No, Barack Obama Isn’t Trying to Undermine Military Voters

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Today’s Outrage of the Day™ is Mitt Romney’s contention that Barack Obama hates our men and women in uniform and wants to prevent them from voting. Here is Katie Biber, legal counsel for the Romney campaign:

We disagree with the basic premise that it is “arbitrary” and unconstitutional to give three extra days of in-person early voting to military voters and their families, and believe it is a dangerous and offensive argument for President Obama and the DNC to make.

That does sound offensive, doesn’t it? The nickel version of the truth is that Ohio recently restricted early voting for everyone except members of the military, and the Obama campaign wants the law overturned. They want everyone to be able to vote early. In other words, if Obama gets his way, nobody in the military will lose their early voting rights. Romney was just flat-out lying when he implied last week that Obama was trying to “undermine” the voting rights of members of the military.

On the other hand, it’s also true that if Obama’s suit succeeds, members of the military will no longer get special consideration, as the Ohio legislature wanted to give them. There’s little doubt that the motivation for this was largely partisan (the military tends to vote Republican), but you know what? There’s also a perfectly defensible case to be made that military voters do indeed deserve preferential treatment. Obama’s suit argues otherwise, and Republicans are making hay with it.

Anyone suggesting that Obama is trying to restrict military voting rights is pretty plainly lying. On the other hand, if you stick to the argument that the military deserves special treatment and Obama opposes giving it to them — as Biber did — you’re in the clear. It’s nasty stuff, but still pretty garden variety attack politics.


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