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Artificial Sweetener: Playing Bingo with Rachel Maddow's Fighting Retreat For ACORN

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Posted on September 29 2009 1:00 pm

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Someone really should make a game of Rachel Maddow Bingo. Take her top fifty most over-used, clichéd words or phrases, choose twenty-four (the middle space, unlike government health care, really is free), and make a Bingo board. First to get five in a row wins. Bonus points if you make a bingo off of one segment of her show.

Take, for example, tonight’s opening for her first segment. The video is below.

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Let’s see. “Corporate interests.” “Targeted” by Republicans. Smear campaign against ACORN. Republicans driven by fear. And oh, Republicans driven by fear of a “less white electorate.” Maddow Bingo!

It’s obvious to anyone watching her show that Rachel Maddow, despite her disdain for factual argument, love of ad hominem, and sneering condescension for anyone who disagrees with her, has actually had to back off a bit in her defense of ACORN. Now, in the midst of her full-throated brow-beating of anyone courageous enough to take on this well-connected radical leftist organization, she frequently stops to admit that ACORN is “an imperfect organization” and has done “indefensible things.” It’s not much of an admission, and one wonders how much she really means it, but it’s a big step back for Maddow.

Still, even as she is slowly forced to acknowledge the reality that ACORN is corrupt from top to bottom, she is still in full fighting-retreat mode, stopping at every opportunity to take potshot at her opponents and to lead diversionary charges to keep the viewing public occupied with anything except the truth about ACORN. Her latest diversion is former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, who is of course peddling a new book about his claims to being fired for political reasons. Both he and Maddow took turns making the Maddow Bingo players happy, using all the tired clichés, from “ACORN does good work” on down to “Republicans are racists.”

Maddow, by way of introduction, said

“Over the last few election cycles, fear of a younger, less wealthy, and, frankly, less white electorate led Republicans, especially in swing states, to go after ACORN aggressively, and, in fact, to try to gin up charges against them, to try to make their voter registration efforts in general seem suspect.”

See? Going after ACORN is really about Republicans being racists. And as to charges against ACORN being “ginned up” – with all of the thoroughly documented convictions against ACORN, Republicans wouldn’t have to work very hard to make ACORN’s voter registration efforts seem suspect.

Maddow introduced Iglesias by reading a quote from his book:

Mr. Iglesias says in his book “In Justice,” he received an e-mail from the Department of Justice in Washington, quote, “suggesting, in no uncertain terms” that U.S. attorneys “offer whatever assistance we could in investigating and prosecuting voter fraud cases.”

That’s it? That’s all the email said? So, do either Maddow or Iglesias have something against investigating voter fraud? Is it wrong to suggest that it be taken seriously? It is amazing that the same people who scream “Diebold!” at the top of their lungs and claim that the company stole election for Bush (despite any actual charges or convictions) are spectacularly unconcerned with an organization with a proven track record of election fraud.

Maddow also sees something sinister in the timing:

“Mr. Iglesias says he received similar e-mails from the Department of Justice in 2004 and again in 2006.  Hmm.  What happens on even years in American politics? Oh, right. Elections.”

Hmm. What else takes place around elections? Oh. Right. Voter registration drives. And what takes place during voter registration drives? ACORN fraud! If we were proseuctors, I think we’d have an airtight case asainst Ms. Maddow for “not thinking logically about a situation.”

Maddow read another excerpt from Iglesias’ book, which strangely did not exactly jibe with what Iglesias himself was saying at the time of his firing.

The book:

“After an exhaustive examination of the facts, I felt that I had dispelled the phantoms of voter fraud in New Mexico. “

From an article Iglesias wrote for the New York Times shortly after his firing.

“As much as I wanted to prosecute the case, I could not overcome evidentiary problems. The Justice Department and the F.B.I. did not disagree with my decision in the end not to prosecute.”

Seems that voter fraud was far from a “phantom”–Iglesias just wouldn’t prosecute because he didn’t think he could make a strong enough case, despite many other agencies thinking the opposite. Now that he needs to sell books though, the entire thing must be made into a “phantom” and disappeared down the memory hole.

Iglesias pooh-poohs the idea that voter fraud is a serious threat, quoting the supposedly low number of convictions. But his recolletion stops at 2008, and considering a voter fraud conviction was obtained just a short while ago right in his back yard in New Mexico, maybe Iglesias didn’t have as good a grasp on the situation as he seemed to think.

But no guest appearance on the Rachel Maddow show would be complete without agreeing with the host that Republicans are racists, so we get this exchange, which we strongly object to not only as a typical smear job, but also as leading the witness. We think Iglesias would approve of our objection, fount of prosecutorial integrity that he is.

MADDOW: Would you describe the political pressure about ACORN as both an effort to make voter fraud seem like a bigger deal than it is but also to try to destroy the credibility of that organization? Because it had been effective at registering voters.

IGLESIAS: Well, in a state like New Mexico, what you have to remember, Rachel, is a minority/majority state. It has been for a number of years. A lot of the folks—these low-income folks were people of color, and they tended to vote for Democrats. And the Republican Party at large and also, especially, locally there in New Mexico wanted to disable as much of that as possible. So, they were looking at numbers, didn‘t like the demographic tidal wave that was coming their way. So, they wanted to engage the machinery of the Justice Department to stop that wave.

Get it (again!)? Republicans don’t care about voter fraud. They’re just evil racists!

And once again, we conclude a segment about ACORN that’s managed to talk about everything except what ACORN has actually done wrong. We can scarcely contain our excitement at what diversionary tactic Maddow will use in her next attempt at a fighting withdrawal from the ACORN story.

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