Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Who Gave Steve King a Magic Lamp?

Ah, Steve King. The Republican from Iowa has graced the pages of my blog at several points as among the dumbest members of Congress -- defending the "mendacity" of Republican leaders, worrying that women will never have babies if we allow them access to birth control, and referring to America as a nation of slackers. And today, we get a new entry: pining for a return to 19th century voting rules, where only propertied (White) men could vote. You think I'm exaggerating:
“[T]here was a time in American history when you had to be a male property owner in order to vote. The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spending — to have some skin in the game."

King was making a "skin in the game" argument, and we'll put aside my general objections to that argument. I'm not 100% convinced that the only reason voting was restricted to white male property owners was that they, unlike the rest of the population, had "skin in the game". Call me a skeptic if you like.

But if the goal is to see America return to pre-Voting Rights Act electoral rules, King may be getting his wish. Check out this story from Tennessee, where a 96-year old Black woman who was able to vote during Jim Crow is facing disenfranchisement due to the state's draconian new voter ID requirement. The woman actually has a photo ID, just not one that counts under the law. So she went to get one that would qualify, but showing the clerk her (a) rent receipt, (b) lease copy, (c) voter registration card and (d) birth certificate wasn't enough to satisfy the clerk and get the card.

1 comment:

PG said...

Also, lots of property owners -- single and widowed women, minors, people of color -- owned property without being able to vote. Having "skin in the game" may have been necessary but clearly was not sufficient to get a vote. And the notion that you only have skin in if you own property would be more logical if we lived in a libertarian paradise, but since Rep. King supports government being able to regulate morality, we ALL have skin in the law-making game.