Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bobbed Story on Reform Org Is Krummy

It is interesting what lengths a local GOP blogger will go to argue points based on only partial truths about Barack Obama's legal advocacy of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). One would think--and quite preposterously so--that Obama's legal representation itself lead to the mortgage crisis:
Barack Obama was a lawyer working on behalf of ACORN, yes that ACORN, the organization that orchestrated this case and hundreds of others like it, all of them alleging that racism was the sole reason that minority home ownership lagged.
Quite a bit of broader context left out of those claims. Here's what Bob did not tell you:
For starters – and I know this will shock you – the McCain people can’t even get their facts straight. In a ... conference call, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said that Obama, as an attorney, once represented ACORN in a lawsuit “against the state of Illinois and the federal government.” (Thereby implying, of course, that Obama was in cahoots with anti-government law-breakers.) But Davis’ dark fantasies collide with factual reality. Obama did indeed represent ACORN in a lawsuit, back in 1995 – working on the same side as the federal government. ACORN and the feds, along with radical plaintiffs such as the League of Women Voters, went to court to compel the state of Illinois to implement a new “motor voter” law that was designed to make it easier for citizens to enroll as voters. They won.
In parroting the McCain campaign, Bob refuses to acknowledge all of the conditions surrounding Barack Obama's professional relationship to ACORN. That's because the less he says above and beyond wild accusation, the better for his candidates' campaign. Maybe Bob Krumm wants to engage in an unprincipled inquisition against the League of Women Voters, too?

In the particular case he cites--as in each of the handful of voter registration malfeasance out of millions of voters registered that conservatives attribute to ACORN's organization--he fails to acknowledge that ACORN monitors for voter registration fraud and supports the prosecution of accused defrauders who have worked for ACORN. Many states require that voter registration cards be turned in, and fraudulent cards are discovered because ACORN calls states' attention to them. However, in any endeavor, intention is not enough and exceptions will fall through the cracks.

But to argue that a organization-wide conspiracy can be deduced from a few exceptions is both logical fallacy and an utter stretch to a lunatic fringe of conservativism:
ACORN would need to be aware of every fraudulent form that's been submitted, the names and polling places of those false identities, and they would then have to have a network of thousands of voters nationwide whom they could readily (yet covertly) communicate this information to, so that those voters would show up to cast their fraudulent vote on election day. Given the possible prison time anyone who actually attempted to cast a fraudulent vote would face, it seems unlikely that they could find thousands upon thousands of voters to help in this effort in the first place, much less communicate the relevant information to them.
As for tarring the entire ACORN organization for the malfeasance of a few employees, Think Progress has the best rejoinder:
When a department store calls the police to report a shoplifting employee, no one says the department store is guilty of consumer fraud. The same principle applies here. The small number of staffers who have submitted fraudulent forms are violating ACORN’s mission. Anyone caught defrauding should be prosecuted, and ACORN says it is assisting in that effort. ACORN should work harder to catch these employees and ensure that they are held responsible.
You will not see any of that balance in Bob Krumm's biased narrative of these events. That's because his focus would seem to be strictly on helping McCain win, if necessary, by any means.

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