Behind the two key players of 2012’s Presidential Election, incumbent Barack Obama and nominee Mitt Romney, are legions of followers and workers who stage the whole thing, who set up the issues, process the sound bites, and make the event into a national ritual, a sort of sacred process by which each of us participates in protecting his rights and freedoms. Of greater and greater importance in this pageantry are lawyers. No sincere presidential candidate could make a convincing attempt at office without an elite lawyer heading an army of lawyers to negotiate and situate his interests in the procession. Ever since the attempt at a recount in Bush’s 2000 election, the legal aspect of electioneering has become all-important.
Romney’s leading Lawyer is Benjamin Ginsberg, who was legal counsel for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000 and 2004. Obama’s leading lawyer is Robert Bauer, who has served as White house counsel and fought against Republican voting law gambits.
Ginsberg said in 2004 “The truth is, there are very few lawyers who work in this area.”
As Reuters reported, Ginsberg and Bauer have been called “the Bobbsey Twins” by Joe Allbaugh, Bush’s campaign manger in 2000, for their “legal adventures.”
What sorts of adventures are the twins after? They arranged the three presidential debates and the one vice president debate. Bauer has taken on Karl Rove over the legitimacy of American Crossroads, a conservative advocacy group that may be abusing their right to unlimited funding of “social welfare organizations” that do not directly support a candidate. Bauer has also had to slay Republican laws that would hamper voting requirements, such as photo IDs or ending early voting in Ohio, a key state to this election, which if passed would bar working-class voters to use, due to their working schedule, early voting.
What began in 2000 with the challenge for a recount, which the Supreme Court denied, letting Bush win by 537 votes, has set the tone for a new era of politics: a quiet and active army of lawyers works behind the scenes to set things in place and keep each other in check.