Monday, January 03, 2005

Trib gets it wrong -- it's no sin to ensure every vote is counted

In this editorial today, the Tribune lumps in Phil Crane, Alan Keyes, Dino Rossi and the Reverend Jesse Jackson as sore losers unwilling to 'lose gracefully.'

They point to Al Gore and John Kerry as examples of how to lose gracefully, going so far as to say that John Kerry "did the nation a great service by publicly accepting defeat with grace" and not, the editorial implies, ensuring that the Ohio results are not tainted by mistakes or intentional misconduct.

The editorial cites Richard Nixon as another example to follow who "put the country first in the 1960 presidential race, declining to call for a recount that might have upset the nation at a particularly crucial point in its history."

What a condescending view of the citizenry. I can just imagine the nation, swaddled in diapers and sucking on a bottle, reacting to Nixon's call for a recount: "you mean. . . .Nixon thinks that the election was stolen. . . and he wants a recount to stop vote fraud. . . .but that might mean it takes an extra three or four weeks to see who won the election! Waaaaaaahhhhh! Why won't mean old Richard Nixon concede so we won't get *upset* by accuately counting the votes! Waaaahhhhhhh!"

We all need to get over this obsession with instant election results. There's a good reason why federal and state officeholders don't get sworn in for two months after the election -- that gives us all time to accurately count all the votes and weed out any vote fraud.

Dino Rossi in Washington has every right to call for a recount or a revote. I'm *delighted* that Democrat Christine Gregoire pushed hard for three recounts to make sure every vote was counted. And if there's any evidence that there was any vote fraud in Ohio, then the Congress should investigate that in a congressional debate by challenging the certification of Ohio's vote.

Or. . . .will the nation get upset? Are there some tears forming in the nation's eyes at the mere *mention* of trying to weed out any voter fraud in Ohio? Uh oh. . . don't get anyone upset. Just be still.

Look, Republicans still believe that Mayor Daley stole the presidential election in 1960. If they believed that, then Nixon should have demanded a recount!

To lump the pettiness of Phil Crane and Alan Keyes who refused to ever concede with the righteous demands that every vote should be counted is disingenuous of the Tribune.


Phocion said...

Nixon didn't ask for an Illinois recount because there was widespread Republican cheating elsewhere in the state. I agree with your post here, Dan. Happy New Year.

Friend of FPL said...

What drives me nuts is that most Democratic officials seem to accept the Tribune's position as the common-sense one. So here's what I hear from the leaders of our country:

Republicans: We are afraid that re-counting will lessen the legitimacy of our rule. At best, a recount allows some doubt about its legitimacy and some public debate about legitimacy itself.

(What really bothers me about this is that they seem to desire the kind of presumptive legitimacy that Saddam Hussein claimed with his 99% majorities. Republicans said, throughout the campaign, that they did not want a public debate about the 2004 election, after the election. Democrats and "journalists" expressed similar wishes. ACK!)

(Leading) Democrats: Winning is what matters; even with a recount, we will lose. We cannot afford to trade our public image for a few meaningless seats at the federal, state, and local levels. In other words, democratic legitimacy and the will of the people ranks well below specific policy goals (or maybe simple power).

(Dan did a good job of articulating the problem with this. It's really the same concern as the Republicans, just from a minority position.)

Election Officials: We categorically oppose any recount that is not made strictly necessary by a conjunction of law, legal complaints, and judges' compulsion. In other words, we value our own public image of competence and effectiveness OVER the actual election.

Pundits, editors and producers not (yet) aligned with the above: Recounts make for great news, so we should favor them. But our public image is suffering due to positions like this one. We look really good speaking for the country's interests in this case, and it's not like we're passing on the Peterson case or something.

(May as well give up any claim to the First Amendment as a political right or the media as a public service. In this case, free speech serves as an economic right alone.)