Anyways, never content to just drift away into post-Presidential irrelevance, Clinton now fancies himself as a sage, ready and willing to deposit pearls of wisdom when whatever thinktank or organization is willing to write a large enough check. Having a podium doesn't mean you're right, however, and I can't help but categorize Clinton's recent remarks about voting rights restrictions in Florida as the worst kind of racial pandering. Not that Clinton's any stranger to racial pandering of course.
Former President Bill Clinton Wednesday compared GOP efforts to limit same-day voter registration and block some convicted felons from voting to Jim Crow laws and poll taxes.I'd prefer to not make this an issue about the voting rights of ex-felons. That's a topic for another week and another blog altogether. What puzzles me is Clinton's brazen attempt to tie Governor Scott's decision to the far more restrictive and outdated concepts of poll taxes. Those were routinely imposed on all people of color as a deterrent. Revoking the rights of ex-criminals isn't the same thing, not by a country mile, but why let such logic interfere with a good attempt at pandering. Never mind the fact that Clinton was hardly speaking to the audience most disenfranchised by such a decision.
In a speech to liberal youth activists Wednesday, the former president called out proposals in battleground states like Florida and Ohio that could limit the voter rolls.
“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.
Clinton mentioned Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s move in March to overturn past state precedent — including under former GOP governors — that allows convicted felons to vote once they’ve served they’ve finished probation periods.
“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.”
Some of what Clinton is advocating is worth the fuss. GOP proposals to stop college students who are from other states from registering to vote where they go to school are just wrong. Voting shouldn't be that damn difficult. On the other hand, proposals asking people to register at least a week before voting is sensible. Do you realize how easy it is to register to vote? It takes all of 5 minutes. Asking people (college students or otherwise) to do this isn't a violation of civil rights, nor is asking someone to present a valid form of identification. If you're not smart enough to register in advance or provide a driver's license at the poll, then you're probably too dumb to vote.
Suggesting otherwise is in a lot of ways an underhanded insult to the very people you're supposedly advocating on behalf of.
Then again, this is Bill Clinton we're talking about.
Question: Does Clinton have a point about voter disenfranchisement, or is he just up to his usual routine?