|29 November 2000|
Apparently the Republican party-line response to the assaults in Florida is, "Gosh, I didn't see anything like that on videotape (so it didn't happen). And no one was arrested (and we all know all criminals are always caught immediately, so, again: it didn't happen)." Printed news reports from at least three different newspapers seemed to carry no weight with high-ranking Republicans, it was all just "deny, deny, deny".
Yeah, I've got your Party of Personal Responsibility right here...
This one's worth reading in its entirety:
- Do-Unto-Others Politics by William Raspberry [Washington Post]
I'm starting to think that it is a natural imperative of human beings to ascribe good motives to themselves and more sinister ones to their opponents.
...we can think rationally about principles [for a just society] only if we do not know how they would, in practice, affect our individual and group interests. ... To put the matter in electoral terms: What sort of election rules would you advocate -- and what solution to the present controversy would you support -- if a "veil of ignorance" kept you from knowing whether your proposals would benefit your candidate or his opponent?
It goes well with this excellent E.J. Dionne column from a week ago:
- Republicans On the Attack [Washington Post]
...the efforts of Republicans to delegitimize Al Gore's insistence on a hand recount in a very close election ... [involve] turning a matter of immediate convenience into an issue of high doctrine. People who never had a single thought about what hand recounts do or don't mean have suddenly discovered they hold unshakable principles on the subject.
They now rhapsodize about the virtues of machines and computers in comparison with living, breathing, thinking human beings. Never mind that state laws (in Texas, for example) and Republican candidates have long leaned on hand recounts to validate what voters actually intended.
Once again, Republicans are underestimating the effect of their inflammatory rhetoric and their willingness to push matters to the limit, and beyond. What's said and done now will not be forgotten in six months, or in a year -- or in four years.
The whole back-and-forth between the parties in the past few weeks reminds me most of junior high school, where nobody thought through their arguments very far, they just knew that they were unshakably right no matter how much evidence might be introduced to the contrary, and that the other guy's perspective was worse than worthless.
So. In the interest of being Fair in my comments: I wondered where the Republicans were who would decry the violence in Miami. I still haven't run across any, but now the tables are turned and a Democratic crowd has assaulted the child of a Bush supporter:
- Bush-Gore Divisiveness Claims a Corner [Washington Post]
But for a scuffle Sunday in which a 13-year-old boy heading home from the Bush corner crossed to the Gore side and took a punch in the gut, this standoff has been peaceful...
Nothing excuses behavior like that, and no Democrat or Republican should be assaulting anyone, let alone children. It should not happen again.
That said, there is a qualitative difference between the two incidents; the Democratic Party was not telling the crowd to 'stop them' or 'shut them down'; the Republican Party was behind the organized attack in Miami.
Tom Daschle and Richard Gephardt made an interesting point Monday; I wonder if it's true. Supposedly, due to the Freedom of Information Act, the disputed Florida ballots will be available after all this is over for someone, likely an academic, to inspect and count. So, months from now, there will be a full count. I imagine they'll even split the totals up into 'dimpled chad', 'swinging chad', etc., so that one could see the effects of different methods of counting.
What happens if it shows that there were more votes for Gore if a different (but still legal) standard had been used and if enough time had been given for a recount?
Some folks have been reaching my site by searching on the terms "jew David Boies". Makes you wonder what they're after, and why.
(The search engine ranks me because I mentioned Joe Lieberman's religion the same day I pointed to an article on the Napster case.)
Bush did not seem terribly engaged in his speech Sunday, and he certainly didn't seem to have written any part of it; the teleprompter seemed to be in control, not him.
I have a feeling 'puppet' will be a common word here for the next four years.
Sunday, James Baker III characterized Gore's contesting of the election as unprecedented (which is true) and therefore bad (which doesn't exactly follow), as though the law that provided for the contest were never meant to be used.
If the option of contesting an election is never supposed to be exercised, why is it spelled out in the law?
If it's wrong to contest an election with this sort of nano-margin, what sort of election would it be proper to contest?
(Yes, yes, nano- = one billionth. I know the margin's not that small. I was exaggerating. For effect.)
Michael Kinsley effectively takes on another angle of the Bush condemnation of the contest:
- No Contest - The most outrageous Bush argument yet [Slate]
The right to "contest" an election result after certification was central to every legal argument the Bush side made to get them to their Sunday evening triumph. It was the very reason Secretary of State Katherine Harris said she needed to enforce a strict deadline for certification. ... Her briefs criticized Gore for raising issues before certification instead of waiting until afterward, where they belonged. Briefs for George W. Bush endorsed these arguments.
...now Gore is being told he should be ashamed of asserting the right of which Bush and Harris were so solicitous lo, these many days ago.
Of course [Baker] and the Bush sound-bite brigade are implying or outright saying that Gore's decision not to give up is a lot worse than "inappropriate." How does he - how do they - do it with a straight face? The answer must be: the same way you get to Carnegie Hall.
So yeah, you can and should point to various Democratic disingenuousness, but from here I'd say the Republicans' lies are rather bigger and more numerous.
Finally, an instructive look at the contrast between the happy-talk, high-minded Republican convention and the tactics they are using now.
- Jekyll and Hyde by Thomas Friedman [NY Times]
The Republican strategy has been consistent. Every Florida official, judge and canvassing board has been given a choice: Either rule for Governor Bush or be labeled as illegitimate. ... When pro- Bush Florida officials tilt decisions his way, the G.O.P. says they're just following the law. when pro-Gore county election boards tilt decisions his way, they're accused by the Bush team of hijacking the election.
This is conservatism without compassion, and it's precisely the sort of nastiness that Americans came to detest about the Republicans during the government shutdown and impeachment trial, which forced the G.O.P. to draft a kinder, gentler candidate. So much for that. Any party that is ready to win this way will, in the crunch, rule this way.
So, Bush voters: is this the Republican party you thought you were voting for?
George W. Bush was pretending to be President last night. They pretended to count the votes, they pretended that he won Florida, now he's pretending to be president until something else happens. ... so, this is George last night, pretending to thank America for pretending to vote for him.
-- David Letterman introducing a clip of Bush, Monday 27 Nov 2000