Okay, not everyone loves Bill Clinton, but I do. Yeah he screwed the pooch (and probably everything else) on several issues that are important to me, but I love the man for the political speaker that he is.
One of my favorite memories of Netroots Nation ’09 was when he gave the Keynote address. He came out on stage, stuck one hand in a pocket and started talking. He talked without notes or a teleprompter for 90 minutes, and had me agreeing with things I disagree with (for a little while) just from the force of his personality.
Which is why it is great to see the Big Dog out there giving speeches and throwing elbows at that Republicans. Today he gave a speech to the Campus Progress conference and went right after one of the most pernicious of Republican tactics, passing laws that restrict voter access.
“I can’t help thinking since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” Clinton said at Campus Progress’s annual conference in Washington.
“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” Clinton added.
Ow! That has got to sting if you are a Republican, twice as much since it is completely true. The whole idea that we needed tougher ID laws because of people committing voter fraud has always been risible. Yet it is tying the fact that the people most likely to be disenfranchised, people of color, to the Jim Crow laws is what really makes it devastating.
Republicans know they have a problem with people of color. Herman Cain and Alan Keyes aside, there are not a lot of brown folks of any hue who are involved with the Republican Party. It is overwhelmingly white. Having their efforts tied to the illegal and disgusting ideas like the Poll Tax is just the thing they don’t want.
Former President Clinton was not just general about this. He singled out Rick Scott (AKA Lex Luthor) for some particular derision. You see Gov. Scott is trying to reinstate a ban, a lifetime ban, on felons voting in the State of Florida. Mr. Clinton makes the case explicit as to what Ol’ Lex Scott is up to:
“Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they’ve paid their price?” Clinton said. “Because most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics who tended to vote for Democrats. That’s why
Again, it is all the truth and while the truth may set you free, it can also sting like jalopeno juice in an eyeball. It is too bad that the Republicans are not a more self aware bunch, then they might realize that the president they impeached just hit them in the chops with a strong left.
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours.