Thursday, November 9, 2000
(Note from 10-28-08 - After 1996, when my heart was broken a second time by North Carolina’s willingness to re-elect a hatemonger like Jesse Helms over a dynamic, progressive challenger like Harvey Gantt, I was burned out on grassroots organizing. For the next few years, I took a break from politics and sat out the 2000 elections. In the closing weeks of that race, I woke up and realized I’d made a big mistake. I will forever regret not having been involved in trying to turn Florida blue, the state that decided the entire election, where one of my political mentors was on contract that fall registering black voters. In fact, I think I was personally, uniquely positioned to have made a difference in Florida, if only I had put two and two together. But that’s another story.
Once the election was over, I wasn’t under any illusion that Al Gore would take advice in an e-mail from some random knucklehead, but I was pissed off enough about how things went down to send it to him anyway. Which was probably evident by my liberal use of exclamation points. As things turned out, Al fought the good fight, but he fell short by the five Supreme Court votes that ultimately shut down the Florida recount and installed George W. Bush as the most illegitimate U.S. President of the modern era.)
When they finish the recount this afternoon, don’t concede! Even if Bush is still ahead by 1,000 votes or whatever.
You won! You won the popular vote, and you won Florida, fair and square. With a margin separating you from victory of only 1,000 or so votes, there is hard, incontrovertible evidence that voters in at least one county, Palm Beach County, cast more than 20,000 ballots for you that (a) weren’t counted or (b) were mistakenly counted for Buchanan. So even assuming there’s a huge flood of overseas ballots still to arrive and George Bush might pick up another 5,000 (unlikely since in '96 there were only 2,300 and just 54% of them were for Dole), you would still have won Florida if the people’s will was respected.
The evidence is plain enough for the majority of voters nationwide to support whatever legal challenges have to be mounted in order to make sure the people’s will in Palm Beach County (and Osceola County and anywhere else where the same kinds of misleading ballots were used) is respected.
Whoever sees the ballots used will come to the same conclusion! I saw one on the internet yesterday, from the Sun-Sentinel, but today copies were re-printed in other newspapers around the country. Thank God Florida’s initial results are getting nationwide scrutiny, because it’s outrageous!
The Gore-Lieberman ticket was listed second, but voters had to punch the third hole! If voters punched the second hole, they cast their votes for Pat Buchanan! It’s that simple! Anybody can understand it!
As soon as I heard that 19,000 votes in Palm Beach County alone had been invalidated, because they had been punched more than one time, I knew something rotten was about to go down. Now we’re not just talking about 3,400 disputed votes, the majority mistakenly cast for Buchanan (which he himself admitted this morning on the Today show were probably not cast for him, but were probably Gore-Lieberman votes), we’re talking about more than 20,000.
20,000 Americans denied their rightful votes! Outrage! Shame! The democratic process must be respected. If misleading ballots were used in a county, re-vote that county. A simple solution that a majority of voters nationwide would support.
The reason why you’re on firm political ground for not conceding until the legal challenges are settled is that you’re not crying vote fraud, although there’s obviously arguments to be made that minority voters were intimidated in various counties and apparently, there was an official tainted by past voter fraud convictions (GOP mayoral candidate Xavier Suarez) involved with the GOP’s absentee ballot efforts.
This is not 1960, these are no vague, hard-to-prove allegations of voter fraud that you’re making, like Nixon would have been forced to do, this is a very specific case of ballots in one or two counties out of 67 being poorly designed, subsequently misleading voters, and casting doubts about the validity of the entire process. In order to retain people’s confidence in the system, a re-vote is necessary.
Here’s the important part: it was an honest mistake! The fact that the elections chair who approved the ballot in Palm Beach County is a Democrat is a powerful argument IN YOUR FAVOR!
It proves you’re not accusing Bush of voter fraud by allowing citizens of Florida to push for a re-vote in Palm Beach County, you just realize that an honest mistake has been made that INADVERTANTLY disfranchised over 20,000 Florida voters!
Understand that the people will support you! It’s George W. Bush who looks like he’s trying to steal the election. The onus is on him to begin with, not you, because his brother runs the damn state! He’s the one who people already suspect is trying to thwart the will of the Republic. And when you win Florida, assuming Bush takes Oregon, if he then tries challenging results in Iowa and Wisconsin, he’ll really look like he’s trying to steal this election.
You ran a great race and totally deserved to win. You made your dad and mom and Nancy very proud. How ironic that the voters of Tennessee refused to put you over the top. And you did it by running as a real Democrat, sure, one with New Democrat credentials, but embracing rather than repudiating the party’s progressive heritage. Listening to your stump speeches in the closing days, it was clear to me and many others that Al Gore is the current standard bearer of the progressive movement in this country.
And you ran this great race and worked your heart out against all odds, while under attack from Nader on the left, facing a potent, flush with cash challenge from George W. Bush, and almost doomed from the start thanks to Bill Clinton and his conduct re Monica Lewinsky! Al, you are the man.
I can only hope you’ve already reached the same conclusions about this recount yourself, but I wanted to make sure you heard them from a fan with a perspective far removed from the campaign bunker.
Good luck, Al, and thanks again for fighting for America!
Chapel Hill, NC
Saturday, October 28, 2000
(If you know anybody who's seriously considering not voting for Al Gore over George W. Bush, e-mail this to them. Also forward it to any of your friends who are also concerned about waking up on November 8th to find another Bush in the White House, and tell them to pass it along to their friends, and so on. Don't let anyone tell you this isn't an important presidential election!)
>>Are you thinking about voting for George W. Bush over Al Gore? Well, here's good reasons to be skeptical about the charge, repeated endlessly by the Bush campaign, that you can't trust anything Al Gore says. Check out this recent column by Tom Teepen of the Cox News Service, showing how Al Gore's gotten a bum rap for being a serial exaggerator:
Gore the Untruthful - Is That So?
By Tom Teepen
Atlanta, October 19 - There's a concerted effort under way to discredit Al Gore with lurid claims that he's a serial liar, compulsive and even "pathological," according to that eminent clinical psychiatrist Rush Limbaugh.
This thing has been building for months, the ground prepared for a leap into the mainstream by busy Internet haw-hawing at Gore's supposed whoppers and by ridicule and retailed indignation on the political right's informal network of talk radio spielers.
The campaign itself is a lie.
Lord knows, Gore is a political exaggerator. In that, he is different only from the politicians who are not. Try to find one. Gore puts the best light on his accomplishments. He personalizes issues where the connection is strained. He can make a mountain out of a molehill on his own behalf. In a word, spin.
But ditto George W. Bush, who has a habit - disturbing, if you like - of claiming credit for successes in Texas he didn't initiate and for popular policies and legislation he had outright opposed.
The slander of Gore is rooted in a widely circulated list of supposed exaggerations so extreme they became routine fodder for comedians and armchair shrinks.
Gore claimed he invented the Internet; said he was the model for the young hero in the novel "Love Story"; pretended he discovered the toxic Love Canal; and said he labored on a farm, when everybody knows he's just a pampered prep school twit.
In point of fact, he never said he invented the Internet. He said, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." And he did just that. He was a crucial player - THE crucial player, many in the field say - in securing enabling legislation and funding for development of the Internet, one of the first in Washington to see the potential.
He never said he discovered Love Canal. Encouraging school kids to be interested in the environment, he recalled how he had learned about a toxic waste problem in his home state and then researched other, similar sites, including Love Canal, and held Congressional hearings on the issues. All true.
"Love Story" author Erich Segal has confirmed that the novel's Oliver Barrett was a mix of Gore and Gore's college roommate, the actor Tommy Lee Jones.
The Gore family had a working farm in Tennessee and it is common knowledge thereabouts that young Al worked the farm chores - and worked them hard - during summers, holidays and weekends.
All of this has been on the record for months but continues to be ignored by commentators who find the truth less useful than the tale of Gore the serial fibber.
And with Gore the Liar by then a set character, it was no trick to claim he lied when he said in the first debate that a Florida girl had to stand in school because of overcrowded classes. But the girl's father confirms the story and so does coverage, easily accessible, in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Now that he's been typecast, expect every Gore fumble to be cited in confirmation. The smear - and it's just that, built up in increments - has worked.
Tom Teepen is a columnist for Cox Newspapers.
A longer, more detailed article by Princton historian Sean Wilentz published last month in the American Prospect making the same argument can be found HERE. This article also presents detailed evidence that most of the supposed fundraising and other ethical "scandals" the Bush campaign has tried to pin on Al (including his attendance at the infamous Buddhist temple "fundraiser") are without merit.
Finally, here's two eye-opening columns by Molly Ivins, nationally syndicated columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who has observed George W. Bush up close and personal during his six years in office:
Bush Files An Odd Claim by Molly Ivins, October 19
The Unexamined Candidate by Molly Ivins, October 24
As Molly says, "Damned if I know why he's running. He is a nice fellow. I've always liked him. I like lots of people who I don't think should be President."
Even More Outrage via Leftweets.org