It has to be tough to work for the ABH's editorial board sometimes. On the one hand you have the readership which, at least in Athens, tends to be fairly progressive, and just a little lefty. On the other hand (probably the right hand, if you get our drift), you have the newspaper's corporate ownership, Morris Communications, which also owns the Augusta Chronicle and Savannah Morning News.
It should come as no surprise that Morris is pretty darn conservative, as far as newspaper chains go. Heck, the Savannah paper even endorsed Pat Buchanan a few years ago. And, according to more than one of our sources who used to work for Morris, the corporate ownership has a tendency to pressure the local papers to take certain stands on certain issues.
So, you can see how the chasm between the ABH's readership and their owners can sometimes create certain problems. A really good example of that can be found on page A10 of today's ABH, in which the editorial board safely wades into the mushy middle on the Voter ID law.
Do we think that the ABH is writing nice things about the Voter ID law because the boss told them to? Unclear. Do we think that the ABH should oppose the law? Absolutely. But remember, this isn't the first time that the ABH has been mushy on what we see as clear Constitutional issues.
To recap, the law was passed, numerous groups, including the NAACP, ACLU, the League of Women Voters, and the AARP got all het up about it, took it to court. Said court granted an injunction prevented enforcement of the law, and said injunction was recently upheld on appeal.
If you want to read the myriad reasons why we oppose the Voter ID law as it currently exists, take a look at this. Check out the legal side of things here. If you've already read this stuff, then we'll sum up. If the giant brains in the GOP can't come up with a bill that doesn't violate your Constitutional rights, then they need to table the issue until they can.
Back to the ABH. The editorial inadvertently makes some good points, as far as revealing the Georgia GOP's real agenda. Y'see, the GOP congressional delegation wants to repeal Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which happens to be the part that requires federal approval of any redistricting changes, to make sure that said changes don't carve out districts that reduce minority voting strength.
If you thought the 2000 Democratic map was bad (and it was), wait until you see what the GOP is going to do to your Congressional districts if Westmoreland and his gang of Constitutional thugs get their way.
So, no, we don't know whether the editorial board took this stand because of pressure from above, or their actual convictions. But consider this. Attacking those folks who want to repeal part of the Voting Rights Act is a pretty safe issue. The Voter ID law is much more dangerous ground.