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The Nation

Michael Steele's Nutty ACORN Obsession

Michael Steele is still the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

He's just being picking fights with people who don't have microphones.

Instead of stirring it up with the real boss of the Grand Old Party, Rush Limbaugh, or with Arlen Specter and the handful of congressional Republicans who might actually want to extend their party's platform beyond the word "no," Steele has returned to the obsessive focus that made him a favorite of the party's neanderthal wing: picking on poor people, working families and the organizations that advocate for people who do not have closets full of pinstripe suits.

To be more precise, Steele is attacking ACORN, charging that the group Republicans attacked with such determination during their failed 2008 campaign is now part of a scheme to "falsify the U.S. Census and manipulate elections in their favor."

"Our democracy, and the principle of 'One Person, One Vote' are in jeopardy," rants Steele in -- you guessed it -- a fund-raising appeal.

Steele's latest claim goes like this:

It seems the Obama Administration has plans to rig the Census results.

President Obama's old friends from ACORN, the leftist, urban "community" organization with a long history of promoting vote fraud, has been chosen by the Administration as a "partner" with the Census Bureau to determine population counts in cities around the country.

With this group's track record of coming up with countless fraudulent voter registrations in heavily Democrat areas to sway elections to ultra-liberals, you can be sure they'll be manipulating population numbers as well.

And after receiving millions in political payback from the Democrats' recently passed "Stimulus" Bill, ACORN's community organizers are eager to once again take action to aid their old friend in the White House.

Why is this important? The U.S. population has shifted in the last ten years. States like Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (all states Obama won in 2008) have smaller populations, and states like Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina (all states that John McCain carried) have gained population.

The trend illustrates that urban strongholds, which favor Democrats, continue to lose population to more decentralized areas in states more likely to lean Republican.

If the Democrats and their friends at ACORN have their way, the Census will only "estimate" state populations and therefore be subject to political calculations. And surely their estimate will be far higher than the actual number of people, and voters, present.

We must not let the Democrats and their radical leftist allies falsify the U.S. Census and manipulate elections in their favor. Our democracy, and the principle of "One Person, One Vote" are in jeopardy.

Please help the Republican Party's effort to spread the word about the Obama Democrats' misuse of power and plans to end free and fair elections. Support our effort to get the word out about this threat and ensure an accurate, non-partisan Census by making a contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 to the Republican National Committee today.

Your gift will also help support the recruitment and election of principled candidates who will defeat the Democrats in 2010 and pave the way to send Barack Obama packing in 2012.


Sounds scary.

And that's the point.

For all his talk about diversity and reaching out to communities that have not always been attracted by the Grand Old Party's anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-community messaging, Steele knows that the party's donors get excited by, er, well, the Grand Old Party's anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-community messaging.

Steele's ACORN obsession is particularly frustrating -- and dishonest -- because it targets one of the few groups in America that has stood consistently on the right side of fights over the census, voter turnout and empowering the poor and working families.

But ACORN/ knows how to fight back.

"Republican Party Chair Michael Steele has finally lost all touch with reality," says ACORN CEO and chief organizer Bertha Lewis. "(He has) sent a message to Republican Party members accusing President Obama and ACORN of scheming to 'falsify the U.S. Census and manipulate elections". He even ridiculously claimed that "Our democracy, and the principle of 'One Person, One Vote' are in jeopardy.'

"Clearly, ACORN's work to help millions of low and middle-income Americans who otherwise wouldn't participate in our electoral process register to vote has Michael Steele scared. And now, he's afraid that the 2010 census will accurately count the entire US population -- including traditionally undercounted minorities and low-income Americans."

Lewis is dealing in hard facts, rather than the fantasies that are Steele's favored political currency. So she confidency declares: "ACORN is not getting billions from the federal government -- and Michael Steele knows it. We are not in charge of the Census -- and Michael Steele knows it. Just like the accusations of the past six months, these ridiculous charges are imaginary and false -- and Michael Steele knows it."

But Lewis is taking things a step further.

She is challenging Steele to meet with her at the home of a family that ACORN has helped fight foreclosure.

Lewis wants Steele to see and hear from "the real ACORN."

And she's betting -- or at least hoping -- that if she Steele and his amen corner in the media was confronted with the reality of ACORN's good works, the RNC chair would back off.

Lewis may be a little more optimistic about the notion that the truth shall set you free.

Steele has a remarkable record of resisting reality. And the media has shown a marked penchant for joining the failed Maryland Senate candidate and his GOP allies in scapegoating ACORN as an alternative to examining real issues related to low-income communities -- a journalistic malpractice detailed in new report from Media Matters illustrates.

But Bertha Lewis and ACORN earn high marks for pushing back at the failed party "leader" who is pushing them around to try and stir up his reactionary base.

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