During World War II, American soldiers in the Pacific listened to Radio Tokyo and other English-language programs on Japanese-run stations.
Servicemen wrote home that “Tokyo Rose,” who actually was an amalgam of several female broadcasters, played American music and taunted them in a seductive voice about wives or girlfriends cheating on them.
A case against Japanese-American Iva Toguri D’Aquino as Tokyo Rose eventually fell apart, leading President Ford to pardon her on Jan. 19, 1977. “Tokyo Rose” became synonymous with propaganda designed to demoralize.
In fact, she’s an apt metaphor for the current propaganda campaign of misleading polls and pundits who claim President Obama is coasting to victory.
“Give up now,” she soothingly coos. “It’s all over but the counting. Barack Obama is a shoo-in. That rich, insensitive Mitt Romney? Not a chance.”
For weeks, polls have shown Mr. Obama in the lead, especially in battleground states such as Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Maybe he is; maybe he isn’t. In 1980, most polls right through October had incumbent President Jimmy Carter up by a few points over Ronald Reagan. On Oct. 26, Gallup had Mr. Carter up by 3 points. On Oct. 30, The Washington Post had Mr. Carter up by 4 points. The New York Times proclaimed it a dead heat on Election Day. Ronald Reagan beat Mr. Carter in a landslide.
Canny political veterans like Dick Morris are warning us that these so-called scientific polls are weighted toward Democrat respondents and that a more objective count would paint a different picture.
Many polls seem to defy common sense. A Washington Post telephone survey released this week claims more registered voters in Florida (49 percent) trust Mr. Obama “to do a better job of dealing with the federal budget deficit” than Mr. Romney (45 percent).
Under Mr. Obama, federal debt has soared by an astounding $6 trillion. If and when Obamacare fully blooms, it will be trillions more. Do these voters really think Mr. Obama is the fiscal hawk in this race?
Sixty-one percent in Ohio say Mr. Obama would do a better job “dealing with social issues like abortion and gay marriage.” In 2004, 62 percent of Ohio voters approved a marriage amendment. Ohio has a large Catholic population, many of whom are appalled by Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional order to Catholic hospitals to provide abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations. Who’s answering the phone?
All 32 states that have voted on marriage — including ultraliberal Oregon and California — have strongly backed the real thing. In 2008, Mr. Obama insisted that he believed marriage was the union of a man and a woman. Now he says he can’t tell the difference. Won’t this bother some people?
Other polls report double-digit leads for Mr. Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Electoral College maps on some sites indicate that he needs just 15 more electoral votes to wrap up the election.
“Give up now, G.I.!” whispers the Tokyo Rose media. Don’t believe it. The presidential debates haven’t even commenced.
While busy trying to demoralize Republicans, the same media frequently air unexamined claims by liberals that voter ID laws “suppress” the minority vote. From Al Sharpton to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., hustlers are playing this race card with wild abandon. They know Tokyo Rose won’t question them.
In 2008 and 2010, with photo ID laws in place, minority participation increased in Indiana and Georgia. So what do the ID-phobic activists offer as contrary evidence?
In 2006, the left-wing Brennan Center at New York University published a junk-science report, “Citizens Without Proof.” That’s the big gun. Based on a single phone survey of 987 people, the report claims that 21 million voting-age Americans lack a photo ID, including 25 percent of blacks. Heritage Foundation scholars Hans von Spakovsky and Alex Ingram demolish the report in their paper, “Without Proof: The Unpersuasive Case Against Voter Identification.”
According to the Brennan Center, 1 in every 4 adult black Americans cannot drive, cash a check, buy beer or do anything else requiring an ID. If you believe that, I have some choice land for sale in the Great Dismal Swamp.
A new charge against voter ID laws is that they’ll cause chaos. “It’s a possibility of a complete meltdown for the election,” said Daniel A. Smith, University of Florida political scientist, to the Associated Press. That’s because states allow provisional ballots for people without proper IDs who can return in a few days with proof. In a close election, this could be problematic.
Well, OK. One solution would be to dispense with provisional ballots, except for invalids. Is it too much to ask voters to bring an ID? If they can’t manage that, why would we want them choosing our lawmakers?
For a different reason — the possibility of fraud — we should all worry about delays in counting, so it would be good to vote early.
Noting that the 2000 election hinged for weeks on vote counts in Florida, John Fund, co-author with Mr. von Spakovsky of the book “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” (Encounter, 2012), told C-SPAN’s “Book TV” that in 2012, “we could have five, six or seven ‘Floridas.’ “
In Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing to prevent Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from adding to the ballot application a yes/no question: “Are you a United States citizen?”
The ACLU says the question should be removed, partly because it could cause long lines in November. Why? How long could it take? If you’re not a citizen, why are you there — unless you want to vote illegally?
From hyping skewed polls to airing unfounded claims about voter ID laws, Tokyo Rose is alive and well, trying her best to suppress the “wrong” voters.
Pay no attention to that crazy lady but only to the one who doesn’t sing until the votes are counted.
Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.