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The priorities of Arkansas Republicans

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What is the difference between a handgun massacre, such as the one that occurred at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and voter fraud? The answer is that mass shootings are common in this country; fraud at the polls is practically non-existent. And, that conservatives cry for action to prevent further outrages only in regard to voter fraud. They counsel against over-reaction to the slaughter of American citizens. Wade Michael Page only killed six people at the temple, they will say, but he could have done real damage had he tried to vote illegally.

When the Arkansas legislature convenes in January, Republican members will continue and probably intensify their efforts to make it harder for people to vote. Especially if President Obama is re-elected. And they'll probably succeed, should they win a legislative majority in the November elections. No member, Republican or Democrat, will introduce a bill to make it harder for homicidal maniacs to acquire guns. The NRA wouldn't approve.

The blood hadn't dried in Wisconsin before conservative congressmen and commentators were again shouting that we better not try to get any gun control in this country, not if we know what's good for us. These same people clamor for legislation to require more identification from voters, although they never present evidence that the "voter fraud" they purport to fear has actually occurred. The real purpose of additional identification requirements is to discourage from voting those who might have difficulty obtaining the surplus ID — the poor, the elderly, minorities. People who might vote Democratic, in other words.

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez is demanding more voter ID in the form of thumbprint readers. Look for Arkansas Republicans to add this to their bill. They might ask Chavez to speak at a committee meeting. Easy to shoot, hard to vote. These are strange priorities.

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