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25 November 2000


"I guess these socialist morons don't get it - yet. So far the only thing anybody is doing is exercising 1st Amendment rights. We have 9 more Constitutional amendments to work through - and the 2nd Amendment is next."
-- From a typical Free Republic thread, The extreme leftist socialist [sic] are demanding the protesters shut up and go away.

The mob tactics the Republicans are resorting to in Florida are cause for serious alarm. To preserve their slim lead in the current count, the Republicans are bypassing the court system and crossing some very important lines.

Brought to my attention by Lyn, Phil Agre is collecting lots of pointers to news about the attacks:

  • Florida recount [Red Rock Eater Digest]
    As election workers sat counting votes, a mob screamed outside, pounded on furniture, tried to force its way into the building, surrounded a Democratic Party official, knocked two television cameramen to the ground, and kicked and punched several people, including a Democratic spokesman as he attempted to hold a news conference.

    ABC News ... reports that the riot in Miami "was an organized Republican Party protest, run by 75 party operatives out of a headquarters in a motor home". One operative claimed that they were there to help the media. But, ABC News reports, "they also got directly involved in leading demonstrations..."

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a United States Congressman explicitly ordered a gang to attack the offices of an election commission with the express purpose of shutting down the counting of votes in a presidential election.

Another interesting take:

  • Mad as Hell by Robert Wright [Slate]
    Conservatives are an angrier group than liberals. It's conservatives, after all, who have Rush Limbaugh. Liberals sometimes mourn the absence of a left-wing Limbaugh, as if this void signified a spiritual energy crisis. I personally think it's a sign of mental health.

    Yes, yes, I'm aware of how many Democrats are as incapable as many Republicans of seeing an opponent's point of view, of putting themselves in the shoes of The Other. The extremes of any ideology will always be a bit off-kilter. But the fact is that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who depend on a sizeable bloc of voters whose defining characteristic is heated intolerance of people different from themselves (e.g., homosexuals).

Anybody who thinks the 'mental health' crack goes way too far, check out the posts at What kind of people are these? Paranoid, certainly. Immature, definitely. Also clearly in need of some practice in the English language, though I'm sure they're all fairly convinced that English should be America's only language; the irony is probably lost on them.

At some point, I wonder if this will reach the "have you no shame?"/Joe McCarthy level where the public will turn firmly against the type of tactics that the Republicans are supporting in Florida.

Maybe I have too much faith in my fellow Americans, though. Where are the Republicans discouraging violence? Where are the statesmen? Jack Danforth, Howard Baker, Gerald Ford, Daddy Bush, Colin Powell, John McCain, do you support kicking and assaulting and threatening elected officials until they do what your side wants?

Hell, why doesn't Governor "Uniter" call for peaceful protests?

And where are the ordinary, decent members of the Republican party? I know they exist; I know some. How can half the country sit silently by while their party raises the stakes to include people's personal safety? Is it a belief that it's no worse than what the Democrats are doing? Please, people, look again.

Question: Did any "psychics" predict something like the current presidential tie? If so, let's hear more from him/her. We probably would have heard about it by now if one did...

Looking ahead to the next elections:

  • Corporations Will Pay Big For Race In '02 by Robert Reno [Newsday]
    Absent campaign reform, which Bush has no stomach for and which will take place only over the stiff and putrefying body of Sen. Mitch McConnell, corporate America must brace itself. In the 2002 election, pressure from both parties to cough up enough money to secure more effective majorities in Congress is going to be excruciating. And in 2004, with both parties famished for the rich spoils of an untarnished presidency, things'll really get expensive.

I wish the networks had cameras pointed at the observers of the Broward County recount in addition to the cameras showing the counters. What were Christine Todd Whitman and Mark Racicot saying?

On MSNBC, Paul Begala asked Oklahoma's Republican Governor Frank Keating whether he would condemn the violence in Florida. Keating avoided answering the question and Begala couldn't pin him down.

Words fail me.

More stories:

  • Rain Chases Protesters Away From 2 Canvassing Boards [NY Times]
    On Military Trail, the main road that runs in front of the sprawling Emergency Operations Center, a single, bedraggled demonstrator in military rain gear stood with a limp sign that read: "Bush or Revolution."

    The word "Revolution" was drawn to resemble dripping blood.
  • Democrats call for federal investigation [Salon]
    [from the petition:] "Scores of noisy demonstrators engulfed the counting floors ... yelling and some pounding on the doors and windows ... Democratic personnel were physically assaulted within yards of the vote counting."

Assault is not speech.

What country is this?

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