Thursday, March 27, 2008

Annoy the New York Times: Vote Four Onto the FEC

Last fall the New York Times said it would be "Back-Scratching Across the Aisle" for Democrats to confirm the two Republican nominees for the Federal Election Commission at the same time the two Democratic nominees are confirmed. We would call such a vote an act of goodwill and bipartisanship, given that one party traditionally does not hold the other party's FEC nominee hostage in the confirmation process, as the Democrats have done with Republican Hans von Spakovsky.

Yesterday the backscratching was between the Democrats and the Times, which applauded the Democrats' continued obstructionism on the FEC confirmation vote. Indeed, the Times tries to flip the issue, claiming that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is to blame for not having caved to Democrats who want to stack the FEC with their own people.

The Times also resorts to name calling, saying von Spakovsky is "a notorious partisan who built a record at the Justice Department as an aggressive G.O.P. booster undermining voting rights for minorities and the poor." The proof? "He was a major proponent of a noxious Georgia law requiring voters to have photo ID’s."

Whether a voter should be required to prove his identity with a driver's license or equivalent is, at a minimum, an issue on which reasonable minds can disagree. It should not disqualify someone from serving on the FEC.

The Democrats should stop being obstinate and allow the Republicans to seat their two choices for the FEC along with the Democrats' two picks. As the Times recognizes, the FEC has important business to do, including enforcement of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. All four nominees should be confirmed so the FEC can get to work.

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