Charges of 'intimidation' dismissed by Republicans as 'baloney,' highlights hypocrisy of ginned-up Fox 'News'/GOP New Black Panther Party 'scandal'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2010, 2:10pm PT  

From suburban Illinois' Daily Herald...

Democratic operatives took pictures Tuesday of Lawrence Moretti near a polling place at 848 N. Mill Road in Addison wearing a black jacket and a blue cap with bright yellow letters emblazoned with the letters "ICE," the logo of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

"First of all, that polling place is located in a heavily Hispanic area," said DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Bob Peickert. "He had choices between hats that he could have put on his head and he chose one that could lead someone to conclude he was a law enforcement officer. What motivates him to stand out in front of that place if for no other reason than to intimidate?"

Local GOP officials in heavily Republican DuPage County say charges that Moretti's presence for hours in front of a heavily-Hispanic polling place wearing an "ICE" cap amounts to any kind of "intimidation" are baseless. Of course, this is the same county where the far Rightwing Republican Party operative, Dan Curry, who runs a blog called is actually paid $3,000 a month by tax-payers [PDF] to serve as Public Relations director for the shamelessly partisan county Election Commission, as we described to the editors of the Naperville Sun following one of Curry's hit pieces on behalf of the Commission in 2008.

The issue also serves to put a long-manufactured and ginned-up Republican/Fox "News" charge of "voter intimidation" from 2008 in an interesting new light.

Here's the GOP's remarkable response to the charges of "intimidation" by Moretti in the Daily Herald...

Addison Township Republican Party Chairman Pat Durante called the accusation "baloney."

"We were almost a block away," Durante said. "No voters complained. You got a complaint from a Democratic committeeman and the Democratic chairman. There was no voter ever intimidated. I rest my case."

Despite the GOP's claim that no voters were intimidated, the Daily Herald reports the Election Commission's Asst. Executive Director, Doreen Nelson says her office "received a complaint about Moretti electioneering within 100 feet of the polling place."

All of this, while a seemingly minor, if creepy, incident, underscores a much larger GOP hypocrisy.

For the past two years, Republicans have been ginning up mock outrage among their easily-played faithful over a single incident in 2008 when two jackasses calling themselves the "New Black Panther Party" (NBPP) stood in front of a largely African-American polling place in Philadelphia, one of them seen holding a night stick, for long enough to be caught on video tape. There were no complaints by voters of intimidation, and the Bush Dept. of Justice dealt with the matter by ordering those clowns to stay away from precincts in future elections.

Yet, fueled almost entirely by Fox "News" playing the video over and again --- more than 100 times --- for the past two years, in stories manufacturing claims of "Democratic voter fraud" and "intimidation", the Republicans have concocted a massive conspiracy charging that Obama's DoJ is allowing for intimidation of white voters by African Americans. Seriously, that's what they're contending. Ad nauseum. In the bargain, George W. Bush's now-completely-bastardized U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has, to date, spent at least $173,000 on investigations and hearings on the matter and it's believed likely that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the presumed incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee, will hold hearings on the same silly nonsense next year.

In the Moretti incident in DuPage last week, where a GOP poll watcher wore an ICE hat for hours out in front of a largely Hispanic precinct, with at least one voter complaining about it, Illinois Republicans call any concerns "baloney" because "No voters complained. ... There was no voter ever intimidated. I rest my case."

If that's the case, what are we then to make of the endlessly hyped Fox "News"/Republican Party allegations, made more than a 100 times on Fox, that two African-American idiots standing in front of a heavily African-American polling place for a few minutes, where there were no voter complaints and Bush's DoJ issued little more than a slap on the wrist, amounts to a serious case of "voter intimidation" and reveals that Obama and his Dept. of Justice don't care about such things?

By the way, Moretti does not work for ICE, he just likes waring their hat on Election Day apparently. After a short mid-day break, he again returned to the polls for more "watching", sporting a different hat, according to the Daily Herald...

[DuPage Democratic Party Chairman Bob] Peickert said Democratic Party operatives saw Moretti leave the polling site about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and return around 4 p.m. with a new hat featuring a logo for the National Rifle Association.

[Hat-tip Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.]

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