Blue Helmets and Black Helicopters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 22 2012 3:42 PM

Blue Helmets and Black Helicopters

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- I got a head start out of the airport, stopped a minute to work, then switched on local talk radio -- 610 am -- for the drive up to the debate site. The post-Limbaugh host was Rich Minaya, "formerly Rich Michaels," whose personal web site displays photos of the modern Hiroshima to make the point that nuclear radiation ain't so bad.

What has caused more long term destruction - the A-bomb, or Government welfare programs created to buy the votes of those who want someone to take care of them? Japan does not have a welfare system.

When I tuned in, Minaya was talking about stories he'd read "in Reuters and the New York Times" about "United Nations monitors coming down to watch the polls in OUR elections."

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This was only mostly wrong. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a UN affiliate, has been asked by the NAACP and other groups to observe America's election and report on it. The very same thing happened in 2008. Democratic-leaning voter groups don't always know how this stuff is going to play in Paranoid America. And Minaya seemed obsessed with it.

"If I see one of these guys wearing a blue helmet," he said, "I'm gonna kick his ass."

There are states that can scoff at the idea that American elections might have structural issues. I don't think we're in one of them right now.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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