"I Play Basketball Every Sunday With a Black Guy"

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 15 2012 7:16 PM

"I Play Basketball Every Sunday With a Black Guy"

Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster tells a radio host that the large numbers of mysterious black people voting in his state made him suspicious, enough to demand an investigation.

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Because the universe is unfair, the Maine GOP ignores my call and answers that of Ryan Reilly, who proceeds to get the quote of the year.

“There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy. He’s a great friend of mine. Nobody would ever accuse me of suggesting anything,” he said. “What I do suggest is that same-day voter registration without voter ID is pretty hard to police, and it’s odd that hundreds of people in a small town would show up.”

Webster's comment is obviously hilarious, but it's dopier than you even realize. Maine is the whitest state in the country, with an electorate that was around 95 percent white last week. It's also home to a growing population of African immigrants. The Obama campaign made no secret of its voter registration drive, which targeted likely supporters who may have never signed up for the vote. Webster, who until last week was running the party that ran both houses of the state legislature, eschewed this approach for the "gee, how weird, you never see these black people voting" approach. Somewhere, Ralph Ellison is laughing his head off.

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