Okay, so you heard the story from Alan, but let’s be clear about what Obama did here.
He challenged that printed names were not legally valid for petitions and that the petition collectors needed to be properly registered. The laws in Chicago state pretty plainly that people have to get actual signatures on petitions and that all the people who gather petitions have to be identified.
If printed names were acceptable and the collectors donâ€™t properly identify themselves, then all a political campaign needs to do is to copy names out of a phonebook and make sure that the work couldnâ€™t be traced by using a false identity for the collector.
Conservatives have rightly demanded proper identification for voters in order to avoid fraud. Certainly, these rules prevent voter fraud as well and should be enforced. We can fault Obama for not being consistent about the issue, but itâ€™s somewhat hypocritical to fault Obama for demanding that the existing rules get enforced.
This seems to be one of those stories where it’s a lot sexier to characterize Obama as playing “hardball” back in the day instead of acknowledging that he was following some pretty basic petition rules.
Ruthless and slick indeed! 😉