Did you watch Rev. Al Sharpton's Politics Nation show on MSNBC tonight? If not, all I can say is "Wow." I wrote in a recent dkos diary about how, in a recent court deposition, former Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer denounced state officials in his party as liars and "whack-a-do, right-wing crazies" and accused them of scheming on ways to suppress black votes. Some on here questioned Greer's sincerity, since he is, after all, charged with six felony counts and trying to save his own behind. But if you watch him talking with Shaprton tonight, I think you'll agree with me that he's totally sincere in his disgust of the Republican Party's current focus on voter suppression, and he had an inside view of these efforts that stunned me, jaded as I am.
Greer's comments were so incredible that Sharpton brough Greer back after the commercial break for an additional segment, even though that wasn't part of the original plan. I don't have the transcript right now, so I'm paraphrasing for the most part, but here were Greer's main points to Sharpton:
- In is 3.5 years as Florida GOP party chair, he was in numerous meeting about changing the voter registration and voter ID laws in Florida, and in not one of those meetings as voter fraud EVER brought up as a concern by Republican strategies. The main concern of the GOPers in Florida, according to Greer, was that they prevent a repeat of Obama's 2008 victory in Florida (Greer kept repeating that point). Voter fraud is merely a GOP "marketing tool" with "no validity to it," Greer said.
- Greer lamented that the "Republican Party has given up on minority voters," and so their strategy right now is to keep as many minorities from voting as possible. He expressed his disgust at this tactic. He said that as chair of the Florida GOP he tried to develop strategies for the party to reach out to minority populations, but was rebuffed at every turn.
- Greer described the Republican Party in Florida, and in many other states, as having been overtaken by "pitchfork, torching-bearing mobs looking for Frankenstein" rather than being a party about ideas and principles and running about what they stand for. He said the current Florida GOP leaders "hate" moderate Republicans like him and Charlie Crist. "It's very sad what's going on in the Republican Party," Greer said.
- Greed claimed that Florida's new law to limit the length of early voting, which was pushed through by Republicans, was intended solely to reduce the number of minorities and young people who are able to vote, since the data show that they are more likely to vote in early voting.
I found Greer to be quite articulate and sincere in his comments. He didn't seem to be someone who was desparate to say anything to save his arse, but someone who is disgusted with the current state of the Republican Party in Florida and has finally decided to take a stand a speak up (he really has nothing to lose at this point). But let me know what you think:
Here's the video of first segment of Sharpton interviewing Greer:
Here's the second, unplanned segment (because I think Sharpton realized how important and credible Greer's remarks were and decided to give him more time):