Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,
freedom aint worth nothing--but it's free

Kris Kristofferson

From the Washington Post:

"[I]n Los Angeles earlier this month, [John K.] Tanner [voting section chief within the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ] said that voter identification laws primarily affect elderly people because they are less likely to have photo IDs, and that such laws are less likely to affect minorities because they tend to die earlier. A few days earlier, Tanner also suggested to the Georgia NAACP that poor people are likely to have photo IDs because check-cashing businesses require them."

Article in full here.

The problem for John Tanner, a thirty-one-year veteran of the Justice Department, is that he has a whole lot to lose. If he was not aware before yesterday, he must be painfully cognizant now, his freedom of speech is limited by the complicated web of racial politics, Washington double-speak, and political correctness that makes up the current climate of American democratic governance.

Tuesday, Tanner spent an afternoon on Capitol Hill apologizing.

The serially inappropriate Dana Milbank observes:

"There is nothing quite so abject, profuse and groveling as an apology offered by a man who fears he is about to lose his job. But even Tanner's ritualistic self-abasement did not put Democrats on the subcommittee in a forgiving mood."

Column in full here.

Congressman Artur Davis (Democrat from Alabama): "You engaged in analysis without knowing the numbers. If you are basing your conclusions on stereotypes rather than facts, then it suggests to some of us that someone else can do this job better than you can."

Congressman Bobby Scott (Democrat from Virginia) called Tanner's statement "bizarre."

Bizarre? Really? Stereotypes rather than facts? What are the real facts here? Perhaps these nuggets of conventional wisdom are absolutely false--but I have heard them for years, usually to prove the existence of systemic racism in America.

Minorities are just as healthy as whites and enjoy similar life expectancies? This is good news. It certainly makes nationalized healthcare less urgent.

As for the check-cashing, is the stereotype that poor people don't use banks or that minorities are more often poor? Either way, again, these are both articles of faith I first heard years ago in my sociology and political science courses, designed to enlighten, educate and broaden my understanding of the “oppressed classes.”

I welcome an honest conversation regarding the DOJ and its track record for protecting voting rights in America. However, when the discussion must necessarily begin with a near-tearful, slobbering apology on the part of the "white guy in charge of looking out for the rights of minorities," at the feet of a Democratically controlled congressional panel intent on embarrassing the current administration and scoring political points, my expectations for something productive emanating from this spectacle are pretty low.