Ben Smith picks up on the latest ludicrous statement from Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who was pronounced a liar by multiple fact-checking outfits for her misrepresentations about Medicare):
I]f you go back to the year 2000, when we had an obvious disaster and — and saw that our voting process needed refinement, and we did that in the America Votes Act and made sure that we could iron out those kinks, now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally — and very transparently — block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. And it’s nothing short of that blatant.
Thunk. On Twitter, critics are mocking her improper use of “literally.” But the problem, of course, is not word choice but mentality. She apparently envisions her job (or has been instructed to behave as such) as the sort of Sarah Palin of the Democratic Party — over the top, loose with the facts and appealing to the most extreme elements in her base while leaving most other political observers a bit slack-jawed. If the goal is to convince Americans that the other guys are the extremists, she may want to rethink her approach.
Somewhere in there, I suppose, is a reference to conservatives’ support for voter identification laws, which, with the help of the very liberal John Paul Stevens during his tenure on the Supreme Court, were upheld as constitutional. (In years of federal litigation, its opponents have yet to produce evidence of the laws’ discriminatory impact and in fact a single voter unable to obtain an ID.)
No, I don’t suppose the media will give her the same treatment that is handed out to Palin. They make allowances for Wasserman Schultz, you see, because her “heart is in the right place,” meaning she mouths liberal platitudes, albeit inartfully. Frankly (but not literally), she makes former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele seem like a genius.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): Wasserman Schultz says “never mind” about the Jim Crow part, saying it was ‘the wrong analogy to use,” but she insists that “I don’t regret calling attention to the efforts in a number of states with Republican dominated legislatures, including Florida, to restrict access to the ballot box for all kinds of voters, but particularly young voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans.” Now what does that mean? Restating “Republicans are racists” in less flashy terms is still a slur. She has an obligation to spell out what she means or retract the whole thing and apologize.