Friday, February 5, 2010

Tom Tancredo: Obama's Election Was Due to a Lack of 'Literacy Tests'

The National Tea Party Convention is underway in Nashville and the event has already sparked some fun coverage from some of the reporters that are covering the event.

Just how many reporters? Well, after initially showing reluctance in issuing press passes, there are now an estimated 150 journalists covering the event. When you take into account that there are 600 paying attendees, that equates to about a 1 to 4 ratio of reporters to attendees.

Needless to say there were plenty of media around for the kickoff event in which former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo made this statement (emphasis mine):

The opening-night speaker at first ever National Tea Party Convention ripped into President Obama, Sen. John McCain and "the cult of multiculturalism," asserting that Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."

The speaker, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., told about 600 delegates in a Nashville, Tenn., ballroom that in the 2008 election, America "put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House ... Barack Hussein Obama."

Zaid Jilani at ThinkProgress states the obvious problem with this:

Given that the convention is being held in Nashville, Tennessee, Tancredo’s remarks are particularly offensive. For years, literacy tests were used across the South to disenfranchise African-American voters, who generally had illiteracy rates 4-5 times as high as whites due to historical discrimination and lack of opportunity. Unfortunately for Tancredo, the 1965 Voting Rights Act makes literacy tests illegal.

Talk about taking the country back to the days of the Founding Fathers.

Something tells me that this won't be the only interesting bit of information that comes out of this convention.


trey said...

Is the same left that is constantly moaning about them dumb Republicans? Unfortunately, Tancredo's common sense proposal (there is really no structural reason why we couldn't design a fair literacy test, even if fairness entailed more funds for underfunded, underperforming schools)exposes one of the fundamental hypocricies of modern liberalism: it has trouble dealing with unpleasant realities. So you get purported scientific-sounding explanations like 'illiteracy rates 4.5 times as high as whites due to historical discrimination and lack of opportunity' that can partially explain a social observation but fails to explain why illiteracy rates in places like modern day DC (which spends vastly higher per student than the median)remain so troublingly high or why some minority groups that have suffered as bad or worse oppression in its recent history became the elite academics of America within 20 years of their arrival at their underfunded American schools. And while your pondering that, maybe also try to give a plausible explanation (that is not laughable on its face) why in today's Super Bowl a vast majority of the players will all share a subtle, hard-to-observe characteristic that no one is supposed to ever mention in our forums for serious discussion?

Chris Johnson said...

So, in short, you are in favor of the creation of literacy tests before one can vote? Your position is that natural born citizens do not have an inherent right to have a say in who represents them in government?

I would also be interested to hear who would be responsible for creating such a literacy test and how we would guard against racism or class-ism in applying this test (especially when there is already a track record of these tests being used for the specific purpose of marginalization). It is surprising that you usually cast the "elitist" label on the left while you simultaneously imply that implementing literacy tests before voting should be applied.

trey said...

Chris, I think it is obvious that Tancredo was using his call for literacy tests for rhetorical affect and not as a serious proposal. But if you grant that literacy tests cannot become reality for many different historical and practical reasons (including some of those mentioned) and just look at them theoretically, they would probably be the most effective means of combatting a very serious flaw of modern democracies: an electorate that includes huge numbers who possess scarily little socio/political facts or analytical skills.

And as I stated before, the modern left is mostly a coalition of advanced-degree types (who are very confident they know whats best for all of us and want to centralize power in their hands) and those on the bottom of the educational/economic ladder and so my 'elitist' charge, as always, stems from that.