Dubya Vs. Veterans, Part 342

August 11th, 2008at 06:33pm Posted by Eli

For all their outraged shrieking about how liberals don’t support the troops (because, apparently, the only thing troops want is neverending war), has their ever been a president or party more openly hostile to troops and veterans than Dubya and today’s GOP?  I guess the veterans must have noticed:

On May 5, the department led by James B. Peake issued a directive that bans nonpartisan voter registration drives at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans. As a result, too many of our most patriotic American citizens — our injured and ill military veterans — may not be able to vote this November.

(…)

There are thousands of veterans of wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan who are isolated behind the walls of V.A. hospitals and nursing homes across the country. We have an obligation to make sure that every veteran has the opportunity to make his or her voice heard at the ballot box.

Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, and I wrote to Secretary Peake in July to request that elections officials be let inside the department’s facilities to conduct voter education and registration. Our request was denied.

The department offers two reasons to justify its decision. First, it claims that voter registration drives are disruptive to the care of its patients. This is nonsense. Veterans can fill out a voter registration card in about 90 seconds.

Second, the department claims that its employees cannot help patients register to vote because the Hatch Act forbids federal workers from engaging in partisan political activities. But this interpretation of the Hatch Act is erroneous. Registering people to vote is not partisan activity.

If the department does not want to burden its staff, there are several national organizations with a long history of nonpartisan advocacy for veterans and their right to vote that are eager to help, as are elected officials like me.

The department has placed an illegitimate obstacle in the way of election officials across the country and, more important, in the way of veterans who want to vote. A group of 21 secretaries of state — Republicans and Democrats throughout the country, led by me and my counterpart in Washington State, Sam Reed — has asked Secretary Peake to lift his department’s ridiculous ban on voter registration drives.

(…)

The federal government should be doing everything it can to support our nation’s veterans who have served us so courageously. There can be no justification for any barrier that impedes the ability of veterans to participate in democracy’s most fundamental act, the vote.

Yes, that’s right, the Bush administration is using the most transparently flimsy and dishonest of excuses to make it difficult, if not impossible, for elderly and disabled veterans to vote.  It’s like Starship Troopers (where only soldiers and veterans are allowed to vote) turned upside down.

Again, I ask for someone to please explain to me how Republicans are the party of Supporting Our Troops.  I’m pretty sure that yellow ribbons, flag lapel pins, and the occasional stage-managed surprise visit just don’t cut it.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Republicans,Wankers,War


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