The great thing about being Bill Clinton is that you get to spout complete nonsense, and people still respect you. On Wednesday, speaking at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, Clinton was in fine form, wagging that famous finger, and lying to people for rhetorical effect:
We must push open those stubborn gates. We cannot be discouraged by a Supreme Court decision that said we don’t need this critical provision in the Voting Rights Act because, look at the states. It made it harder for African-Americans and Hispanics and students and the elderly and the infirmed and poor working folks to vote.
What do you know? They showed up, stood in line for hours and voted anyway, so obviously we don’t need any kind of law. But a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon.
The irony is that on the real, not the rhetorical, facts, conservatives would agree with him: to buy an assault weapon, you need to show photo ID and time of purchase and then wait five days while they check you out. Conservatives would like for states to require that there be a waiting period after registration to check the voter’s bona fides (“you’re not dead, are you?”) and that the same voter must show an official picture ID at the polling place.