Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Competency Constituency

Rarely has a state candidate so polarized the two wings of our major political parties. And certainly never on issues rarely considered outside the realm of lawyers and inside baseballers.

To the Republican base, Secretary of State Karen Handel is a stalwart defender of the most sacred rite of voting - a beacon of purity scouring the darkness of fraud which must exist.

To the Democratic base, Secretary Handel is a cold, calculating political assassin intent on disenfranchising the poor and minorities through callous law enforcement and illegal tactics.

Of course - they're both wrong.

Even though laws requiring identification at polling places and proof of citizenship at registration are sensible, voter fraud in the state of Georgia is as rare as a Republican turning down a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Handel's support and rigid enforcement of certain laws have always been answers in search of a problem. To pretend these actions are safeguards against hordes of fraudulent voters intent on mad rushing poll workers instead of red meat to fire up her party base is laughable.

More sad than laughable is the Democrat's efforts to paint sketchy database purges and grannies who have to drive across town to get a free picture id as the equivalent of poll taxes, literacy tests and Jim Crow.

More than usual, independents may decide Handel's fate. Whether elephant leaning or donkey leaning or just plain ornery, the uncommitted generally ignore the hoots and hollers of the loons in order to seek competence over ideology.

Fairly or not, Handel is perceived to have been an effective administrator as the Chair of the Fulton County Commission. Despite the howls of Democratic activists and the occasional sidestep such as the Jim Powell mess, she is also seen as an effective Secretary of State.

But those who pay no attention to the howls of the absurd will not remain silent forever. They will seek an answer for Powell being removed from the ballot the day before the election, sending polling places into chaos. They will demand to know why a voter database triggered a political fight (and possibly another costly court room battle) with the Feds.

They will not be placated by press releases with catchy phrases from cheerleader movies or clever videos of bovines yanked by brass rings.

While others quake earth and pulsate veins, the competency constituency will seek to answer the only question in their practical calculus - is this a leader who is trustworthy to grasp the reins of state?


Anonymous said...

Help Karen fight the DOJ


griftdrift said...

More evidence that clickthroughs trump context