When I was in high school a couple of that year’s seniors — friends of mine from band — posed as fake people to get their pictures into the junior class section. One, looking like a BMOC, called himself “Duke Love.” The other, unshaven and in a plaid shirt and skinny bow tie, called himself David Gessetti. I still look at their pictures in the yearbook decades later and get a laugh out of them.
But the next year, when Duke Love and David Gessetti attended graduation and got their diplomas, the very fabric of education fell apart.
Well not really. None of that graduation stuff actually happened, it was just a practical joke for the yearbook. In retrospect, the 74 fake fire alarms that the class of 1974 set off that year was a much bigger problem, especially if one happened during swim class in February. But I digress.
So it’s with mixed measures of amusement, annoyance, disgust and pity that I read the latest alarming stories from the GOP on Acorn and “voter fraud.” Mr. McCain even brought it up in one of the debates, actually referring to the threat to the fabric of democracy.
“…now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”
You see what is happening is that this group Acorn is going around registering voters. And since they’re paying the people going around doing the registering, some of them are faking their results to get paid more.
The fakery consists of making up names and adding them to the sheets, which are then passed along to Acorn HQ and then to the county boards of election. The fake names include Mickey Mouse and the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.
I ran this by C. this morning, 17 years old and looking forward to be eligible to vote in the 2010 midterms. What’s wrong with this picture?: Someone shows up to vote on election day and says that their name is Mickey Mouse. She, of course, burst out laughing — unlike McCain campaign spokespeople who are convinced that this kind of fraud is actually going to happen.
A McCain campaign spokesman, Tucker Bounds, said the fraud was real. “When the F.B.I. is raiding Acorn offices and Mickey Mouse becomes a registered voter, it’s not an accusation — it’s a certifiable problem.”
But is it? Even if someone does show up with huge ears, size 32 shoes, enormous white gloves and short coveralls with 6-inch diameter buttons, I don’t think they’ll be allowed to vote as Mickey Mouse.
But even in the case of the Cowboys lineup, for vote fraud to happen someone would have to be on the back end of that fake entry in the ledger, planning on showing up. But really it’s just an ethically challenged minion putting down the first name he could think of to fill the sheet.
Just like David Gessetti never showed up at graduation — preserving the integrity of American education for another three years — Mickey isn’t going to be showing up at the polls in southern California to steal the election for Obama.
The other week, NPR aired a segment in which it interviewed high school kids. One of them identified himself as Mike Rotch (say it aloud) and in the process did irreversible harm to the purity of broadcast journalism. They had to do a retraction the following week, and would you believe they actually laughed about it?
The Times article linked above goes on the analyze the real tactical thinking behind the drumbeat, that they are instead laying to groundwork for challenging the election results, and by extension the Obama presidency itself. C. immediately grasped the foolishness of believing that Mickey was going to show up to vote, and I’m pretty confident that Tucker Bounds and John McCain do as well.
One might be tempted to think they are just bullshitting us. But I’ve read the book on bullshit, and this isn’t it. I think they’re lying.