Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Jane Galt takes Jimmy Carter to task for suggesting that Florida could use some international inspectors to ensure a fair and open elections takes place in November. This "suggestion" is fairly representative of her argument:
If you are going to express outrage at the Republican-controlled machine's abuse of the felon purge lists, you might want to display some token outrage at the at least equally abusive Democratic drive to register people such as illegal aliens and, oh convicted felons, who are not legally allowed to vote. Surely, in your time as an election observer, you have seen that letting people vote too many times disenfranchises legitimate voters every bit as much as not letting them vote in the first place. Failing to address both sorts of fraud might give people the erroneous idea that you care less about fairness than about Winning One For the (Democratic) Team.
She also notes that John Henke raises similar questions about consistency:
In Ohio? Not so much.

The state of Ohio is stepping in to investigate possible voter fraud in Summit County. ... More than 800 voter registration cards in Summit County are under investigation, NewsChannel5 reported.
The Board of Elections said the voter registration cards in question are for addresses that don?t exist, spelling mistakes or have similar handwriting. Fifty of those questionable cards apparently came from the AFL-CIO central office in Cleveland, WEWS reported.

Hands up if you know which major party an AFL-CIO Union is likely to support.

For bonus point, try to find a story in which Jimmy Carter gives this 1/10th the attention he has given a Florida felon list that was old news two months ago.

This is all well and good if one is interesting in scoring (or rebutting) partisan points. But there is, I think, a deeper issue here. A significant chunk of the electorate still hasn't accepted the outcome of the 2000 election as is indicated by "selected, not elected," "re-defeat Bush," "stole the election" etc. Here's a recent example of this type of rhetoric:
It was the year 2000, and Democrats were running on a record of peace and prosperity stewarded by the capable, if morally imperfect, Bill Clinton. It was a race that should have been won by their candidate, Al Gore. In fact, it was won by Al Gore, but the Rightwing Noise Machine kept it close enough to be stolen by the Republicans and their allies at the supreme court.
To be sure, had the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gore, many Bush supporters would have been screaming the same types of things about Gore. The author of this book screamed about it despite the fact that Gore lost! I find this kind of rhetoric to be troubling and potentially dangerous. 2000 ended in a tie, but it was a tie broken by normal, established (albeit hotly contested) institutional and political procedures. "Selected not elected" rhetoric challenges the legitimacy of those procedures. If enough people lose faith in the system, there isn't much left to prop it up. Should this election be as closely contested, I fear for the repercussions. I have pretty much made my mind up to hold my nose and vote for Bush. But I would far more welcome a Kerry landslide than a 2000-style Florida debacle. Whatever the case, whoever wins will be my president for the next four years. Peace.

UPDATE: Similar but far more eloquent expressions of this sentiment can be read here.

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