AJOC EDITORIAL: Dems want to have it both ways in attacks on Treadwell


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In the facing space you’ll find a response to my editorial from last week calling out the Democrats for playing the race card against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell as their opening volleys of the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

Democratic Party Chair Mike Wenstrup is upset because his party didn’t use the word “bigot” to describe Treadwell, and for me to draw that conclusion from their accusations is an ad hominem attack on them.

Even as they make inflammatory statements that Treadwell has a “record of opposing Alaska Natives’ voting rights” and Wenstrup goes so far as to accuse him of conducting a “jihad” against Natives’ rights, they claim at the same time to not to know his personal motivations for doing so.

In contending that they are not accusing anyone of being a bigot, the Democrats are trying to have it both ways. They allege Treadwell and Gov. Sean Parnell are “systematically” going after Natives’ rights, but don’t want to be charged with playing slimy racial politics while they do so.

The Democrats claim they are making a nuanced argument free of accusations of racism, but that’s not how it sounds when they are going after Treadwell over a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Voting Rights Act that was established to prevent discrimination based on race.

Nothing in the June 25 Supreme Court decision legalized discrimination. It simply found that the 2006 methodology in the VRA is no longer appropriate, and it is unconstitutional to allow Indiana to pass a voter ID bill without Department of Justice approval while South Carolina can’t.

Nor does it help their cause when the Democrats are peddling a padded list of alleged voter suppression claims that almost entirely pre-date Treadwell’s time in office since December 2010.

Party Communications Director Zack Fields acknowledged that 11 of the 21 poll places referenced in Wenstrup’s response where changes were made to early voting happened before Treadwell was elected.

One of those claims — that Treadwell “rejected” early, in-person absentee voting at several Alaska villages in 2012 — falls apart on a simple reading of the letter from Treadwell’s office to Kim Reitmeier of the ANCSA Regional Association.

“First, I want to emphasize that the division takes your concern seriously,” Treadwell wrote.

After describing the other methods of voting available, Treadwell concluded, referring to the VRA, “Unfortunately, due to constraints of federal law, I cannot make further adjustments or changes for the 2012 elections … The division may not make any changes affecting voting — even if it appears minor or indirect or ostensibly expands voting rights — without federal preclearance …”

“This administration has made a conscious decision to maintain polling places in all communities,” Treadwell wrote, and invited Reitmeier to a personal meeting to discuss her concerns.

If that’s a “jihad,” al-Qaeda better come up with a new word.

So should state Democrats.

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