Steal This Election

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4:50

Over 100,000 voters were possibly affected by [Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell]’s ‘Paperweight Directive’… Approximately 93,000 spoiled ballots occurred in which there was either no presidential vote recorded or multiple presidential votes recorded, and therefor ignored… the NAACP estimates that at least 10,000 voters were disenfranchised… 174,000 people were unable to vote because of the long lines in the minority communities and the urban areas… at least 102,000 voters were disenfranchised by avoidable registration errors… and finally 66,000 had ballots invalidated by faulty machines… Total: a possible 357,000 votes or more…

Rep. John Conyers
ohio elections

A two-hour wait to vote in Columbus. [Bryce Glass / Flickr]

Consensus seems to be that the 2004 presidential election, especially in the key swing state Ohio, was rife with problems and “irregularities” – endless polling lines in select areas, wildly inaccurate exit polls, shifty processing of voter registration cards etc. But do irregularities add up to fraud? Do problems in our piecemeal, locally-based presidential voting system add up to a stolen election?

A new Rolling Stone piece by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. goes over what we think we know about the last election and alleges as much. Drawing upon new reporting, interviews with high level pollsters and existing memos such as The Conyers Report, Kennedy doesn’t pull his punches.

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.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in Rolling Stone Magazine, 6/06

We’re going to talk about this story and its implications. Did Republicans really steal the presidential election in 2004? Or do the irregularities that have been well-documented amount only to faulty organization and some crossed wires?

Is the real conversation about the need for a national voting system, voting reform, and greater national oversight? Is the real story about the lack of consistent media attention to this story (i.e., is a lack of mainstream attention to these accusations analogous to the media’s initial disinterest in the Downing Street Memo?)

We’d especially like to hear from all of you Ohioans. Did you vote in the 2004 elections? Did you experience anything when you registered or went to vote that led you to doubt the validity of the Ohio result? What did you hear from family and friends or in the local press? Is this a story that Ohioans are still talking about or feel strongly about? With the governor’s race already upon us, are we already too late?

Thanks to hurley and Potter for sending this suggestion our way.

Rep. John Conyers

Congressman, 14th Congressional District of Michigan

Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee

Sponsored and help author Protecting Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio (The Conyers Report)

Dan Tokaji

Assistant Professor of Law, Ohio State University

Associate Director, Election Law at Moritz

Blogger, Equal Vote Blog

Mark Crispin Miller

Professor of culture and communications, New York University.

Author, Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)

Bill Todd

Attorney at Squire, Sanders, & Dempsy in Columbus, Ohio

Council to the Ohio Republican Party and the Bush-Cheney Campaign during the ’04 elections

Extra Credit Reading

We’ve collated the articles we’ve been reading and the ones you’ve suggested on the comment thread. Here’s a start:

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Was the 2004 election stolen?, Rolling Stone, June 1, 2006.

Farhad Manjoo responds to Kennedy:

Farhad Manjoo, Was the 2004 election stolen? No., Salon, June 3, 2006.

…and Kennedy responds to Manjoo:

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Was the 2004 election stolen?, Salon, June 6, 2006.

(Thanks, allison)

House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, Jr., Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, truthout, January 5, 2005.

New York Times Editorial, Block the Vote, Ohio Remix, The New York Times, June 7, 2006.

Dan Tokaji, Back to Ohio: The Rolling Stone Piece, Equal Vote Blog, June 2, 2006.

Mark Blumenthal, Is RFK Jr. Right About Exit Polls? – Part I, Mystery Pollster, June 5, 2006. (Check out Part II and Part III, too)

(Thanks, Jon_Garfunkel)

Steven D, Most Important Thing About RFK Jr.’s Election Fraud Story, Daily Kos, June 2, 2006.

Related Content


  • Are you broadcasting on Fridays, now? Yippee.

    As for this topic, you might want to read the heated debate between Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Farhood Manjoo on Salon.com

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/06/06/rfk_responds/

    It’s interesting to see the different interpretations of the numbers. And, also, that Manjoo says he does believe the system needs fixing, but vehemently argues against the idea that there was any purposeful manipulation by the Republican party.

    From my point of view, it looks like the Republicans have been pretty mirky, if not criminal, in their handling of elections in that last few years. Florida in 2000 was a master manipulation. Especially the way they’ve convinced the mainstream that a full recount proved that Bush won, when that is absolutely false.

  • Didn’t Leonard Cohen say it best in his song “Democracy”

    .

    .

    .

    Sail on, sail on

    O mighty Ship of State!

    To the Shores of Need

    Past the Reefs of Greed

    Through the Squalls of Hate

    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

    I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean

    I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.

    And I’m neither left or right

    I’m just staying home tonight,

    getting lost in that hopeless little screen.

    But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags

    that Time cannot decay,

    I’m junk but I’m still holding up this little wild bouquet:

    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

  • DrDan

    [liberal-flame]

    Hi, first-time poster, longtime listener to Chris, and “ur-Lydonista.”

    Missed this show in RT, looking fwd to the podcast.

    No doubt in my mind that both 2000 and 2004 were stolen elections. As a patriot, I deeply regret and resent the wounds to the USA and to our Democracy wrought by Bush, his cronies and puppeteers. It’s only now that the blood and treasure and reputation we’ve shed is becoming apparent to the electorate, that Bush’s popularity is sliding.

    Any party whose major strategies include dividing the country with “wedge issues,” driving down the vote by jamming telephones, “swiftboating” opponents with anonymous smears, outright manipulation of the mechanisms of voting because it “just happens” that the Secretary of State is also the GOP State Chairman (_vide_ FL and OH), has no business governing. Oh and incidentally, “exit polls have no validity and thus should be outlawed,” and “now that we’re in power we can ram through the adoption of hackable electronic voting machines.”

    Any American who’s studied American or World history, or lived awhile, knows that this is no longer as free a country as it was, say, even 50 years ago. Not that the 1950’s were a halcyon age, but freedom was (by and large) rife. Not so today. “Free Speech Zones?” I grew up in one – we called it America.

    Remember the metaphor of “boiling the frog?” Goes: Drop a frog into boiling water and he jumps out. Put a frog in lukewarm water and gradually raise the temp – boiled. Cast your own mind back even a year ago. Would we tolerate the outrages being perpetrated upon us if they landed on us all at once? Hardly.

    I’m worried. Because the crimes that have been committed are so egregious that the Republicans (but let me not call them that; we need them to rise up and reclaim their party as we try to take our country back)… that the radical rightists have every motivation to take any means necessary to stave off the loss of power that will mean checks and balances, investigations, indictments and even impeachment.

    What might they do? What might they NOT do, more likely? Continue the vote suppression/falsification tactics that worked in ’00, ’02 and ’04? Or WORSE? Let’s not forget the internment camps that are under construction, or the recent attacks on the Internet freedom (those pesky blogs, telling the truth that the lapdog media conveniently bury), or the quiet measures to legalize the use of Federal Troops inside our own borders (ostensibly for “border control” but also, in case you didn’t notice, to selectively quarantine swathes of the country in case of terrorist attack or epidemics)…

    Who are the Democrats who sold us down the river by voting for the “Help America Vote Act?” They are traitors!

    We are being degraded and enslaved by fear-mongers who ask for our freedom as the price of deliverance.

    “That which we fear the most, we will become.”

    500 words, Exactement!

    [/liberal-flame]

  • Robin

    hey guys – Sorry for a little confusion on the air date. This show has NOT aired yet (as of saturday June 10). Look for it next week, hopefully…

  • DrDan

    Thanks Robin, I’ll look forward to the show.

  • Potter

    I’m worried. Because the crimes that have been committed are so egregious that the Republicans (but let me not call them that; we need them to rise up and reclaim their party as we try to take our country back)… that the radical rightists have every motivation to take any means necessary to stave off the loss of power that will mean checks and balances, investigations, indictments and even impeachment.

    Yo Dr. Dan!!!! Maybe you’ll tell us how you really feel next time. But what an opening post! What a great post! And not leastly thank you ROS, Robin, for finally planning to give us the show some of us have been waiting ( and nagging) for.

    (Dave Weinstein– are you there?)

    Thank you RFK. You put it all together. Thanks to you Rolling Stone. Thank you NYTimes for your recent editorial and making this main stream where it should be and have been, never left.

    My jaw dropped open on 2000 with the machinations in Flordia and it has not closed since; the win at ALL costs spirit of the zealots that took us over……. James Baker’s image pops up in my head, he who used his authority in that heist.

    We had been creeping slowly towards a divided country since Nixon, but this severed us further and deeeply. Always after an election we have been able to come back together for the good of the whole. 2000 and 2004 and all that it brought cracked us further apart.

  • DrDan

    Pardon this offtopic observation, but — Y’know, if Potter hadn’t recently emailed me (we know one another, is how it happened) to tell me she’d replied to my post, I wouldn’t have had any way of knowing that unless (A) I returned to this particular blog and reloaded the comments, or (B) I understood RSS, which I don’t yet.

    (All advice on RSS (theory, tools, etc.) gratefully accepted of course.)

    I’d have the same problem if I’d posted something in “Guttersnipe Alley: April 2006.” In order to find out whether anyone had answered me, I’d have to keep checking back periodically, meaning I’d have to keep reloading the entire string of 358-odd posts and looking at the bottom to see if I wasn’t the last anymore.

    That’s why I’ve proposed a temporary experiment to act as an adjunct to radioopensource.org.

    If you’re curious, feel free to browse here:

    http://tinyurl.com/ryjsj

    That’s a compressed version of the address of a more detailed invitation to, and explanation of, the proposed temporary experiment that’s based here:

    http://www.frappr.com/lydon

    Check it out… use if you like… Cheers, /DrDan

  • avecfrites

    DrDan:

    I’m in at frappr, though I’m not sure what it’s all about yet. I notice you’re in/from Natick; I grew up in Natick. What’s your email? I’m at avecfrites@yahoo.com

  • Jon

    There is a question that I would very much like to hear addressed during this show:

    Are there prior examples from our own nation’s history, or from the history of other nations, in which comparable erosions of freedom and underlying democratic principles were effectively reversed following the election of new leaders?

    A credibly affirmative, well-publicized answer to this question might do a great deal towards energizing active involvement in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

  • Yes, JFKs election to the Pres in 1960 was closer than any other election in Pres election history and it was won by votes in Cook county Chicaago where “Vote eary, vote twice” Daily reigned.

    I know that it is too much to ask of people who hang out on lefy sites to have any sense of history or facts but it would actually gice some credibiltiy to their comments if they did.

    And please, just go look at the recent special election in CA-50 to see that all of your griping and complaining get you no where.

    In a fair and democratic election, the far left, flacky Dem got no more votes than Kerry did in 2004. That should tell everyone something – there is a “ceiling” to the number of moonbats that can be gathered together into any on spot. If you get to many, they implode like matter into a black hole and go spinning off into some alternet universe where only they “understand” the reality.

    Have fun be irrelevent.

  • Stephen Freeman continues the discussion over the statistics regarding the exit polls and the vote count:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/06/12/freeman/

    “Steven S. Freeman co-authored “Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count” (Seven Stories Press) with Joel Bleifuss, editor-in-chief of In These Times magazine.”

    The evidence is compelling.

  • Ok, Winston, I’ll call you on this. Let’s go to someone who knows something on this: David Greenberg, a biographer of Nixon and a professor at Rutgers, See his October 16, 2000 article in Slate Was Nixon Robbed? And the answer is that no one’s every made a credible case. The only state that was successfully challenged was Hawaii– and it flipped its electors to Kennedy from Nixon.

    I suggest reading the article and then making a comment here.

  • FYI, these were the exit polls as Slate reported them on Election Day 2004. I was monitoring the precincts in the battlefield that wasn’t that day. It’s funny, since the slice of Florida I saw was run cleanly (one with international media gathered), I had the inclination to think that all was “fair.” I did watch plenty of Olbermann after the election, but never read the Conyers report. RFK Jr.’s undaunted research helps make the case for me like nothing else.

  • When I was back in Cincinnati recently, visiting my father, I noted that the Cincinnati Enquirer had endorsed Kenneth Blackwell for governor. As Ohio secretary of state, Blackwell was involved in all kinds of disruption that seemed designed to disenfranchise potential Democrat voters. The Enquirer endorsed him because–I’m not making this up–his integrity and ethics.

  • Jon, no one had ever made a credilber case for Ohio either.

    And your comments of “Kennedy’s Undaunted reserach” has been widely debunked.

    “Was the 2004 election stolen? No.

    In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn’t new and his argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions.

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/06/03/kennedy/index_np.html

    Except for outlets like this, and the moonbat blogsphere, no one takes him seriously.

  • I have a question for Robin and all of the others who think that this isa real show. If Kennedy has such a point, why can’t she provide any other sources in the lead in that supports his claims.

    I’ll answer it – because there are not any.

  • And Jon, here is your answer to your question about the Nixon / Kennedy election.

    “Some Republicans alleged that Kennedy benefited from vote fraud especially in Texas and Illinois. There is no certainty that Nixon would have won both Texas and Illinois (which he would have had to do to win the electoral vote). What is certain, however, is that in Illinois, Kennedy won by a bare 9,000 votes, and Mayor Daley, who held back Chicago’s vote until late in the evening, provided an extraordinary Cook County margin of victory of 450,000 votes”

    Jon – Kennedy’s running mate was Johnson (from Texas) and Daley Democratic machine was famous for helping “dead people vote”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election,_1960

    “Daley’s ways may not have been democratic, but his defenders have argued that he got positive things done . . . ”

    “Daley was the prototypical “machine” politician, and his Chicago Democratic Machine, based on control of thousands of patronage positions,. . . ”

    ” . . . many of Daley’s subordinates were jailed, . . . ”

    “At his death in 1976, the public’s perception of Daley was the image painted by Mike Royko in his 1971 biography, Boss—corrupt, racist, cruel, brutish”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_J._Daley

    “The November 8 election was extemely close– Kennedy beat Nixon by two tenths of a percentage point (0.2%) in the popular vote.”

    Bush / Chaney beat Kerry Gore by 2.4% of the popular vote. That is ~ 12 times the margin in the 1960 election.

    “Even if Congress had voted to reject Ohio’s 20 electoral votes, the outcome would have been the same.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Presidential_Election

    This is a non-issue and like the trend in the subject matter chosen by OpenSource Radio, is simply a slide to the left towards the edge of moonbattery.

    Robin, I’ve got a hint for you. Unless you want to get letters from the listerners like the one’s that the NPR Omsbudsman got, I would try and actaully do a news show on this subject. Don’t pick any guests that could actaully site facts as to how this entire subject is “a steaming pile of road apples”. Just get a “star” guest from the DailyKos crowd and then the few odd “foils” who will not really disagree but who will sit there and talk tengentially about the enire episode so that the entire show doesn’t look like a total ruse, and you might get by with only a few kooky posts on the blog.

  • As I have said many times before though, shows like this do the Repubs a BIG favor. By distracting the opposition and disapating thier energies on useless subjects it keep them from actually realizing where they are, what the real world is getting on about and that they could actaully do something about it if they weren’t “idealogical catfish bottoming feeding on the slime of issues”.

  • I do have a serious suggestion. Unlike what happened with the show on Cobert, I would wait a few weeks before seriously thinking about going forward with this show.

    Save yourselves the embarassment and the hit to your collective credibilites.

  • I’ve now read it– along with the subsequent exchange between RFK Jr. and Manjoo, as well as pollster’s Mark Blumenthal’s series. There’s good points in all, but I can’t mine through it all.

    If you wanted to make the case in your first post, you could have. But it appears mostly you’d prefer to call your opponents “moonbats.”

  • Robin

    If it’s other evidence on RFK’s side you want, Winston, I would start by reading the Conyers Report, linked in my original post. It tackles the same question and comes to similar conclusions, and was compiled by Congressman John Conyers from Michigan. He went to Ohio and conducted research and interviews. As far as I know, it’s as close to an official inquiry on the question as the country has seen.

    Also, thanks Jon G. for linking to the exchange betwen Manjoo and RFK, and Mark Blumenthal’s excellent series on the weaknesses of RFK’s anaysis of exit polls. Both of those writers are on my call list.

  • Robin

    Oh, I should have said thank you to Allison for linking to the Manjoo and Freeman stuff as well. Thanks Allison!

  • Robin, Congressman Conyers “work” was not even endorsed / publicizied by the Democrat party – his OWN! The vast majority of the party felt that it was an embrassment.

    And I was not serioulsy discussed anywhere.

    And Jon, this entire subject is “moonbattery” for the same reason that the tapes / videos and “people’s courts” held durring Clinton’s term that found him guilty of running drug smuggling out of Menah, AR.

    It isn’t serious. And Robin mentioned Manjoos work in Salon, I beleive.

    No one serious is even attemping to defend Kennedy’s claim and journalists / sources who have ran “weak” articles denouncing Bush will not even stoop to defend him. In fact, they debunk him.

    So I ask, who will Robin get to speak for Kennedy / Kennedy side but him, Conyers or someone who climbs up out of some hole of silliest portions of the left-wing blogshere?

    You are probably correct, Daley didn’t overtly steal the election for JFK but if that is the hurdle to begin cotnesting elections the Bush’s victory in Ohio doesn’t even make it into the discussion.

  • zeke317

    On a lighter, but relevant, note. Chris may recall from his newspaper days a colorful Kennedy political operative named Dick Tuck who began his career bedeviling Richard Nixon in the 1950s. Nicknamed the “Merry Prankster,” one of his famous stunts occurred during a Nixon campaign appearance in Chinatown. Tuck had a sign printed which read “Welcome” in English but also had Chinese letters questioning him about a loan from Howard Hughes to Nixon’s brother Donald. When informed about it, Nixon tore up the sign on camera.

    To the point of this show: Nixon tried to equate his own “dirty tricks” with Tuck’s “merry pranks.” Informed of this Tuck replied, “I may have started it, but they ran it into the ground.”

    Wikipedia reports that Tuck rode in the ambulance with RFK the night he was shot. Of course, given Wikepedia’s open-authorship, one can’t be sure that Tuck himself didn’t contribute that anecdote.

  • Chris, Brendan: have you seen Palast’s latest on the suppression of the black military vote in 2004? Check out this post at EDM:

    http://www.emergingdemocraticmajorityweblog.com/donkeyrising/archives/001467.php

    Try to work it into the show if you can.

    Dave

  • It is a bit depressing to see the back and forth about whether it’s crazy to examine whether an election was fair.

    In a democracy, the majority must believe the process is fair.

    If there are significant numbers of people with doubts, then ALL should want a thorough and fair investigation.

    To use name calling to push aside the democrats earnestly felt suspicion that something was not fair is tantamount to showing outright disdain for a fair process with the confidence of all the people.

    If Republicans showed me a list like the one the democrats have on 2004, I would be seriously concerned about my republic. But today, the more frequent response is just to name call or dismiss.

    That’s no way to show you believe in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

    And how about a little support for paper trails from voting machines? That would show confidence that one’s side can win on the merits, eh?

  • Potter

    So what has been going on in Ohio since 2004?

    Read Brad Friedman’s on Huffington Post The Staggeringly Impossible Results of Ohio’s ’05 Election about an attempt at election reform, questions on the ballot put forward by ReformOhioNow.org, the pre-polling numbers versus the vote results on those crucial issues versus the pre-polling number versus the vote result on the one other issue unrelated to voting reform.

    For a deeper discussion ( not that long) this by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman;

    Has

    American Democracy Died an Electronic Death in Ohio 2005’s Referenda Defeats?

    Another good resource as mentioned in the suggestion thread: http://blackboxvoting.org/

    which is a group dedicated consumer protection for voters. The site collects news from all over the country on this issue.

  • Potter

    The buzz today via Kos about RFK bringing a lawsuit against Diebold:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/6/19/32418/1190

  • DrDan

    ===== quote, by reference only to the header: =====

    David Says:

    June 17th, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    ===== unquote =====

    I couldn’t agree more, David. In fact 🙂 I wish I’d said it myself, and probably will in other contexts ASAP. Thanks.

    PS, Potter of June 19th, 2006 at 12:46 pm: Wouldn’t it be loverly.

  • polsmeth

    What is unfathomable is that the election count cannot be determined accurately for a second time — unless it is intentional.

    If it is intentional that the election count cannot be verified, then the conclusion is that the election is not being conducted honestly.

    We not only had same kinds of things go wrong in ohio as in florida, we also had NEW systems that could not be verified (the electronic voting machines with no record of the actual votes).

    It should also be a law that anyone who prevents a legal registered voter from voting should go to jail — they have denied the basic rights of that person in a democracy.

    There is no excuse for long waiting lines, for challenges to voters and such systems designed to keep voters from voting — the provisional vote was supposed to get around this by allowing the vote after it has been checked.

    We need to go further — we should have a system where every registered voter can vote regardless of obstructions, and we should have a way for each voter to verify that their vote (1) has been counted and (2) been counted properly.

    We do NOT need results the same night, when getting the vote right is more important.

  • malcom z

    OK, it’s all very interesting. Florida in 2000, not much done little resolved. Ohio 2004, the same. Coming soon 2008, probably New Mexico or Arizona. We’re three years away from the next robbery, why hasn’t something been done. I hear a lot of people talking about what needs to be done. Can anyone tell me what has been done to change this. I’d also like to know if we can truthfully expect anything less in 2008. In 2000 there were something like 2.3 million votes disocunted. In 2004 3.7 million. In 2008 can we expect 5.8 million. To the congressman: What do you say to the voters who are discouraged by all this.

  • Potter

    Suppression itself is bad enough if equal. But the votes that were suppressed seem to be likely Democratic votes.

    The election was let’s say “defacto” stolen in broad daylight with a thousand little acts: a little cut here and a nick there.

  • Potter

    Stolen elections are a result of the zealous partisan politics that ( in my view) the Democrats do not have the stomach for.

    Bravo– Mark Crispin Miller!

  • malcom z

    Thank you Winston. I usually don’t agree with you but I admire your intelligence and sense of humor. We live in a world of opposites, keep up the good work. Ros would decay without your voice.

  • malcom z

    I agree with you Potter. I wonder what happened to the Dems. I think John Dean is a good figure head for the party. He’s very clown-like and no one could possibly tke him seriously. If he resigns perhaps we can get Wavy Gravy to replace him.

  • Well. it looks like ROS followed the lead of NPR’s Omsbudsman and made sure to give a few people who want it – “News with an edge”.

    “Not biased enough to maintian thier audience, too biased to maintain thier credibility”.

    If the only criteria for having a show is that a few published artilces advocate a view and then a small portion of your audience beleive it then you open the possibilities greatly. I mean, I listen to Art Bell on hte weekends to find out about what I don’t already know about UFO’s and alternate realitie. And, before you scoff, he does a great job at “examining” such issues without really advocating.

    I mean, isn’t a little journalistic examination always value-add?

  • DrDan

    ===== quote =====

    # malcom z Says:

    June 20th, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    I agree with you Potter. I wonder what happened to the Dems. I think John Dean is a good figure head for the party. He’s very clown-like and no one could possibly tke him seriously. If he resigns perhaps we can get Wavy Gravy to replace him.

    ===== unquote =====

    Surely you mean HOWARD Dean, malcolm z? JOHN Dean, former White House Counsel to disgraced and resigned-prior-to-impeachment former Republican President Richard Milhous Nixon, though himself a convicted criminal, is the author of a recent, critically reviewd as excellent book (“Worse Than Watergate : The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush” ( http://tinyurl.com/fkfgf ). Contrary to the view from some quarters, JOHN Dean is still an avowed Republican (of the imho still honorable pre-Neoconservative stripe), which affiliation would make him rather a misfit Chairperson for the Democratic Party.

    OTOH, HOWARD Dean’s Democratic credentials are rather more impeccable — and impressive in terms of his accomplishments as Governor of Vermont and visionary, articulate, gutsy Presidential candidate — before his campaign imploded by a combination of not winning primaries because of Dean’s own mistakes, and manifest malice on the part of the media (witness the thousands of repetitions of the infamous-yet-innocuous “Dean Scream”), and imho certainly not clownlike.

    All I know about “wavy gravy,” which term I’d never heard before (call me square I guess), I learned from http://tinyurl.com/kj4lh .

    In conclusion, allow me to thank you, malcolm z, for your contributions to the high quality, accuracy, and freedom from ridicule and rancor of this interchange.

  • Ginny in CO

    One of the assertions that RFK Jr makes that I think may not be completely true:

    “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.”

    Having tried to Register in the GOP in ’88, and learned enough about the tactics of the Religious Right then (and since) to believe they had been training for a decade already. By 2000, there were enough local election officials, who had been trained in national workshops, to do their own dirty work ** without** a massive coordinated campaign. It’s just like Afgahnistan, the Taliban running the government with supported al-Qaeda cells helping to keep them in power with illegal activities of their own doing.

    My real world anecdotal support for this came when I heard Karen Hughes had told the president in the early evening that the exit polls were showing a Kerry victory and to prepare for a loss. Even Rove didn’t know everything that was going on our there. Until the returns overturned the exit polls, outside the margins of error in battle ground states.

  • David Weinstein

    Karen Hughes didn’t know but Karl Rove did. Apparantly after Hughes made this pronouncment, Rove went into a control room and started punching computer key pads. Low and behold, the six percent difference between the exit polls and the falsified results. Rove’s explanation: republicans vote late in the day.

    I hope the there will be more discussion on air and here about how the Diebold DRE machines could be manipulted both internally and the tabulators hacked through outside lines to change the final ‘results.’ As a friend said, it was as if the Kerry team won the game on the field but the scoreboard showed Bush won.

    Wall O’Dell (I think that’s his correct name if he not going under a pseudonym now) the formeer CEO of Diebold, ousted for, yes, stock manipulation, was also the co-chair of the Ohio Bush Cheney ’04 committee. With Blackwell setting the groundrules or lack thereof, and O’Dell counting the votes in his machines that have proprietary software that no one can examine, I think the outcome in Ohio was pretty mcuh a foregone conclusion.

    The question remains, is our democrcy a foregone conclusion?

  • I think that the Dems have a real problem with the 2004 poltical process in Ohio. . . . . . .

    Lefty Blog Payola and the Dishonest Brown Campaign

    http://www.buckeyesenateblog.com/2005/10/lefty_blog_payo_1.html

    It would seem that Comrades Kos and Armstrong seem to have a “cross-polination” of ideas going on that are “facilitated” by big time political money.

    And, DrD, are you sure that “D” doesn’t stand for Dean? Hey, the Dr Dean that you just lauded has caused the best leader that the Dems have had for re-electing them to announce that he will leave, just after the Nov elections.

    Rahm nixes second term

    http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/062106/news1.html

    Then we get “The Democrats Reassess”

    “The participants were asked to say what Democratic accomplishments they were most proud of. Their responses filled several pages on a flip chart set up in the focus group facility. “We all realized there was nothing there within the past 30 years,” Hattaway said.There is also a belief shared at least by some of the participants that Democrats have ridden for too long on what are the fumes of the New Deal and the Great Society, which sustained Democrats for half a century.” (PS – That’s for you DrD)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/20/AR2006062001350.html

    WSD – I predict that H. Dean will be such a brilliant leader that after the 2004 midterm elections when, the Dems make some gains but don’t take control of either house of Congress nor win as many govenorships and generally do not live up to expectations against a wounded and limping Repub party, will be “retired”. Where he will only be seen / heard on lefy blogs and outlets like ROS (remember “News with and edge”).

    But, I bet Rahm will be back, to replace Dean and if the Dems had lisented to Rahm instead of Dean there would be very different results in the 2006 elections.

  • Potter

    Thank you for the show— the guests were excellent. This is THE most important issue in this country today. It’s bedrock. If the people cannot express their will, if there is no confidence in the results of elections, all else falls apart. Everything else going on in this country today ( with it reverberations around the world) depends on open, and clean elections here.

    t’s very sad indeed that so many of us have this gnawing sense that our collective will has been thwarted in 2000 and 2004. The silence has been deafening on this issue in the main stream media. Why?

    All the while a steady bunch of folks have been keeping a vigil, collecting data, watching, reporting, writing articles. Some were on last night.

    Did you hear how delighted Rep. John Conyers was to be talking about this?

    This issue has been starved for air- which is a story in itself. If the RFK/Rolling Stone article did nothing more ( and it did a lot) simply bringing the subject up again, now especially, would have been enough. But the article itself, and now the discussion, leaves me boiling.

    Thank you ROS and I hope you keep on this. Did I understand you are doing a show about the voting machinery?

  • DrDan

    ROS — Thanks for the first part of the show; I very much enjoyed hearing Congressman Conyers once more. What an exemplary and diligent person he is. I’m now going to catch the second part of the show in MP3 form.

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  • DrDan

    I’m about 2/3 through with listening to this show… and… GOD BLESS MARK CRISPIN MILLER!

  • DrDan

    Bill Todd, on the other hand, I found smarmy (can I say that here?) and far less than convincing. It seemed that virtually every point he tried to make was swatted down smartly by the others. He had to be seething by the end of the show, and as far as I am concerned, he deserved to be.

    Excellent show, Chris and the ROS crew; rock on! Please keep giving this story air; it is one of the few places in the media where our moribund Democracy might breathe, if only shallowly.

  • albertj

    Great show, but I wish there had been more time to discuss exit polling.

    As Kennedy points out in his article, exit polls can be used to detect just the sort of funny business that went on in Ohio. Instead, the exit polls in 2004 were mysteriously corrupted with “real time” voter returns, which completely ruins the point of the exit polling. Whoever gave the order to corrupt the 2004 exit polling data should be forced to explain themselves.

  • Greta

    Hey Jon, we couldn’t fit it in last night, but tonight’s hour should sate your appetite nicely.

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  • Jon

    The back-to-back programs were superb! By all means, turn this into a linked series of programs–this is so much needed. The question I raised in my earlier posting above perhaps did not squarely fit either of the first two programs. Might it reasonably be a focus for a future program in this series? First the problems must be identified–great start on this so far in program #1. While daunting, and with considerable historical backdrop, as clearly outlined in program #2, we must next begin to fix these problems. But even if this can be accomplished, how do we begin recovering as a society in the larger context? What, if any, are the historical precedents that might give us the best guidance (and, I trust, hope) here?

  • jeremy

    The US can’t seem to maintain the story line of an open, honest and fair democracy. And the story is, as Chris points out, one of our key exports.

    What we aren’t getting to in this discussion is how winner take all elections magnify hair’s breadth margins into mandates. That the Republican’s can nudge 49.9% to 50.1% doesn’t surprise me.

    As I have written here before in a democracy the rich, not the majority, will do what it takes to make a majority vote for those who will do their bidding. In the US that means an odd coalition of Christian fundamentalists and small govt. Republicans held together by fear mongering + lots of sececy and spin.

    But we loose so much diversity of opinion on the way to our 2 party he said she said state. And the Bushies (really Rove/Cheney dontcha think) have taken full advantage of this.

  • dbragg

    First of all, this is a result of the relatively even split in the electorate—every measuring instrument has an intrinsic level of error, and looking at differences below that level is problematic at best.

    But I think the reactions to these charges, as to those surrounding Florida in 2000, limns a difference between liberal and conservative thinking. Conservatives believe that if you Follow the Rules, You’re Right—so if a secretary of state hath the legal power to manipulate voting machine distribution in an area, if an obviously bad ballot has been approved via the established process therefor, then what’s your problem? There is merit in this, in that if rules can always be bent in the service of an abstract ideal like “fairness” or “justice” or “democracy” or “common human decency”, you end up with capricious government by men and women using these ideals for their own power (just like the “Chrisitian” Theocrats would give us—“The Bible Rules” translates into “Men Who Interpret the Bible Rule”).

    We liberals, on the other hand, tend to pay more attention to whether the rules themselves are fair etc.., and judge the rules themselves by the outcomes they produce (people not starving because they’re bad at making money, results of the election matching a supposedly accurate exit poll). This has a great deal of merit in my opinion, as we, being secularists (and in cases like mine, atheists) do not believe, as some conservatives seem to (see de Maistre), that The Rules were set up or endorsed by some god or a god-like Tradition—they are social technology with a particular aim (an economic game that doesn’t shoot the losers, an election that reflects the preferences of the voters, who in turn represent a fair sampling of the population) and limitations. It suffers from the defect described above: meeting the Ideal can become rule by the (real or faked) idealists.

    There will always be tension between these two poles, or rather I hope there will be, because neither side is right all the time or completely right at any time: if exceptions to the standard way of doing things are allowed at will, the rules become a tool of oppression by the ones making the exceptions; if the rules are rigidly held with never an exception allowed regardless of outcome, they become the instruments of oppression by those whom they favour by their nature. (Don’t say you’ll find rules that favour no-one—no technology is perfect.)

    (I further think that people who are absolutely convinced that the election was stolen are suffering from a misplaced faith in and assessment of their fellow citizens. The former want to believe that their countrymen couldn’t possibly be [in the aggregate] stupid/evil/venal/misinformed/{other snarl-word} enough to vote in That Clown. Well, what do you expect who know about reality mostly from churches, mediocratic schools, the maedia, and [now] blogs?)

    (This doesn’t mean that there wasn’t fraud and manipulation of the rules.)