Voter ID honesty: Rep. Turzai's slip unmasks the Republican agenda

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Politicians have to get comfortable before they can get honest.

Though never truly transparent, they will allow themselves to run at the mouth briefly for partisan audiences. Sometimes, they even do the unthinkable like forget that a camera may be rolling and that their words will be heard far beyond their partisan bubble.

That seems to be what happened to state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods. On Saturday, Mr. Turzai addressed a meeting of the Republican State Committee in Hershey in which he listed the accomplishments of the GOP majority for a crowd that loves its red meat.

Mr. Turzai dutifully listed the Castle Doctrine and stricter regulations on facilities where abortions are performed as major accomplishments of the ruling caucus in this state. That's boilerplate Republicanism, which is to be expected when addressing a crowd of fiscal and social conservatives. He ended each citation with a self-congratulatory "done." It's what he said next which constitutes letting the cat out of the proverbial bag:

"Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."

State Republicans have steadfastly maintained that the recently instituted voter ID laws in Pennsylvania are not motivated by a partisan attempt to suppress part of the Democratic turnout in November. The people who would be most adversely affected by the law -- students, minorities, some of the elderly -- tend to vote Democratic. The Republicans have resorted to shameful heights of sophistry on this point, insisting that their only concern is the integrity of the ballot box.

Mr. Turzai's spokesman wasted no time in reiterating the GOP's official story that it is only interested in a "fairer playing field for all candidates."

Mr. Turzai should be commended for his brief moment of honesty. The comments that necessarily follow such candor are just politics and obfuscation. Taking the intelligence of the Pennsylvania electorate for granted? Done.


First Published June 28, 2012 12:00 AM


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