Calling all Yanks in Ireland….

Tomorrow is the big day for Americans voting in the first stages of the Presidential election. It’s in Iowa, and voting there comes down to the strangely quaint, 18th Century confines of a Caucus: that is you declare your vote publicly. Indeed, if you are American (or even if you aren’t I guess), Richard Delevan has established the Ireland Caucus, so that denizens of our good isle can declare their intentions remotely. Voting ends at midnight our time, so that the Ireland Caucus will declare before Iowa! For a running commentary on events up to Super Tuesday, you can pick up Richard’s take on Brassneck.

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  • Justin

    I prefer the term Irish back from exile myself. ;]

    Anywho, thanks for the link. Should be an interesting election this time around.

  • Dewi

    Strange old system ain’t it. Quite like the idea of these village meeting type caucuses. But fundamentally a “democratic” process that could well lead to members of two families governing for 28 consecutive years seems to be corrupt. Too much cash – they should restrict the spend rather than the raising of the money perhaps.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Strange old system ain’t it.

    We used to have a roughly similar system. Poor people were denied the vote, and the aristoracy rigged the result to go their way anyway. We did away with it, but they still need to catch up.

    Too much cash – they should restrict the spend rather than the raising of the money perhaps.

    They have the wrong end of the stick in the USA. They think that things are more democratic if you have more elected representatives, and if the electorate are consulted over more decisions. I think it’s more important to start with the basics, like making sure the votes are counted properly and are not subject to partisan interference; and having an electoral system that ensures that people are properly represented. First past the post voting is completely wrong in a country so large and diverse.

  • Dewi

    All sense Joseph – 2000 election was stolen as plainly as Kenya’s. What did Al Gore say ? Something like “the only escalation past the Supreme Court is insurrection”. Participation rates pathetic also despite massive advertising.
    I also despise the superficial cleverness of it all. I swear Barrack planted “the he’s not really black” stories in order to subliminally reassure the white electorate.
    Will be interesting to see how Ron Paul does in the republican caucus however. Despite his pathetic poll ratings his campaign’s theory is that his supporters do not have land phone lines and thus not picked up by polls…..
    Mccain my bet for republican nominee and reckon the Clinton machine will come through whatever tomorrow’s result. Whether those predictions as good as my World Cup ones time will tell…

  • Bob From Boston

    ‘What did Al Gore say ?’
    Err….”I invented the internet”,
    “It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”

  • Dewi

    indeed Bob – and the inspiration for “Love Story” – Seriously, real shame for humanity that he was cheated – or do u think it was fair and square ????

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dewi,

    The Democrats and the Republicans both have a vested interest in keeping the daft system there, so in no way am I speaking from a pro-Democrat point of view. The Democrats have, in the past, benefitted from electoral irregularities in the same way that the Republicans did in 2000 and again in 2004 – most famously with JFK, I believe. I just cannot conceive how people can sit there and watch vested interests interfere with the electoral registers and the count, and still regard it as a fair vote.

    Ron Paul will fail utterly. The electoral system is such that only candidates who can win the support of the political establishment will be elected. I’m not alleging some kind of black helicopter conspiracy stuff (I think Ron Paul’s policies are dangerous when taken to their logical conclusion, never mind the fact that I disagree with him), just that he will fail to win the necessarily influential friends to ensure he has the right exposure. At any rate, I don’t think most Americans buy his patronizing nonsense about eliminating the IRS. How will the hole in federal funds be filled ? Stuff will have to be cut, or other taxes will have to be raised.

    I agree with you about McCain, it’ll be either him or Romney. I do not think Clinton will win the nomination, she’s too scary and her policies have too many holes. Many Democrats will abstain rather than elect her. Still, at least now I understand why she didn’t ditch Bill over the blowjob.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bob,

    Err….”I invented the internet”

    Nope, he said that he created the internet. Which, in fact, he did. If you’re going to quote the guy, at least get it right.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Comrade Stalin: “They have the wrong end of the stick in the USA. They think that things are more democratic if you have more elected representatives, and if the electorate are consulted over more decisions. I think it’s more important to start with the basics, like making sure the votes are counted properly and are not subject to partisan interference; ”

    The pendulum swings back and forth, between full inclusion and clean elections. The rise of the Irish as part of the political class started during a period of maximum inclusion, back when a bearded Irishman was worth four votes or so. No matter the rules, there will be those on both sides who will try to play games — for instance, in 2000, it was all but a foot-race to see which side would go to court first.

    Meanwhile, in the UK, we have a system where winning, what, less than 40% of the vote, garners, what, 60%+ of the seats.

    Every system has its flaws and oddities.

    Dewi: “2000 election was stolen as plainly as Kenya’s. What did Al Gore say ? Something like “the only escalation past the Supreme Court is insurrection”. Participation rates pathetic also despite massive advertising. ”

    Bollocks. Re-counts found no evidence that Gore had the majority of the vote. Watching some of the video of the recount did nothing for either sides reputation. The problematic ballot was designed by a Democrat and, frankly, if anything, Gore is bitter that his scheme to dump the military absentee ballots was spiked by his own vp.

    But then, dewi, why let the facts get in the way.

    Dewi: ” and the inspiration for “Love Story” – Seriously, real shame for humanity that he was cheated – or do u think it was fair and square ???? ”

    I think that Gore ran a mediocre campaign against a mediocre candidate with an exemplary campaign behind him. Gore complaint, given the practices of the Democratic party, amounts, at worst, that the GOP stole what Gore considered to be his by right of prior theft. Besides, it’s a little hard to feel too sympathetic — only an idiot puts the son of Boss Daley in front of a television camera to try and sell the notion of a stolen election.

  • Dewi

    Dread – u are wrong about the recounts – they were stopped by local republicans – I’ll find some stuff tomorrow – nos da.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dewi: “Dread – u are wrong about the recounts – they were stopped by local republicans”

    Loosen the tin-foil hat, Dewi. The ballots, being public documents, were counted even after the conclusion of Bush v. Gore. The recount that Gore requested would have granted Bush victory by 500+ votes. Even the count of all counties undervotes gave Bush victory by 400+ votes.

    It is only when you get into things outside the realm of Gore’s request and a little alchemy (counting “overvotes” — votes where more than one candidate is indicated — dimpled chads and the like) that Gore starts to pull ahead, all of which were beyond the Florida courts orders.

  • Mark McGregor

    So you have to publicly declare your party affiliation and publicly select your prefered candidate before the election even begins. Then the public gets a chance to vote?

    That’s a democracy?

    It’s academic to me, anyhow. I don’t care if the whip for backs is head in their left or right hand, I just care about the whip. I don’t see anyone voting to stop whipping

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dread,

    The pendulum swings back and forth, between full inclusion and clean elections.

    How do you know whether an election is clean or not ? We don’t even know whether or not the votes were properly counted. When there’s an issue over a result, there is no satisfactory mechanism for investigating and fixing it, so it ends up going to the Supreme Court to make up the rules as they go along. The US legal setup imposes a time limit on getting the result, which provides an impetus to provide any result at the expense of providing the right one. Leaving aside the issue that it underfunds the electoral system ..

    Meanwhile, in the UK, we have a system where winning, what, less than 40% of the vote, garners, what, 60%+ of the seats.

    The UK FPTP system is shite. But at least the votes are counted properly; they’re known within a day of the polls closing. And when impropriety is suspected, all of the candidates usually proceed on a fair play basis (as Pat Buchanan did). In the USA in 2000, instead of recognizing how damaging the problems in Florida were, the respective party political machines both stepped in and brazenly tried to swing things their way, excluding results that damaged them, and talking up matters which benefitted them. The Republicans were at this to a far greater extent, especially in the form of Katherine Harris.

    The USA electoral system has serious faults. For a country claiming to be the standard bearer of democracy, to the point of using military force to attempt to implement it abroad, this is hardly acceptable.

    Every system has its flaws and oddities.

    Yeah, but at least most of us in the west manage to count the goddam votes properly.

    Bollocks. Re-counts found no evidence that Gore had the majority of the vote.

    Which is wrong; several unofficial recounts have shown that Gore would have won. At best, the result is disputed, and Al Gore was a wimp for conceding it (and I do agree with you that he ran a crap campaign – it should have been a walk-in). But either way, it is not the point. The count result was never formally addressed. The recount was stopped by the US Supreme Court. What’s more, the USSC was split right down the middle, so it was hardly a decisive thing. There are no two ways to put this – it is fundamentally anti-democratic to stop a recount in a disputed election. I don’t care which party it is. And the fact that Al Gore may or may not have tried to swing the military absentee ballots his way is not the point. The point is, why has he got any say in the first place ? This should be dealt with by an accountable independent commission or board, not as a result of which party has the best lobbyists or lawyers.

    Gore complaint, given the practices of the Democratic party, amounts, at worst, that the GOP stole what Gore considered to be his by right of prior theft.

    Reasonable enough, given that the Republican campaign co-chairwoman was involved actively and illegally arranging to strike likely Democrat voters from the electoral register. Why would she have done that if she was sure that the result would have been favourable ? Over here, this would get you a jail term. There, people seem to be indifferent. It’s amazing that the Republicans don’t seem to think their reputation might be effected by the suggestion that they are occupying their elected positions through illegal votes, whether or not they were part of the conspiracy.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dread,

    According to this article, Gore would have won by several measures. In elections here, the electoral officer gets to examine ballots in order to determine the intention of the voter, even if the voter didn’t strictly obey the instructions – if, for example, they underlined the desired candidate instead of putting a X next to his/her name. You may dismiss that as “alchemy”, but there are reasonable ways to work this matter out, rather than insisting that a mark which cannot be read by the optical machine, or which didn’t fully depress the hole in the ballot, cannot be counted as a vote.

    Moreover, the point about the recount as requested by Gore seems to be moot. Why do candidates get to pick which areas should be recounted ? If there was an issue with the vote counting, the whole state should have been recounted. A UK-wide manual recount would take less than one day to complete, a small price to pay in exchange for providing public reassurance that the system is working. How can a democratic system be said to be sound if the politicians are able to deploy lawyers over the most minor issues of vote-counting to force the result their way ?

  • Danny O’Connor

    Yeah lets just recount the tory seats again and again until we get rid of them forever.
    Wise up .Gore had a clear majority of the popular vote.If you win a state by 1 vote you win the entire electoral votes for that state.If you won Alaska,Hawaii,and California by 1 vote in each state it would not matter if you won New York by 5 million votes-you would be behind-even though you had a majority of the popular vote.

  • Bob From Boston

    Dread..
    Spot on. NO factual evidence of that election foolishness. Al Gore ‘created’ the internet ?
    Global warming anything but a scam? One common thread…
    Al Gore….
    Any adult with reading comprehension skills and an open mind can find the facts that show this man and his sycophants as complete frauds…

  • Harry Flashman

    Bush won the 2000 election fair and square by the rules all candidates had agreed to before the election. If the incumbent vice president of a hugely popular two-term presidency couldn’t beat the stupid, drunken cow-poke from Texas (actually a myth of course, Bush has a very impressive academic record from Yale and Harvard, much better than Gore who flunked theology college) then it ill behoves his supporters to start whining about “stolen” elections especially from a party whose most illustrious president really did steal the election from Richard Nixon in 1960.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Kennedy did at least have a majority of the popular vote.Bush was selected rather than elected.Last election you were getting a skull and bones man regardless of whether you voted for Bush or Kerry.In American elections the candidates must conform to get selected once they all conform -it is much of a muchness- bilderberger ,one world government,new world order etc….

  • Harry Flashman

    Aw jaysus, Danny please spare us the Bilderberg stuff or the black helicopters will be hovering overhead soon.

  • Bush has a very impressive academic record from Yale and Harvard

    Yeah, and there’s no way he would have got into the Skull and Bones if that pseud ‘lonesome cowpoke’ accent was how he really spoke.

    especially from a party whose most illustrious president really did steal the election from Richard Nixon in 1960

    To be fair, Comrade Stalin did mention exactly that up the thread.

    The US seems to have… er… issues with the ‘nuts and bolts’ fair conduct of elections in a way that most other established democracies don’t. Three things strike me as being particularly weak as a political hack from another country:

    * People waiting for **hours** outside polling stations. I mean, where the fuck are we talking about here? Equatorial Guinea or something? Although turnout rises and falls, in General Elections in Presidential Years it has never been as low as foreigners thought (rising from 50% or so to the low 60s% in recent years) and demand for ballots ought to be predictable and manageable. Even at peak times, no-one, nowhere, should be waiting more than 15 minutes to vote. Don’t think this happens anywhere in Europe, Canada, Japan, etc.

    * Fancy ballots. Too much dicking about with voting machines – mechanical and electronic – which go wrong and sap voter confidence. What is wrong with a pencil and paper?

    * Legacy of Jim Crow and Mayor Daley. In many US States, voting is treated as a privillege rather than a right. In too many jurisdictions, there are too many grounds on which adult citizens can be struck off the register. It creates a minefield of competing claims, graveyards full of voters and legitimate voters being struck off.

    Oh, and too many lawyers but that’s hardly just an American problem these days…

    or the black helicopters will be hovering overhead soon.

    You mean they aren’t already?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bob:

    Spot on. NO factual evidence of that election foolishness.

    Actually there is, but I notice you’re not big on facts, or on rebuttals. The election is disputed, and by the standards prevalent in the UK and Ireland it would probably have been ruled void by the High Court. That said, given the role of partisan figures in the US electoral system, it’s likely that the whole thing would be void.

    Al Gore ‘created’ the internet ?

    Yes, he did, by putting the appropriate legislation through Congress. The Internet (originally a Defence project) would not have existed in it’s current form without it.

    Harry :

    Bush won the 2000 election fair and square by the rules all candidates had agreed to before the election.

    No he didn’t. Republican party officials eliminating legitimate voters from the ballot was not part of the deal. Likewise, the unprecedented 5-4 SCOTUS intervention in the recount decision by the Florida Supreme Court was not part of the deal either (it’s interesting to compare the voting in the USSC with alignment to the party which is most commonly heard talking about “state’s rights”). Not only should there have been a recount, but both parties should have voluntarily backed a re-run of the election should have been re-run on agreed rules in the interests of preserving the reputation of the democratic system. Instead both parties tried to swing the chaos in their way, and the Democrats just didn’t have the friends required to make it work. Had Clinton had one more USSC appointment, the result could have been completely different, which is crazy.

    actually a myth of course, Bush has a very impressive academic record from Yale and Harvard, much better than Gore who flunked theology college

    My recollection is that both institutions were reluctant to provide details of GWB’s actual grades. Nonetheless, I don’t know how the hell you get through Yale and Harvard without having the ability to string two sentences together. There are web pages full of “Bushisms”. It doesn’t say a lot for the reputation of either of those places. It also doesn’t help that GWB was an utter failure at business and had to be bailed out by daddy’s friends on at least one occasion.

    it ill behoves his supporters to start whining about “stolen” elections especially from a party whose most illustrious president really did steal the election from Richard Nixon in 1960.

    I find it very disturbing when, in the course of an argument about the validity of an election result, people invoke a previous unsettled disputed election in an attempt to counter accusations of a presently disputed one. The central point here is that the electoral system in the USA is badly broken. It was broken in 1960 and it is still broken now. You cannot have a democracy where there are disputes over how the votes are counted. If it were me, I’d throw away all these automated vote-counting machines and go right back to a pencil and a piece of paper. Automated vote counting is where most of these problems come from.

    Aw jaysus, Danny please spare us the Bilderberg stuff or the black helicopters will be hovering overhead soon.

    The Bilderberg and Skull & Crossbones stuff is a diversion (it’s funny how people argue that Kerry ran a crap campaign out of deference to Bush’s fraternity in this organization. Why didn’t it work the other way around ?). The main problem is that the electoral system is broken. A secondary problem is that the Democratic party are crap; they’re too afraid to seem too different from the Republicans in case it scares people. They’ve had so many opportunities to stake themselves out given their Senate majority, and they’ve failed to use it. They’re about as effective as a catflap in an elephant house.

  • Al Gore

    I voted for funding that created the internet

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Comrade Stalin: “Which is wrong; several unofficial recounts have shown that Gore would have won.”

    Not under the conditions requested by the Gore campaign and agreed by the Florida Supreme Court. Oh, and most Gore scenario’s require unreasonable standards, such as trying to count “over-votes,” where more than one candidate is indicated. As a minimum, Gore would have had to have asked for a full recount, rather than being a cute whore and only asking for a recount of the three most liberal counties in the state.

    Comrade Stalin: “The count result was never formally addressed. The recount was stopped by the US Supreme Court.”

    Primarily b/c the Florida Supreme Court was playing silly buggers, trying to warp the laws and rules in place to conform to a seemingly pre-determined and desired outcome.

    Comrade Stalin: “Moreover, the point about the recount as requested by Gore seems to be moot. Why do candidates get to pick which areas should be recounted ?”

    Rules of the process at the time, Comrade. The states get to regulate elections within the state — one of the few vestiges of what was once a weak central government system in the states. Changing the rules after the fact amounts to ex post facto law and is highly susceptible to mischief.

    Danny O’Connor: “Gore had a clear majority of the popular vote”

    Not material on a national level, as Presidents are not elected on the popular vote. As for the state of Florida, it is a point at best in dispute, depending upon the standard employed.

    Danny O’Connor: “If you win a state by 1 vote you win the entire electoral votes for that state.”

    Not entirely true, as there are a few states that allocate electors pro-rata, such as Maine.

    Danny O’Connor: “Kennedy did at least have a majority of the popular vote.”

    Doesn’t matter — it is a majority of votes in the electoral college that decides matters, not the popular vote. Throw in the corruption in Chicago / Cook County, where the dead don’t merely walk, but vote, and your argument is shaky, at best. Not one gets sympathy for putting one of Boss Daley’s boys in front of a camera to flak the charge of a stolen election.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Comrade Stalin: “I find it very disturbing when, in the course of an argument about the validity of an election result, people invoke a previous unsettled disputed election in an attempt to counter accusations of a presently disputed one.”

    It is difficult to take seriously the wheezes of a thief when he complains something was stolen from him. Gore horribly mis-managed the process, from putting Daley’s son as his initial lead on the issue to trying to be cute with a limited re-count to pushing to invalidate military absentee ballots while trying to count in as many invalid votes as possible added to his column — undervotes, overvotes, dimpled chads, hanging chads, et al and ad nauseum.

    Comrade Stalin: “The central point here is that the electoral system in the USA is badly broken. It was broken in 1960 and it is still broken now.”

    Please — its been broken a hell of a lot longer than that. Ironically, most of the changes put in place (voting machines rather than paper ballots) were put in place to prevent the Democratic parties older cheats — Jim Crow, Tammany Hall, etc. The rise of the Irish-American in US politics started with 4 to a man voting and machine politics.

    I would also point out it is the Democratic party that goes to great lengths to prevent new clean election laws being passed, such as the simple expedient of having to provide picture id when going to vote.

    Comrade Stalin: “You cannot have a democracy where there are disputes over how the votes are counted.”

    Elections are the baliwick of states and counties, not the Federal government. Likewise, any scheme is susceptible to manipulation.

    Comrade Stalin: “If it were me, I’d throw away all these automated vote-counting machines and go right back to a pencil and a piece of paper.”

    *sigh*

    The joys of those too ignorant of history…

    The paper and pencil ballot is just as susceptible to manipulation as automated voting machines. The practice for the Dems used to be to have vote grow beards, leastwise thems what could grow beards. They would then vote, change styles of facial hair and vote again… and again… and again, until bare-faced. Likewise, the Dem’s lack of support for requiring voter id smells of similar opportunism.

  • joeCanuck

    C’mon guys.
    Fighting over the 2000 result. Bah.

  • Dewi

    Have a read Dread and Harry When I meant stolen I meant literally – but of course all the points about the inadequacy of the philosophy of how US elections are run far from ideal.

    It’s not true about 1960 – Illinois not enough to swing result.

  • Dewi

    JFK got 303 electoral college thingies cf. 219 for Nixon – delta 84. Illinois had 27 – swing of 54 if false.

  • Dewi

    “C’mon guys.
    Fighting over the 2000 result. Bah”

    I agree Joe – 1960 much more fun !

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dewi: “When I meant stolen I meant literally ”

    Which would make you, literally, wrong. The proper forms were followed, the proper authorities appealed to and the process shut down when the Florida Supreme Court got the silly notion their opinion trumped that of the US Supreme Court.

    Please note, the base decision (that the Florida Supreme Court was in the wrong) was 7 to 2. The vote on the remedy / recount was 5 to 4, with Souter and, iirc, Kennedy being the fence-straddlers.

    As for 1960, Chicago was merely the grossest example, not the sole area of malfeasence, with Daley holding back the election results for Cook County late into the night. There were other controversies — “Land-slide Lyndon” and the Texas vote, for example. Johnson was infamously known for winning one precinct that, per the election documents, had apparently voted in alphabetical order and with all but one votes choosing Johnson. There were other states discussd, including New Jersey, Hawaii (which was initially awarded to Kennedy, but overturned) and Missouri.

    But then, it was the first election with televised debates — interestingly, again, iirc, Nixon “won” the debates amongst those who listened to the debates on the radio, whilst the more photogenic (and savvy — Kennedy wore make-up under the lights, Nixon didn’t) Kennedy “won” per the TV audience.

    1960 is interesting on a number of levels.

  • Dewi

    Dread – Texas fully investigated by Nixon’s people as was NJ – Hawaii, as u rightly point out awarded to Nixon. Wasn’t aware of any great issue in Missouri however. (11 EC votes ? – still not enough). Tou are right about it being a fascinating election however.

    As for 2000 being stolen I was working for an American company at the time and suggested to my rabidly republican boss that we call for election observers to be sent from Zimbabwe..didn’t keep my job long strangely enough..

    usually pretty factual if not to your taste. Stolen strategically and tactically.

  • Bob From Boston

    Spot on. NO factual evidence of that election foolishness.

    ‘Actually there is, but I notice you’re not big on facts, or on rebuttals.’

    Where is the factual, proven evidence? See if you can include the ‘illegal immigrant vote’ count with your ‘facts’…..but that would be bad for democrats…couldn’t have that…..only lies that are good for democrats(the ones who hate the US, like you)
    tsk tsk

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dewi: “As for 2000 being stolen I was working for an American company at the time and suggested to my rabidly republican boss that we call for election observers to be sent from Zimbabwe..didn’t keep my job long strangely enough.. ”

    Gee, I wonder why — at least in the US, the outcome was in doubt and the gov’t not in the habit of killing members of the opposition. Zimbabwe is an argument in favor of Rhodesia.

    dewi: “Stolen strategically and tactically.”

    Like the Democrats didn’t have their legions of lawyers ready and waiting to practice legal skull-duggery, dewi, such as holding the polls open in urban St Louis whilst allowing them to close in the rest of the state, along with his strategy of disqualifying as many military absentee ballots as possible? A bit like the cheating dealer trying to cold-deck you and then bitching those weren’t the cards he dealt you.

    Gore got the recount he asked for, under the terms he wanted. It is no one’s fault but his own he tried to be a cute whore and cherry picked the districts to be re-counted.

    Hell, the whole mess started, in part, because Florida is in two time zones, with the more conservative pan-handle starting and closing an hour later than the rest of the state, a fact conveniently forgotten by the media, who called the vote early, suppressing the vote, arguably, in the more rural and conservative panhandle.

  • Bob From Boston

    Here are some facts.
    I don’t debate facts, I present them. Opinions otoh are debatable. Your opinion is not supported by the facts. Your schoolyard whataboutary is boorish at best. You’re best left to witty quips and sniffing at those of us who sometimes misform sentences, but who are usually right.

    ‘In this case, there is no credible statistical evidence and no other competent substantial evidence to establish by a preponderance a reasonable probability that the results of the statewide election in the state of Florida would be different from the result which has been certified by the state elections canvassing commission.

    The court further finds and concludes the evidence does not establish any illegality, dishonesty, gross negligence, improper influence, coercion or fraud in the balloting and counting processes.’

    http://www.thegreenpapers.com/News/20001204-1.html

  • Dewi

    Further, it is well-established, as reflected in the opinion of Judge Jonas and Smith v. Tynes, that in order to contest election results under Section 102.168 of the Florida statutes, the plaintiff must that but for the irregularity or inaccuracy claimed, the result of the election would have been different, and he or she would have been the winner.

    It is not enough to show a reasonable possibility that election results could have been altered by such irregularities or inaccuracies. Rather, a reasonable probability that the results of the election would have been changed must be shown.

    That’s fascinating Bob – you can only ask for a recount if you are sure you’d win ? did I read that right ?

    Dread
    1) It was a joke about Zimbabwe
    2) Never said the Dems were not beyond skullduggery – that does not change the balance of facts which
    a) suggest that if all votes cast were properly counted Gore would have won (emphasise sugggest because it is open to some dispute.
    b) suggest strongly that Democratic leaning voters were excluded from voting through a myriad of dodgy practices.

  • Bob From Boston

    Ah…they didn’t win…they asked for a recount (while screaming like stuck pigs about (never substantiated) skulduggery.)
    They didn’t win again….
    And whine and whine and whine…….
    Wah…wah…wah….
    Hmmm what’s the prez’s popularity compared to, say, the (whining) congress?
    Look it up and report back.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dewi: “It was a joke about Zimbabwe ”

    Now it wasn’t — jokes are funny. Even if it was intended as a joke, it was in poor taste.

    dewi: “Never said the Dems were not beyond skullduggery – that does not change the balance of facts”

    Doesn’t it? Can a body legitimately complain about a behavior when they, themselves, are engaged in the same behavior?

    Now, a couple of things about that recount, Dewi.

    1) Many of the ballots are meant to be used once and discarded. This circumstance arose from the unprecedented closeness of the race in Florida. They were not meant to be handled repeatedly.

    2) Given “1” above, it is inevitable that a number of ballots, particularly punch-card ballots, would be disqualified after the fact as a result of repeated handling, as perforterated “chads” are dislodged as a result of repeated running and handling.

    3) Given “1” and “2” above, there is no way of definatively proving your thesis. Given the behavior of the Palm Beach official who wanted to count undervotes, overvotes, Buchanan votes and any ballots that were breathed upon heavily as Gore votes, any chance of a trustworthy accounting of the ballot went out the window early.

    4) Excluding undercounts and overcounts (i.e. improperly executed ballots) is de rigeur — Democrats would complain just as loudly if Bush had gotten in on the basis of disqualifable ballots as you are now about Gore losing on the basis of these ballots being excluded. Besides, is reading the directions prior to voting too much to ask, Dewi?

    5) Excluding some voters for legitimate reasons in not unreasonable. If one does not respond to canvassing notices — usu. with pre-paid post-cards attached for easy response — and does not vote in several consecutive elections, should they not be purged from the roles in accordance with the laws and regulations of the state? Likewise, should not voters be required some minimal duties — keep up their registration, know the election date and their polling station?

    Voting is neither a priviledge nor a right. It is an obligation of citizenship and, as such, requires some small effort on the part of the voter.

  • Bob From Boston

    Fine stuff. Well said.
    Nicely laced,
    By blogger Dread..

  • Dewi

    “Hmmm what’s the prez’s popularity compared to, say, the (whining) congress?”

    Don’t care – why relevant ? I’ve no particular political axe to grind – Plaid were not running.

    Dread – given the US’s role as defenders of democracy from Chile to the Ukraine I did find the joke ironically funny – but apologise if offended.

    1) Accepted
    2) Accepted
    3) Here, in event of confusing agents of each party scrutinise each ballot with the returning officer – and where a preference is clear then the vote is allocated that way – not complex. THAT IS THE ABSOLUTE FIRST I HAVE HEARD OF ANY OFFICIAL ATTEMPTING TO CLASS BUCHANAN VOTES FOR GORE ! That’s a hell of a scoop Dread – got a link?
    4) No – just did seem unfortunately complex – see Scotland 2007
    5)The claim was that officers were asking for 2 bits of voter photo ID at the booth – a new thing. Also the private company used to exclude felons provided inaccurate name lists that were matched incorrectly.

    Voting an obligation of citizenship ? Maybe, maybe not, but if you so believe then surely need to make it straightforward to vote ?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dewi: “given the US’s role as defenders of democracy from Chile to the Ukraine I did find the joke ironically funny – but apologise if offended. ”

    Like I said, Florida was an aberration, born of a ludicrously tight race and several unrelated blunders. To compare that unintended train-wreck with a corrupt regieme that uses violence and naked corruption to remain in power is tasteless….

    Besides, your analogy is broken on its face — if accurate,, Gore would have won in a walk-away, with Bush beaten and arrested and Cheney ending up in the big black boiling pot in lieu of a half-dozen Congolese pygmies.

    dewi: “THAT IS THE ABSOLUTE FIRST I HAVE HEARD OF ANY OFFICIAL ATTEMPTING TO CLASS BUCHANAN VOTES FOR GORE !”

    *sigh*

    snark, it would seem, is utterly wasted over the Internet.

    The common complaint / lament of Florida democrats, dewi, was that the Palm Beach condo dwellers were utterly unable to draw a straight freaking line from one side of the ballot to the other and mis-cast their Gore votes for Buchannan, costing his environmental majesty Prince Albert thousands of votes. If you were previously unaware of this, you must not have been paying much attention at the time.

    Likewise, having watched the woman adjudicate ballots, I wouldn’t have been suprised if she had declared a parking ticket to be a lost Gore vote.

    dewi: “Voting an obligation of citizenship ? Maybe, maybe not, but if you so believe then surely need to make it straightforward to vote ?”

    As an experiment, kindergarteners were given the ballots, with the same instructions, with flawless results. How is it that five and six year olds can handle a buttefly ballot better than grown-up? They weren’t complicated, they were designed by a Democrat and they would have been successful, had ordinary care been excercised. It is hardly Bush’s fault if the Dems can handle their own affairs.

    As for the rest, I fail to see why it should take a passport or a driver’s license and an SSI card to get a job, but you seem to expect that any shmuck can toddle up to the polls, give a name and expect to be allowed to vote.

  • Dewi

    1)It was not an analogy it was taking the mick – but again if u r offended sorry.

    2) A Lament yes Dread – but not “behavior of the Palm Beach official who wanted to count… Buchanan votes…as Gore votes” – Come on that’s not the same.

    3) “As an experiment, kindergarteners were given the ballots, with the same instructions, with flawless results. How is it that five and six year olds can handle a buttefly ballot better than grown-up?”

    Not the issue particularly but I ask my nephew to work the DVD……

    4) Don’t really understand how we got here but would u agree that the FBI should have been brought in to perform a full recount ?

  • Bob From Boston

    Don’t care – why relevant ? I’ve no particular political axe to grind – Plaid were not running.

    I was calling you a whiner, and trying to show that whining is not very popular among most adults. But you wouldn’t get that now, would you? As far as a political axe goes..to take this whole tin-hatted election scam thing, and Al Gore, as a credible scenario, is either anti Bush/US grinding, or hunch backed baying at the moon. Take your pick.

  • Dewi

    Bob – whining ? tin-hatted ? (don’t know what that means), hunch back baying at the moon ? etc etc etc – can I have one pick or many ? I have quite a number of American friends and admire many elements of the society (especially the Wobblies but that’s another story)
    Now your point was that I shouldn’t complain about the result. My point was that there were legitimate democratic concerns and that the process made your system look a laughing stock – and on my reading of the evidence (admittedly not absolutely certain) produced the wrong (in terms of reflecting the wishes of the people of Florida)
    result. Surely that’s a fair point in a debate ?

  • Bob From Boston

    Dewi….

    The Dems caused it to look like a laughing stock…They were, and continue to be, a worldwide embarrassment imho. I get testy at times.. fair play to you for nudging me back in place.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    dewi: “Don’t really understand how we got here but would u agree that the FBI should have been brought in to perform a full recount ? ”

    The FBI? Another sign y’all don’t know the history of America. The FBI is the last organization I’d want give a hand in deciding who the next president is. The responsibility for a recount lies with the state and the county, not the Federal government.

    The election was handled under the laws and regulations of the state of Florida. Unlike, say, France, there were no strikes or riots. No churches burned, not even the ones that Democrats remembered burning in their stump speeches.

  • Demos have a good results site. A close-to-even three way tie with Hillary seemingly stuck in 3rd place with just over 50% of results in. My instinct is this is bad for Hillary (although she has the resources to take it on the chin), superb for Obama if he can hold that narrow lead and difficult for Edwards, who needed to win here, but he isn’t out yet. Both Obama and Edwards now face formidable problems in tackling Hillary’s massive lead in many late January and Super Tuesday states.

    Republicans: looks like Huckabee has survived fairly vicious attacks from mainstream Republicanism to eke out a clear win over a fractured field (CNN is now calling it for him). Hard to tell what will happen next on the mainstream side, but Tommy Thompson is clearly toast leaving Huckabee as the standard bearer of the Christian right. If no clear winner emerges, Ron Paul’s 11% repeated elsewhere might see him become a kingmaker come convention time. In the unlikely event it gets that far…

  • Obama’s got it clearly, Hilary may be below 30%, which is disaster. 80% of delegates now selected.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sammy Morse: “A close-to-even three way tie with Hillary seemingly stuck in 3rd place with just over 50% of results in. My instinct is this is bad for Hillary (although she has the resources to take it on the chin), superb for Obama if he can hold that narrow lead and difficult for Edwards, who needed to win here, but he isn’t out yet. ”

    Clinton is a trench fighter, but wants to be both the establishment candidate and the change candidate — a wider stance than even that of Larry Craig. Edwards, I’m afraid, is an empty suit variously bespattered with naked hypocrisy. Obama… is complicated 00 some big positives and negatives, the candidate that could be this year’s Howard Dean — the one the whacky left WANTS to run, but will chicken out on and pick someone else.

    Sammy Morse: “looks like Huckabee has survived fairly vicious attacks from mainstream Republicanism to eke out a clear win over a fractured field (CNN is now calling it for him). Hard to tell what will happen next on the mainstream side, but Tommy Thompson is clearly toast leaving Huckabee as the standard bearer of the Christian right. If no clear winner emerges, Ron Paul’s 11% repeated elsewhere might see him become a kingmaker come convention time. In the unlikely event it gets that far… ”

    Way too early to read the tea leaves on this side of the race, although Paul will end up being better known for the fringies he attracts than anything else.

  • Dewi

    “Another sign y’all don’t know the history of America”
    Federal Government intervened to ensure fair voting in Houston in the 40s. So would have been possible.

  • Greenflag

    With the numbers attending the Democratic Caucus up almost 100% from the last caucus, and that on a bitterly cold evening in Iowa ,it doesn’t matter who the Republican candidate will be the Democrats will win in November .

    The status quo in both parties appear to have lost with change ‘agents’ Obama , Edwards and Huckabee upsetting the ‘monied’ Romneys, Clinton and Giuliani .

    Hilary’s idea of sending former Presidents hubbie Bill and Bush Senior (the father of the failed President) on a world wide trip to help restore America’s ‘reputation’ seems now in retrospect to have been a classic error and a huge underestimate of the enormity of anti Bush sentiment across the USA.

    Hilary got a majority of the over 60 vote but Obama got a majority in every other category . Romney only got a majority from Republicans earning over 100,000 dollars .

    Although Edwards has his finger on the pulse IMO, Obama’s obvious charisma triumphed on this occasion . Will charisma be enough to win over the more hard nosed Yanks in New Hampshire and NY ?

    Experience can in certain circumstances be over rated . Too often the 30 years experience means one years experience followed by 29 years of making the same mistakes 🙁 The politics of NI being just one example that comes to mind 🙁

    Greenflag- HNY to all 🙂

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dewi: “Federal Government intervened to ensure fair voting in Houston in the 40s. So would have been possible. ”

    There is no case for the FBI to get involved in the recount, Dewi. No jusrisdiction, no compelling evidence of a crime and no request for assistance from Florida. Three strikes and you’re out. Now loosen the tinfoil before you start seeing tri-lateralists and bilderbergers.

    Besides, the FBI comes under the Executive branch of government and has a bad track record where politics are concerned.

    Greenflag: “With the numbers attending the Democratic Caucus up almost 100% from the last caucus, and that on a bitterly cold evening in Iowa ,it doesn’t matter who the Republican candidate will be the Democrats will win in November . ”

    T’is many a slip between the cup and the lip… and the better part of a year to go before the real dance… and I would no more try to prognosticate the outcome of a national election based on the turn-out in a single state with perhaps the most backward approach to picking delegates than I would try to extrapolate the whole of the Earth’s biodiveristy based upon an Emperor penguin. Too many possibilities still exist.

    Greenflag: “Hilary got a majority of the over 60 vote but Obama got a majority in every other category . Romney only got a majority from Republicans earning over 100,000 dollars . ”

    Whilst Huckabee got the majority of mega-church evangelicals in Central Iowa, from whose pulpits he has be preaching for the better part of the past year.

  • Greenflag

    ‘T’is many a slip between the cup and the lip… and the better part of a year to go before the real dance…’

    True in theory but in real life it won’t be the better part of a year before each party’s candidates will be known . Super Tuesday Feb 5th (22 states ) will probably determine which candidate will represent each party. Thereafter the choice of VP and keeping an eye on avoiding the proverbial political banana skins inevitable in a campaign of this length .

    Huckabee will appeal to the evangelicals but beyond that it’s hard to see him winning a Prersidential election . If the Republicans are to have any chance it’ll come from McCain . Giuliani and Thompson are fading fast. Clinton, Obama or Edwards will be the next USA President -IMO 🙂

    Most Americans are looking at what has happened to their country over the past 7 years . A million dead including 4,000 USA servicemen in Iraq , a destablised Pakistan , Afghanistan and Iran coming to the boil ? 100 dollars a barrel oil with a disappearing dollar ? Two million homes facing foreclosure with the only achievement of the ‘compassionate conservatives ‘ appearing to have achieved the highest level of infant mortality in the developed world , the most expensive health care coupled with the shortest life expectancy ? Come on lads the Republicans in the USA are more discredited than the British Tories were post Thatcher and Major ?