And Yes, 'Van Spakovsky' Is German for 'Katherine Harris'
Shock horror! WaPo reporter Dan Eggen comes forward with word that the Bush Department of Justice treats civil rights complaints concerning the abridgement of voting rights in a brazenly political fashion. Staff attorneys in the DoJ's civil rights division found their recommendations to investigate credible claims of voter fraud or tampering with ballot access were met with stunning indifference, silence and/or hostility from on high. Cases ranged from Tom DeLay's charming campaign in Texas to redistrict the Democratic party out of functional political existence and an especially wide-ranging Georgia case in which a hare-brained voter-identification plan threatened to purge hundreds of thousands of voters off the rolls who lacked driver's licenses. (This in addition to earlier voting-section studies indicating the plan would unduly harm black voters, who wouldn't exactly view renewed poll tests and credentials in the South as a major step forward on the road to racial justice.) Higher DoJ officials in that case furnished a textbook study in measured Bush-era empiricism, right out of the WMD files: "They said that as many as 200,000 of those without ID cards would be felons and illegal immigrants and that they would not be eligible to vote anyway." Because, you know, if you're not driving, why you're just not a trustworthy American.
One of the legal sages behind this ruling was one Hans van Spakovsky, the former head of the Fulton County GOP in Atlanta (and yes, in case you're wondering, it is taking every ounce of restraint not to make the obvious joke about someone with such a severely Teutonic name making racially inflected due-process decisions). And yes, it does get better: Mr. Van Spakovsky has since been named to the Federal Election Commission in a recess appointment by President Bush. Because, to paraphrase Henry Kissinger, we're not about to let any district go Democratic due to the irresponsibility of its own citizens. --HOLLY MARTINS