishing him as the fist cabinet member to be cited for criminal contempt of Congress in US history. Seventeen Democrats joined Republicans in passing the contempt charge.  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats left the chamber in a show of disgust with what they perceived to be a political stunt. Political stunts beget political stunts. The whole contempt proceeding was a B grade movie produced by Republican Representative Darrell “Jet” Issa of California. The same gang that was ready and willing to allow the US to default on its debt during the debate over increasing the budget ceiling last year was back at it again.

 

Down in Florida somewhere along Hanging Chad Alley a Federal District Court Judge denied  a DOJ request for a restraining order to block Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge of 2,600 suspected illegal voters. In reality, many of the 2,600 folks purged are naturalized citizens eligible to vote. Voter fraud is being trumpeted as a national calamity championed by The Tea Party and the policy-in-a-takeout box American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That organization churns out model legislation to peddle across state houses controlled by the GOP. It is in fact an insidious suppression of  the voting rights of persons who typically vote Democratic. Voting laws in the Sunshine State continue to confound reason.

The big news of the day was Obamacare surviving its own purge by the Supreme Court on a narrow 5-4 vote and the emergence of Chief Justice John Roberts as the hero. Legal scholars were perhaps the only ones not surprised; the rest of us were reading tea leaves with respect to every utterance from Justice Kennedy during oral arguments. After Roberts’ confirmation in 2005 I felt that as years went by, we would witness a slow relaxation of his rigidly conservative  bona fides. (My thinking was influenced by one case on which he worked pro bono.) Today may have marked a fork in the road.

If for but a day Chief Justice John Roberts was America’s leading man. He looks the part. He earned the role.

 

 

Like the 50 million Americans lacking healthcare insurance, I am ecstatic that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. However that decision has only fueled the rage of conservatives determined to run the President out of town on a rail. Fueled by frustration, fear, callousness and propaganda yesterday’s tweets about those threatening to move to Canada- a bastion of “socialized medicine”- only underscores how ill-informed the electorate is about health care and policies in America.

This election is going to be a war. Campaign finance is not going to be the game changer pundits and the Obama and Romney camps spin. By now nearly everybody who is going to vote knows who is running. The election war isn’t going to be won by a broadcast, aerial carpet bombing; it is going to be won on the ground. Democrats must get first-time and new people registered and to the polls. If they don’t, Mitt Romney will be our next president. He will have the opportunity to appoint at least one Supreme Court Justice to replace the ailing Justice Ginsburg, and perhaps as many as three others: Justices Scalia, Kennedy and Breyer.

Game On means that it is time to get busy registering voters. Pick up registration forms from your county Democratic party or county board of elections and load you clipboards and backpacks with the forms. Then get to work registering people at aisles in grocery stores, bars, churches and community meetings and bathroom lines. Set a goal you can attain each day. Never be reluctant to ask people you register if they will do likewise for family and friends; provide them with forms and your contact information or that of the state board of elections. You will be surprised by how many Americans are not registered.

Most of all do not assume that other organizations such as OFA will handle new voter registration. They can not cover the map. As a free lancer I have registered almost 100 new voters in the most unlikely places.

Registering voters is the best way to right the man who was knocked down by the recession and can not get up on his own. He needs a helping hand, not a tax credit. Extend him your hand- and make sure he is registered to vote and knows who he is going to vote for.

 

JWN

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