Sarah Palin, in an effort to retain what little Real American Hockey Mom legitimacy she has left after her $150,000 makeover was revealed, has taken to wearing her own clothes on the campaign trail. Even as Todd gets to keep wearing his suits, she's stuck in jeans — though, with that crease, she either just bought them or irons them, so it's harder to be a Real American than even she thought. Racialicious' Latoya Peterson knows a little about how difficult it is to be considered a Real American, and, as part of the next week of pre-election rotating Crappy coverage, she talked with me about Republican strategists left strategy-less, divas, backstabbing, D.L. Hughley for VP, where to go if Real Americans really don't want us and voter disenfranchisement (for when they prove that they don't).MEGAN: For a campaign that attempted to accuse everyone and anyone of sexism in regards to Sarah Palin, there's some sort of irony in campaign staff now calling her a "diva", I think. Also, I love the back-stabbing of the end of a campaign because it just shows you who is in it for the candidate and who's only in it for what the candidate winning can do for his/her career. And, yes, I'm looking at all the lobbyists in the McCain campaign. LATOYA: I just feel like it's karma — you asked for a maverick, didn't you? Well now, she's just gone maverick on the trail. I watched McCain on Meet the Press on Sunday, he still says he's proud of her. MEGAN: Not that her remarks this weekend were "the remarks [they] sent to the plane [that] morning." LATOYA: I'm loving how some polls are calling Palin "a bigger drag on the campaign than Bush" — that's cold. Yet, there seems to be a strong push for Palin in 2012. (OMG, I am sleepy — I keep typing Plain when I mean Palin. Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?) MEGAN: Apparently because she can deliver the xenophobes and the racists. LATOYA: And the VPILF set. MEGAN: Then Stephanie Herseth for VP in 2012! LATOYA: Don't forget them. I was watching D.L. Hughley's comedy show on CNN on Saturday and Palin supporters were obviously playing bingo with the campaign buzzwords. "Maverick." "Real American." "Hot" MEGAN: Palin supporters are the most boring people ever, like, how do you not just make that a drinking game? LATOYA: See, I was thinking scrabble myself. I know I could hit a couple triple word scores with "RealAmerican", hit "maverick" with the M... I was amused at Hughley's sketch though — he kept telling the supporters that Palin needs a black guy to win, and handed out Palin/Hughley 2012 signs. MEGAN: The only board game I am really good at is Trivial Pursuit, and even that I haven't played in years. LATOYA: Response from the one guy — "We don't know you!" (Doesn't that sound familiar?)
Response from an angry woman: "Are you for abortion?" DL: "I would never have one."
MEGAN: Maybe they're just worried that all black people aren't really Americans. LATOYA: Neither are you latte-sipping coasters. MEGAN: Screw lattes, it's all about the café au laits for me. LATOYA: I think we need to start a campaign for fake America. American Faux. We need a tee shirt. MEGAN: What would be our symbol? Lattes, arugula and diversity? LATOYA: Oh, we should make a crest! "In cosmopolitia, we trust." MEGAN: Do we still have to use the eagle? Could we go with the turkey like Ben Franklin, the ultimate latte-sipper if there ever was one? And then like in those old grade school drawings where you make it from an outline of your hang, we could put a different symbol for our cause on every feather! LATOYA: See, this is shaping up nicely. I vote for Ben Franklin, Crispus Attucks, and Phyllis Wheatley as our symbols of American Faux. Though I think the first tee we make should be telling K. Rove to sit his ass down somewhere and stop being Captain Obvious. I thought he was a strategist. Who changed the job description? MEGAN: A strategist is something even other Republicans think McCain lacks. Rove's a pundit now and so like Bill Kristol he has to walk that fine line between a level of intellectual honesty that can leave his job intact and party loyalty, so that's about all he can say. At least David Frum had some helpful suggestions, even if they were basically to let McCain continue to run his campaign into the ground on his own and start fighting to keep some Republicans in office. LATOYA: Yeah, well it looks like they switched strategies — maybe they are hoping that they can just stop people from voting outright. Or that the election boards will do their work for them:
Berry is one of more than 50,000 registered Georgia voters who have been "flagged" because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned and the burden is on them to prove eligibility to vote. Experts say lists of people with mismatches are often systematically cut, or "purged," from voter rolls. It's a scenario that's being repeated all across the country, with cases like Berry's raising fears of potential vote suppression in crucial swing states. "What most people don't know is that every year, elections officials strike millions of names from the voter rolls using processes that are secret, prone to error and vulnerable to manipulation," said Wendy Weiser, an elections expert with New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. "That means that lots and lots of eligible voters could get knocked off the voter rolls without any notice and, in many cases, without any opportunity to correct it before Election Day." Weiser acknowledged that "purging done well and with proper accountability" is necessary to remove people who have died or moved out of state. "But the problem is it's not necessary to do inaccurate purges that catch up thousands of eligible voters without any notice or any opportunity to fix it before Election Day and really without any public scrutiny at all," she said. Such allegations have flared up across the United States during this election cycle, most notably in Ohio, where a recent lawsuit has already gone to the U.S. Supreme Court.
MEGAN: I love how even Scalia was like, oh, Christ, fuck off, Ohio Republicans. LATOYA: I feel like I need to call the election board and make sure I'm on the guest list. I didn't know voting was like clubbing — "I swear I'm on the list! I registered on Thursday! Can I please get my free drink ticket?" MEGAN: Well, even if they purged you, they have to let you cast a provisional ballot. LATOYA: Yeah, like someone is going to count those. And those ballots are shady anyway. MEGAN: Well, I mean, that is the issue. I think, though, if they have purged so many people that the provisionals could make a difference, Obama's lawyers will probably have your back. I saw Recall. God, I love that movie. LATOYA: One would hope. In good news, it seems that a lot of former felons have been re-enfranchised.
According to advocacy groups, about 5.3 million Americans, or 1 in 41 adults, have lost their right to vote because of a felony conviction. "The issue here is really if someone should have a permanent scarlet letter on them — if there are certain offenses for which there is no redemption," said Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen, who played a lead role in revising Tennessee's voting law in 2006. The suffrage laws vary by state and often by felony, with violent crimes incurring greater restrictions. Only two states — Maine and Vermont — permit voting by all felons, including those still in prison. California, along with states such as New York and Colorado, automatically reinstates voting rights to felons once they are released from prison and are off parole.
MEGAN: I think that if you've served your time, you've served your time, you shouldn't have to re-apply for citizenship. But people on probation and parole aren't done repaying their debt to society. LATOYA: But unfortunately, we're still hating on Native Americans. And, um, Ohio voters. MEGAN: I mean, there are reliable voting blocs that go Democratic, right? Why does the GOP not try to systematically disenfranchise groups of white people? Why is it always people of color? Why do they hate your freedom? LATOYA: Because, obviously, I'm not a real American. Therefore, it is obvious that I should only have fake rights and fake freedoms.