July 27, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Democrats "get out the vote"

In the "debate" among Democratic candidates for president on Monday evening, Governor Bill Richardson brought up the Democrats' old grievance about the alleged "suppression" of minority voters (Florida 2000?), pledging to push for increased voter registration. Sure, why not!?

Meanwhile, in Washington state, seven paid employees and supervisors of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) were indicted for having "allegedly committed the biggest voter-registration fraud in state history." Of course, ACORN leaders say it was just an isolated group of over-enthusiastic workers, but these sorts of things have been going on for years. See Seattle Times. Now do you get it?

This case illustrates why, generally speaking, I am dubious of efforts to "get out the vote" by either party. It sounds reasonable enough, but even aside from the incentives to cheat, it encourages many people who don't really know much about public affairs to participate in choosing elected leaders. That is not necessarily a good thing.

Border Patrol agents to prison?

GOP-USA is leading an online petition drive to persuade President Bush to pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, the Border Patrol agents who were sentenced to prison because they shot an illegal alien who was smuggling a huge stash of marijuana into the United States. Bush has weak credentials on border security, but I'm betting he will see the light and give those law enforcement officers a break, which they richly deserve -- certainly more than Scooter Libby deserved having his sentence commuted.