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Nov 20 2012

The Maine GOP Chairman is an Idiot

Charlie Webster, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party, has a problem. He has a bad habit, you see, of throwing out entirely ridiculous accusations of voter fraud and getting himself into trouble. After last week’s election he pledged to investigate reports that “dozens and dozens” of black people voted illegally in that state:

“In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

He didn’t bother to name any of those towns, or to explain how or why they would have been able to vote without being on the voter rolls. Contrary to popular belief, you do have to show ID when you vote (the controversy is over whether you should have to show photo ID, but you still have to show any of a number of valid forms of identification and your signatures still have to match the one on file). So now he’s backing down:

“It was my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities,” Webster said in a written statement. “However, my comments were made without proof of wrongdoing and they had the unintended consequence of casting aspersions on an entire group of Americans. For that, I am truly sorry.”

But he isn’t a racist, of course. Because he has black friends:

Webster said Thursday that he regrets singling out black voters because people have labeled him a racist.

“I have a couple friends that I play basketball with who are black and I’m sure I’m going to get a few elbows the next time we play,” he joked.

I bet he even lets them use his bathroom.

This isn’t the first time he’s pulled a stunt like this. Last year he claimed to have a list of a couple hundred college students who had voted illegally there, but an investigation found that every one of them was a legal voter. Seriously, what do you have to do to get fired in that job?

20 comments

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  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    “GOP Chairman is an Idiot” And water is wet, fire is hot and the universe is big.

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Oh, FFS. Yeah buddy, you talked to absolutely everyone in these districts, and none of them know any Black residents. (Even if true, that still doesn’t mean anything. I’m pretty fucking low-profile myself, this doesn’t mean I don’t live where I live. Also, you may simply be ignored while Black, etc.)

    But yeah, if one wanted to commit voter fraud, I’m sure one would send dozens of people who “don’t fit in” with the locals. People who, you know, arouse suspicion just by existing.

  3. 3
    dingojack

    The Maine GOP Chairman is an Idiot
    And in other breaking news: Fire is hot! So watch out people! Film at 11.
    @@

    Dingo
    —–
    PS: perhaps a bipartisan probe into voter registration and voter fraud is needed. I’m sure all those uber-patriots in the Party o’ God will agree to that, right?

  4. 4
    AsqJames

    he regrets singling out black voters because people have labeled him a racist.

    He doesn’t regret it because he thinks it was wrong mind, or because it stoked racism in others. It’s just that he got called racist.

    But yeah, if one wanted to commit voter fraud, I’m sure one would send dozens of people who “don’t fit in” with the locals. People who, you know, arouse suspicion just by existing.

    Well those evil, atheist, muslimist, libruls are hardly going to be able to find any good, honest white people True Americans(tm) to commit voter fraud are they?

  5. 5
    Michael Heath

    Ed asks (rhetorically):

    Seriously, what do you have to do to get fired in that job?

    Hell, it sounds like he’s due for a promotion in the Liars for JesusⓇ wing of the Republican party. A lá Michele Bachmann, Steve King, and Joe Wilson, he should be able to start fundraising at a national level. Perhaps as a duo with Allen West; I hear he’s looking for a new job.

  6. 6
    dingojack

    Ed asks (rhetorically):

    Seriously, what do you have to do to get fired in that job?

    Brain stem hypoxia causing myocardial infarction or myocardial infarction causing brain stem hypoxia.

    Dingo

  7. 7
    Larry

    If someone wanted to commit voter fraud in Maine, they’d be wearing an LL Bean plaid coat and a Elmer Fudd hunting cap with the ear flaps down and they’d be saying “a-yup” after each sentence.

    I bet deputy-dawg Webster wouldn’t pay them a second glance.

  8. 8
    Raging Bee

    He’s not a racist because he’s using tactful code-words. Which is what you have to do if you want to be realistic about race in post-racial America. So shut up, you racist liberals.

  9. 9
    Crommunist

    He’s actually stepping down when his term expires at the end of the month. It was easier than firing him and having to find a replacement for 2 weeks, I guess.

    This fits quite nicely within a larger theme from the campaign (and indeed the Republican party and the conservative movement altogether) though: the complete erasure of black bodies from the body politic, and the assumption of their illegitimacy.

    I write more about this here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/11/15/the-black-vote-is-the-maine-problem/

  10. 10
    Chiroptera

    “It was my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities…”

    “…but adding the race card was a stroke of genius, even if I do say so myself.”

  11. 11
    scienceavenger

    “Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody [white] in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black.”

    FTFY

  12. 12
    Raging Bee

    Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black.

    Translation: “We ignored those people so long, we forgot they exist. And now when they pop up out of nowhere, their sudden and unexpected appearance is grounds for suspicion.”

  13. 13
    DaveL

    It was my intention to talk not about race, but about perceived voting irregularities,

    …which were perceived to be irregularities specifically because of flawed preconceptions about race.

  14. 14
    timpayne

    Webster’s black basketball buddy remarks reminds me of my Republican sister in law’s evidence that she isn’t a bigot – she’d even vote for Allen West, Clarence Thomas, or Herman Cain before she’d vote for a white liberal.

    The good news in Maine is that whatever weird tide washed in a load of Republicans in 2010 is now receding. Dems regained control of the state legislature, and all indications are that the tea party governor will be crushed in 2014. What’s hard to figure is how all these crackpots ever got elected in a relatively sane state.

  15. 15
    John Hinkle

    How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.

    Psychologist: Hmm, yes, I see. And how often do you have these conversations with yourself, Mr. Webster?

    Webster: Always. No wait, never! I don’t know! Ahhhhhh!!!!!

    *cast into the abyss*

  16. 16
    Nemo

    Contrary to popular belief, you do have to show ID when you vote (the controversy is over whether you should have to show photo ID, but you still have to show any of a number of valid forms of identification and your signatures still have to match the one on file).

    Are you talking specifically about Maine here, or what? Because I’ve never shown any kind of ID when I went to vote. I do sign a card, but I don’t think they’re verifying that signature, either. They ask me for my address, which they check — usually by looking at a piece of paper lying flat on the table in front of me, upside-down from my perspective but easily readable — give me the card to sign, and that’s it.

    This year I voted early, and the polling place even had a sign saying that ID was not required. They did keep me from reading the address, though.

  17. 17
    Noadi

    He didn’t bother to name any of those towns, or to explain how or why they would have been able to vote without being on the voter rolls. Contrary to popular belief, you do have to show ID when you vote (the controversy is over whether you should have to show photo ID, but you still have to show any of a number of valid forms of identification and your signatures still have to match the one on file).

    Ummm… actually there’s no viter id law in Maine, they request an ID when you register but you don’t actually have to provide one (so long as you know your SS#). If you don’t have an ID you can swear an affirmation that you are who you say you are and live at the address you provided. This is how I registered when I was 18 since I didn’t have a drivers license or state ID yet and living with my parents I had no bills in my name or other proof of address.

    Also there’s same day registration so you don’t have to be on the rolls, you can be added on voting day. One thing Maine gets very right is voting rights, it’s extremely easy to register to vote, absentee ballots with no questions asked and early voting is available, and there are no restrictions on voting for felons (or inmates for that matter). Our idiot GOP governor tried to eliminate voting day registration and it was shot down by referendum.

  18. 18
    slc1

    Re timpayne @ #14

    In addition, it should be noted that Maine also voted yea on the issue of same sex marriage, thus joining Maryland and Washington State which also voted yea.

  19. 19
    Nemo

    To clarify #16, my votes were in North Carolina and Maryland. North Carolina made me swear an oath to uphold the Constitution when I registered, but I don’t recall what, if anything, they wanted for ID then. (I know I didn’t need it to actually vote.) To register in Maryland, I mailed in a postcard.

  20. 20
    blf

    what do you have to do to get fired in that job?

    Say something rational, or backed by evidence, or which puts Magic Sky Faerie’s panties in a twist. All three at once in a single statement is probably a sure-fire resignation.

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