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Saturday, November 06, 2004
Election Fraud 2004 Current rating: 35
by Denny Burbeck
Email: dburbeck (nospam) 650dialup.com (unverified!) 03 Nov 2004
Another fine win by the Republicans.
It could be that the huge increase in voters in this election was because the American people like being lied to and deceived. It could be that the young vote came out to support an Administration that is sending their jobs off-shore, and sending the military to far flung
areas of the world where they are murdered almost daily by extremists.
Or it could be that the huge increase in voters was countered by an administration
who came to power by stealing the Florida election in 2000, and now has the ability
to skew electronic voting machines by hacking into the software that was left precariously
vulnerable by the manufacturers of the machines. Remember the Diebold CEO who stated
that he would do "everything in his power" to give Ohio to Bush?
The first report of one evening news show last night was on a woman in New Orleans that said she touched the Kerry box, but her machine recorded a Bush vote. But that wasn't enough. They also did the "Katherine Harris" DIRTY trick of denying democrats a ballot.....140,000 of them in Ohio. By the way, the 57,700 democrats in Florida that were denied a ballot in 2000 are still off the voting rolls and could not vote this year either. The freedom to cheat is George W's favorite freedom.
Another wonderful display of Democracy.
Another fine win Mr. President.
Friday, 05 November 2004
BlackBoxVoting.org Alleges Election Fraud
The organization BlackBoxVoting.org has taken the position that fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines. "We base this on hard evidence, documents obtained in public records requests, inside information, and other data indicative of manipulation of electronic voting systems. What we do not know is the specific scope of the fraud. We are working now to compile the proof, based not on soft evidence -- red flags, exit polls -- but core documents obtained by Black Box Voting in the most massive Freedom of Information action in history," the group said.[+]
"We need: Lawyers to enforce public records laws. Some counties have already notified us that they plan to stonewall by delaying delivery of the records. We need citizen volunteers for a number of specific actions. We need computer security professionals willing to GO PUBLIC with formal opinions on the evidence we provide, whether or not it involves DMCA complications. We need funds to pay for copies of the evidence," the group added.
A Menace to Democracy: Idiot Voters
Nov 6 2004 by Jim Bauman
DeadBrain reporter Ben Benito awoke at 4:00am on Election Day to ride along with the group Stop Obvious Stupidity (S.O.S.).
Just outside the "No Campaigning Up to This Point" sign, S.O.S. set up a video camera aimed at a polling place entrance in the town of Withering, Wyoming. "We do a special type of exit poll outside of hundreds of polling places across the nation," said Frank Chiles, Western regional coordinator for S.O.S. "We simply ask voters who they voted for and why."
Strolling towards us came a prim and proper middle-aged woman. She stared blankly into the camera and said in a singsong voice, "I voted for President Bush, because his wife's name is Laura, and my name is Laura."
"Bingo!" said Frank. "Ma'am, would you please follow me into the polling place, I think there's been a mistake." The woman reluctantly trailed behind Frank.
I asked Cameraman Bob what happens next. "He'll show the woman's video to the election judge, and explain that if she can't put together one short sentence regarding the political issues at stake as a reason for voting for one candidate versus another, then she should be unregistered. Frank usually wins unless he comes up against a Republican judge."
Next, a skinny, awkward fellow stepped up to the camera. "I, uh, voted for Bush, because I had some similar experiences as him. I once choked on a pretzel - threw up bile for a week. Yeah, and I fell off a bike once and landed with my face pressed against a storm drain grate. Oh, jeepers, I had long, wide, red lines on my face for a week. I feel his pain, you know what I mean?"
"Jackpot!" whispered Bob.
Later, an unshaven, potbellied man with a big cigar glared at the camera. "I voted for Bush, because I don't like how Kerry's wife looks."
"Full house!" declared Frank.
Later that morning, Frank said that he received a call from a colleague outside the polling place in Crawford, Texas. "A hubristic man there said he voted for himself because he looks 'more presidential'
The great American catastrophe: By putting Bush back in charge the US has abandoned freedom and equality - [Sunday Herald]
The great American catastrophe: By putting Bush back in charge the US has abandoned freedom and equality
Don’t be fooled by the daft, cheery photograph that always accompanies this column. I’m not smiling. I’ve only just stopped crying. Dark, dark days. How are we to face them? Trying to formulate any cool analytical essay on the utter catastrophe that the American people have visited upon the world seems pointless. There is simply too much pain in the air, too much to discuss, and most of it is a mere variant on cries of despair.
Contrary to a baffling column in last week’s Herald by my much admired colleague Iain Macwhirter, a man who consistently talks sense but in this instance seems to have had his dram spiked with a class A hallucinogenic drug, we are not “all Americans now”. We have never been further from being “all Americans now”, and far from the US being the “greatest democracy in the world”, given the corruption, deceits, religious and fiscal bullying of its campaigning and voting process, I think we can agree that it more closely resembles a pulsating, festering sore.
But as in the preamble to the war, the most insightful and revealing expressions of raw emotion and intellect have come not from our columnists and commentators, but from the general public in their letter writing to broadsheet newspapers. The Guardian’s experiment of asking readers to lobby residents of an American state by letter and e-mail, imploring them to vote down the village idiot and his legion of demons for the sake of the rest of the world, was rewarded by – somewhat predictably, given the smug nature of the project – the most extraordinary return of malice and contempt. We are all apparently nothing more than “Limey assholes” with bad teeth, and when Bush is done with the “bad guys” we’d better watch our asses or we’re next, etc, etc.
But happily, amongst the ignorant Jerry Springeresque bile there were other letters, gentle and moving pleas for understanding, highly intelligent personal philosophies that tried to explain America’s complex truths and simple evils. Dozens of grateful American citizens wrote, relieved that they were not alone in their loathing of the monstrous regime that is systematically destroying their once great country. And here too, throughout the UK press, readers have been expressing in print their anxious theories as to why the world is now trembling at the mercy of corrupt, self-serving, evil Christian fascists fighting corrupt, self-serving evil Islamic fascists. And while these intelligent, terrified letter-writers across the land try to talk it out, our increasingly imbecilic Prime Minister stands up in parliament, grinning like a punch-drunk ape, and makes a “joke” about congratulating the new President. Ha ha, laugh the recently bereaved families of the Black Watch soldiers, slaughtered in place of American servicemen so that the things that crawl beneath rocks could stay in the White House for another four years. Ho ho, chortle the Iraqi parents cradling the remains of their dead children. What a wag you are, Tony.
The tragedy is that voices of reason have not only been dealt a killer blow by the absence of a political leader in Britain to amplify their cries and fight their cause, but they have now officially lost their power altogether. The unspeakably brutal murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam this week, butchered by some neanderthal fundamentalist Muslim for daring to make a film about the abuse of Islamic women, highlighted how liberal tolerance has finally failed. The Dutch, traditionally one of the most libertarian and civilised of modern nations have been paid back by Allah for their wishy-washy beliefs. Take that, you pot-smoking, women-liberating, gay-loving infidels.
In such a case humanitarians, and all who cherish equality, may well have previously believed they had a champion in America, the land that cemented free speech and equality into its constitution. Why shouldn’t we? We have assumed for decades that they think like us, that The Land Of The Free would ride to the rescue against those who would murder to silence disquiet over religious oppression. But the living nightmare is that in the face of rising religious fascism, America has made itself in the image of its foe. The USA is now an equally decadent, divided and aggressive suppressor of free speech and equality, its citizens openly choosing to return to power an administration that mirrors its stone-age enemy, in the way it despises and fears women, planning to remove their rights to their own reproductive health, and in the way it hates its peaceful, law-abiding gay citizens for no other good reason than some psychopathic god tells them to.
‘Family values” are no longer Frank Capra’s vision of forgiveness and love but a middle America that practises self-protection, exclusion and superiority, that keeps its children ignorant with creationist dinosaur-denying claptrap and celebrates the indoctrination of hatred in the name of God. A film-maker friend in LA, bombarded with hundreds of obscene hate e-mails from red state evangelists for supporting stem cell research in California, tells of the new McCarthyism, where individuals and projects are trashed if they dare offend the religious right, or are deemed to be “un-American”, and yet this is the country that we trusted to help preserve all we hold dear in our secular, egalitarian civilisation.
So here we are now, the rapidly diminishing numbers of us who believe in freedom, peace, tolerance, equality and love for love’s sake rather than as reward for a mythical afterlife, standing alone in the freezing chill wind of political isolation, deafened by the white noise of hatred and insanity that is roaring back and forth across the Atlantic. Where do we turn? What do we do?
A letter-writer to The Guardian this week from Massachusetts ended a thoughtful if angry letter with this plea: “Now that we have spewed our venom at each other, can we sit down and find our common humanity, and begin to tackle a set of monstrous problems for the sake of all mankind?”
I’m afraid not mate. You’ve still got all the guns.
How the war was won
By Philip Sherwell
The aroma of eggs, bacon, venison sausages and coffee wafted through the kitchen of the unassuming town house in north-west Washington. The chubby, bespectacled host asked his guests how they liked their eggs, bringing their plates round to the table before the party got down to the real business of that morning in late March - the re-election of President George W Bush.
The cook and host was Karl Rove, the President's closest political adviser, and ranged around the table was the inner circle of strategists, pollsters and advertising men running the election campaign.
Bush was steered back into office by close advisers
Mr Rove called these weekend brainstorming-and-eggs sessions The Breakfast Club. Dick Cheney, the vice-president, was known to drop by, but invitations were strictly limited and guests knew better than to break the code of silence about the discussions. Indeed, the club's very existence remained a secret for many months.
Following his election victory five days ago, President Bush hailed Mr Rove as the "architect" of his success and it was from this particular Breakfast Club gathering in early spring that a crucial phase in the re-election strategy emerged.
The club's most prominent members included Mark McKinnon, the campaign's inspirational advertising wizard, and Matthew Dowd, its senior pollster and strategist - like the President, both from Texas.
Last week Mr Dowd's number two, Sara Taylor, told The Telegraph about the significance of that meeting in presenting Mr Kerry as a "flip-flop" candidate who adopted opinions for short-term political expediency.
The team had just heard that Mr Kerry would be speaking in two days' time at a gathering of Vietnam veterans in West Virginia and decided it was the ideal chance to goad the senator over his vote against the $87 billion (£47 billion) package to fund the war in Iraq.
They worked on a television advertisement that would be aired in West Virginia to coincide with the Kerry visit. It was the first example of what became known in the campaign as a "pre-buttal" - a pre-emptive television strike.
"It produced one of the key iconic moments of the campaign," Ms Taylor said. "We all had our input, but it is fair to say it was Karl's idea. As usual."
Mr McKinnon spent the Monday pulling together the advertisement in which a gravelly voice declared "Mr Kerry?" as the senator was called to vote on the fund-raising package for the troops in Iraq. The film then showed him repeatedly voting no. The piece was running on breakfast television shows in West Virginia by 8am the following morning.
Irked by the advertisement and a suspiciously persistent heckler, it was during this routine stump appearance that Mr Kerry uttered his now infamous comment: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
In the "rapid response" room at the national Bush headquarters, a young campaign intern monitoring a bank of televisions immediately spotted Mr Kerry's faux pas. Within the hour, a video clip was e-mailed around the campaign team.
"The second we saw it, we knew we had a new ad," Mr McKinnon told Newsweek magazine. "The greatest gifts in politics are the gifts the other side gives you."
Mr Kerry's self-contradictory words were rapidly incorporated into a new advertisement and for the rest of the campaign he never managed to shake off the "flip-flopping" image.
"One of the great achievements of the Bush campaign was to define John Kerry, in the way they wanted for the American people, before John Kerry could define himself," said a senior election observer.
Mr Bush won by just the swing state of Ohio in the decisive electoral college, but enjoyed a 3.5 million margin over Mr Kerry in the popular vote. In the wake of Tuesday's record voter turnout, attention has focused on Mr Rove's success in mobilising a conservative coalition based around the strong evangelical Christian movement.
Support for President Bush coalesced around, among other things, the controversial issue of gay marriage. Mr Rove, who came up with Mr Bush's "compassionate conservative" platform four years ago, began campaigning for last week's vote as soon as Mr Bush won in 2000 by the narrowest of margins. He hoped to broaden the President's appeal to woo voters from the middle-ground.
The two biggest vote-winners for Mr Bush turned out to be moral issues and the war on terror. The first presidential election since the September 11 attacks would be won on cultural values and leadership qualities rather than specifics such as Iraq and the economy.
The extent to which the candidates' differing characters shaped their rival campaigns was revealed in Newsweek, whose journalists were granted unprecedented access to both camps on the understanding that their inside accounts would appear only after the election.
As Mr Rove's Breakfast Club meetings suggest, the Bush operation was extremely focused, disciplined and organised with near-military precision - a reflection of the team surrounding the President. The once heavy-drinking party animal now sets great store on punctuality and gets grumpy on the rare occasions he is required to stay up past his preferred 9.30pm bedtime.
During the campaign, despite the barrage of negative news from Iraq and a stumbling economy, the President remained relentlessly on-message, sticking to simple themes on national security, terrorism and taxes throughout the election battle.
By contrast, Mr Kerry's campaign was plagued by dithering, internal squabbles and a debilitating turnover of staff. At times, senior aides even forced him to surrender his mobile telephone because he spent so much time consulting and soliciting differing views from colleagues, friends, relatives and advisers.
The Democratic challenger's approach ranged from crippling caution to bold risk taking. Most notably, he shook up his campaign team and drafted in hard-nosed party operatives at crucial stages when it looked as if he was dead and buried in both the battle for the Democratic nomination and race for the White House.
A young John Kerry once told teenage classmates that he would one day be president, yet four decades later the reserved New Englander appeared unsure about his message and motivation. Initially, he was loath to play up his Vietnam war record.
"John's not an instinctive politician," Jim Jordan, his sacked former campaign manager, told Newsweek. "He doesn't understand the rhythms of the campaign. He's a very gifted man in ways that are more analogous to being a good president than a good campaigner."
Mr Kerry's aides also had to deal with the interruptions and interference of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the heiress of the billion-dollar ketchup and baked bean empire. She lived up to her reputation as a demanding elitist with a penchant for vintage wines.
She came into her own when Mr Kerry fell sick with the symptoms of pneumonia at the end of last winter. She fussed over him and urged him to take various herbal remedies and potions. "Sometimes my mom is very happy when John is sick because she gets to brood over him," her son Chris Heinz told Newsweek.
Yet the magazine also reported that on occasions during the campaign she would send her husband, the candidate, on errands to fetch bottled water or deliver notes. Staffers considered her a hypochondriac (she cancelled several trips at the last minute for a "non-specific malady"), a loose cannon (her verbal gaffes and onslaughts were legion) and a liability with a sullen demeanour who exerted an undue influence over her husband. Reporters travelling with them also suspected there were some heated spats between the two along the way.
Remarkably, in the summer of 2003, when Mr Kerry was struggling in the Democratic primaries, his wife called Mr Jordan and demanded that he issue a challenge to Howard Dean, the then frontrunner, to debate with her. It was a stunning demonstration of Mrs Heinz Kerry's hubris and arrogance.
The insider accounts reveal Mr Kerry as a man capable of amiable generosity and cranky petulance. On one occasion, en route to a magazine photo-shoot, he gave vent to a series of expletives when it turned out that his assistant had forgotten his hairbrush.
Frustrated by his failure to pull ahead of Mr Bush in the opinion polls, Mr Kerry told aides: "I can't believe that I'm losing to this idiot." He also repeatedly urged his friend Sen John McCain, a moderate Republican, to be his vice-presidential running mate, offering him unprecedented control over defence and foreign policy if they won. His offer was turned down. "Goddamit," he said afterwards. "Why the f*** didn't he take it?"
Mr Kerry's daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra, and his stepson, Chris, became fixtures on the campaign trail and often tried to persuade him to get tough when he was under attack from the Bush camp.
With a whiff of post-election bloodletting, however, an unnamed Kerry staffer complained to the New York Post on Friday that Alexandra had travelled with a hairdresser, make-up artist, publicist and two assistants without doing much for the campaign.
Mr Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, also joined their father after Jenna dreamt that her father had lost the election, according to Newsweek. They were hurt by mocking reviews of their "cutesy" joint speech to the Republican convention, but bounced back for the final two months of campaigning.
There were no changes in the highest echelons of the Bush campaign team all year and few deviations from the political messages he pounded out month after month.
Mr Rove was the undisputed designer and executor of the campaign, and Mr Bush bowed to him on matters of politics and strategy. He referred to Mr Rove, who had been with him since his days as Texas governor, as "Boy Genius" and "Turd Blossom" - a typically blunt Texan phrase for a flower that grows in manure.
By the end of the Republican convention in New York in early September, the President seemed to be heading for a comfortable victory. The Kerry campaign had been left reeling in August by the attacks from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who made play of the young Kerry's anti-war tirades in 1971. To the candidate's frustration, his aides at the time advised him to hold back his advertising funds for later in the campaign, a policy that allowed the so-called "Swifties" to seize the initiative.
For the Democrats, this ushered in another change of personnel, with hard-nosed veterans of the Clinton White House joining the campaign team in August and September, in a last desperate effort to find a winning formula.
Mr Kerry finally went on the offensive about Iraq. He also sought advice directly from Mr Clinton shortly before the former president underwent heart surgery, but was furious when stories about the hour-long telephone conversation surfaced in the papers the next day.
Mr Clinton, who remains an influential voice among Democrats, advised Mr Kerry to be more forceful with his backing for state legislation to ban gay marriages, a bellwether issue that proved crucial for the Bush campaign in turning out the vote.
Last week, in his first public comments about the election defeat, Mr Clinton accused the Democrats of being "crazy" for not engaging middle America in a conversation about religions and values.
Mr Kerry had lost, he said, because middle America saw the Democrats as "two-dimensional aliens". The senator had failed to make it clear that he did not support legalised gay marriage. "He said it once or twice, but not a thousand times in small towns," Mr Clinton said.
"If you let people believe that your party doesn't believe in faith or family, doesn't believe in work and freedom - that's our fault."
After Mr Clinton's counselling during the campaign, Mr Kerry bounced back into the fight with an impressive showing in the three televised debates.
Yet again, however, the Rove rebuttal machine detected an opening, criticising Mr Kerry for alluding to Mr Cheney's lesbian daughter in a question about gay marriages. The final three weeks of the campaign were close, bitter and intense, culminating with the "October surprise" - Osama bin Laden's latest video message.
Election day itself threw up fresh, last-minute dramas as Mr Kerry refused to concede in the early hours of Wednesday night, hoping that there might still be enough uncounted votes to swing Ohio - and hence the majority of the electoral college - behind him.
A reluctant acceptance, in the cold light of day, that the figures did not add up, led him to place his telephone call to President Bush in the White House at 11.02am, accepting defeat.
In truth, President Bush had already celebrated victory at 3.30 that morning, revealing that his lip quivered and his eyes brimmed as he shared the moment with his father, George H W Bush.
Mr Bush Snr had been eager to accompany his son in the early hours to taste victory with thousands of cheering Republicans at their party. "It just didn't happen that way," the President said. "He was sitting upstairs and I finally said, 'Go to bed'."
The next morning, Mr Bush Snr came to the Oval Office for a chat. "We had a good talk," said President Bush. "He was heading down to Houston so I never got to see him face to face to watch his, I guess, pride in his tired eyes as his son got a second term."
It nearly didn't happen. For much of Tuesday, early exit polls pointed to a Kerry victory in the battleground states that would determine the election. The Kerry camp in Boston dared to believe that after all the chaos and in-fighting, they had finally pulled off a last-ditch victory. At Republican headquarters the mood was grim, described by the ever-eloquent Mr McKinnon as the "death swoon".
Mr Rove knew that the figures did not tally with their own private polling, but still feared that the reports could dishearten Republicans who had yet to vote. He sent out e-mails across the country saying that he believed these exit polls were as flawed as the ones that gave the 2000 election to Al Gore. He was right - again.
Mr Rove saw his candidate to victory by matching a huge get-out-the-vote campaign launched by the Democrats. "He is the master of the game," Donna Brazile, Mr Gore's campaign manager, observed respectfully on Thursday.
For most of the Breakfast Clubbers, it is now time to sit back and savour the victory. Soon after the election, Mr McKinnon, the extrovert former country and western songwriter, left for a family holiday overseas. Mr Dowd, the pollster with a reputation for nervous fretting, signed off his final memo to colleagues in Washington with the shorthand message GTT (Gone To Texas).
Mr Rove, however, went straight back to his White House office to work on early drafts for the President's second-term domestic agenda on tax and social security reform.
The master strategist's role model is Mark Hanna, the Ohio political wheeler-dealer who helped William McKinley to win the presidency in 1896 and paved the way for more than three decades of Republican power in Washington.
Mr Rove has his eyes on a similar legacy - turning this generation of Republicans into the dominant electoral force for decades.
Last week's presidential election, however, had been a close call.
Bushwhacked: How Dubya won America
ELECTION day dawned damp and dreary in Ohio last Tuesday. That was not going to prevent the largest, most sophisticated "get out the vote" operation in American political history from swinging into action. Karl Rove had said Ohio would be the "Ground Zero" of the election and, not for the first time, he was right.
All summer long pundits had predicted that the election, so close in so many ways, would come down to Ohio. No Republican had ever won the White House without carrying the Buckeye state. Ohio is such a reliable microcosm of the United States that it is the favoured testing ground for companies wanting to see whether their new products have a chance of appealing to consumers across the country.
The Democrats gave it their all: in Cleveland 400 election day canvassers descended on the city’s 11 predominantly black wards to flush out voters who had promised to vote for Kerry but, by the afternoon, had not yet done so. It still wasn’t quite enough. Ohio, like America, was going ‘Dubya’.
Everything the Democrats did was met by a matching Republican move. Where Democrats piled up votes in Cleveland and northern Ohio, Republicans collected them in Cincinnati and the southern counties of the state.
Many of these voters were relative newcomers to the political process. "They live in counties that are so Republican that their vote never really mattered before," said Barry Bennett, a Republican Ohio political consultant. "We just went in and maximised our vote. We called, mailed, knocked on doors and they came out."
As the evening stretched on so did the queues. Such was the unprecedented turnout that there were still lines of people waiting patiently to vote as midnight neared. This should have been good news for the Democrats: everyone had said they would benefit from a big vote, and early exit polls suggested Kerry was winning the close run race for the state. When the counting began, however, the tallies stubbornly refused to show a Democrat lead. The longer the evening wore on, the worse it seemed to get for Kerry.
By midnight the President had a lead of 130,000 votes and Fox News and NBC were ready to call the state in his favour. The end was nigh for Kerry. His party had come a long way towards defeating a wartime president only to fall agonisingly short. In the end only 130,000 votes out of more than 110 million was all that stood between them and a historic victory.
The Democrats still can’t believe it. In April, after Bush had struggled to think of a single mistake he had made in office when questioned at one of his rare press conferences, Kerry, according to Newsweek magazine, told aides: "I can’t believe I’m losing to this idiot." And in those eight words he unwittingly demonstrated some of the reasons for why Democrats have lost five of the past seven Presidential elections.
Democrats didn’t just "misunderestimate" George W Bush, they underestimated the electorate too. "Anyone but Bush" wasn’t a good enough candidate. Kerry fought as best he could but he never connected with the American people and, failed to give the electorate enough positive reasons to vote for him, rather than against Bush.
The post-mortem examinations concentrated on the trinity of god, guns and gays that had seemingly returned Bush to the White House. But it wasn’t just that. Ten per cent of self-identified Democrats voted for the President, while only 6% of Republicans cast their ballots for Kerry. And Bush increased his share of the Hispanic vote to 44%, a record for a Republican candidate. Republicans even increased their support among black voters by 20%, albeit to just 11% of that part of the electorate. And for all the controversy over same-sex marriage, one in five homosexuals voted for Bush.
Important as "moral values" may have been, fully 78% of the electorate did not base its choice of President on issues such as abortion or gay marriage. Those voters were crucial to his victory but they could not deliver it alone.
The idea that intelligent voters plumped for Kerry and were defeated by the overweight, god-fearing, fag-hating rubes of middle America is easy to grasp but it’s an inadequate explanation for Kerry’s failure. Exit polls showed, for example, that Bush won the support of 44% of voters who had embarked on at least some post-graduate study. Clever people can vote Republican too.
Although the voters most worried by Iraq largely voted for Kerry, those who saw Iraq as merely one part of a wider range of terrorism and national security concerns remained loyal to the President. One in five voters said terrorism was their over-riding concern: 86% of these voters supported Bush.
Voters such as Lisa Dykema, a mother of four from Wisconsin, voted for Gore four years ago but chose the President this time. "I was afraid that once he goes in he was going to start to feel the pressures of the United Nations, other countries, and not be concerned about America and our security."
That sentiment was repeated across the country. In Florida, Cathy Wolf, a primary school teacher with four children of her own, worried that Iraq was in danger of becoming another Vietnam but still decided, eventually, to vote for Bush. "The security issue was, and is, very important to me," she said. "I guess I came back to what I was familiar with."
Deep down, many Americans agreed with the simple idea that it would be unwise to switch horses in the middle of a war. Simple but effective. And simple but effective summed up the Bush campaign too.
For the Democrats it had all looked so promising. Fully 55% of Americans had thought all year that the country was heading in the wrong direction; George W Bush had made a mockery of his claim to be a "uniter not a divider"; he had launched a massively costly and controversial war in the Middle East based, at least in part, upon the threat posed by WMD that turned out to be non-existent and he was, seemingly, on his way to bankrupting the country. This, terrorism or no terrorism, seemed fertile ground upon which to fight the election.
It was not to be. Democrat despair on Wednesday was exacerbated by the extent to which their hopes had risen on Tuesday. Exit polls taken early in the day indicated that Kerry was ahead in every swing state. A sweep seemed possible and it seemed as though Bush was on his way to becoming, like his father, a one-term President.
By 4pm Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was said to be ordering a victory speech to be written. An hour later the pollster John Zogby called the election for Kerry, predicting he would win 311 votes in the electoral college. At 6pm McAuliffe was still insisting that "this is the greatest election day ever".
The mood in Boston’s Copley Square, where thousands of Kerry supporters gathered to watch the results trickle in, was exuberant despite the chill in the air and the persistent drizzle. Campaign aides speculated on the make-up of a Kerry cabinet and pondered what jobs they might receive in the new administration.
It wasn’t to last. Slowly, it became clear that this was not going to be a night of jubilation. The exit polls were sickeningly wrong. As the temperature dropped so too did Democrat hopes for victory. By Wednesday morning the party was preparing its traditional response to defeat: the circular firing squad. Others looked for escape: the Canadian immigration service’s website received 115,000 hits from Americans on Wednesday as disconsolate liberals sought solace in the idea of leaving the country.
What went wrong for the Democrats? In part, condescension and an intolerance for the simple pieties of much of the American heartland condemned them to defeat. Kerry’s attempts to stress the importance of his faith were too little, too late and too unconvincing to persuade voters that he really understood their concerns. Similarly, his much mocked geese-hunting trip to Ohio the week before the elections smacked of desperation and protesting too much that he respected gun-owners’ rights.
In a similar vein, Kerry’s attempts to persuade the electorate that their economic interests were best-served by Democrats was hampered by his own background. Private school in New Hampshire, Yale, a billionaire wife and holiday homes in Idaho and Nantucket stymied his bid to persuade Americans that he could connect with their concerns or that he "felt their pain".
That the President enjoyed a similarly advantageous upbringing was irrelevant. His plain-spoken directness cut through the trappings of privilege. Despite his occasional mangling of the language it was always clear what Bush was trying to say; by contrast Kerry’s florid waffling too often obscured rather than illuminated his thinking. His Vietnam service apart, his life story was insufficiently inspirational to excite the electorate. And Kerry never managed to explain just why a valiant war record meant, ipso facto, that he was the better man to win the next battles in the war on terror.
Kerry said he had a "plan" for Iraq but never successfully said what it was. Nor did he articulate a vision for America’s role as a world leader; instead his insistence that the US must regain the "respect" of the international community too easily came across as an uneasiness, at best, with American power. Becoming associated, however unfairly, with Michael Moore’s vision of America didn’t help either.
Kerry ran against reform; where Bush proposed revitalising social security and education, Kerry preferred to look back to past policies rather than into the future. George Bush senior may famously have lacked the "vision thing", but in this election his son had it and Kerry didn’t.
The candidate unwittingly demonstrated his weakness when he aggressively courted Arizona Senator John McCain. Kerry hoped McCain would agree to change parties and become his vice-President. To that end, he made an extraordinary offer, promising McCain control of the Pentagon as well as the Vice-Presidency. When McCain replied, "you’re out of your mind", Kerry was furious, struggling to understand why his old friend had turned the offer down.
The McCain episode demonstrated, however, the fact that the Democrats faced an uphill struggle on national security and character issues. McCain could have solved both those problems. As it was these issues were never satisfactorily resolved.
Revitalising the Democratic party will not be easy but if it is to reverse its slow but steady decline it needs to find a way of reaching out to voters whose interests may coincide with the Democrats’ agenda but who don’t currently trust the party.
As Illinois Congressman Rahm Emmanuel, a former aide to Bill Clinton, put it: "Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith. What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else - health care, the environment, whatever - because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them."
While in Boston the Democrats were distraught, in Washington the Republicans were exultant. Daybreak confirmed their ascendancy. Despite the television networks’ reluctance to call Ohio for the President it was clear that the state was his. Some of the President’s aides wanted him to declare victory rather than wait for Kerry’s concession. The President decided instead to send his Chief-of-Staff to the Ronald Reagan building three blocks from the White House to rally the troops: At 6am Andrew Card hailed the President’s "decisive" victory.
It had been so different earlier in the day. Commentators on Fox News looked at the exit polls and seemed resigned to a Kerry victory. On board Air Force One as the President flew to Washington from Texas, via a last minute stop in Ohio, the telephones weren’t working but Rove still received a message on his Blackberry from an aide: "Not good" it read.
The President himself was less perturbed than his advisers. "Well, it is what it is," he told them. Slowly, Bush’s strategists began to realise that the early exit polls were dramatically overstating Kerry’s advantage. The longer voting went on, the closer it was getting. After hours of crunching data Bush’s strategist Matthew Dowd concluded "the exit polls are wrong".
Even so, the mood at the Republican "victory party" was, in the early part of the evening, sombre even as a country and western band tried to rally the party faithful. Their efforts seemed mildly desperate, and the atmosphere was alternately flat and, above all, anxious.
Only later would Republican spirits rally. By the middle of the night, after Fox News and NBC called Ohio for Bush, some in the GOP camp wanted to pressurise Kerry into conceding. Time magazine reported that Bush aides asked Senator John McCain to call Kerry and ask him to concede. McCain said Kerry would come to that inevitable conclusion in his own good time.
And so he did. In Boston, Kerry’s closest advisers continued to try to find a way in which they could roll back the President’s 130,000 vote advantage in Ohio. John Edwards, Kerry’s running mate, was particularly keen that they not give up until every provisional vote had been counted. That would have dragged the election on for another 10 days, however, and when it became clear that in key counties Kerry only enjoyed a small advantage in the provisional ballots the game was up. At 11am on Wednesday morning Kerry called Bush to concede.
While victory currently feels sweet for the Republicans, it has its dangers. As Walter Mondale consoled his supporters after being trounced by Ronald Reagan 20 years ago, he told them "every victory contains the seeds of defeat, and every defeat contains the seeds of victory". Mondale’s defeat didn’t destroy the Democratic party, nor should Kerry’s.
The Republican party’s divisions may be less immediately apparent than the confusion in Democrat ranks, but another four years in power will test the patience of moderates and conservatives alike.
Stephen Moore, president of Club for Growth, an advocacy group that campaigns for reforming the tax code and restoring fiscal discipline, warned of tough choices ahead. "My fear is that Republicans will learn the wrong lesson from this victory and say, ‘hey, we can spend and borrow hundreds of millions of dollars and the voters won’t hold us accountable’," he said. "There were a lot of conservatives who really had to hold their nose to vote Republican."
The President’s reluctance to veto any spending bill, no matter how profligate or laden with pork, has angered deficit hawks within the party and concern about the fiscal and trade deficits the US is running is growing. Without addressing those issues, the President’s domestic agenda will be unaffordable. Privatising social security, for example, will not just be a bitter political fight; it will cost $1trillion in transition costs.
The religious right was also quick to warn that it would expect to be rewarded for its labours. Dr James Dobson spoke for many evangelicals when he warned that the United States is "on the verge of self-destruction" even if "through prayer and the involvement of millions of evangelicals, and mainline Protestants and Catholics, God has given us a reprieve".
But, he warned: "I believe it is a short reprieve." Religious conservatives suspect they received less from the administration than corporate America in Bush’s first-term and will insist that good intentions and a willing heart are not enough: action on abortion and other culturally sensitive issues is needed too. The religious right believe they brought Bush to the prom; now they want the first dance.
Internationally, Iraq remains a crisis with the potential to become a catastrophe, while Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have not been diminished just because Bush has won a second term. Promoting democracy abroad will continue to cause waves of concern across the globe, but this is the vision the President has committed his administration to fulfilling. Failure to live up to that dream would, in many respects, undermine the strategic rationale for the invasion of Iraq.
Add in the challenge of restarting the Middle East peace process; dealing with China and Taiwan; Darfur and the Sudan; Vladimir Putin and Russia and reaching a new WTO agreement at Doha and the scale of the challenges facing Bush is daunting. Those are just the known dangers ahead. We do not yet know, as Donald Rumsfeld might put it, what "unknown unknowns" lie waiting for the President.
Equally, for all that the Democrats are bloodied and demoralised now, they have not gone away. A retooled Democratic party that picked a plausible, inspiring candidate in four years time could halt the Republican tide.
Bush has his mandate for sure, but the future of the Republican party will depend upon how he chooses to spend the political capital he has won.
Sunday 7th November 2004 :
Growing Collection of Vote Fraud links: ATTN Global Media
The list of evidence is growing that the US election was anything but a fair vote. Who could possibly think that all of these voting problems are just a minor aberation? The long lines are always in Democratic counties, that the computer ’glitches’ always favor Bush, and the new e-machines were made by a Bush ’Pioneer’ (top donor) that pledged to deliver for Bush. Funny how Diebold makes bank machines which print paper receipts millions of times daily, but they couldn’t get the printer to work in the voting machines.
All Europeans must recognize that this vote fraud is no laughing matter- Bush might be coming after ’old Europe’ in the future. Climate Change, senseless killing worldwide, more death and destruction in the name of profits will continue if Bush remains idiot emperor in chief. Since the US press is burying this vote fraud evidence, the world needs the reporters in Europe to help us bring this mountain of proof to light and make this an international scandal that the US media can no longer ignore.
Evidence Mounts the Vote was Hacked
USA today- Machine error gives Bush 3,893 extra votes in Ohio
Damschroder said the malfunction occurred when one machine’s cartridge was plugged into a laptop computer and generated faulty numbers in several races.
Why is a vote cartridge being plugged into anyone’s laptop?
from above story- Franklin county pdf file: http://tinyurl.com/4kq35
screenshot of page 23- cropped for bandwidth/ease, numbers remain the same
Statistically impossible coinidence of many more repub votes than registered repubs ONLY in Florida optical scan counties
Graph highilighting absurdity of Florida counties in above story- it looks like they just reversed the results!
Florida county anomalies discussed here
Palm Beach Post- Broward machines count backward
Computer Loses More Than 4,000 Early Votes
Too Many Irregularities to be coincidence
Washington Dispatch- Palm Beach County Logs 88,000 More Votes Than Voters
Florida Sun-Sentinel- 58,000 votes lost in heavily democratic Broward County, Florida
Group Finds Voting Irregularities in South
3 members of Congress call for an investigation
Democracy Now- Voting Problems Widespread in Florida, Pennsylvania
Scrub voter rolls in NY
Philly voter suppression
Ohio-not enough machines-flyer says vote wed
Links about the potential for vote fraud before the election- Where were Kerry and Edwards on this issue- NOWHERE! Consider the first article at CommonDreams above with Bev Harris demonstrating on CNBC how to fix a vote in 90 seconds... Why wasn’t the Kerry/Edwards team challenging this ridiculous system long before the election? And why did Kerry give up when he was only down by 136,000 votes in Ohio with 250,000 still to count?!
How they can fix the election via modem link to central tabulators
Global monitors find faults
Reasonable Doubt that the primary vote has been tampered
imagicke.blogspot.com- huge collection of background info
Black Box Voting has taken the position that fraud took place in the 2004 election through electronic voting machines. We base this on hard evidence, documents obtained in public records requests, inside information, and other data indicative of manipulation of electronic voting systems. What we do not know is the specific scope of the fraud. We are working now to compile the proof, based not on soft evidence -- red flags, exit polls -- but core documents obtained by Black Box Voting in the most massive Freedom of Information action in history.
We need: Lawyers to enforce public records laws. Some counties have already notified us that they plan to stonewall by delaying delivery of the records. We need citizen volunteers for a number of specific actions. We need computer security professionals willing to GO PUBLIC with formal opinions on the evidence we provide, whether or not it involves DMCA complications. We need funds to pay for copies of the evidence.
Shouldn’t most Republicans want a real victory, or would they be happy if their guy stole it- anything to win and stop those evil gay people from getting health care. Are they really that shallow?
I think all honest Americans know there is something fishy about both political parties backing electronic voting machines that are so open to hacking. Why should the Great USA have million dollar voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail? If the new Bush ’mandate’ is truly the will of the people, they really won the popular vote, then they shouldn’t be afraid of a little transparent auditing and hand recounts.
So many were disenfranchised by waiting in long lines, 58,000 votes LOST, name taken off voter list, etc.... I think it would be worthwhile to have a nationwide re-vote, all paper ballot and hand count. Millions of dollars to produce new ballots? Hardly- just create one ballot put it on a website and computers across the country can print the simple Bush/Kerry/Nader. Sure, Nader too, this will get the Bushies to sign on to this re-vote... but we need to also toss in a quick 50% majority to win rule- Why not Mr. Bush and fellow boner Kerry? Why wouldn’t you support a 50% or runoff rule... do you think this might give Nader a fighting chance?
It doesn’t have to take that long, just hire more counters. Imagine that we could hire millions of jobless, even if it’s temporary it’d sure be a boost to them and the economy, and we could hand count every single ballot in the nation.
It is unacceptable to have longer lines in the city than in rural (republican) areas- the cities need more polling places- period.
ps- to all the name calling Republicans calling "sore loser" and "get over it"- are you afraid of a recount?
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