Monday, November 21, 2005

Burmeister and the Voter ID Bill

As frequent contributor Dawg Corleone pointed out, Sue Burmeister (R-Jim Crow) is now trying to back away from the statements attributed to her in the DOJ memo about her bill. Backing away from her remarks is probably a bit of an understatement. Running away like Paris Hilton at a MENSA convention is probably more appropriate.

Sez Burmeister, “An Atlanta Journal-Constitution article citing a Department of Justice memo has erroneously misrepresented comments made by me concerning voter turnout in my district. While I do believe that voter fraud is rampant in our state, I in no way believe that African Americans in my district or around the state only vote when they are paid to do so. If the AJC’s misrepresentation has offended anyone, I apologize. However, I do not believe that these statements are accurate and they are in no way a reflection of my beliefs on this issue. I am equally offended by the newspapers blatant misrepresentation of the facts."

Notice how Sue Burmeister deftly tries to shift the blame away from her and over to the evil, liberal AJC. However, the AJC was merely quoting the DOJ memo (page 6), which says, "Rep. Burmeister also said that if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. She said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls." (Emphasis added)

So, the AJC got it right, based on the memo. It seems pretty cut and dried; the AJC repeats what the DOJ memo says. So if anyone misconstrued Burmeister's racism...err, we mean remarks, then it's the DOJ, right?

Or is it? Let's think this one through, kids. Who has more motivation to rewrite history, the career attorneys at the DOJ, or Sue Burmeister after getting caught with her sheet down?

This is, plain and simple, a case of a politician who said something extremely inappropriate trying to play the victim, with the terrible "liberal media" as the culprit.

You'll notice that the usual GOP spokes-suspects aren't exactly jumping to Burmeister's defense, and we think that's because they know that she screwed the pooch from a political PR standpoint, and would prefer to avoid the fallout from this one. Lesson number one in the GOP Guide to Playing Racial Politics: No matter what you actually think about black people, don't actually be dumb enough to say it in public. We're betting that, as far as the Republican leadership is concerned, this particular turd sandwich is Burmeister's, and Burmeister's alone, to eat.

By the way, before our more conservative readers jump on us, we should make it clear that we know that Burmeister's comments are not reflective of all Republicans, or even most Republicans in Georgia. That's why we're hoping that, among others, Brian Kemp will stand up and decry Burmeister's statements to the DOJ.

Regardless of all that, we're betting that there's at least one race in 2006 that the black community in Burmeister's district will be turning out to vote in. And we're betting that they won't require compensation of any kind.

Slip us the tippies, yo.


Dawg Corleone said...

She did screw the pooch, and no sensible Republican is going to rush to her rescue.

The Georgia GOP isn't going to fall on its spear to save an unsalvageable Sue Burmeister.

Nor are they going to go the extra mile to save the voter ID bill. Smart Republicans would rather have the issue than have the bill, anyway.

Publius said...

Good lesson for pols of any party to be found here. Nothing is ever off the record.

Publius said...

By the way, am I the only one who thinks that the Georgia GOP could get some real traction by totally Trent Lotting Burmeister?

Dawg Corleone said...

That's the point I just made. This whole thing is a winner for the GOP: Give her the Trent treatment publicly, and realize that privately--without ever, EVER saying it--that a sizable chunk of the electorate is thinking to themselves "ya know, she's right."

Dems get to the play the Self Righteous Indignation Card (their second-favorite, right behind the Victim Card), but nobody outside the Left Wing Echo Chamber gives a flip.

If I didn't know any better, I'd think Karl Rove was behind the whole thing...

Publius said...

Except for one thing. Those pesky moderate suburban voters who are getting a little disenchanted with the Republican majority in Georgia. Right now they're thinking to themselves, "Hmmm, maybe the Republicans are kind of squishy on racism..."
Couple that with the mistakes the GOP has made as far as open government, plus Sonny and his school-cancelling things, plus the general state of the economy. (And I know that GA's economy is relatively good compared to other southern states. I also know that most voters don't give a damn if our economy is better than Alabama's; they just know they're not doing as well.)

Sounds to me as though the GOP has some hard work to do on suburban moderates to swing them back over. The GOP's close association with Bush isn't going to help either.

And, for the record, that might just be why Greg Hecht is going to win the Lt. Gov's race.

Dawg Corleone said...

Greg Who?, say Democrats.

That's why they're pushing hard to get Michael Thurmond in the race.

The school "closing" thing will make for some good one-liners during the campaign, but it's not going to be a big deal.

You might be right re suburban voters, but I doubt you'll be nearly right enough for it to matter next year. Obviously, a lot can change in 12 months.

But it will have to, with a do-nothing (or do very little) Governor who is going to sit on a 58% approval rating and play rope-a-dope.

This ain't Roy Barnes pissing off everybody. This is Sonny Perdue, not bothering anybody. And that's the way to win in this state.