Saturday, December 15, 2007

Racist or Bumbler?

You may have heard about Department of Justice voting rights honcho John Tanner's ill-advised remarks back on October 4 and 5, during meetings with the NAACP and the National Latino Congreso:
At the time, there was a bit of outrage about what Tanner said. From Barack Obama:
Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive, and dangerous, and they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country.
Mr. Tanner has already demonstrated questionable judgment in overruling the decision of Justice Department lawyers that the Georgia photo ID requirement would disproportionately discriminate against African Americans. For Mr. Tanner to now suggest, in an effort to defend his erroneous decision, that photo identification are not necessary for minority voters because "they die first" shows just how far the Justice Department has fallen. This is a disgrace and yet another reason why the next Attorney General must demonstrate a strong commitment to civil rights.
Tanner did apologize later:
"My explanation of the data came across in a hurtful way, which I deeply regret."
And then requested a move. Now he has been assigned to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, where he will probably find some way to chew his toenails. Stay tuned.

It seems to me Tanner just as guilty of Not Making Sense as of racism, in that he seems to first argue that requiring IDs for voting cannot disenfranchise minorities because minorities are more likely to be harassed by the police and asked for IDs and therefore are more likely to have IDs already, but then he says that it really doesn't matter if elderly minority folk have IDs because they're too dead to vote, anyway.

No comments: