Jim Greer has not been so tight with the Florida Republican establishment lately.
Greer, the former Republican state party chairman, is under indictment for misusing party funds. Im guessing that he was not pleased to see former colleagues line up to testify against him.
So when he talks about how party operatives were fairly obsessed with tamping down voter turnout in the 2012 general election, party officials can retort that Greer is just out for revenge.
Jim Greer has been accused of criminal acts against this organization and anything he says has to be considered in that light, a party spokesman said after Greer told the Palm Beach Post last week that the party had been hell-bent on cutting back on early voting since the 2008 election.
The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates, Greer told the Post.
The party championed legislation that reduced early voting days, he said, for self-serving reasons that had nothing to do with purported voter fraud. Its done for one reason and one reason only, he told the Post. Weve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us.
Greer was only repeating allegations he made in a 630-page sworn deposition back in May, claiming that the party operatives were determined to discourage Democratic turnout, particularly the black vote. (He also complained in that deposition the party had been taken over by whack-a-do, right-wing crazies.)
Except, like the party spokesman said, Greer broke, embittered and facing criminal charges has this credibility problem.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who is not under indictment, also said it looked to me that voter suppression had become an underlying motive in the partys 2012 election strategy. Back in 2008, Crist had signed an executive order extending early voting hours after reports of long lines and long waits. In 2012, Gov. Rick Scott famously refused to do the same for even longer lines and longer waits. Crist called that unconscionable, tantamount to voter suppression.
Except that Charlie Crist, who cozied up to President Barack Obama during the campaign, is also on the outs with his old Republican buddies.
Last week, the party dismissed Crists charges of voter suppression on its website, stating the former governor has his own ax to grind against the state party.
So Greer and Crist, grinders of their respective axes, both have certain credibility issues.
But there something else to consider. Objective reality. Votes were suppressed. Thats a fact.
The wait at clogged-up early voting sites went on for hours. Same thing on Election Day. Until would-be voters simply gave up and went home.
Voter turnout for the 2012 general election fell to 71.13 percent in Florida, down from 75 percent in 2008. House Bill 1355, the election bill passed by the Republican supermajority last year, that, among other mischief, reduced early voting days from 14 to eight, had done its work.
Jim Greer might have credibility issues, but the numbers dont lie.