AG Eric Holder is trying to compare the time when forcing African Americans to pay a poll tax, or answer obscure questions about the Georgia constitution - common tactics to deny blacks the right to vote 50 years ago - to voter ID laws today.
Is it possible to be so ignorant of history, partisan, and grossly demagogic all at once? Our hysterical AG is trying his best.
"The reality is that - in jurisdictions across the country - both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common," Holder, who is black, told hundreds of people attending an annual rally to honor King, the slain civil rights leader, on the steps of the South Carolina state capitol.
"Protecting the right to vote, ensuring meaningful access, and combating discrimination must be viewed, not only as a legal issue - but as a moral imperative," Holder said. "Ensuring that every eligible citizen has the right to vote must become our common cause."
The South Carolina law required voters to show a state-issued photo identification card to cast a ballot in an election. Republican supporters said it would prevent voter fraud, but Democratic critics argued it would make it harder for those without driver's licenses, many of them poor and black, to cast a ballot.
The Justice Department blocked the law after ruling it could hinder the right to vote of tens of thousands of people. It noted that just more than a third of the state's minorities who are registered voters did not have a driver's license. The state plans to fight the ruling in court.
Both Holder and Reuters are being disingenuous. A driver's license isn't the only acceptable form of identification. State ID cards - issued free of charge to those who can't pay for them -- are also accepted, as are passports, military ID, and a voter registration card with photo.
Raising the specter of Jim Crow is unconscionable in American politics today. It's like calling your opponent a Nazi. Holder knows this, knows that there is little burden on voters to prove who they say they are, and knows the powerful feelings of fear he can engender in blacks by referring to a time when blacks took their lives into their hands if they tried to vote.
The reason for Holder's hysteria is simple; he can't win the argument otherwise. The overwhelming majority of Americans support the idea of voter ID laws as evidenced by their growing popularity. The AG may arbitrarily use the authority granted him by the Voting Rights Act to stymie the South Carolina voter ID law. But he is an outrider standing in the way of progress.