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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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Did you ever see this quote from Bush:

George W. Bush said this:

"Because the all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."--George W. Bush, explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

For more Bushisms, see http://www.slate.com/id/76886/

And let us remember that not only were the Democrats unable to defeat this walking nightmare, but he also received more votes than anyone else in the history of this country.

He might have received the most votes ever. There is some question as to the legitimacy of the 2004 elections. And the 2000 election was a coup.

No doubt about 2000--Gore received more votes in that election (nationwide and almost certainly also in Florida) and should have been president, and Bush's first term was entirely illegitimate.

But I just don't buy (or even browse) that argument for 2004. First, I believe in democracy, and so I believe in the popular vote, and so I believe that Bush legitimately deserved to assume the office of president no matter what happened in Ohio. Second, disputing a 537-vote difference in Florida is (literally) several orders of magnitude different from disputing a 118,601-vote difference in Ohio--so much so that I'd put efforts to do the latter in the "alternate realities" genre of science fiction. Finally, we're talking about a difference of 3 million votes nationally (62 million for Bush vs. 59 million for Kerry), and I haven't heard even the most unreconstructed "Kerry won in 2004" boosters arguing that that difference can be explained entirely as a result of evil Republican machinations (though I wouldn't put it past Harvey Wasserman, so maybe I just missed it).

If you do know of an argument somewhere that says that Bush actually lost the popular vote in 2004 to Kerry (as opposed to just losing Ohio), I'd be interested to see it.

Interesting that Bush introduced Abbas as the head of the PLO - first because there isn't a Palestinian state for him to be the head of, and second, because he can't even claim to be a legitimate representative of a Palestinian "entity", since Hamas won the elections (although not Ohio). The closest historical analogy I can imagine would be peace talks on the deck of the Battleship Missouri between General Tojo representing the Empire of Japan and Wendell Willkie representing the Republican Party. Or how about General Lee negotiating an armistice with General George McClellan, representative of the Democratic Party?

You might read this article: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen

Here is an excerpt:

"But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio's Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)"

Much of Kennedy's article is about Ohio, but he reports that the exit polls across the country were way off, in a way they never had been before.

Here is another excerpt:

'The lone news anchor who seriously questioned the integrity of the 2004 election was Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. I asked him why he stood against the tide. ''I was a sports reporter, so I was used to dealing with numbers,'' he said. ''And the numbers made no sense. Kerry had an insurmountable lead in the exit polls on Election Night -- and then everything flipped.'' Olbermann believes that his journalistic colleagues fell down on the job. ''I was stunned by the lack of interest by investigative reporters,'' he said. ''The Republicans shut down Warren County, allegedly for national security purposes -- and no one covered it. Shouldn't someone have sent a camera and a few reporters out there?'''

Mark

Thanks--that's certainly an exhaustive reference. I don't think there's much doubt that the Republicans are (and have been) engaged in dirty tricks around elections, as Greg Palast has documented. I just don't think it would have been enough to account for the difference of 3 million votes.

Also, one of the key points in my mind is that all of the people who've spent so much time investigating and documenting election abuses by the Republicans are completely absent when it comes to investigating and documenting the numerous abuses the Democrats committed in trying to balk Nader's candidacy in 2004. This doesn't negate what they're saying about the 2004 elections, but it does reveal their partisan stance. I doubt that they'd care about disenfranchisement if it were happening to Republican voters, just as they don't seem to care what their party did to Nader voters in 2004.

It's definitely true that elections in this country are seriously broken, though, and I'd agree that we'll never know what the real totals for 2004 (or 2000) were.

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