Matt Drudge is hyping a report that Orange County, Florida rejected a voter registration form filled out in the name of "Mickey Mouse":
Drudge's sensationalist headlines aside, this isn't evidence of a problem with ACORN; it is evidence of the system working. Elections officials rejected an apparently illegitimate registration form.
Drudge suggests ACORN did something wrong in submitting the registration form in the first place. But ACORN shouldn't be in the position of deciding which registrations are legitimate and which are not; that's why we have elections officials. There are two clear problems with placing that burden on a private organization.
First, private organizations shouldn't make decisions about which forms are submitted because there would be too much potential for wrongdoing in such a scenario - an organization shredding voter registration forms for people attempting to register in the "wrong" party, for example.
Second, it may seem obvious that some forms are illegitimate. That's Drudge's point here - Hahahaha, they tried to register Mickey Mouse! Fools! But here's the thing: there are 32 people named "Mickey Mouse" listed in the White Pages nationwide, including two in Florida:
Now, that doesn't mean the registration form in question was legitimate. It probably wasn't. After all, elections officials tossed it. (Which, again, means that the system worked, and no illegal ballot was cast.)
What it does show is that in a nation of 300 million people, there are a lot of names. Some of them might seem funny to Matt Drudge. Some of them might seem obviously fake to Matt Drudge. That doesn't mean they are. That's why election officials, not ACORN or Matt Drudge, should make that determination.
UPDATE: On MSNBC, NBC deputy political director Mark Murray just referred to "Harry Potter" and "Han Solo" as other obviously fake names. There are 77 Harry Potters in the White Pages. No Han Solos, but there is a Hans Solo. And 8 Luke Skywalkers. This is really simple: You cannot tell that a voter registration form is illegitimate based solely on the name.
That's the question Eric Alterman posed when the two sat for bloggingheads.tv.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd explains the "comeback" narrative:
"What they're [the McCain campaign] hoping is that the media buys into the comeback story. I noticed today: LA Times used 'comeback' in their headline. Wall Street Journal used 'comeback.' That's what they're hoping. And, in this case, they're hoping perception becomes reality. If you say the word 'comeback' enough, maybe voters will actually -- 'Oh, ok, we'll do a comeback.'"
The presidential race is not over, but at this point, Obama has a better chance of becoming president than McCain, and as a result, the questions ought to be going toward him as much or more than McCain -- questions not of tactics but of substance.
McCain has been criticized for raising questions about Obama that were seen as questioning his patriotism or his commitment to the values the country holds dear. But there ought not to be any moratorium on asking hard questions of both candidates right now, and especially of the Democratic nominee who sits in the pole position heading into the final three weeks.
Balz is not only suggesting an overt double-standard, he is suggesting a glaringly illogical double-standard.
Say the press does (or, if you prefer, continues to do) what Balz suggests and scrutinizes Obama more closely than McCain. What then? Well, potentially, that scrutiny results in John McCain beating Barack Obama.
In which case, in an attempt to ensure that the next president is thoroughly scrutinized, Dan Balz will have helped elect the candidate who, because of his own suggestion, has not been scrutinized.
I know this is a crazy idea, but if reporters want to make sure the next president has been thoroughly scrutinized before voters make their decisions, they could thoroughly scrutinize both candidates.
From the New York Times:
In a far more low-key manner than the lavish sponsorships at the two political conventions, corporate America is providing cash donations and in-kind contributions and lending their executives to the debates. In return, many sponsors are getting coveted tickets to the debates and, even more, the chance to polish their image as good corporate citizens.
And let me guess, the press thinks it's doing a fabulous job this campaign!
Michael Calderone reporterd from Time Warner's media elite forum on Monday, "Politics 2008 – The Media Conference for the Election of the President":
The group from CNN over the next two days includes network president Jon Klein, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour, Campbell Brown, Jeffrey Toobin, David Bohrman, Roland Martin, Howard Kurtz, Fareed Zakaria, Alex Wellen. Donna Brazile, John King, Sam Feist, and David Bohrman. Time offers Rick Stengel, Mark Halperin, Joe Klein, and Karen Tumulty will here, too.
And just handful of the rest: Frank Rich, Graydon Carter, Dan Rather, Peggy Noonan, Jeff Greenfield, Alex Castellanos, Howell Raines, and Jim VandeHei.
While watching the last presidential debate, because the rules were so constraining. Schieffer takes his turn in moderator seat this week.
He claims, "If [candidates] try and get off track, I'm not going to be bashful about saying, 'Gentlemen, that was not the question.'""
FNC has gone all in on the ACORN voter registration story in recent days. Since Friday, Fox News has mentioned the community organizing group 342 times, according to TVeyes.com. (That's compared to the 61 mentions on CNN.)
Here's a glimpse of what Fox News' ACORN-mania looked like on Monday.