CNN: Let's fact-check Biden in his "brutal week" on voting rights

A week from hell? Indeed, and a self-inflicted week from hell, which hasn’t escaped notice — even at CNN. Last night, Erin Burnett fact-checked Joe Biden’s claims on Tuesday that his election-federalizing project separated the righteous from the racists, especially when it comes to Georgia’s supposedly objectionable “restrictions.” Burnett didn’t compare Georgia to Biden’s home state of Delaware, which had been the target of much criticism, but instead looked at deep-blue New York.


Which state makes it easier to do early voting? To get absentee ballots? You’d never guess from Biden’s rhetoric, Burnett pointed out (via Twitchy):

BURNETT: On the side of right or the side of racism, that’s what’s being presented. Even the second ranking Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, said Biden ‘went a little too far in his rhetoric’ in that particular comment. And a right versus wrong simplistic view here is a problem. First of all, because more people voted than ever before in the last election.

So to just broadly talk about voter suppression may miss that very crucial point. And take vote by mail as one example. Here’s what Biden said this week criticizing Georgia’s new law.

BIDEN: Voting by mail is a safe and convenient way to get more people to vote, so they’re making it harder for you to vote by mail.

BURNETT: Okay. Well, New York is one of the most reliably Democratic states in the United States and New York requires people to request absentee ballots, just like the new Georgia law does. Now, Georgia allows anyone to request an absentee ballot. New York does not. In New York, it’s actually more restrictive, there are specific guidelines as to who can request an absentee ballot.

In fact, back in November, New Yorkers voted down a constitutional amendment that would allow anyone to request an absentee ballot for any reason at all by 55 percent to 45 percent, in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. And let’s take a look at early voting. Georgia, the new law, the law that sort of Abraham Lincoln versus Jefferson Davis allows for 17 days of early voting, New York only has nine.

Now, I’m not saying this to say that vote reforms are not needed, not at all. It’s just to point out that it isn’t as simple as saying all GOP-backed laws are segregationist and racist. That is too simplistic.


It’s not just simplistic, it’s flat-out wrong. It has been pointed out ad nauseam for months if not a year that Georgia’s new election laws are not more restrictive than most other states, and much less so than some blue states. The point of election-law changes in states this year and last was to purge out the emergency innovations from the pandemic that make elections less secure and therefore less credible, such as mass-mailed ballots, drop stations, and so on. Georgia’s law actually required its counties to offer standardized, state-wide schedules for early voting that in some instances expanded that access, for instance.

CNN’s a little late to the party on this point, but at least they showed up. Jake Tapper jumped on this point immediately after Biden’s demagoguery to make the same argument, putting Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester on the spot:

As Allahpundit pointed out on Wednesday, Republicans have been making this argument for months. Occasionally, a media outlet like the Atlantic would take a look at the claims and note their accuracy, but otherwise there have been few challenges to Democrats’ claims of The Fierce Urgency Of Now for federalizing election law. Until Biden made everyone sit up and pay attention, of course, by comparing such states to the Confederacy and opponents of his bill to Jefferson Davis. That practically begged for media coverage of these claims, and exposure of their intellectual and moral bankruptcy.


Although it certainly does seem like some places are resisting that effort.

This blowback got created entirely by Biden, in other words. He’s playing a losing hand about as badly as possible, which given the consistent incompetence he’s displayed as president thus far shouldn’t surprise a soul. That’s what has created Biden’s “brutal week,” as CNN’s Brianna Keillar and John Berman put it this morning:

KEILLAR: President Joe Biden has had a very tough week with setbacks for his agenda. COVID complications and the Supreme Court blocking his vaccine mandate, inflation and international turmoil, just to name a few. CNN’s Lauren Fox is joining us live now from Capitol Hill. Lauren, Biden voting rights bill has been torpedoed, and torpedoed by members of his own party, Senators Manchin and Sinema. Is there a way forward, or is this dead?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, his vast agenda on Capitol Hill is really hitting a brick wall this morning, Brianna, because of those two moderate Democratic senators.

No, it’s not because of those two Senate Democrats. It’s because Joe Biden chose to ignore those Democrats as well as the obvious math of a 50/50 Senate in pushing extremist bills through Congress. That was Biden’s choice, and it’s his choices that have created almost all of the crises that Keillar lists here. Only North Korea and Russia/Ukraine are crises that Biden didn’t directly create for himself either through incompetent governance or bad expectation-setting. Rather than looking for ways to win, Biden spent the past year picking fights he was destined to lose, as Philip Klein points out:


Looking back at Biden’s first year in office, his two biggest legislative accomplishments were: a sweeping, $1.9 trillion social-welfare and “Covid-relief” plan and a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure law. In both cases, the outcomes were within reach. It was clear that coming into office Biden would get one major domestic-spending bill passed tied to the pandemic. And there was an interest in doing something on the infrastructure front.

However, his failures pursued the exact opposite approach. Instead of setting achievable goals, he set unrealistic expectations and in a number of cases, picked battles that he knew in advance he would lose. …

There is an alternate timeline of Biden’s presidency in which passing $2.5 trillion in Covid relief, social-welfare, and infrastructure spending is seen as a decent success. But after the unrealistic expectations he set up of an FDR-sized presidency, those legislative accomplishments are barely remembered.

Biden created his own “week from hell.” Unfortunately, the rest of us are stuck here with him.

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David Strom 5:00 PM | May 23, 2024