Friday, May 23, 2014

Conyers & Obama, voting petition double standard

During his run for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, Barack Obama 'effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition,' CNN reported in 2008.
As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.

The move denied each of them... a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.

"That was Chicago politics," said John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist. "Knock out your opposition, challenge their petitions, destroy your enemy, right? It is how Barack Obama destroyed his enemies back in 1996 that conflicts with his message today in 2008]. He may have gotten his start registering thousands of voters. But in that first race, he made sure voters had just one choice."...

"He came from Chicago politics," Jay Stewart of the Chicago's Better Government Association said. "Politics ain't beanbag, as they say in Chicago. You play with your elbows up, and you're pretty tough and ruthless when you have to be. Sen. Obama felt that's what was necessary at the time, that's what he did. Does it fit in with the rhetoric now? Perhaps not."...

But Obama told the Chicago Tribune in 2007: "To my mind, we were just abiding by the rules that had been set up. My conclusion was that if you couldn't run a successful petition drive, then that raised questions in terms of how effective a representative you were going to be."...

One... opponent who Obama eliminated by challenging his petitions, Gha-is Askia..., back at the time he was running for state Senate..., said he was dismayed Obama would use such tactics.

"It wasn't honorable," he said. "I wouldn't have done it."

He said the Obama team challenged every single one of his petitions on "technicalities."

If names were printed instead of signed in cursive writing, they were declared invalid. If signatures were good but the person gathering the signatures wasn't properly registered, those petitions also were thrown out...

Kass, the Chicago Tribune columnist, said [in 2008] the national media... have bought into a narrative that Obama is strictly a reformer. The truth, Kass says, is that he is a bare-knuckled politician...That's the politics he plays."
However, in the 2014 US Senate race in Michigan, the veteran Democrat operative from Michigan, Rep. John Conyers, is not running against Barack Obama, the Messiah; hence the blatant double standard; hence the rules permitting the use of bare-knuckled politics do not apply:

Reuters reported on Friday that, despite the fact that 'John Conyers had less than half the required signatures of valid registered voters on the petitions he turned in to qualify for the Aug. 5 primary ballot', a US Distrtict Judge ruled that, 'the requirement that petition circulators be registered voters — the issue that got Conyers booted off the ballot in the first place — put serious limitations on the free speech rights of the circulators, the people who signed the petitions and Conyers.'

“The public interest favors the enjoining of the likely unconstitutional Registration Statute,” for circulators, the Judge said....

Hence, while the requirement that petition circulators be registered voters invalidated the voting petitions of Obama's opponents in 1996, and cleared the way for the Messiah to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in Illinois, the same requirement mustn't invalidate the voting petitions of John Conyer's, because Conyers, the veteran Democrat operative, is not running against the Messiah.

Conyers said in a prepared statement Friday that the Judge's "decision affirms that all should have equal entry and access to the political process.”

Sadly, the aforementioned principle does not apply when Obama is running for office.