Some further lessons to be learned...
Some further lessons learned from Election 2000 (Dec 2000)
Note: So as not to appear to be attempting to influence voting by members of the Electoral College, I deliberately delayed my publishing of this article until after their votes were cast on 18 December. The following points need to be made as part of America's "public record" for posterity.
REGARDING THE SUPREME COURT'S ELECTION 2000 DECISIONS
These points regarding the US Supreme Court's Election 2000 decisions may not get published by any of our nation's major news agencies, but they WILL become SIGNIFICANT factors in the selection criteria and/or the Senate confirmation debates regarding future nominations for the position of US Supreme Court justice.
According to www.cnn.com, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made the following statement in an attempt to justify the Supreme Court's 5-to-4 vote ordering a halt to the Florida recounts on Saturday, 16 December 2000.
"The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does, in my view, threaten irreparable harm to petitioner [George W. Bush] and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election. Count first and rule upon legality afterwards, is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance that democratic stability requires."
[... As if all of the Congressmen and Senators who have won elections in the past as a result of manual recounts (which were conducted in essentially the same manner those done in Florida) were in fact elected by "votes that are of questionable legality."]
The above statement shows that even a majority of US Supreme Court Justices can occasionally be mesmerized by (and become "mouth pieces" for) BIG LIE PROPAGANDA TACTICS! Apparently, Bush's lawyers somehow convinced those five "conservative" Supreme Court justices that some of the Floridians whose votes were not counted by the machines MIGHT be "disenfranchised" by Florida's state-wide manual recount of those ballots, so those justices decided to "solve the problem" by disenfranchising ALL OF THEM! I never imagined that ANY Supreme Court justice could ever be so easily conned!
Also noteworthy was Bush representative James Baker's WHOPPING BIG BOLD-FACED LIE that the Gore Campaign was "inventing votes" by insisting on those manual recounts. I find it truly amazing that most of our news agencies seemed to be willing to "swallow" such WHOPPING BIG LIES "without batting an eyelash." Very few events in America's history have exposed a greater number of serious flaws in the credibility of America's news agencies than has Election 2000.
As it turned out, after what appeared to be nearly three days of internal debate, the US Supreme Court finally rejected both of those lies and devised a post de facto ruling (in effect, a new law applied retroactively) in order to make it appear to the public that their actions to stop the recounts on Saturday were "legally justified." Their ruling stated that such recounts would be legally acceptable if a common standard were used throughout the state to differentiate between punch cards that reflected legitimate votes and those that reflected no vote (for president). As all of those justices were well aware, by the time they published this decision, it was too late for the Gore Campaign to adjust their tactics to meet that requirement. One must wonder, if that principle were of such overriding importance, WHY DID THE SUPREME COURT FAIL TO MAKE THAT GUIDANCE QUITE CLEAR WHEN THEY REMANDED THE CASE BACK TO FLORIDA'S SUPREME COURT THE FIRST TIME (when the Gore Campaign DID have sufficient time to adjust their tactics accordingly)? No amount of "political spin" will ever be able to successfully hide the fact that at least five of those justices on the US Supreme Court:
1. Did in fact act consistently in support of Republican efforts to retain their "razor thin edge" by suppressing the truth regarding who actually received a majority of the votes for president in Florida while "running out the clock." That was the obvious (less than honest) Republican strategy, and those five justices fully supported that strategy even to the point of waiting nearly three days before releasing that second decision.
2. Did in fact determine (throw?) the outcome of the presidential election in favor of the Republicans.
3. Did in fact create what amounts to a "post de facto law" in order to "justify" their actions in this regard.
In many respects, this is highly ironic, because those five justices are often referred to as being "conservatives", and it's the conservatives who usually criticize liberal judges for "creating laws from the bench." Indeed, their actions in this regard were in response to the urgings of the very same Republicans who were vociferously accusing the Florida Supreme Court of creating "new law." Talk about being conned...
Oh well, at least the Supreme Court helped to end the uncertainty, and their post de facto guidance will no doubt prove useful for those managing manual recounts in the future. It's important to note that no matter how unfair, empty minded, and/or politically corrupt the US Supreme Court's decisions were, the American people respected the authority of the US Supreme Court to make those decisions, and that is a GOOD thing for America.
REGARDING THE GORE CAMPAIGN'S JUDGEMENT
The question that still needs to be addressed is, "Why didn't the Gore Campaign insist on a state-wide recount using commonly agreed upon standards for those uncounted cards in the first place?" Apparently, they foolishly thought they could maximize their chances of winning by including "dimpled cards" in the counts, although as it turned out, the samples that actually did get counted indicated that Gore would probably have won if they had simply counted the cards that were partially punctured. So, as pointed out in my both my Oct and Nov 2000 www.onesalt.com articles, regardless of the actions of the US Supreme Court, the PRIMARY reason Al Gore lost his bid to become President is because the Core Campaign committed a seemingly never ending series of political blunders--nearly all of which were symptomatic of a GENERAL LACK OF CONCERN FOR CREDIBILITY (a lack of concern for the Republicans' credibility as well as their own)!
By "credibility", I mean specifically a lack of concern for following God's guiding principles of truth and love (Democrats and Republicans are after all "neighbors"). If during the week following the election, the Gore Campaign had simply sought to determine what the true vote was in Florida (and had accommodated rather than ignoring Republican objections regarding the "unfairness" of the approaches which the Democrats were proposing), the US Supreme Court would have had no plausible legal grounds for interfering with those recounts, and it appears that Al Gore would probably have won.
It's also worth noting that while generating so many lies and deceptions in order to hide the truth, the Republicans finally hit on an argument that DID conform with God's two most fundamental commandments (the need for a common state-wide standard), and THAT turned out to be their most effective argument! So there is nothing wrong with estalishing a requirement for a common state-wide (or nation-wide) standard. The eternal disgrace was the inappropriately partisan (Republican-serving) way in which those five justices chose to implement it.
Now that the Electoral College votes have been cast, it's significant to note that in spite of the fact that a sizeable majority our nation's news editors and news commentators have predicted (at one time or another in the past) that it would be "disastrous" if a presidential candidate won the Electoral Collage vote while losing the direct popular vote. But no such "disaster" has occurred! The fact that those news agencies "blew their credibility" in that regard is not surprising, since their analysis was based on examining only HALF of the true story about our Electoral College System! Years ago, in my www.onesalt.com article "The 'Golden Goose' of American politics", which describes the other half of that story, I predicted that:
"Due to the previously mentioned restrictions which our electoral college system imposes on the choice of candidates and issues, the chances are that if a candidate scores slightly behind in the popular vote and yet gets elected president, there probably won't be much difference between the two candidates anyway."
And THAT pretty well describes what has actually happened! This is a GOOD thing for America, and our Electoral Collect Systems DESERVES CREDIT for creating this stabilizing effect. Whether or not our nation's news agencies will GIVE our Electoral College System credit for this remains to be seen.
It's beginning to appear as if, rather than following our presidential candidates around while they campaign all over our country, our nation's news agencies would prefer to see our presidential candidates rely EXCLUSIVELY on their media services by doing little more than standing behind a podium somewhere, "floating their proposals", monitoring public reaction in opinion polls, modifying their proposals accordingly, and then paying those news agencies to publish ads promoting themselves with their revised proposals. THAT is how elections would be run in the future if the United States adopted a direct popular vote electoral system, except that instead of having just two "major" candidates, we would eventually have three to five "major" candidates--none of whom would represent a true majority of the American people. As history has shown in those countries that have already attempted to use a direct popular vote system for their presidential elections, this really WOULD create disasters for our country.
A LONG-TERM PERSPECTIVE
In each of the elections since our nation's news agencies allowed Newt Gingrich to successfully get away with using Hitler-like BIG LIE propaganda tactics to seize Republican control of both houses of Congress, American voters have gradually moved both Houses of Congress "back towards the center of our political spectrum" in terms of the balance between Republicans and Democrats and also in terms of balance between conservatives, moderates, and liberals. Having Senator Jesse Helms as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a right-wing anachronism that won't last. Indeed, Al Gore foolishly forfeited an opportunity to attract a significantly greater number of votes in the states where he needed them (and to help many other Democratic candidates as well) by not subtly turning Jesse Helms' policies and actions into an embarrassment for the Republican Party in general.
As I pointed out in last month's www.onesalt.com article, if George W. Bush screws up the economy, contributes to the creation of even MORE international anarchy, or attempts to move our government "back to the right", he will more likely than not become a one-term president like his father. But it's also important to note if George W. Bush somehow manages to "keep his nose clean" and avoid screwing up the economy, creating even MORE international anarchy (which he cannot do without the help of the United Nations), attempting to move our government "back to the right", and especially if he reduces our nation's national debt by at least as much as his father increased it, he will be hard to beat in 2004.
As for our nation's news agencies, they should note that people tend to "gravitate" toward news sources they believe are reliably credible, comprehensive, and timely. Eventually, most of our nations' print-oriented news agencies will be replaced by Internet news agencies (and not necessarily www.cnn.com). Failures in coverage (like failing to tell the WHOLE truth about our Electoral College System) and bad predictions (like predicting that it would be a "disaster" if a presidential candidate won the Electoral College vote while losing in the direct popular vote) will have the effect of COMPLETING this process one or two decades SOONER!
So the lesson to be learned for all of this is that most of our nation's news agencies, Republican and Democratic political leaders, Supreme Court justices, and religious organizations (as pointed out in earlier www.onesalt.com articles) have not only been "making fools of themselves" by ignoring God's guiding principles of truth and love, they also have been placing their reputations and future chances for success unnecessarily in jeopardy. This conclusion is based not only of the teachings of Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:37-40), but also on the course of mankind's history over the past four thousand years. With the possible exception of some portions of the entertertainment industry, in general, people and agencies cannot ignore credibility for very long without paying a SIGNIFICANT price!
(one grain of salt)
Copies: all over the place, including each US Supreme Court Justice
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002