June 08, 2007

Stereotyping led to Attorneygate

Justice Department firing squad targets Indian countryUnfortunately, the upward trend of the "Native vote" has made it a prime target. This is evidenced by the reaction to the 2002 senate race in South Dakota. Charges of fraud circulated: "The Indians, they got the phony Indian votes out there," declared political commentator Robert Novak on CNN's "Crossfire." The conservative Wall Street Journal said the race was decided in a "highly suspicious, if not crooked fashion." All in bad taste, like most references to American Indians by the conservative media spin cycle.

Seizing an opportunity, the Bush White House instructed U.S. Attorneys to investigate and prosecute "voter fraud" cases. Not vote fraud, which would be more appropriate given the widespread, dead-on-target criticism of the 2004 presidential election debacle. Voter fraud refers to the belief by Republican politicians that minorities register to vote under fake names and addresses to throw elections in favor of Democratic candidates. Essentially, voter fraud means voting while black, Indian, poor, imprisoned or gay. Voting - and having their votes count - has become increasingly difficult for these groups.

This is the backdrop for the firing of seven U.S. Attorneys by the Justice Department in closely contested ("battleground") states: Arizona, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Washington, Michigan, California and Nevada.
Comment:  You can read about the origins of the controversy here:

Novak:  Indians stole the SD election by stuffing ballot boxes

P.S. This illustration is unrelated to Novak's comments except that it shows skulking Indians. Novak was primed to believe Indians are corrupt cheaters because of centuries of media images showing them as sneaky savages.

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