Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) has made quite a name for himself. He’s not only the architect of harsh, right-wing immigration measures, including Arizona’s notorious law, Kobach has also worked his way up to being a leading advisor on immigration policy for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
But to appreciate the perspective this guy brings to policy debates, consider what Kobach told a Kansas radio show this morning.
Kobach, Kansas’ chief elections official, specifically singled out Justice Department actions relating to the Arizona immigration law and voter identification laws in Texas and South Carolina. He said that he is pleased that Kansas is not subject to the terms of the Voting Rights Act, which outlaws discriminatory voting practices, and could therefore implement its voter I.D. law without approval from federal officials.
“I believe the Obama Justice Department uses the law and laws like the Voting Rights Act unevenly,” Kobach said. “They punish their political enemies. They don’t go after their allies like the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party is a radical left organization.”
For the record, the Obama administration’s Justice Department is enforcing the Voting Rights Act the way it’s supposed to be enforced and the Black Panther Party, such as it is, isn’t an “ally” of the White House. As right-wing rants go, this is some pretty ridiculous nonsense.
He went on to say about arguments that voter-ID laws discriminate against minorities, “I find it a strange claim and almost racist. Why should someone’s skin color prevent them from walking down to the office and getting a photo I.D.?”
So, in Kobach’s mind, it’s “almost racist” to note that voter-ID laws disproportionately keep minorities, the elderly, and young voters from participating in elections?
Remember, this isn’t just some random far-right activist, sharing strange ideas on Twitter; Koback is the author of anti-immigration laws; he’s Kansas’ Secretary of State; and he has Mitt Romney’s ear on immigration policy.