Gessler’s latest partisan attack on “Democrats” is completely misleading, and talk-show host should let listeners know about it

In a blog post yesterday, I offered some fresh examples of how, when Scott Gessler is on right-wing radio, he often sounds just like the right-wing radio host, bashing Democrats.

That’s not good, if you’re the Secretary of State, because you’re supposed to be above the partisan fray, at least somewhat, so that people trust our election system.

In my example yesterday, from Gessler’s recent appearance on KOA’s Mike Rosen Show, Gessler said it’s “the left’s common tactic just to scream voter intimidation whenever anything comes up they don’t like.”

Gessler: “I mean if you look back, back in 2004, you know, the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign actually published a Colorado election-day manual, and in that, they specifically said, if no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a preemptive strike. And they go through a whole list of things where the Democrats are supposed to launch a preemptive strike, accusing Republicans of intimidation, rounding up minority people. And that’s their word. It says, quote minority leadership denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting. So it’s really sort of a cynical way for the Democrats to try and rile up, and I should say the left as well, to rile up their base by making these accusations whether or not there are any facts to support it.”

I should have taken the time to see if Gessler had his facts right about the Kerry-Edwards campaign manual, but I’m grateful that Tom,  a commentator on ColoradoPols, looked it up for me.

Here’s an excerpt from it, as provided by the Democratic National Comittee, and it shows that, far from proving Gessler’s point that the left screams “voter intimidation whenever anything comes up they don’t like,” Democrats were simply preparing intelligently for possible voter intimidation:

II. HOW TO ORGANIZE TO PREVENT AND COMBAT VOTER INTIMIDATION The best way to combat minority voter intimidation tactics is to prevent them from occurring in the first place and prepare in advance to deal with them should they take place on election day.

1. If there are any signs of present or expected intimidation activity, in advance of election day, launch a press program that might include the following elements:

[The document continues with a list of suggestions, which you can read if you’re interested.]

On ColoradoPols, Tom offered this comment:

The manual in question was excerpted by Drudge in 2004. The DNC released a more complete excerpt indicating that the “pre-emptive strike” was to get information out to let potentially disenfranchised voters know what to look out for, especially in states with a history of voter intimidation and disenfranchisement.

It’s not surprising that Colorado had such a thing in the field since Donetta Davidson was letting fly with a stream of sketchy shit, including a big voter purge, inconsistent application of voting rules across counties and the wonky implementation of new voting machines. Even the Guardian newspaper covered our little doings.…

Actually, a pre-emptive strike to counter voter disenfranchisement sounds like something that would be useful this year in a number of states.

I couldn’t find a current copy of the DNC document, but here’s a 2004 wayback machine link…

Bottom line: it’s bad enough for a Secretary of State to throw out partisan salvos, as if he were Mike Rosen. But when his partisan attacks are also completely misleading or outright wrong, it’s even worse. And Rosen should let his listeners know about it.

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