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  • BPTea Party

Al Klemm's kabuki dance on voter photo ID


He was against it before he was for it, but in the end its how it's said, not the principle involved



al_s_kabuki
shadow
January 09, 2013
In Plato's Allegory of the Cave we read about a group of men who have been imprisoned by chaining them to a wall in a cave. Across the room from where they are chained is a blank, sloping wall. But behind the men, people come and go on a pathway and bridge with a light from a fire behind them. As the people come and go the light from a fire casts shadows on the blank wall. The prisoners chained to the inner wall don't know there are people, or a fire, behind them. All they know is what the shadows they see on the wall and ceiling and the sounds which echo in the Cave. The prisoners come to believe that the shadows and echoes are the reality. They have vigorous debates about what the shadows are doing and what they mean.

Monday night the audience in the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners meeting must have felt much as the prisoners in Plato's Cave felt. They watched a half hour debate that was meaningless but which stirred feelings about as much as anything has in recent meetings. The issue was voter photo ID.

Here's what we saw. Stan Deatherage has prepared and had distributed days in advance a resolution by which he proposed that the Board endorse what is expected to be swift action by the newly convening State Legislature. Mr. Deatherage fashioned his recommendation in the form of a classical resolution in which he listed several "whereas" that led to an endorsement of passage of the Voter Photo ID law.

When the floor was opened for debate, the shadows that consumed the discussion related to the need for people who vote to verify that they were actually who they say they are. The Republicans didn't want people to vote who are not eligible to vote. That position was represented by each and every Republican on the board. Likewise each of the Democrats argued that requiring a picture ID to vote would disenfranchise many people because, they argued, many do not have a photo ID and really can't get one.

One observing the shadows and echoes of the debate would certainly realize that it was a rehash of the same debate that has taken place time and again and indeed was essentially the same as that seen when the Republican General Assembly last year passed a Voter Photo ID bill only to see it vetoed by the Democrat governor. We didn't hear a single argument Monday night that we didn't hear last year in the Legislature and from the Governor. The Republicans could not muster the necessary Democrats to override the veto but the last election changed that. It not only elected more Republicans in both houses of the Legislature but a Republican governor who campaigned on supporting a photo ID law was elected.

So you'd have to be watching very distorted shadows on the wall not to see what's coming. They're going to not only pass the bill again but it will become law with the new Governor's signature.

So the debate Monday night was practically meaningless. It will not make ANY difference what the Beaufort County Commissioners do or don't do or how they say it. The deal's done. That train's already left the station.

So what was all the arguing about Monday night? One would think with four Republicans on the board and three Democrats that a motion to support adopting a Voter Photo ID bill would be dispatched in short order. Not in Beaufort County. We have one Republican (now) on the board who just can't seem to bring himself to vote with the other Republicans.

We say that to make a simple point. This debate, for all that it was or was not, was not about the principle of whether voters should show a photo ID to vote. The vote went one way on one motion and the opposite way on another, essentially the same, motion

When Republican Deatherage's motion was called it failed 3-4. That is three Republicans (Hood Richardson, Stan Deatherage and Gary Brinn) voted to endorse passing a photo ID bill. Democrats Jerry Langley, Ed Booth and Robert Belcher voted as good Democrats to oppose making people show a photo ID to vote. But the strange thing was that "Republican" Al Klemm also voted no, just as he had opposed requiring a photo ID a couple of years ago.

But it got even weirder as the fire burned low, casting longer shadows on the wall. Klemm offered an alternative motion, although he did not do so as would normally be the case according to Robert's Rules of Order. Rather than move to amend the motion (Deatherage's) on the floor or to offer a substitute motion he waited for the question to be called and then voted "NO" on requiring a photo ID.

He then turned right around and made a motion to endorse requiring a photo ID.

Yep, you read that right. He voted not to before he voted to. John Kerry would no doubt be proud of Brother Klemm.

So we asked Mr. Klemm to explain why he opposed one motion to require a photo ID and then proposed another to do exactly that. In the discussion in the video below you will hear him mumble something about not being pleased with the exact wording of Mr. Deatherage's motion, but remember, he offered no motion to amend (change the wording). Nor did he offer a substitute motion. Strangely he voted one way on the first motion and the opposite way on the second (his) motion.

We specifically asked Mr. Klemm to explain to the public what the differences were in the two motions that compelled his strange behavior. At this writing he has failed to respond—which is typical of him, so don't expect us to given him any more chances to explain his bizarre behavior. But if he does we will let you know.

You can watch all the shadows and hear all the echoes in the video below. What you will not see or hear is a rational explanation for why they argued about the shadows and never dealt with reality—what they were doing will make absolutely no difference whatsoever. Bank on it.

Now interestingly, Richardson and Deatherage did explain why they voted for both motions: They think the issue is so important that showing their support for photo ID's was more important than the "whereas'." So to get the same result they voted for Mr. Klemm's strange motion.

During the discussion the only reason Klemm gives for his alternative motion is that he did not like the "flow" of the words in Deatherage's motion although he neither identified what words did not flow well with him, nor did he explain why he was willing to throw out the substance of the motion (to support photo ID) for the form he preferred. You have to ask yourself what difference he thinks the "flow" of the words will make in Raleigh. More shadows.

We have no clue why the reality of what we saw actually happened. We do have some theories and we've talked to a number of people who have some interesting observations about what Mr. Klemm was up to but we'll save those for later. We'd be very interested in your analysis of what was actually going on in this video. We encourage you to file a Feedback comment because maybe you can shed some light on the wall and dispel some of the shadows being created here.



We will leave you with one thought before we postulate our theories: On one of the most strongly held political issues of the day, Mr. Klemm voted with three Democrats. Then he voted with three Republicans. We think that shadow may reveal an eye-opening reality. Wouldn't you love to hear his explanation? Come on Mr. Klemm fess up. Just as the prisoners were eventually freed from the Cave and in the bright light of day discovered the true reality of their former existence, the truth shall set you free Al.

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  1. reply print email
    Surely you jest
    January 10, 2013 | 06:55 AM

    Why did Klemm do what he did? Why does he ever do anything he does? He is an idiot. The reason he does what he does is because he is.

    Walter
  2. reply print email
    Klemm
    January 10, 2013 | 07:43 AM

    All you ever have to do to understand Al is remember this: It is all about Al with Al. He is a little man who simply wants attention.

    Susan
  3. reply print email
    What a joke
    January 10, 2013 | 07:47 AM

    Who does Al Klemm think is going to read his "resolution"? How much did he get paid for this meeting? I want a refund.
    Every one of those in Raleigh who are going to make this decision have already decided how they are going to vote.
    What a joke! But the joke's on us.

    Disgusted Dude
  4. reply print email
    Al needs to take lessons
    January 10, 2013 | 09:23 AM

    Flow? Say what, Al? If Hood read it right your "resolution" is about as good as your EDC by-laws--that established a committee and one can't read what you wrote and tell how many members it has. Maybe you need to take a wordsmithing class before you're critical of someone else's.

    Wordsmith
  5. reply print email
    We will solve this problem
    January 10, 2013 | 10:34 AM

    As a service to our county and nation,we will come get anybody who cannot get to DMV to get a photo ID and take them back home. Just have them contact the Beaufort Observer. We have a wheelchair equipped van. Now,Robert,Ed & Jerry,what's your excuse?

    Southside Coffee Club
  6. reply print email
    A phony
    January 10, 2013 | 12:07 PM

    Commissioner Klemm just exposed what is wrong with the present day Republican Party. Two years ago Klemm voted against the Voter ID Resolution. In doing so he was in opposition to the actions of Republicans in the NC Senate and NC House. He was in lock-step with Democratic Governor Purdue, the Democrats in the NC House and Senate and with the Democrats on the Beaufort County Commission. He even used the same arguments as the Democrats at that time: He didn't want to disenfranchise voters.

    Now, he is still in opposition to the Republican resolution from the Board favoring a voter identification card. His 2013 explanation is that Commissioner Deatherage's resolution, written in resolution form, didn't "flow" as well as his own resolution written in quasi-resolution form. This is gibberish. He just refuses to work with the Republicans on the Board. His actions display a disgusting level of personal pettiness.

    Let's be honest: The only reason Klemm wrote his own resolution is because the bill will now certainly be passed in Raleigh with a Republican governor to go along with Republican majorities. More importantly, Klemm is up for re-election in two years! He's got to start looking a little bit like a Republican. This Democrat on the Board has to face a Republican primary in two years!

    Petty, immature, rude, disingenuous politicians like Klemm in the Republican Party are the best weapons the Democrats have.

    J.P. Jones
  7. reply print email
    These Democrats take the cake
    January 10, 2013 | 01:46 PM

    You have to have a photo ID to go to the doctor for cryin out loud. It is stupid to suggest that there is anyone who can't get to the DMV to have their picture made. If they can't they are not going to be voting. We all know what they're saying: anybody we can drag to the polls should be able to vote as long as they vote the way we tell them. Call it what it is: fraud.

    Rachel
  8. reply print email
    I'll tell you why Klemm did what he did
    January 10, 2013 | 01:57 PM

    Yes, he needs attention. He is afflicted with a very insecure personality. He was simply trying to get credit for something by running and jumping into the head of the parade.
    Little Man Syndrome. You decide what's little other then his thinking.

    Bill Price
  9. reply print email
    Klemm's petty behavior
    January 10, 2013 | 02:44 PM

    The resolution that I wrote, in a resolution format, was basically the same resolution that I wrote 1 1/2 years ago with just a couple of paragraph changes, including one mistake (I meant to the word 'wrest' instead of 'wring', so possibly Klemm is partially right).

    Klemm voted against the first resolution then because of the usual Democrat disenfranchise argument (Mr. Jones's comments are right, I suspect on all counts), and not because it was so poorly written.

    I have written probably more than 50 resolutions in my more than 16 years as a commissioner, and this was the first time a fellow commissioner has ever made such a public point of questioning my abilities to express a salient opinion of fact.

    But once again, Klemm is a very odd fellow indeed. For some reason, he really works extremely hard at projecting that image.

    My thanks once again to Hood for reading my resolution. I had just gotten my voice back that morning (I had that same crud that has been going around), and was most concerned about losing it again before the meeting expired.



    Stan Deatherage
  10. reply print email
    Klemm's petty behavior
    January 10, 2013 | 02:44 PM

    The resolution that I wrote, in a resolution format, was basically the same resolution that I wrote 1 1/2 years ago with just a couple of paragraph changes, including one mistake (I meant to use the word 'wrest' instead of 'wring;, so possibly Klemm is partially right).

    Klemm voted against the first resolution then because of the usual Democrat disenfranchise argument (Mr. Jones's comments are right, I suspect on all counts), and not because it was so poorly written.

    I have written probably more than 50 resolutions in my more than 16 years as a commissioner, and this was the first time a fellow commissioner has ever made such a public point of questioning my abilities to express a salient opinion of fact.

    But once again, Klemm is a very odd fellow indeed. For some reason, he really works extremely hard at projecting that image.

    My thanks once again to Hood for reading my resolution. I had just gotten my voice back that morning (I had that same crud that has been going around), and was most concerned about losing it again before the meeting expired.



    Stan Deatherage
  11. reply print email
    To receive a SS check
    January 10, 2013 | 04:15 PM

    you need a picture ID, to cash a check at the bank you need a picture ID.
    Why people cannot get an ID? what is really going on...what they are afraid of?

    Crystal Clear
  12. reply print email
    He is Chairman's pet
    January 10, 2013 | 04:16 PM

    Poor old Al (the RINO) Klemm.He started out as a BUTT-HOLE and just grew bigger!

    Confederate Soldier
  13. reply print email
    Ninety Second Turn Around
    January 10, 2013 | 04:38 PM

    The point of Commissioner Klemm's resolution was to place himself in the position of being able to boast that he is the author of Beaufort County's photo ID resolution.

    Actually, all he has done is establish that he cooperated with the Democrats in opposing the original draft of the resolution, then abandoned the Democrats when the opportunity to grab at his own personal advancement presented itself. There is absolutely nothing to be admired in either of his self contradictory votes.

    It is yet another example of chameleon politics by Beaufort County's own Eddie Haskell.

    Warren Smith
  14. reply print email
    Hey Stan
    January 10, 2013 | 04:46 PM

    What inquiring minds want to know is whether Klemm contacted you before the meeting about his concerns about the wording in your resolution? And if he did have concerns and did not call you before the meeting, what does that say about his motives?

    Walter
  15. reply print email
    Klemm between meetings
    January 10, 2013 | 05:49 PM

    In his 6 years as a commissioner, I can't remember Klemm ever contacting me between meetings.

    I'm not so sure Klemm talks to Republicans at all, between meetings, except for his cronies, and I'm not so sure that qualifies.

    I'm convinced Klemm was simply seeking some status point, with his RINO contemporaries, by publicly embarrassing me, which I assure you is impossible. I mean its Klemm.

    Who could truly take this guy seriously; however, this guy is elected, and his vote counts as much as mine, Hood's, and therein lies his ability to be destructive to the future of Beaufort County

    Stan Deatherage
  16. reply print email
    one additional observation
    January 10, 2013 | 06:40 PM

    Regarding the voter ID issue, we clearly see that Commissioner Belcher embraces liberal Democrat views and I think his time on the Commission will expose those views even further. Commissioner Klemm's behavior is the most obvious example of political buffoonery I've ever observed on this or previous Boards.

    Steadfast Conservative
  17. reply print email
    Good to see....
    January 11, 2013 | 01:57 PM

    Commissioner Brinn take Belcher to task on his argument that some can't get rides to get ID cards but certainly do to go vote. Liberal Democrats are absolutely scared to death of this legislation. They could care less about disenfranchising anyone. Its about power.

    Also very nice to see in many of the swing states like Florida and Ohio many precincts had over 120% voter turnout. Klemm was right about elections being certified before validation is completed.

    My opinion is voter ID is essential and early voting is just to long. I beleive the constitution of the country and state address this and I believe election day should be the only day of voting. But as a realist this isn't changing. Early voting is here to stay but needs to be addressed on the lenght of time its allowed.

    Also anyone can get an absentee ballot and vote without any reason being presented. Didn't used to be that way.

    A voter
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