"The latest crime of the stolen 2000 Presidential election is blaming the victim of the stolen election - Al Gore - for the numerous illegal acts committed by the Bush campaign and its surrogates in their broad daylight theft of the Presidency. Both the evidence that Democrats.com has collected in its extensive investigation of the stolen election, and the election laws and procedures of the state of Florida, prove this 'blame the victim' attack to be totally wrong." So writes Nancy Kuhn.
Blaming Al Gore - The Latest Crime of the Stolen Election
The latest crime of the stolen 2000 Presidential election is blaming the victim of the stolen election - Al Gore - for the numerous illegal acts committed by the Bush campaign and its surrogates in their broad daylight theft of the Presidency. Both the evidence that Democrats.com has collected in its extensive investigation of the stolen election, and the election laws and procedures of the state of Florida, prove this "blame the victim" attack to be totally wrong.
As someone who lived in Florida for 16 years and volunteered on numerous Democratic campaigns while I lived there, I know both the disputed territory and Florida election law extremely well. It pains me greatly that two of the people involved in this unjust attack are none other than two of my favorite Democrats in the entire world, James Carville and Paul Begala. Also involved in this false attack is my favorite journalist Greg Palast, and two authors whose books do an outstanding job of documenting many of the illegal acts that the Bush campaign used to steal the election - Jeffrey Toobin and Jake Tapper.
These false attacks range from accusing Al Gore of not fighting hard enough to win in Florida to blaming Al Gore for the pro Bush media's unprecedented campaign against him. They include allegations that Gore abandoned African American voters who were illegally purged off of the Florida voting rolls, that he vetoed public demonstrations, that he did nothing to promote voting reform and counting all of the votes. The truth is that there was nothing short of starting a civil war that Al Gore could have done to have gotten the uncounted, legal votes in Florida counted.
The Gore campaign followed Florida election law to the letter. In contrast, the Bush campaign broke numerous Florida and federal laws to steal the election in a broad daylight coup d'etat. Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris grossly abused their offices to aid in the theft of the election.
To begin with, Bush and Harris illegally purged thousands of legally registered voters - mostly African American, as well as Hispanic, elderly and women Democratic voters - off the voting rolls in Florida with their illegal felon purge. This illegal purge violated both Florida election law and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
It was Jeb Bush who sent out a letter to registered Republicans with an older version of the Florida state seal urging them to vote in the comfort of their home by absentee ballot. Florida election law very specifically states that only voters who will be more than 100 miles from home on election day, in the hospital or a nursing home or an election day worker can request an absentee ballot. Florida is not a vote by mail state. In addition, Florida election law states that the state seal cannot be used for political purposes.
It was Jeb Bush who threatened Florida law firms that they would never get any more business from the state government if they represented the Gore campaign in this dispute. It was Jeb Bush who continued to work behind the scenes to help steal the election as evidenced by his phone records and his also allowing numerous state employees to do the same. These are all clear violations of Florida law, which clearly prohibits elected officials from abusing their public offices for personal purposes.
As for Katherine Harris, she clearly violated the Florida constitution, which requires the Florida Secretary of State to enforce all election laws equally across the state. We now know that 18 Florida counties never completed the mandatory machine recount required by Florida election law when the margin of difference in the votes between the candidates is .5.% or less. No one knows how many uncounted legal votes were missed because of this. Katherine Harris was well aware that these 18 counties had violated this law and never made these counties follow the law.
In addition, Florida election law very specifically requires that all votes where the intent of the voter is clear be counted, regardless of whether or not the machines can read them. Numerous Florida counties failed to follow this law and Harris failed to enforce this law.
Florida election law clearly calls for a hand count when the number of uncounted votes would change the outcome of the election. Hand counts in close elections in Florida were routine when I was there. Never before had the Republicans blocked the counting of legal votes as they did in 2000. Despite the law, Katherine Harris blocked hand counts in the heavily Democratic counties in south Florida, while she included hand counted votes from heavily Republican counties in her certified vote total. While Harris blocked hand counts in the heavily Democratic counties in south Florida, a hand count was done in a local fire department advisory board race in another punchcard county, Pinellas. This race was decided by 2 votes. On Katherine Harris's watch, a candidate for a local fire department advisory board race had more rights than Al Gore did as a candidate for President of the United States.
The legal votes that have since been found in the overvotes - those where the voter marked the ballot next to the candidate's name and then wrote in that same candidate's name in the area for a write in candidate - are required to be counted by Florida election law. Numerous Florida counties violated this specific law and did not count these legal votes.
In addition, Harris allowed the Bush campaign to set up an office within her Secretary of State's office. This is a gross abuse of her office and it clearly violates Florida law.
Had Al Gore not fought to have the uncounted Florida votes counted, the illegal felon purge along with the additional illegal acts committed by the Bush campaign and its surrogates would never have been discovered and there would not now be the NAACP's lawsuit which is making its way through the courts. It is important to remember that the uncounted legal Florida votes that Al Gore fought to have counted were the votes of African Americans, Hispanics, the elderly and women.
The one so-called public demonstration that the Republicans held was planned and conducted by the Bush campaign, House Whip Tom Delay, and right wing Republican Congressional staffers. This was the mob riot that they staged in Miami-Dade County when the county canvassing board was hand counting the uncounted votes for that county. This riot was designed to shut down this hand count and it succeeded. This was a criminal act, as Florida election law specifically prohibits anyone from interfering with the counting of votes.
The allegation that Al Gore did not fight to have all of the votes counted is false. The Gore campaign asked for the votes to be counted in the counties where there were the most uncounted undervotes, since these were the largest number of votes that had not been counted.
Under Florida election law in 2000, all statewide candidates had the right to file election protests in the counties where they disputed the vote totals and wanted a more accurate count. Florida law allows the campaigns 72 hours to file these protests with the county canvassing boards. There was no mechanism for a statewide count.
Had the Gore campaign instead chosen to dispute the purging of legal voters who were illegally denied their right to vote on Election Day, this would not have added any votes to the vote totals. Rather, it would have blocked any attempt to count the legal votes that had been cast on Election Day and not counted because the 72 hour deadline would have passed - and once that deadline passed, the campaign had no recourse.
The Gore campaign filed its election protests in order to enforce Florida's clear election law, which calls for hand counts when the number of uncounted votes would change the outcome of the election - which was clearly the case in this election dispute.
Let's also remember that it was the Bush campaign that first ran to Federal court to block these legal handcounts, because they knew that if all of the votes were counted, Al Gore would win. This fact was subsequently proved true by the NORC ballot count of the uncounted Florida ballots.
Once Harris refused to enforce the law, the Gore campaign filed its election challenge, which rightly challenged the results because so many thousands of legal votes had not been counted and counting these votes could clearly change the outcome of the election. It was the Florida Supreme Court that clearly understood that the Bush campaign and its surrogates were deliberately blocking the count of legal votes and ordered a statewide recount.
The pro-Bush media waged the most biased campaign against Al Gore that has ever been waged against a Presidential candidate. Numerous members of the media misquoted him and refused to correct their misquotes. These misquotes were continuously recycled by the media to the point that the media converted these lies to false truths. In addition, the media refused to report on Al Gore's campaign policy proposals and views on the issues and further trivialized him by reporting on what clothing he happened to be wearing on a particular day instead of what direction he wanted to take the country.
In contrast, George W. Bush lied repeatedly throughout the campaign, but the pro Bush media let him get away with it. Everything that Al Gore said would happen if Bush were in the White House has been proven to be true. Had the media told the truth during the campaign, Bush would be back in Texas and there would have been no stolen election.
To further compound the pro-Bush media bias, Ruppert Murdoch, a militant Bush supporter, hired Bush's cousin Jon Ellis to handle Fox's Election Night coverage. It was Ellis who wrongly called the election for Bush at a time when the Florida Secretary of State's web site showed a vote difference that was much too close to call. This gross error was compounded by General Electric CEO Jack Welch, another militant Bush supporter, who demanded that NBC follow FOX in calling the election for Bush, which it did. An NBC tape of the studio discussions documents this scandal, but NBC refuses to turn over this tape to Rep. Henry Waxman who has been trying to get this tape for a year.
The pro-Bush media immediately branded Al Gore a sore loser and failed miserably in its coverage after Election Day by refusing to report any of the facts outlined above. The media also failed to point out that it was Bush who claimed during the campaign that he "trusted the people" and who wanted to give power back to the states - but it was Bush who ran to the Federal courts to trample the clear will of the people and take away Florida's constitutional right to conduct an election. At every turn, the pro-Bush media continues to hide the truth that Al Gore won the 2000 election. In addition, not one major media outlet has ever extensively investigated how the Bush campaign stole the 2000 election in Florida.
Last - but by no means least - are the 5 members of the U.S. Supreme Court who were appointed when Bush's father was either Vice President or President, and who put their own personal political views above the law in order to install their personal candidate for President. These corrupt judges boldly and clearly violated the U.S. Constitution and numerous Federal laws. They also had numerous conflicts of interest which Federal law requires judges to recuse themselves from a case when their impartiality is clearly in question, as it was in this case. These corrupt judges clearly trampled the will of the people of Florida and the American people who chose Al Gore to be their President in 2000. In addition, these corrupt judges rubber-stamped the numerous illegal acts committed by the Bush campaign in Florida to block the counting of thousands of legal Florida votes. This decision will go down in history as the worst, most unjust decision ever made by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In conclusion, the Bush campaign blatantly stole the 2000 Presidential election in a bold, broad daylight coup d'etat. Anyone who would blame Al Gore for what the Bush campaign did is clearly wrong to do so. Many generations of Americans have fought and died for the democratic rights that the Bush campaign stole in 2000. It is absolutely critical that the truth be told about this election theft, instead of wrongly and inaccurately blaming the victim of this horrendous crime against our democracy.