GOP Sends Mixed Signals Again

When it comes to the Republican Party, once again the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, leaving Ohio voters seriously confused.

Earlier this week the GOP was all over the board about its position on the first version of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

Presidential nominee John McCain urged its passage while House Republicans revolted and defeated the measure. Then, House GOP leaders blamed the defeat on a partisan speech by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, only to have the Republicans who voted “no” insist her remarks didn’t affect their stance. Even ultra-conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh made fun of the assertion and essentially told GOP leaders to grow up.

Now the Republicans find themselves speaking with forked tongues about changes in Ohio’s election laws. A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a Republican appeal of a disputed early voting window that allows Ohio voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day, according to the Associated Press. The Ohio Supreme Court — led by a Republican majority — also upheld the early voting window in a decision the same day, as did another federal judge in Cleveland.

Cue the spin meisters at state GOP headquarters in Columbus.

In a mass e-mail sent to party faithful today entitled, “Stealing Ohio,” State GOP Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine wrote, “The liberal courts just approved same-day registration in Ohio, and Democrats are planning to turn out thousands of new voters without any time to validate those registrations … We cannot let them steal this election.”

DeWine’s e-mail asks for contributions of $25, $50 or $100 to the party’s legal defense fund, so it can continue challenging the legal decisions.

Nevermind that it was a GOP-dominated Supreme Court that upheld the change that allows the early voting window.

Nevermind that McCain’s presidential campaign hasn’t provided any details about how it thinks Barack Obama’s campaign intends to take advantage of the window.

And nevermind that the early voting window was created because the Republican-controlled legislature passed a hastily-written law in 2005 that enabled all Ohio voters to vote absentee.

Another mass e-mail received today sent by McCain’s campaign and signed by running mate Sarah Palin urges Ohio Republicans to make use of the early voting window.

“In these times of crisis, we need a tested, proven leader like John McCain,” Palin’s e-mail states. “That’s why it’s important for you to cast your ballot today in Ohio. Over the next five days, you can register to vote and cast your ballot for November’s election at the same time.”

Also, the e-mail offers a handy link to let voters locate the early voting center closest to them.

But the early voting window debate isn’t the only bit of manufactured outrage by increasingly desperate Republicans in the last 24 hours.

Some conservatives have criticized Gwen Ifill, the PBS reporter who will serve as moderator of tonight’s vice presidential debate. They are worried Palin won’t get a fair shake because Ifill is writing a book about black leaders that contains a chapter about Obama.

McCain mostly dismissed the criticism of Ifill Wednesday. “Frankly, I wish they had picked a moderator that isn’t writing a book favorable to Barack Obama, let’s face it,” he told CBS News. “But I have to have confidence that Gwen Ifill will handle this as the professional journalist that she is.”

Only problem is, McCain’s campaign knew about Ifill’s book when it approved her as moderator for the debate, and the book has been advertised on for weeks.

And these people say they’re better qualified to run the country?

— Kevin Osborne

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