A Philosopher's Blog

Stealing the Vote

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 27, 2012
English: Rep. James Moran's (D-VA 8th)Congress...

English: Rep. James Moran’s (D-VA 8th)Congressional Portrait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Patrick Moran, the son of Democratic Representative Jim Moran, was “stung” by a Project Veritas “operative.” The “operative” attempted to talk Moran into a scheme that would amount to voter fraud. Moran eventually said he would “look into it.” As might be imagined, this is being trumpeted as evidence of a conspiracy on the part of Democrats to commit voter fraud. Moran claims that he thought the “operative” was mentally unstable and was just humoring him. However, Moran resigned from his position in his father’s organization.

While Moran should have simply rejected the offer, it is understandable that he would humor someone. After all, people often try to be agreeable-especially when they think the person they are interacting with is unstable.  In my own case, I have spoken with unstable people who have suggested odd things (such as using philosophy to defend the earth against aliens) and I have sometimes actually said “I’ll look into that” when, of course, I was merely humoring someone who might suffer emotional damage from any other response.

While the police are investigating the matter, there is a rather reasonable question as to whether or not he actually did anything wrong (or illegal). In terms of wrong doing, the main question is whether or not Moran was seriously considering the plan and intended to engage in such a wrongful act.   As such, one important question is whether or not there is any evidence that Moran was in the process of acting on his alleged agreement to engage in this action. If he was merely humoring someone he regarded as unstable, then such an “agreement” would hardly constitute a moral misdeed (except insofar as he did not put a stop to someone else suggesting wrongdoing).

Moran was right to resign. After all, politics is a harsh business and anyone who gets caught on tape saying something this bad should remove themselves from the political realm until they can either learn to remain silent or spin things better. Naturally, if Moran actually intended to engage in this wrongful activity, then he should be punished appropriately. Attacking the integrity of the vote is an assault on the foundation of the democratic state.

Continuing with the subject of attacking the integrity of the vote, Doug brought to my attention the fact that hoax letters are being sent to white, registered Republicans who are regular voters in my adopted state of Florida. These letters question the citizenship of the recipient and also ask for personal information such as social security number and drivers license number. While the citizenship questioning part does smell of voter intimidation (or retaliation against the official letters sent out by the state questioning peoples’ citizenship), the fact that the letters also ask for such information suggests that it might also be an identity theft scam. It could, of course, be both.

Given that I have consistently opposed attacks on voters from the right, I also condemn this attempt which might be an attack from the left (or just a identity theft scam or some sort of retaliation against Rick Scott). My position is that any attacks on the integrity of the voting process is wrong-regardless of whether it comes from left, right or center.  I am not going to play the usual game of “well, the other side does it too” or “the other side does it more.” After all, that is just a fallacious appeal to common practice or two wrongs   make a right.  I will simply condemn all such attacks and urge that efforts be taken to address them-whether they are in the form of a hoax letter or in the form of trying to suppress voters using the power of the state.


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3 Responses

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  1. WTP said, on October 27, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Yeah, thanks for the h/t. Here’s the video itself. While the “operative”, as you refer to him, is leading in his questions, Moran provides advice on what would be needed to make it work. He comes across as more concerned about getting caught than about the legality of the process. He even suggests that they could supply lawyers to help out. My take on it is that he’s too afraid to appear “uncool” about passing up the opportunity.

  2. WTP said, on October 27, 2012 at 7:46 am

    or some sort of retaliation against Rick Scott)

    Which, I’m sure would differ from an attack from the left.

  3. WTP said, on December 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    After all, people often try to be agreeable-especially when they think the person they are interacting with is unstable.

    Speaking of unstable persons…

    A police officer saw Moran grab a woman by the back of her head and slam it into a trash can at about 1:23 a.m. in front of a nightclub called The Getaway in Columbia Heights, according to court documents.

    Moran and the woman were separated by police, who later learned the woman was his girlfriend of six months. The two had argued inside the club after Moran spoke with another woman there, according to court documents.

    Moran was initially charged with assault with significant bodily injury, a felony. The woman was bleeding “heavily” from her nose; according to court records; her nose and right eye were “extremely” swollen. The woman was taken to a hospital, and a paramedic told police her nose appeared swollen and her right eye socket was fractured.


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