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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Two Johns, 3 1/2 Years Late

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and running mate John Edwards sought to rally voters in Florida on Thursday by recalling the recount dispute in 2000 that tipped the election to George W. Bush.

"I got news for you. In 2004, not only does every vote in Florida count, but every vote is going to be counted," Kerry said during a sweltering rally inside an airport hanger. "They fix those machines, we'll fix America."
-- NY Times

If you've seen "Fahrenheit 911," you're already aware of this story:
At a joint session of the US Congress January 6 [2001] to count the Electoral College vote in the 2000 election, Democratic leaders of the House and Senate officially submitted to the hijacking of the presidency by the Republican Party and the US Supreme Court and the installation of George W. Bush in the White House.

Although 20 Democratic congressmen, mainly members of the Congressional Black Caucus, formally objected to the awarding of Florida's 25 electoral votes to Bush, not one of the 50 Democratic senators would join in the objection, as required by an 1887 law governing the counting of the electoral vote.

If even a single Democratic senator had signed an objection, the joint session would have adjourned and the House and Senate would have convened separately to vote, with a majority of both Houses required to sustain the objection. The Democrats control the Senate temporarily, since it is divided 50-50 with Vice President Al Gore holding the tie-breaking vote until January 20, but the Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House.

Such a procedure would have been politically damaging to the incoming Bush administration, underscoring the fragility and illegitimacy of the Republican victory. But Senate Democrats refused to back any objection, insisting that the presidential election contest had been ended by the US Supreme Court decision of December 12 halting hand recounts in Florida, and Gore's concession the next day.
So if only half of the 2004 Democratic ticket (or half of the 2000 ticket, for that matter, since Lieberman was a senator) had offered to support the Congressional Black Caucus, we could at the very least have highlighted the illegitimacy of the Bushies. Of course, counting the black vote may be more important to the Johns now that they are the ones likely to benefit.

When the choices are reduced to two guys who supported the two imperialist wars and the Patriot Act (and stood by while blacks were disenfranchised in Florida), and the Bush administration, you've got to wonder why anyone would think that American democracy is something worth exporting.

Just to be clear, I think the two Johns will be better than the Bushies. I just don't think they'll be good for the country or the world--just slightly less bad than Bush/@#$*&! The world in 2008 is very likely to be a worse place than it is now; how much worse is the only question to be decided in this election.