09 November 2004

Another Rigged Election? The Elephant in the Voting Booth

Maureen Farrell - November 9, 2004

[...] On election night, Peter Jennings looked measurably surprised when he learned that President Bush had provided a tape of himself, sitting in the White House, commenting on his impending victory. It was an unprecedented move. No sitting president had ever addressed the nation while polls were still open. It was just not done. But there was George, exuding confidence, offering an election day reminder of our leader's legitimacy.

It was all so perfectly Rovian, too. And why not? The Bush family filmed a similar made-for-TV moment in 2000, you might recall, when they assured America that Florida belonged to George. "There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying, and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida," Hunter S. Thompson wrote, two weeks before the Supreme Court's fateful decision." Of course Bush would win Florida. Losing was out of the question. Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV."

Election night 2004, however, was not punctuated by any such hooting. It was the end of a long and grueling journey for the President of the United States and his supporters. Tales of voter intimidation, computer glitches and "partisan mischief," were reported during early voting in Florida, but somehow those things usually worked in the President's favor. (Would anyone have complained, do you suppose, if John Kerry's brother had been running the show?).

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