An Open Letter to Joe Scarborough

 

I watched the roundtable discussion on your show regarding the Voting Rights Act. I’ll first give you credit for recognizing that efforts to disenfranchise voters are not limited to the states that were required to undergo preclearance due to their past. Pennsylvania and Ohio were just as capable of coming up with laws that ultimately impact minorities more than white voters and also other voting groups like students who are more likely to vote Democratic. I’ll give you a pass on not wanting the states you grew up in to forever be tainted by their racist past although in my opinion they are still less enlightened than you would like to believe.

Where we differ is your refusal to acknowledge that Republican efforts to pass new laws are politically motivated in an attempt to restrict minority voting, giving Republicans a better chance to win elections. This not by convincing voters of the value of your policies but by disenfranchising those who would vote against you.

You talked about the reasonableness of showing a voter ID while ignoring all the restrictions associated with them. You didn’t mention in many states that a gun registration would be acceptable whereas a state issued student ID might not. You say it isn’t a poll tax however if in some cases an out of state original birth certificate is required or extensive travel or time is involved to get these ID’s. It is exactly that for those who don’t already have those ID’s that happen to be overwhelmingly minority.

You ignored all the other aspects of the laws being passed. Limiting early and weekend voting, restricting the ability to register voters, allocation of polling places designed to create long lines and discourage voting. You insist to be against making the Voting Rights Act impotent is to insist that Southern Republicans are bigots and racist while no one was making that claim. Let’s just call those Republicans pragmatic in that they recognize it will become their only way to win elections. If not now then soon as their percentage of the population continues to shrink.

Where your logic was the most faulty, was your insistence that the majority of middle America and average voters will agree with the practicality of presenting a photo ID (presuming they ignore all the other related laws being passed). I promise you that close to 100% of the minorities being affected that care enough to vote,recognize both the intent of these laws and their effect. Even if not racist in intent it is definitely racist in their result. Your party may convince themselves how innocuous these laws are, unfortunately, you aren’t likely to convince those who you (your Party, not you personally) are allegedly trying to attract.

BTW, it was not just “one lunatic” in Pennsylvania admitting the true intent to give Mitt Romney the election. Dozens of Republicans across the country have said as much in many ways. Texas is currently implementing redistricting that a Federal court has already found unconstitutional because they now can. Just saying!

A Second Open Letter to Joe Scarborough

 

I just watched a segment of your show about the new voter laws being passed by Republican states and it was the biggest display of either insincerity or ignorance that I’ve seen on your show (or anywhere outside of Fox News). Let me start by saying that the visual of those engaged in the discussion differed little than that of Darrell Issa holding a subcommittee hearing that discussed women’s issues with no women present which your show heartily condemned.

I would credit you for asking the question is there anything more to these laws than asking for a simple photo ID but you lost anything you might have gained by not having anyone that could/would answer the question. You basically summed it up by saying that what’s being asked is reasonable and made yourself an apologist the Republicans seeking to inhibit minority and youth voting.

Since your panel was unable to come up with anything except some mumbling reference to the unequal (I started to say discriminatory but nothing that strong was uttered) impact on minorities I thought that I, simply an average citizen would assist you.

In Texas, one of the lawsuits by the Justice Department was to prevent a redistricting plan already found discriminatory in Federal Court. The day the teeth for enforcing the VRA was struck down, the Texas Attorney General announced they were moving ahead with the redistricting and all the voter ID laws.

In North Carolina, Republicans having taken control of all the local election boards, denied a Black student at Elizabeth City State University the right to run for local election by stating his on campus residency didn’t constitute a local residence. The criteria to run for office is the exact same as to vote in that part of North Carolina. The chairman of the county Republican Party has announced his plans to challenge the students at the predominantly Black college to stop them from voting. Students at a nearby predominantly White bible college in the same district are facing no challenges. The same chairman promised to take his show “on the road” to other state colleges and universities and if past is prologue, starting with the historically Black colleges and universities.

In all of the states in question, states are reducing early voting days, eliminating Sunday voting, reducing early voting hours, restricting voter registration, they’ve instituted mass purging of voter rolls for having names similar to felons (think Hernandez or Garcia). Of the acceptable forms of ID, a gun registration is often valid but a State issued college ID is not.

I really could go on and on which amplifies the shame that nobody on your show could do the same. To paraphrase a popular saying, “If you don’t know, you better ask somebody that does!”

A Third Open Letter to Joe Scarborough

A Third Open Letter to Joe Scarborough

 

I confess to regularly watching “Morning Joe” for the political discourse and as a barometer for what some Republicans are willing to accept as true (Fox News doesn’t work for this purpose) in the face of overwhelming facts. My previous two open letters were related to Joe’s support of the voter ID laws while being highly disingenuous as to their content and impact and failure to acknowledge the political motivation as opposed to fighting a minuscule level of alleged fraud. This letter has to do with his defense of Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, Republicans who came under fire but can count on their ally Joe Scarborough to be their apologist and offer a strong defense against the least of what has been alleged while ignoring the major issues.

Let’s start with former Governor Bob McDonnell who along with his wife was indicted on 14 counts of violating Federal laws. They not only accepted but requested hundreds of thousands of cash and gifts from a wealthy businessman who wanted support in launching his company. Having access to no more information than you and your producers Joe, I’ve seen the direct flow outlined in the indictment showing both the “quid” and the “pro quo” when calls were made to set up meetings with state officials within hours of receiving gifts. There’s a promotional picture of the ex-Governor doing his best Vanna White imitation holding a can of the product in question at a launch party he hosted at the Governor’s mansion. Yet you Joe are in denial.

You forcefully claim that the Governor broke no Virginia state laws and how the Fed’s had no business getting involved. The law used to indict the couple, the Hobbs Act, was old (1951) and therefore not relevant somehow. This is a portion of what the law states; “ Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires so to do, or commits or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”

Since you have decided that Federal law doesn’t apply somehow to Republican Governors that you support, I think we can find some Virginia state laws they violated although you have absolved them. They gave away state property to their children including liquor, pots and pans and food from the Governor’s mansion. State law would consider that theft. They obstructed justice by telling lies to prosecutors along with the people of the state in their claims that first they and then their daughter paid for a reception and dinner again held at the mansion. I’ll give you credit for being consistent in your defense of McDonnell as you have backed him for months as this scandal unfolded. No doubt if convicted, you’ll clamor for a fine and no jail time as he did nothing really wrong.

With Chris Christie your apologist theme is that he hasn’t done anything that politicians haven’t always done. In your view he merely used the levers of power to get others to bend to one’s will. There are two separate issues currently with Christie; the shutting down of access lanes to the GWB in apparently some sort of political retribution and the alleged extortion attempt involving state controlled Hurricane Sandy relief funds to Hoboken.

Regarding the bridge your first deflection was to try to focus instead on Benghazi and the IRS indicating somehow that it was not worthy of further inspection in light of those other alleged scandals. You tried to suggest that the issue was over after the second round of dismissals of Christie staffers without acknowledging the several other members of Christie’s staff already named in E-mails in having a role and having no explanation how the Governor was somehow unaware of what was in the newspaper and television daily and the subject of multiple calls and e-mails to his office. His version of the story and his seeming lack of interest despite his acknowledged micromanaging style seems perfectly acceptable to you.

Regarding the withholding of Sandy funds until the Mayor of Hoboken approved funding of a development project for the Rockefeller Group (to the exclusion of all other developers), you’re response was to lambast the Mayor who came forward. She didn’t do what you say you’d have done which was to threaten the Governor who had the power to in this case allow your town to remain crushed in the aftermath of the hurricane. Mayor Zimmer has spoken with the Federal prosecutor for the area and made statements which if untrue could land her in jail. You side with the broad denials of the accused as they shield themselves with defense lawyers and stonewall.

A real newsperson would follow the story. What efforts have been made by the state to push this development down the throat of Hoboken, while shutting out other developers of similar projects on nearby seemingly equivalent land? What do the E-mails between the Port Authority Chairman Samson, the Governor’s office, the Lt. Governor and others say? You imply she’s a liar but make no effort to ferret out the truth.

Joe, you are a defender of the rich and powerful and have lost touch with the people. While you see these instances as either not important or business as usual. It’s clear that your alliance is with the 1% who may no longer be funding your elections but now are your advertisers. You tell the parts of the story that meet your objective and drown out and cut off others with opposing views. The barometer you are is no longer that of the moderate Republican but that of the complete apologist for the rich, wealthy and powerful. Shame on you!