Partisanship, Arrogance and Planned Chaos at the Polls
Wisconsin’s Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to remake himself into the very image of Florida’s infamous Katherine Harris. His filing of a frivolous lawsuit against the state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) is little more than a politically calculated move to serve his party masters and apparently to suppress votes in November.
When the GOP didn’t get their way from the nonpartisan GAB, they turned to their highest ranking official in the state to make mischief with our most basic right as citizens. In preparation for the storm of criticism that he knew he was going to take for such a blatantly partisan action, Van Hollen taped an interview about the matter with Wisconsin Eye Wednesday. The interview raises only more questions about his actions and the potential impact on voters in November. In the interview Van Hollen, in a tellingly preemptive move, says that he wouldn’t be surprised if people accused him of filing this lawsuit because of his party affiliation. The AG ‘doth protest too much methinks’ to borrow a famous phrase.
Obviously people are going to think that partisanship is at work because that is exactly where everything points. Van Hollen is a co-chair of the McCain presidential campaign, which stands to gain from the suppression of the voters that would be most likely impacted. Van Hollen is the highest ranking Republican in the state and his actions and argument follow exactly what his party said prior to their rejection at the nonpartisan GAB. So, yes, obviously anyone that is paying attention is going to question Van Hollen’s real motives. Even the state’s largest newspaper, which is often too milquetoast when it comes to the darlings of the right wing, flatly says that Van Hollen’s action ‘smells of political mischief.’
When asked in the interview about criticism of his lawsuit by the League of Women Voters and others, Van Hollen simply dismisses them saying that they ‘just don’t understand’ the issue. How elitist of him! Is he really serious that an organization dedicated to educating voters and the issue of voting itself doesn’t understand what is going on and the implications of his actions? Van Hollen goes further to state that even the GAB doesn’t understand the issues at work here. Is he really so arrogant to suggest that he and his political party understand the law more than a nonpartisan board totally made up of retired judges? Are we really supposed to ignore his political motivations and just trust his opinion while ignoring such a distinguished panel of nonpartisan legal minds? Wow.
In his sit down with Wisconsin Eye Van Hollen was asked when voters get flagged will they be notified of their status before actually going to the polls. The initial word that Van Hollen uses to respond is as telling as it is disturbing. ‘Hopefully’¦’ Van Hollen says when starting his answer. He then tries to pawn off all of those inevitable problems onto the GAB. So Van Hollen files a lawsuit that if enforced could create mass confusion and somehow that is not his problem or even a concern? Such a response lends itself to the idea that chaos at the polls is not only an afterthought but precisely the goal in the first place.