On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Monday, February 21, 2005

How Wrong Is The Right

It has been a pretty slow day on this Presidents Day as far as right wing sensationalism goes, but one particular blog entry at Sound Politics caught my eye because of the amazing level of misinformation in it. Seth Cooper naively writes about a column by Michael Barone called 2000 changed everything in which he discusses the 2000 Presidential election recounts and compares them to the 2004 recounts in the Washington state gubernatorial race.

Seth Cooper blindly ignores the blatant factual misstatements made by Barone as he touts the column as further justification that Dino Rossi was the real winner of the election (despite the fact he actually lost, and Christine Gregoire was sworn in this year and has been conducting her business as Governor for weeks now - details, details).

But the true (and laughable, were it a laughing matter) outrage of Barone's column/article, is that he claims that the manual recount that Gregoire asked for was a selective one:

A selective recount, of the sort Gore sought in Florida, has made Gregoire governor, at least temporarily. But it has cast a pall of illegitimacy over her far greater than that cast over George W. Bush by the Florida result.
Say what?!

Christine Gregoire did not ask for a selective manual recount. In fact she was quite aware that unless the recount was performed in all counties it would never be perceived as legitimate in the eyes of voters, and indicated over and over that she would only consider a full recount, or none at all. In the end the Democratic party was forced to raise over $700K in order to pay for such a full recount.

As for a pall of illegitimacy, talk about hyperbole. Once you manage to drown out a vocal minority, there is no way it can compare to how the nation viewed the arrogant, non-mandate leadership of George W. Bush in 2001. Barone contends the seemingly illegitimate view many Americans had of Bush "made it more difficult for him to win re-election in 2004". Well, not really. George Bush did quite a few things on his own that played a large part in his continued unpopularity.

Barone's article makes yet another remarkable statement:

What might have hurt the Democrats even more, perhaps, is if Gore's strategy [of a selective recount] had been successful and he had been installed as president.
I'm not sure you'll find a single Gore supporter, or many others, who wouldn't have preferred that outcome to the one we actually got, which has turned out to be eight years of Bush and some of the worst foreign and domestic policy decisions ever by a U.S. President.

When Barone turns his attention to the Washington state election for Governor he once again falls on his face regarding the facts when he states

King County auditor's office starting finding new ballots that had been misplaced -- 10,000 on Nov. 16
What a doozie! Where is this man getting his information? Jeff "call me James Guckert" Gannon? Even Sound Politics faithful never bought this tact when blogger Stefan Sharkansky tried to use it to make yet another election fraud rant. They understood full well that the 10,000 votes were never "misplaced", but that King County's original estimate of remaining votes, based on a presumed turnout, not actual ballots received, had been found to have been previously understated once they had reduced the number of uncounted ballots.

Perhaps Mr. Barone has been reading too much Shark propaganda.

Furthermore, he can't stop himself when he states that Gregoire and the Democratic party "demanded" a manual recount. Actually they requested and paid for a manual recount as allowed for by law. Look it up.

He then turns to a few polls that were sponsored by Strategic Vision. The highly detailed Electoral Vote site gives us a sense of the accuracy of various pollsters during the 2004 election season. The conclusion made when looking at the number of states that were predicted correctly by each pollster was that "Strategic Vision (R) got only 64% right, for an F. Strategic Vision should not be taken seriously in the future." Yet, Barone would like us to believe a partisan Strategic Vision poll accurately portrays the outcome in Rossi's favor should there be a re-vote. He also claims that 53% of Washingtonians believe Rossi actually won the election (perhaps swayed by the "if you say it enough times they will believe it" Republican tactic of deceit). We should not forget that in October 2004 a Harris poll also found the following remarkable poll results:

- 41 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001.
- 38 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded.
- 37 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis.
If people believe those things they can be made to believe anything, and they obviously have been. The reality is that many people are disgusted that Rossi cannot honorably concede and instead wants to drag the state through the courts for his own benefit.

Barone ends his article by stating, "Of course, no two cases are exactly alike." Indeed, and these two never have been, no matter how much disinformation he and others attempt to portray as fact.

Update: A new Harris poll updates the numbers I provided above in disturbing fashion. Now
- 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six percentage points from November).
- 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in November).
- 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).

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