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Voter suppression through the looking glass

In recent years, Republican officials, most notably at the state level, have created several new barriers to prevent Americans from participating in elections. The voter-suppression tactics have included everything from voter-ID laws to restrictions of voter-registration drives to closing early-voting windows.

The tactics deliberately affect voting constituencies that traditionally vote Democratic: African Americans, Latinos, low-income seniors, and young people. But Herman Cain and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell have a new video arguing that reality is upside down: supporters of voter-suppression tactics, they argue, are actually on the side of civil rights.

I can assure you this video is not a parody; it's not intended as satire; Cain and Blackwell are not trying to look ridiculous on purpose; and if you found yourself laughing at the clip, the humor was unintentional.

Ed Kilgore was as floored by the video as I was.

If for some reason you can't access this video, it's an ad from famous African-American right-wingers Ken Blackwell and Herman Cain attacking Eric Holder for failing to protect the right to vote by refusing to pursue the hallucinatory New Black Panther Party voter intimidation "threat" and by persecuting poor Rick Scott, who's just trying to protect the "integrity" of the ballot box. This rolls out after images from the civil rights movement and a pious statement from the duo about the hard-fought right to vote.

Yes, there are two sides to the larger fight. On the one hand, we have the nation's first African American Attorney General, who's fought back against Republican voter-suppression tactics. On the other, we have white GOP officials who are trying to rig the elections by making it harder for African Americans to register and vote.

As far as Herman Cain and Ken Blackwell are concerned, if you care about civil rights, you'll side with the latter, and throw the former out of office.

Indeed, Cain and Blackwell even see themselves as an extension of the purple-fingered Iraqi voters who Republicans exploited as a partisan cudgel seven years ago.

I'm tempted to say Cain and Blackwell should be ashamed of themselves for engaging in this pathetic stunt, defending the very people trying to stifle African American voting, and celebrating right-wing voter-suppression tactics as part of the civil rights struggle, but I suspect these two are well past the point of feeling any shame at all.