In the pantheon of Stupid Election Stories, this one ranks pretty high on the Stupidometer.
Background: A woman in Toledo recruits a young man to get people registered to vote, and pays him with cocaine. Thus, people like Mary Poppins, Jeffery Dahmer, and Janet Jackson show up on the rolls in a county where none of them (except, maybe, Ms. Poppins) are known to live.
This kind of shenanigan belongs in a TV movie, not in American politics.
No matter how often we've seen this sort of thing in the past, it is very evident that stupid people continue to think they can influence the system for good or bad by doing stupid things. I've already seen two spins on this affair:
1. Democrats are so desperate to win this election that they'll stoop to paying people with cocaine to register people to vote. The assumption being that only crack-heads would vote for Kerry/Edwards in the first place.
2. This is yet another Republican dirty trick (Karl Rove, of course, has unlimited access to cocaine supplies via his good buddies in Colombia) designed to smear Democrats and discredit their campaign. By this same logic they also vandalize their own signs, storm and rob their own campaign offices, and burn swastikas on their own lawns.
My spin: Just another example of stupid people doing stupid things for stupid reasons.
I don't, of course, know the woman who allegedly hired Mr. Staton. It's tempting, though, to imagine a crack-head being given the opportunity to support her habit by coordinating a get-the-vote drive. Since she's making good, why not use that to her advantage? Get a few fellow crackers to help her out, pay them with some of her bounty -- what could go wrong?
It's a fanciful story. On the other hand, I absolutely refuse to chalk this up to one campaign's bag of tricks, or any of their special interest groups. Even my esteemed opponents would understand that they have the entire election to lose.
I'm not saying it's impossible. Just improbable. It was obviously a slow news day, guys. Color me disinterested.
UPDATE: Of course, having said all of this... there was that little problem with a break-in at the DNC headquarters in 1972... Little building called "The Watergate." Hmmm...
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