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Crank calls and flat tires

A rather tawdry chapter in New Hampshire politics came to a close yesterday, as the former state Republican Executive Director was sentenced to seven months in prison for jamming Democrats' phone lines back on election day, 2002. Chuck McGee had hired a telemarketing company to repeatedly dial a phone number the Democrats had set up to help voters get to the polls.

Voter suppression is an old tradition in politics. It's simple good tactics to get more of your supporters out to vote, and fewer of the opposition's. But the line must be drawn, and when you actively work to sabotage the other guys' efforts to get their own people out. To my way of thinking, that constitutes an "aggravating circumstance" that should heighten the penalty for the offense. Phone harassment is a relatively minor offense, but doing so in the pursuit of denying them their right to vote raises the offense by several other orders of magnitude. Seven months in prison might be a little light, but I can live with it.

In a similar vein, I sincerely hope that the five Democratic workers accused of slashing the tires on vans the Republicans had rented to deliver voters in Milwaukee last November, if convicted, get similarly harsh sentences. They weren't just committing juvenile pranks, and it wasn't just piddling little property damage. This was a deliberate attempt to deprive people of their Constitutional rights, and as such demands severe penalties.

J.


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Comments (21)

I usually disagree with you... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

I usually disagree with your analysis, JT, and I usually just keep my mouth shut, so to speak.

I have a right to vote whether some Democrat calls me on the phone or not. I have a right to vote regardless of whether the tires of a Republican shuttle bus has air in them or not.

I think, if you want to vote, it's on you to register, it's on you to get there, and it's your responsibility to read the dang ballot correctly, etc. In other words, you've got to do a little bit of work here. I don't want to make too easy. The stoned slackers can stay at home. The lazy people don't get to vote for more hand-outs.

For punishment, the violators you mentioned should be punished consistent with whatever people who do that normally get. Leave the election stuff out of it. If you slash someone's tires tomorrow, I don't think you should get less punishment just because it wasn't a Repbulican shuttle on the morning of the election. They're both vandalism to me.

I could not disagree with C... (Below threshold)
DaveP.:

I could not disagree with Chuck more. the entire basis of democracy is the fair election. When election dirty tricks come into play, the elections stop being about "which candidate has the most persuasive ideas" and start being about "whose candidate can hire the most plumbers/thugs/shooters". At that point, no matter who wins, we all lose. Any election chicanery should be punished vigorously, but when you have the elements of violence and conspiracy (as you did with Supreme Solar Allah in Milwaukee) than the crime should be punished to the maximum.

If I slash my neighbor's tires, in order to keep him from voting- in order to influence an election- than I am perpetrating a completely different kind of crime than if I shash his tires just to be a jerk: instead of a crime affecting just my neighbor, I'm committing a crime affecting my whole community. And my neighbor should expect that in a civilized country, he shouldn't have to sit up all night with a shotgun to keep his tires from being slashed just because of his political preference.

"The lazy people don't get ... (Below threshold)
Pug:

"The lazy people don't get to vote for more hand-outs."

Well I guess that about sums up your feelings about all those inferior to you who a are allowed, but certainly shouldn't be encouraged, to vote.

Of course anybody who might need any assistance getting to the polls, whether it be because of age or infirmity or any other reason, is lazy.

I hate to be rude, but what an idiotic statement, and an idiotic attitude in general.

McGee needs to register and... (Below threshold)
Pat:

McGee needs to register and vote as a Democrat. I don't want my party (Republican) to conduct themselves in that way.

DaveP. -- Here's my... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

DaveP. --
Here's my problem with your "If I slash my neighbor's tires" example. What if you slash his tires, just to be a jerk, but you just happen to decide to be a jerk on the morning of election day?

Everyone in the neighborhood knows you and your neighbor are on different sides of the political fence. But you truely just wanted to be a jerk that morning...

Wouldn't we need to summon the "thought police," for this case?

We'd probably disagree on hate crimes, too.

Pug, You cherry-pic... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

Pug,
You cherry-picked one sentence from my post and then totally misrepresented my thoughts on the subject.

You took a stab at summing up my feelings for me, and you were way off.

I said nothing about what you term as "all those inferior to [me]," nor the sick and elderly people, so I don't know how you could have come to your conclusions without making a huge leap in logic.

Maybe, in the midst of making your assumptions about me, you might have confused me with someone else.

- Just a coincidence when 2... (Below threshold)

- Just a coincidence when 25 vans are involved....

- Just a coincidence when one of the perps is the son of a Dem Senator......

- Just a coincidence when a precint workers arm is broken trying to fend off an open attack on GOP election headquarters in broad daylight....

- Just a coincidence that several other election sites across the country were trashed and threats made by over zealous union workers....

- Just a coincidence when a prominent journalist/news anchor gets caught in a sceme to manipulate a National election, with possible ties back to the DNC....

- Just when do we shed the laughable idea that these are all coincidences and recognize them for what they really are.....

- Examples of tolerance from the party of "love and tolerance" perhaps?.... "Did I mention I served in Vietnam".....

"I don't want to make too e... (Below threshold)
Pug:

"I don't want to make too easy. The stoned slackers can stay at home. The lazy people don't get to vote for more hand-outs."

There, that puts a little more context to it. It shouldn't be too easy to vote, or in your own words "I don't want to make it too easy."

Then you follow that with snide remarks about stoned slackers and lazy people voting themselves more handouts.

It speaks for itself about what your attitude is. I made no huge leaps. What you wrote is not hard to understand.

ClusterChuck you are still ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

ClusterChuck you are still ignoring one key difference between somebody just happening to slash their neighbors tires on election day, and this tire slashing incident. The cars were in a lot, and it was known that thos vehciles purpose on election day was to help take people to the polls.

The intent of the tire slashing by the DNC operatives, was to suppress the vote, not just have a jolly good time slashing people's tires. They should be punished more severely than the guy who does it for kicks.

Jay I agree that the GOP people involved with the phone jamming scandal deserve what they got, and I hope that the tire slashers get it as well. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I can hardly believe anyone... (Below threshold)

I can hardly believe anyone, much less a party director, would be so STUPID, not to mention unethical. He didn't think he would get caught?

I'm glad your blogging this. We need to make sure that we,as a party, stand strong on the morals we espouse.

It is so wrong. Either we win fairly or I don't want to win at all.

Courts do "intent" all the ... (Below threshold)
DaveP.:

Courts do "intent" all the time, Chuck. They never need to resort to 'thought police'. Maybe you need to pick up a copy of the CJS and look up how many times intent is a factor in either a charge or the penalty levied.

I started out simply posting a reasoned counterstatement to yours. From your rebuttal to mine, I no longer feel as if you are someone worth discussing this issue seriously with.

Jay Tea, you're spot on her... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

Jay Tea, you're spot on here. A hard fought campaign, yes. something that's shameful, no.

ClusterChuck:It's wr... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

ClusterChuck:
It's wrong to do. Period. I don't care if the van is taking a stoner to vote. You don't do this. It's one of those honor things, know what I mean?

What will happen to the two... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

What will happen to the two cases of Dem voter supression in 04?
A. - Wisconsin where five *PAID* members of the JFK team leand by Sowande Omokunde slashed the tires of cars and vans used by the Bush folk to get voters without transportation to the polls. I give you a clue. The DA and his top lieutenants are all Democrats - think of how the vote went in the Impeachment trial.

b. _ Washington state where the ballots for military voters were -"accidentally" sent out so late that they were received *AFTER* election day.

Well the jury is in, Chuck ... (Below threshold)

Well the jury is in, Chuck --- and I agree with them OOps, you erred. Executing a scheme to sabotage a poliical get-out-the-vote program is no diferent than stuffing the ballot box with the "votes" of dead people. It shoud be dealt with severely.

Oh wait. What happened in Illinois during the JFK - RMN election?

History repeats itself -- hopefully we've learned.

DaveP. Perhaps it i... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

DaveP.
Perhaps it is my background in the Armed Services that molds my point of view. I've been on the 'jury' for several court-martial hearings, and a number of those included capital crimes. For each and every murder trial, the judge instructed the court, and us specifically, that the prosecution had no obligation to show motive or intent. Before the trial, during screening for the 'jury,' we were asked, basically, "Would you require that a motive be established before you could find someone guilty of murder?" All who answered affirmatively were excused from the jury.

Look, you say courts do "intent" all the time. I agree. I know they do "intent" all the time. I also know that the courts are largely filled with liberal judges and liberal influences. I happen to disagree with the courts quite often.

Mikey,
Yes, I know what you mean, but I would like to humbly ask: When did I ever state that tire-slashing wasn't wrong? If I gave that impression, let me recant. It's wrong to slash tires -- no matter what the reason. I just don't think you automatically deserve "extra" punishment depending on where the van was going to go that day. Re-reading your post, I actually think we agree on that. But let me reiterate: All tires deserve to go through their respective life cycles without any premeditated unprovoked knife penetration.

wavemaker
Thanks for your post. Based on what you said, I think I realize a lot better why my argument has earned me a bit of resentment. Prior to reading your post, I looked at this as a case of vandalism, and not as a case of potential voter disenfranchisement. Even though you didn't use the D-word, your post got me thinking on that track.

To make it easier on everyone, I'm not going to post in this topic anymore (or at least, I am going to make an effort to bite my tongue at any replies), but before I do that, I'd like to convey my apologies for apparently rubbing a few of you guys (many of whom I enjoy reading in other threads) the wrong way.

'twas not intentional, and though I don't really know what I did (and therefore do not really know what not to do again), I nonetheless express my deep regret for being excessively provocative and/or inadvertently inflammatory.

I'm going to take the first sentence of my first post in this thread, and combine it with the last sentence of DaveP's latest post, and, with an apology, bid a fond adieu.

I want to say to Chuck that... (Below threshold)

I want to say to Chuck that his intellectual honesty is very much appreciated here, but not as much as his service to our Country -- thank you, Chuck, for playing an important role in preserving for us the rights to argue the way we are doing.

But for me, new to this site (and blogging generally), I appeciate the tone and content of your posts, and encourage Chuck not to wilt under the pressure hereafter. Best to all.

Yeah, I second what wavemak... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Yeah, I second what wavemaker wrote (^^) and that is that "ClusterChuck" should not depart...my only request is that he/she change their user I.D., ha.

People wrote from different perspectives about the generally same conclusions from what I read on this thread -- one from an emotional base (the "let's not assist the stoner crowd in understanding how to vote" emotional reaction which is well shared by many, not out of intolerance but out of frustration at and about some people in our society who could just as easily as others get the job done but don't because they're occupied with certain activities that require others to do for them, on their behalf and sometimes people get frustrated and just suggest we say 'no' so I can understand that)-- and the other from a pragmatic, legalistic sense of analysing the criminal behaviors involved in the spark conditions.

Anyway, from their own perspectives, both/all are correct from what I've read other than it's entirely subjective just what is correct or isn't within the realm of emotional responses and subjective social perceptions, to a point.

Anyone, Party rep. or not, engaging in this sort of vandalism and attempts to defraud voters needs to be punished and most if not all people would certainly agree. I know I read a lot of complaints a year or so ago from Dean supporters in Iowa about the Kerry campaign following along behind the Deanies and removing Dean campaign signs when and where they were planted, among other bad behaviors by the Kerry campaign there, primaries.

More evidence that Dean and Kerry don't understand sportsmanship standards; at least their campaigns didn't/don't. Same thing applies to these creeps o' issue of this thread (telephone jamming and tire slashing creeps).

Ms. Rice -- thanks! I've ru... (Below threshold)

Ms. Rice -- thanks! I've run into a Gordian Knot trying to reach you directly. Fine blog. Link material, "B2B"??

It is so wrong. Either w... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It is so wrong. Either we win fairly or I don't want to win at all.

Indeed. I say throw the book at the tire-slashers.

wavemaker: thanks...I had ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

wavemaker: thanks...I had to recently delete the email I.D. I'd been using, making available throughout blogosphere, due to massive influx of worms, viruses and otherwise complete and absolute disgusting crud inundating the inbox. Which Norton captured and prevented from downloading, great and all, just that I was sick of dealing with the very notices announcing the crud.

So, some stupids somewhere -- who cares where at this point -- think sending massive 'netsky' attachments to my email address is entertaining, and I just deleted the email identity.

At this point, I'm now relying on an old yahoo address (it's now updated on my blog, BIRD, so go find the email link there if you would like to contact me) for public use.

Another reason to maintain a great firewall and uptodate browser and antiviral programs.




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