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Election 2004

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Now It’s Ridge’s Turn.

Following in the footsteps of Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Press Secretary Scott McClellan, former Department of Homeland Security head Tom Ridge becomes the latest ex-Bushie to pen a troubling tell-all: The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege…and How We Can Be Safe Again.

According to US News: “Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was ‘blindsided’ by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.” Good of you to bring this all up years down the pike, Gov. Ridge — truly a profile in courage.

The GOP’s Finest.

“It was a running joke that some of the new faces were 25- to 32-year-old males asking, ‘First name, last name?'” A front-page story in today’s NYT discloses that the NYPD spied on possible RNC protesters for over a year before the 2004 convention, including several unlikely candidates — such as Billionaires for Bush — for anything other than lawful political protest. “‘The police have no authority to spy on lawful political activity, and this wide-ranging N.Y.P.D. program was wrong and illegal,’ Mr. Dunn [of the ACLU] said. ‘In the coming weeks, the city will be required to disclose to us many more details about its preconvention surveillance of groups and activists, and many will be shocked by the breadth of the Police Department’s political surveillance operation.’

Diebold Redux.

“We…know that Bush ‘won’ Ohio by 51-48%, but statewide results were not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400 absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of the vote. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio the number of recorded votes was more than 93,000 greater than the number of registered voters. More importantly national exit polls showed Kerry winning in 2004. However, It was only in precincts where there were no paper trails on the voting machines that the exit polls ended up being different from the final count.None dare call it stolen? A new report by Pomona professor Dennis Loo offers considerable evidence that election 2004 witnessed more GOP monkey business than has been previously reported in the mainstream press.

Praise Be to Dubya.

“During the presidential election last year, Chandler told the congregation that anyone who planned to vote for the Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), should either leave the church or repent.” Chan Chandler, a N.C. Baptist minister puts pandering for Dubya above saving souls, a decision which would likely serve him in good stead among Rick Scarborough’s “Patriot Pastors,” a Christian Right group now mobilizing the zealots for the coming filibuster fight. Update: Chandler claims “a misunderstanding.”

The Final Tally.

The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate reported yesterday that more than 122 million people voted in the November election, a number that translates into the highest turnout — 60.7 percent — since 1968.” The Dems didn’t do so hot that year, either, but then we had Tet, Chicago, and the murders of both RFK and MLK. How are we going to answer for 2004? Also, “[t]he report noted that although turnout reached new heights, more than 78 million Americans who were eligible to vote stayed home on Election Day. The group estimated that Bush won just 30.8 percent of the total eligible voters.

The Elephant in the Room.

In a positive sign for more Congressional feistiness this next term, Dems force a two-hour debate over voting irregularities in Ohio. (Unlike in 2001 — as featured in the opening of Fahrenheit 9/11 — the House Dems found a Senate backer this time in Barbara Boxer. For his part, Kerry took a pass.) The GOP may chalk it up to simple sour grapes, but Congress desperately needs to talk about these issues: The American voting infrastructure was an international embarrassment in 2000 — that we had four years to solve the problem and didn’t speaks even worse of our self-appointed role as exemplars of democracy. If we can handle millions of ATM transactions every day, complete with paper trail, then surely we can do the same for millions of votes one Tuesday in November.

The Mythical Maverick.

Content to play the iconoclast again now that election 2004 is over, John McCain calls out the Bush administration on global warming. Too little, too late, Mr. Senator…given the water you carried for the Bushies this last cycle, your free-fall on the Murphometer at this point looks permanent.

Value$-added.

Values, schmalues. Rick Perlstein suggests in the Village Voice that, in the end, Election 2004 came down to GOP avarice.

The Diebold Difference?

From Boing Boing and the AP: “A computer error with a voting machine cartridge gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna [Ohio] precinct. Franklin County’s unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry’s 260 votes in Precinct 1B. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.” Hmmm…I for one don’t think it’s feasible that the entirety of Dubya’s winning popular vote margin is manufactured. (Right now, I’m more inclined to side with Jane Smiley and the Brits.) But factor in Greg Palast’s discussion of Ohio chads to the equation and, I’ll admit, one starts to wonder.

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