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Kennedy: Republicans Stole 2004 Election (Updated)

[Update: Bumped to top from 21:29 6/1.]

I saw mention earlier today of a piece in Rolling Stone by Robert Kennedy, Jr. arguing that the Republicans stole the 2004 election. Given that it was 1) a Kennedy, and a junior at that; 2) in a rock mag; and 3) plainly idiotic, I ignored it.

After all, as I noted this morning, most of the prominent Republican blogs immediately dismissed the silly Jimmy Carter funded by al Qaeda story that circulated last night. Surely, the Left Blogosphere would do the same with this story. Right?

Not so much.

  • tristero pronounces the piece “blistering” and invokes the 1976 movie “Logan’s Run.”
  • Will Bunch pats Kennedy on the back for doing sleuthing that mainstream journalists would not.
  • Steve Soto summarizes the piece: “there was no clear explanation for why the early exit polls weren’t borne out in the final vote totals, unless there was manipulation of the votes.” That, and the fact that exit polls are notoriously unreliable, of course.
  • Jane Hamsher helpfully adds that, “Trying to keep people from voting is anti-Democratic and anti-American, and there are few places where wingnuttia’s contempt for democracy becomes more blatantly obvioius.”

Thus far, nothing from Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, or Matt Yglesias.

Update: Marc Danziger points to a November 2005 Mark Hertsgaard piece in Mother Jones that he terms “pretty dispositive” of Kennedy’s arguments.

Meanwhile, Michael Stickings, writing at The Moderate Voice, takes absolutely no position whatever.

Update: On to the substance of Kennedy’s claims which, he acknowledges, the NYT and WaPo readily dismiss. So, too, does NPR (via email from Dan Riehl). This will be grueling, both because of the bad writing filled with strange footnotes and because RS has formatted the text in a way that does not allow for easy cutting-and-pasting.

But despite the media blackout, indications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote(4) — after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment — roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

Actually, it’s an outright lie to say that “Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote.” Using Kennedy’s own source, here’s the truth:

Late Ballots

So, only 9% didn’t receive a ballot and 5% received their ballot after the election. That’s 14%. That’s bad but the reasons are manifold. First, quite a few of these people were either not registered to vote in the locality they requested an absentee ballot from, sent their request in too late, or forgot to send it and thought they had. Second, several states were unable to print and send ballots until very late in the process because of various lawsuits–many filed by Democrats–about ballot inclusion.

One gets up to a whopping 43%, though, if one adds in those 29% of overseas voters who received their ballots in the two weeks before the election. But why exclude them? All that’s required is that they be POSTMARKED by election day, not that they ARRIVE then.

Oh, by the way, these six million people living overseas? Mostly military personnel and their families. That is to say, mostly prospective Bush voters. Indeed, Kennedy’s source was a DoD press briefing. [Update: Commenter and occasional co-blogger John Burgess notes that there are now many U.S. businessmen living overseas. Indeed, the DefenseLINK cite gives the breakdown: “[A]bout 1.4 million military members, about 1.3 million family members of voting age. We have about 100,000 federal civilian employees overseas, and another about 3.7 million U.S. civilians overseas not affiliated with the government, for a total of about 6 million potential voters that our program serves.” This is from Charles Abell, Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, providing a press briefing on the Federal Voting Assistance Program.]

Were there irregularies, including outright fraud in shredding ballots and improperly using election offices to recruit registrees for one party vice the other? You bet. That’s a bad thing but something that has gone on from time immemorial. And both sides engage in these practices. One can not simply cite GOP irregularities–mostly in states the GOP won by wide margins, incidentally–and conjure up votes that might have gone the other way; one must look at irregularites by the other side, too. [Update: In that spirit, Ed Morrissey reminds us of Wilwaukee.]

Indeed, Kennedy acknowleges as much. “Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America’s voting system is a messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and city officials.” But he smells a conspiracy.

After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004(12) — more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes.(13) (See Ohio’s Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.(14) And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.(15)

The problem is that it is the job of state election officials to purge out-of-date registrations, those of people who have moved to other districts, and those otherwise ineligible to vote. That this would disproportionately affect Democrats is hardly surprising, especially in urban areas. For one thing, we’re mostly talking about poorly educated, transient people that are being “disenfranchised.” Many of them simply don’t understand that one has to register to vote and that one has to update one’s registration when one moves to a new district.

Hertsgaard quotes Michael O’Grady, the Democratic Party’s chief lawyer in Ohio:

O’Grady, the Democrats’ general counsel, agrees that Blackwell purged voter rolls, especially in large urban counties that figured to lean Democratic. But he points out that the purging was done legally, and he says it wasn’t necessarily underhanded. The Democratic base, he says, is more transient, so a voter may accumulate three different addresses on state voting rolls—a perfectly sound reason for a purge. As for the larger argument that Ohio was stolen, O’Grady says, “That point of view relies on the assumption that the entire Republican Party is conspiratorial and the entire Democratic Party is as dumb as rocks. And I don’t buy that.”

Update:

The first indication that something was gravely amiss on November 2nd, 2004, was the inexplicable discrepancies between exit polls and actual vote counts. Polls in thirty states weren’t just off the mark — they deviated to an extent that cannot be accounted for by their margin of error. In all but four states, the discrepancy favored President Bush.(16)

Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable. Unlike pre-election polls, in which voters are asked to predict their own behavior at some point in the future, exit polls ask voters leaving the voting booth to report an action they just executed. The results are exquisitely accurate: Exit polls in Germany, for example, have never missed the mark by more than three-tenths of one percent.(17) ”Exit polls are almost never wrong,” Dick Morris, a political consultant who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats, noted after the 2004 vote. Such surveys are ”so reliable,” he added, ”that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries.”(18) In 2003, vote tampering revealed by exit polling in the Republic of Georgia forced Eduard Shevardnadze to step down.(19) And in November 2004, exit polling in the Ukraine — paid for by the Bush administration — exposed election fraud that denied Viktor Yushchenko the presidency.(20)

Hertsgaard again:

But the skeptics betray a poor grasp of exit polling, starting with their claim that exit polls are invariably accurate within tenths of a percentage point. In truth, the exit polls were wrong by much more than that in the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections.

Warren Mitofsky and Joe Lenski, the pollsters who oversaw the 2004 exit polls, concluded that one source of their incorrect forecast was an apparent tendency for some pro-Bush voters to shun exit pollsters’ questions. “Preposterous,” claims Mark Crispin Miller, who also sees trickery in the adjusting of exit polls after the election, though that is utterly routine. And is it really so strange to imagine that Bush supporters—who tend to distrust the supposedly liberal news media—might not answer questions from pollsters bearing the logos of CBS, CNN, and the other news organizations financing the polling operation?

Besides, how do skeptics explain New Hampshire? The state conducted a hand recount of precincts that critics found suspicious; the recount confirmed the official tally, as Ralph Nader’s campaign, which paid for the exercise, admitted. Apparently one reason Bush did better than expected in those precincts was an influx of conservative Catholics who relocated from neighboring Massachusetts—the kind of anomaly that can confound even persuasive-sounding assumptions about voters.

Lenski and Mitofsky are quoted extensively in a 11/5/04 NYT story, “Report Says Problems Led to Skewed Surveying Data.” as well.

The new $10 million polling system used by many news organizations to predict the outcome of the presidential race had a number of problems that led to the early erroneous impression that John Kerry was heading for victory, according to a report prepared by the system’s architects. The report, written by Joe Lenski and Warren Mitofsky and obtained by The New York Times, details systemic glitches that skewed the data in ways of which several news organizations, who paid tens of thousands of dollars for the service, were not aware.

In some cases, the report said, survey takers could not get close enough to the polls to collect adequate samples of voters opinion. They were often stopped by legal barriers devised to keep people electioneering – not necessarily bona fide poll canvassers – away from voters.

The report also theorized that the poll results more frequently overstated support for Mr. Kerry than for President Bush because the Democratic nominee’s supporters were more open to pollsters. Whatever the case, according to the report, the surveys had the biggest partisan skew since at least 1988, the earliest election the report tracked. “We share all the members’ concerns about the inaccuracies in the projections produced by the early waves of exit poll data and we are personally miffed about the early results,” the report said.

The new system was engineered to avoid such problems. It was built by the National Election Pool, a consortium of the major television networks and The Associated Press, after an earlier set-up, the Voter News Service, helped lead the networks to call the state of Florida in the 2000 election first for Al Gore, then for George W. Bush, then for neither. The system broke down almost entirely on Election Day 2002.

Since Tuesday, the networks have played down errors caused by the system. They said that the data problems were rectified as the night went on, so that the final poll, highlighting why certain blocs voted the way they did, was accurate. Perhaps most important, they say, it never led them to make a wrong call. And even critics of the system agree that many of the problems highlighted in the report are typical of such polls, which are devised to correct themselves as more data accrues.

Mark Blumenthal, a highly respected Democratic pollster, has a superb 12/24/04 post entitled, “Have the Exit Polls Been Wrong Before? It turns out that not only have they been wrong before but they are virtually always wrong! Some excerpts (see the link for his sources):

  • The networks’ 1992 national exit poll overstated Democrat Bill Clinton’s advantage by 2.5 percentage points, about the same as the [2004] Kerry skew
  • An inspection of within-precinct error in the exit poll for senate and governor races in 1990, 1994 and 1998 shows an understatement of the Democratic candidate for 20 percent of the 180 polls in that time period and an overstatement 38 percent of the time…the most likely source of this error is differential non-response rates for Democrats and Republicans
  • on Election Day 2000, the exit polls overstated the Gore vote in 22 states and overstated the Bush vote in 9 states. In the other 19 states, the polls matched actual results. There was a similar Democratic candidate overstatement in 1996 and a larger one in 1992.
  • In short, Mitofsky and Lenski have reported Democratic overstatements to some degree in every election since 1990. Moreover, all of Lenski and Mitofsky’s statements were on the record long before Election Day 2004.

Further,

All of this led the authors of the internal CNN report — Joan Konner, James Risser, and Ben Wattenberg – to conclude (p. 3, 7):

    Exit polling is extremely valuable as a source of post-election information about the electorate. But it has lost much of the value it had for projecting election results in close elections…[Their recommendation to CNN:] Cease the use of exit polling to project or call winners of states. The 2000 election demonstrates the faults and dangers in exit polling. Even if exit polling is made more accurate, it will never be as accurate as a properly conducted actual vote count.

So, exit polls are amazingly reliable, unless we count the 2004, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1992, 1990, and 1988 elections.

Update: Finally, Kennedy makes a series of arguments that Blackwell made it his mission to steal Ohio for Bush by disenfranchising Democratic voters. Most of that has already been debunked above by Hertsgaard–who, incidentally, believes the 2000 election was stolen and thinks Blackwell is a scummy figure who indeed acted unethically in some cases. Kennedy’s main evidence, though, is this:

The most extensive investigation of what happened in Ohio was conducted by Rep. John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.(52) Frustrated by his party’s failure to follow up on the widespread evidence of voter intimidation and fraud, Conyers and the committee’s minority staff held public hearings in Ohio, where they looked into more than 50,000 complaints from voters.(53) In January 2005, Conyers issued a detailed report that outlined ”massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio.” The problems, the report concludes, were ”caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.”(54)

”Blackwell made Katherine Harris look like a cupcake,” Conyers told me. ”He saw his role as limiting the participation of Democratic voters. We had hearings in Columbus for two days. We could have stayed two weeks, the level of fury was so high. Thousands of people wanted to testify. Nothing like this had ever happened to them before.”

[...]

Instead of welcoming the avalanche of citizen involvement sparked by the campaign, Blackwell permitted election officials in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo to conduct a massive purge of their voter rolls, summarily expunging the names of more than 300,000 voters who had failed to cast ballots in the previous two national elections.(55) In Cleveland, which went five-to-one for Kerry, nearly one in four voters were wiped from the rolls between 2000 and 2004.(56)

There were legitimate reasons to clean up voting lists: Many of the names undoubtedly belonged to people who had moved or died. But thousands more were duly registered voters who were deprived of their constitutional right to vote — often without any notification — simply because they had decided not to go to the polls in prior elections.(57) In Cleveland’s precinct 6C, where more than half the voters on the rolls were deleted,(58) turnout was only 7.1 percent(59) — the lowest in the state.

According to the Conyers report, improper purging ”likely disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters statewide.”(60) If only one in ten of the 300,000 purged voters showed up on Election Day — a conservative estimate, according to election scholars — that is 30,000 citizens who were unfairly denied the opportunity to cast ballots.

That angry Democrats showed up at a hearing conducted by a fellow Democrat to claim that the Republicans screwed them over is hardly illuminating. There is a huge groundswell of outrage by Democrats, especially the urban poor, going back to at least the 1992 election. But complaining that one isn’t allowed to vote because one failed to register to vote or has moved and is ineligible under state election law does not change the facts. And the general counsel for the Ohio Democratic Party concedes that Blackwell’s purge of the voting rolls was legal and above board.

Update: From the final report of the THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND VOTING [PDF], 1 March 2005:

Ohio witnessed significant variability in wait times in some districts, sporadic instances of machine malfunctions, and possible voting tabulation errors, undercounts, and overcounts. Based on the data available, the working group concluded that it was extremely unlikely that the absence of these irregularities would have shifted popular vote tallies sufficiently to change the declared winner in Ohio. However, continuing uncertainty over the extent of irregularities merits closer public scrutiny and full disclosure of relevant data. [emphasis added]

Of course, none of this will change the minds of those committed to conspiracy theories of how our system operates.

Elsewhere:

  • Betsy Newmark: “I guess we’re now supposed to rely on what isolated groups of people who choose to respond to the pollsters in the middle of the day say about how they voted than actually counting the votes. Can it get more ridiculous than this?”
  • John Hawkins: “Al Gore only received 2,186,19 votes in Ohio in 2000, while John Kerry received 2,741,165 votes in 2004. That’s a pretty pathetic job of voter suppression by the vast right wing conspiracy if you ask me.”

  • AllahPundit
    : “If nothing else good comes from it, it’s a comfort at least to know that Keith Olbermann’s got his next eight months worth of shows all laid out for him.”


Update (6/3):
tristero has read several rebuttals to RFK, Jr.’s piece, including mine and a Salon piece by Farhad Manjoo with the straightforward title “Was the 2004 election stolen? No.”, and is decidedly less sure, observing that, “either a substantive counter-response or an admission of error on Kennedy’s part really is appropriate.”

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. this piece and this one, both saying the Rolling Stone article is untrustworthy. The upshot is that I should be taking the RS article with a grain of salt, but yesterday my doctor told me to watch my sodium intake.

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  2. accurately, Ken Blackwell) stole the 2004 election meme in a recent Rolling Stone article. It had to be the case since the exit polls showed John Kerry winning early on. This whole thing has been effectively dealt with previously. I suggest you readthis and this and this. If the supposed conspiracy theories were true and if the Republicans are perpetrating election fraud to the alledged extent that fred.net accuses, then WHY are the Democrats the ones so strongly opposed to election reform ?

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  3. my.opera.com says:

    Again,” you’re already familiar with everything Kennedy has to say. If you do read Kennedy’s article, be prepared to machete your way through numerous errors of interpretation and his deliberate omission of key bits of data. Outside the Beltway alsostomps on the article. I see this a good opportunity to reform voting regulations. Purge the voter lists. Require photo IDs to vote. Have a Federal database to ensure voters are not registered in more than one state (which is epidemic among snowbirds who

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  4. Outside the Beltway, as linked at another post by Tristero at Digby’s Hullabaloo, and as fact-checked by me: Actually, it’s an outright lie to say that “Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them

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  5. election was stolen after all. I knew that there had been a number of reports of dirty pool in the ’04 election, but I hadn’t taken seriously the possibility that it swung the election. The Rolling Stone article had me beginning to change my tune, butJames Joyner at Outside the Beltway and Farhad Manjoo at Salon pick the article apart pretty thoroughly. So yeah, the 2004 election was dirty, but W really did win.

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  6. Hullabaloo says:

    assertion in the previous post that Ohio ’04 was stolen. Manjoo’s objections to Kennedy seem substantive and require a response from those who are knowlegeable about this issue at a granular level. Kennedy himself should respond, of course. [UPDATE:Outside The Beltway, after initially posting a purely ad hominem attack on Kennedy, updated his post to include a highly detailed rebuttal of many of Kennedy’s points, including the problem with trusting exit polls, mentioned by Manjoo, et al. Again, either a substantive

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  7. : “Kennedy’s lead argument gives readers enough excuse to stop on the first page. He argues that exit polls are “exquisitely accurate,” and therefore since the pollsters are infallible, their early returns must have been the truth.”Outside the Beltway: “I saw mention earlier today of a piece in Rolling Stone by Robert Kennedy, Jr. arguing that the Republicans stole the 2004 election. Given that it was 1) a Kennedy, and a junior at that; 2) in a rock mag; and 3) plainly idiotic, I ignored it.

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  8. Possumblog says:

    And when you fold in a healthy dose of Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists… You get abig swirly mass of idiocy like this.

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  9. Brian says:

    The two aren’t really comperable. Many liberals, rightly or wrongly, believed the 2004 election was stolen. Now a fairly prominent liberal comes out and “confirms” what they suspected. Of course the liberal blogosphere was going to jump. On the other hand, I don’t think any sane conservative honestly believed in a Jimmy Carter-Al Qaeda connection before. Therefore, it was easier to denounce as crap.

    While I agree that liberals get really annoying with the stolen election talk, I think the comparison you have made here is extremely poor. Plus, the liberal blogs you cite most often have yet to weigh in on the issue, so aren’t you being a bit premature?

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  10. Christopher says:

    Liberals are such cowards. If they really believe the election was stolen, you would think they would mount a revolt or something. But nooooo. They just talk and talk and talk. What a buncha wimps!

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  11. James Joyner says:

    Brian: True on prior beliefs. Still, the point I’m making is that many very, very popular liberal blogs easily buy into wild conspiracy theories.

    My coda was an indication that the more sober liberal bloggers haven’t yet weighed in. I don’t want to prejudge their conclusions but I suspect they’ll be more nuanced, if not outright dismissals of the piece.

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  12. Liberals are such cowards.

    Ahm, no. LEFTISTS are cowards. Leftists, people, LEFTISTS.

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  13. Shaken says:

    Did the man mean “stolen” figuratively, or literally? If figuratively, well, that’s the art of expression.

    If literally, then he is saying that the electoral system was either compromised, or is flawed. Which is it? This is a serious allegation. If compromised, then how? If flawed, then how? and, how is it to be repaired? The man is saying that it is possible to steal a US election. If we are to believe him, let’s hear his explanation of the mechanics. I’m somewhat skeptical.

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  14. tristero says:

    Your reasons to ignore it are ad hominem.

    I’m afraid the article is far too detailed, referencing far too many impeccable sources, including an interview with Blackwell himself, to be dismissed in such a fashion by anyone who’s intellectually honest. I assume that, because you are, you will address what Kennedy has to say in detail in a later post.

    Love,

    tristero

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  15. Rick DeMent says:

    Right and all the WMDs were secretly carted off to Syria without anyone in US intelligence noticing. Seriously you don not want to get into a game of which side believes sillier shit. Vince Foster, Clinton chronicles anyone?

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  16. Jazz says:

    James, I have to agree that your dismissal seems a bit perfunctory and doesn’t appear to address any of the specific claims in the case being made, be they valid or not. If they are so completely off base, it should be relatively easy to rebut them. One glaring example leaps out at me:

    That, and the fact that exit polls are notoriously unreliable, of course.

    I’m curious as to whether or not you’d care to cite some examples in the modern era? As the author points out, providing citations, exit polling in the last one to two decades has gotten awfully precise. As noted, it has been considered reliable enough to use as a basis for detecting vote fraud in other countries. Multiple polling organizations apparently agreed that the exit polls in both of Clinton’s victories in the nineties got the results correct within or at the margin of error in *all* fifty states. In the 2000 election they again performed at that level for the states with clear margins of victory and equally correctly identified the battleground states where it was “too close to call” within the statistical margin of error.

    And yet, somehow, in 2004, they suddenly dropped the ball and missed or bumped up against the margin of error in *thirty* states. Ok… we have to admit that errors are always possible, yes? I mean, it’s conceivable that the pollsters could have randomly hit a huge number of people who swayed one way or the other. But if that were the case, wouldn’t we logically expect that the results which wound up being in error would have been fairly equally spread? (i.e. roughly equal portions wrongly favoring Kerry and Bush from state to state?) And yet, of the 30 states where the errors happened, incidentally including every single “battleground” state, 86% of them had the “error” between the predicted result and the “actual” result going in Bush’s favor. Does that not spur your interest or at least inspire you to refute the numbers? Certainly leaves me wondering.

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  17. ICallMasICM says:

    The irony of a Kennedy bitching about a stolen election is apparently lost on the drug addled.

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  18. LJD says:

    ANY election not won by Democrats = stolen.

    Their representatives can peddle this crap because they will not be called on it. True or not, their ‘contituents’ believe what they WANT to believe.

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  19. Bithead says:

    LJD has the right idea.
    And look let’s face it; With the left, it’s not how factual the argument is that creates the long line of beleivers, but that they MAKE the argument.

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  20. John Burgess says:

    I’m not at all confident of your claim that overseas voters are primarily military. Times have changed and the number of troops and their dependents abroad has dropped significantly since the 1990s.

    I do know that the UK has over a quarter million American civilians residing there; Japan and Germany are close behind. Even in a country like Saudi Arabia, there are over 30,000 Americans eligible to vote in residence, with perhaps 500 of them actually military.

    American businesspeople abroad, though, do tend toward the Republican side of the fence, though again that’s not always the case (see those in the UK, who are predominantly Dems). But both parties have active Democrats/Republicans Abroad efforts to get people registered and charged up to vote.

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  21. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    DeMented Rick for your information, there are satellite pictures of a truck convoy moving toward Syria. 18 Wheelers. Your guess is that they were filled with cattle? Most of the worlds intelligence services believed Saddam had vast stores of WMD. By the way, those trailers. Why do you think it was necessary to have mobile hydrogen generators? Or could they have been for the manufacture of bio/weapons? Seems it would be easier to have a central hydrogen generating plant and put the stuff in gas cylinders, but Saddam was not that cleaver. Much better to spend millions on mobile trailers when you have 130K American troops on your border.

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  22. The will of the people…

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written an amazing article for Rolling Stone…
    Was the 2004 Election Stolen?
    Any election, of course, will have anomalies. America’s voting system is a messy patchwork of polling rules run mostly by county and ci…

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  23. [...] Outside the Beltway has still more: Actually, it’s an outright lie to say that “Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote.” Using Kennedy’s own source, here’s the truth: [...]

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  24. RA says:

    These moonbats don’t understand that their own people have been fixing their own polls to fool the public for 25 years. Then the stupedos believe their own propaganda. LOL

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  25. Stix Blog says:

    Another good post at the Dummie Funnies…

    This one is about the stolen 2004 election again. How many times are we going to hear this crap. It has been proven over and voer that most of the corruption and fraud in electiosn is done by the Democrats….

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  26. The Sandbox says:

    Friday Wrap-up…

    As I begin looking forward to my weekend, I realize blogging has been pretty light lately. I’m three weeks away from packing up out here in California and heading back home for a little while before I start Officer Training…

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  27. [...] Plus Outside The Beltway shows us the outright lies in Kennedy’s article: Actually, it’s an outright lie to say that “Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote.” Using Kennedy’s own source, here’s the truth: [...]

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  28. Herb says:

    Bobby Kennedy Jr.

    Always was and always will be a “GOOFBALL”

    That’s what a spoiled brat learns and is from the get go.

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  29. equitus says:

    Another thing about possible errors in exit polling merits mention: deliberate tampering.

    I’m not saying this happened, but it certainly is possible – more possible even than actual vote tampering. I believe Michael Barrone brought it up election night as a possible explanation, but the subject seems to have dropped out of sight since then. How many voluntary or temp workers were hired to do the exit polling? How well were they screened? Couldn’t the Dems have “flooded the zone” with persons willing to misreport their results with the intention of creating just this sort of controversy?

    Unlike my counterparts on the Left, I admit that the evidence to date is thin at best (so I’m not saying “IT HAPPENED!!!”). The first item of evidence would be the discrepancies themselves, between the vote and the polling.

    The second item is that memo from before the election (can’t recall from whom to whom, but both were D party activists) calling for mobilization of party activists to skew informal (online) polls, to create the “impression” of greater public support for their candidates and causes. I found this very striking at the time, that they were more interesting in actively creating false results.

    Pity no one has bothered to dig any deeper.

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  30. floyd says:

    if you can’t find the polling place on election day, or find the registrar to register, then you don’t need to vote! possible exceptions for legitimate absentee voters [i.e.- military service]

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  31. Richard says:

    Maybe somebody can explain this apparent contradiction to me —

    If the Republicans are perpetating election fraud to the alledged extent, then WHY are the Democrats so strongly opposed to election reform ?

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  32. WJ says:

    The reason the Democrats don’t want comprehensive election fraud is that the 2004 election fraud was on the DEMOCRAT side of things. By trying to blame the Republicans they can take the heat off of their own cheating.

    I am very glad that RFK Jr wrote this article cause it led me to do some research (admittedly, mostly for debunking as I assumed the MSM would have been all over this if it was even remotely true given the way they lean, plus it being a guarenteed Pulitzer prize story).

    That led me to this web site, http://www.acv4r.com, which has a 368 page report on 2004 election fraud. Now some have tried to dismiss this org as a “right-wing” front, but that really doesn’t answer the info raised in the report.

    I’m sure everyone on this post can agree that the slicing of tires on Republican get-out-the-vote vans in Wisconsin actually happened, as Democrat operatives pleaded guilty to it and paid fines.

    But here are some ones in the report that I wasn’t aware of (summary courtesy of Political Gateway).
    1) Court Issues Injunction Against Democrat Operatives Targeting Ohio Voters With Phone Calls Providing Deceptive Information to Voters
    2) Court Issues Injunction Against Democratic National Committee Ordering It To Stop Distributing Intimidating Materials To Republican Volunteers In Florida
    3) Intimidating And Misleading Phone Calls To GOP Volunteers Made By President Bill Clinton And DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler In Florida
    4) Court Orders MoveOn.org To Cease Voter Intimidation And Harassment In Ohio
    5) Ohio Court Ordered Democrat Polling Place Challengers To Remove Deceptive Arm Bands and Badges
    6) Violence Against Republican Volunteers In Philadelphia On Election Day
    7) Union-Coordinated Violence And Intimidation Against Republican Campaign Offices And Volunteers
    8) In addition to these incidents, the report documents better that 30 other news reports of violence, intimidation, suppression and fraud by Democrats that they were able to independently verify.

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  33. rom says:

    the election was frauded. The reply here carefully selects pieces of kennedy’s argument which is actually 20 pages long.

    The exit poll counter-argument here is really bad faith btw.

    food for thought:
    – to people saying ‘conspiracy theory’ I reply: florida 2000, and WMD. yeh, of course, it CAN’T happen…

    – One quote from the Kennedy argument (actually not his, rather than a compilation of many people’s hard work) :
    when the press wanted to assist to the ballot count, they were forbidden to enter the building where it took place, because of a ‘terrorist threat’ (quote: balckwell). The FBI said they never heard of such a thing.

    THOSE ARE FACTS PEOPLE! Whatever your (obvious) political preferences, I would be really scared if I were you because it is not a problem of political party, it is a problem of society.

    Do you want to live in ‘1984’?

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  34. Cujo359 says:

    Good article, now that you’ve gone beyond ad hominem. Farhad Manjoo made some of the same points in his article.

    The next time you need to cut and paste an article from Rolling Stone, you may want to try the print-friendly link, instead. There’s much less junk in it.

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  35. MAKE EVERY VOTE COUNT…OR NOT…

    Robert Kennedy’s long, exhaustive, investigative piece in Rolling Stone magazine about voting irregularities in Ohio does an enormous service to the cause of making elections in America more free and fair. The article lists about a dozen credibl…

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  36. Marco says:

    Christopher: on the contrary, it is the Republicans who are cowards. Liberals are the ones who do not wish to trade liberty for safety, while Republicans cower under the table and allow, even welcome, big brother to violate their civil liberties in order to be ‘safe’.

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  37. How is it that the only Democrats who are correct are the ones who happen to agree with you? Why is it that a Democrat, like Kennedy, who disagrees with you is automatically wrong; and a Democrat like O’Grady is automatically correct? How does O’Grady’s opinion beat Kennedy’s? Because you like O’Grady’s and dislike Kennedy’s. And on a different subject, you might cite Kennedy as a source trumping O’Grady’s claims. All based on whether or not they agree with you.

    But that’s not how things work. Facts don’t become more true because of their source. An argument doesn’t become better because it was said by the right person. And it certainly doesn’t become better because it agrees with what you wanted to hear. That’s not how this works.

    I’m fairly agnostic on the whole 2000/2004 election theft thing. I suspect that mischief was in play; but don’t think the facts are enough to warrant a bigger play on all this. But I see little in your post that disproves Kennedy’s. Much of this is speculation. Sure, you can say that Kennedy was speculating and misusing the facts; but your own speculation doesn’t disprove his. Only facts can do that, and you really didn’t cite many. Are you really so intellectually dishonest that you can’t re-read this post and see how few facts you’ve actually cited? And how much of this is opinion and guesses? Does that perhaps explain why you’re a conservatives?

    BTW, regarding the number of overseas ballots considered not received or late, the source you cited said 43% of voters fit into this category. Because they considered ballots received within the last two weeks to be considered late. You surely knew this when you called Kennedy a liar for repeating it, but you said it anyway. Sure, you personally don’t agree that those ballots should be considered late, but Kennedy’s source did. And he repeated that. Does that really make him a liar? He was repeating what the source said, and you disagree based upon your own criteria. Can you say that Kennedy was wrong for repeating what his source said? Maybe. Is he a liar for repeating it? No. It was one of the few “facts” you cited against Kennedy, but it was dishonest and wasn’t really a fact at all. You disagreed based upon your opinion of what a “late” ballot is. Does your opinion really make Kennedy a liar?

    And that’s how most of this post went. You use speculation and guesswork to determine that Kennedy was wrong. And that’s just not how this works. Maybe Kennedy was wrong. Maybe he shouldn’t have written what he did. But your rebuttal was all huff and little facts. You’ve said nothing that an honest person couldn’t disagree with. And that’s just not how facts work.

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  38. Brainster says:

    James, good points. I also note that the exit poll was the outlyer; all the regular pollsters had been calling the election narrowly for Bush in the last week or two.

    On the 12 “suspect” rural counties in Ohio, Kennedy buys into a nutty calculation that supposedly shows Kerry should have gotten 80,000 more votes in those counties and Bush 80,000 fewer votes. But if we adjust the totals that way, we’d have Bush getting 12.5 percentage points less in those counties than he received in 2000. But he didn’t decline by 12.5 percentage points anywhere else in Ohio; the worst he did was a five percentage point decline.

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  39. We wouldn’t be in such a load of trouble if the significant fraction of idiots who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 would have just realized that they weren’t voting for George H.W. Bush, the father.

    “Bush … hey, I recognize that name!”

    Face it, Rove and company set this up in the same way that a crook sells fake Rolexes.

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  40. BradBlog says:

    I’ll reply only to WJ for the moment who pointed to the phony GOP front group “The American Center for Voting Rights” to try and suggest DEMOCRATS attempted to steal the election.

    The ACVR is a fraud. It was created by two high-level GOP operatives (one is Mark F. “Thor” Hearne, the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney ’04 Inc., the other is Jim Dyke, communications director for the RNC).

    They created ACVR as a tax-exempt “non-partisan” 501c3 just three days before they testified at Rep. Bob Ney’s hearings on election irregularities in Ohio as the only “Voting Rights Group” invited.

    Hearned identified himself only as a “long time voting rights advocate” and didn’t mention that he was Bush/Cheney’s lead attorney.

    They are phony. They are ripping off tax payers with their tax-exempt status and the commenter WJ referred to their phony propoganda report full of nonsense.

    They even hired a phony “Democrat” to join the group after they were exposed. That “Dem” worked for several groups to raise money to retain a Republican Majority.

    Don’t trust me, however, read the facts. I’ve been reporting on them for over a year. Here’s the main articles debunking these America haters:

    http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.htm

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  41. Steve J. says:

    Many of them simply donâ??t understand that one has to register to vote and that one has to update oneâ??s registration when one moves to a new district.

    An anecdote. I live in Tucson, AZ, and I haven’t moved in 4 years. I recently received a new voter registration card and found that my precint had been changed from 373 to 356. I tried to find out why from the Registrar and the Board of Elections but I did not recieve an answer.

    BTW, I was able to vote in a special referendum we had in May.

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  42. WJ says:

    Responding to Mr. Friedman (BradBlog) and to rom (on his comment of the lock-down of the Warren County building to the press and public to view the counting of ballots).

    I looked at your site on ACVR and I’ll grant you they lean to the right, but so what? Beyond you calling them names like “liars” and “hucksters”, how does that discredit the fraud on the side of the Democrats.

    By your logic, since RFK Jr leans strongly to the left and people call him names, we can categorically dismiss his article without looking at the information.

    If you have a link that point by point discredits their info, without kindergarten name-calling, I’d like to read it.

    On Warren County, I saw follow-ups to this that there were Democrat representatives counting the ballots. Yes there was a lock-down, but both sides were in the building counting.

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  43. Richard says:

    WJ :

    Thanks for the reply and the info.

    BradBlog :

    Thanks for your info and link too. I haven’t had time to read all of your approx thirty blog posts about the ACVR, but it certainly appears that you have devoted a lot of time and effort to this matter.

    In your above comment, you say —
    The ACVR “was created by two high-level GOP operatives (one is Mark F. “Thor” Hearne, the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney ‘04 Inc., the other is Jim Dyke, communications director for the RNC).”

    If that’s true (and I have no reason to doubt) it might imply partisanship and/or bias. However, the jump from “These guys work for a political party that I don’t agree with” to “Therefore what they say is false” is simply not logical. In fact, it’s pretty close to the textbook definition of an ad hominem argument.

    Assuming (purely for purposes of discussion) that these guys are extremely biased, they would probably be motivated to highlight election fraud by the opposing party, and downplay or ignore election fraud by their own party. The unavoidable conclusion from that assumption is that the total amount of election fraud is far greater than they say, and therefore the need for reform is far greater than they say it is.

    Yet you present this alledged bias as if it were reason to ignore their report, and thereby ignore the need for reform !

    So I repeat my original question —
    If the Republicans are perpetating election fraud to the alledged extent, then WHY are the Democrats so strongly opposed to election reform ?

    If WJ’s answer is wrong, please give us the correct answer.

    After all the time and effort you have devoted to this for over a year, I’m sure you have an irrefutably logical and utterly compelling explanation. So, Come on, Hit me with it! Please!

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  44. [...] Outside the Beltway’s got a typically worthwhile post poking holes in RFK Jr’s article, too. Read it. And here’s Junior on CNN this morning showing off those famous Kennedy good looks. [...]

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  45. Apologies for the long comment, but I wanted to address all the points that ACVR had made. I really should have re-written this as a blogpost, but I’m too busy right now. Sorry.

    I looked at your site on ACVR and Iâ??ll grant you they lean to the right, but so what?

    Lean to the right? The guy already said they were started by the Bush/Cheney lawyer. Or as Brad’s website says:
    “Hearne is listed on the site as “National Election Counsel to Bush-Cheney â??04 and Missouri counsel to Bush-Cheney â??00″ amongst other very Republican credentials.”

    An election legal counsel for a presidential campaign doesn’t just lean right. They’re outright partisan. But it looks like lots of folks were fooled by this. A quick search on rightwing websites tells us that they’re “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that neither supports nor endorses any political party or candidate.” Right.

    And if you clicked through another link at Bradblog, you’d see that their publicist was Jim Dyke, who had recently been the RNC’s Communications Director. As his bio says: “Dyke worked on three Presidential campaigns, managed a congressional campaign, served in the Bush Administration and worked in the private sector.” According to his bio, he’s also responsible for several other rightwing astroturf organizations.

    Again, this isn’t just that the guys are Republicans. It’s that they’re important Republicans who have a long history of holding top positions in the Republican Party and George Bush. And the reason why this is important is that they shouldn’t be believed when they tell us that Republicans were innocent of any voter-shannigans. Or in your words, that “the 2004 election fraud was on the DEMOCRAT side of things.” Nor should we take their sinister tone as proof of evil Democrat shannigans. This isn’t a non-partisan group, as they pretended. This is an RNC spin effort. It apparently worked.

    The Rebuttal

    As for the charges they make, they’re clearly spinning some minor items into big items. For example, the whole Milwaukee tire-slashing thing was clearly a stupid prank. This wasn’t a concerted effort to stop Republicans from voting. This was five idiots with too much time and too little brains. They didn’t even suppress any votes, as all the vans were replaced in time. And ACVR is clearly being deceptive for suggesting that these were “paid operatives” who were somehow colluding with the DNC. They were low-level campaign workers who did something totally stupid, probably because they’re stupid punk kids who don’t know any better. I mean honestly, if the Democratic Party wanted to commit a felony, would it really be slashing tires; an effort that didn’t suppress any votes at all? And this is the first example that ACVR came up with. Similarly, this minor prank is usually the first incident Republicans cite of Democrat election theft. Pathetic.

    The only serious accusation involved a temporary restraining order placed on Kerry-Edwards people in Ohio who were supposedly lying to Republicans about polling places and whatnot. But oddly, I tried to research how this turned out and can’t find anything about it. My search was far from exhaustive, but the only results I get are regarding the ACVR’s reference to this, as well as rightwingers mentioning the restraining order. I see almost nothing else. It’s as if it disappeared after election day. Needless to say, a temporary restraining order is NOT a conviction; so I have no idea if this incident really happened.

    And the rest of that list is just a bunch of minor incidents; most of which aren’t even connected to the DNC at all. Some Moveon.org guys were rude to Republicans. Some union guys attacked some Republicans. These were random incidents which happened to be done by Democrats. And Republicans were responsible for the same kind of stuff; though the “non-partisan” ACVR insists otherwise. And when Dems accuse Repubs of voter supression, this isn’t the stuff we’re referring to. We’re talking about knocking legal voters off of the voter rolls.

    The only items which can be associated with the Democratic Party involved some flyers that were sent to Republican poll-watchers, warning them to not supress votes. A court told them they couldn’t do that, and they stopped. They also had a tape-recorded message from Clinton warning Republican poll-watchers to not supress votes. Nothing was done about this. And finally, some Democrats wore armbands that they shouldn’t have. They were told to remove them and they did. Wow. Talk about intimidation. Those blasted Democrats are stealing elections!

    Now compare this with the 10 months of prison time former regional RNC Director James Tobin got for his New Hampshire election day shannigans in 2002. As of April 14 2006 (the day he got sentenced), the RNC had paid his entire $2.8 million legal bill. But please focus on five idiots slashing a few tires or wearing bad armbands. That’s really important.

    And something to remember is that even ACVR didn’t claim that Republicans were innocent. If you read their page on Republican shannigans, they cite several real incidents of voter fraud against Dems, but because nobody got caught, it dismisses them because they weren’t tied to “paid operatives”. But without a doubt, these things really happened and Republicans did use fraud on Election Day 2004. But ACVR let them off the hook because nobody was caught.

    Overall, there were election day shannigans on both sides; despite the ACVR’s dismissal of rightwing deeds. And to use an astroturf GOP-led group as proof that “the 2004 election fraud was on the DEMOCRAT side of things,” is simply absurd. Heck, if these were the only election problems, I don’t see how election reform would be necessary. We already have laws against slashing tires, vandalism, and violence; and the Democratic Party stopped with the flyers and armbands when they were told to stop. If these were the only problems, it looks like everything’s taken care of.

    But when Democrats accuse Republicans of election fraud in 2004, they don’t mean random acts of violence and mischief; but a concerted effort by the Republican Party to suppress votes. I haven’t seen enough proof of this, but the accusations are at an entirely different level. Maybe the proof will come-out, or maybe it will stay hidden. Or maybe it didn’t happen. But to suggest that the Democrats are the election-fraudsters is entirely whack.

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  46. [...] Robert F. Kennedy indulged the Left’s favorite conspiracy theory – that Bush stole the 2004 elections, notably in Ohio. While PZ Myers and many other Lefties have accepted Kennedy’s nonsense uncritically,let’s look at Kennedy’s claims and the facts (mostly from Farhad Manjoo in Salon magazine, and also Mother Jones, and OTB). When Democratic sources like Salon, Mother Jones, pollster Mark Blumenthal, blogger tristero, Poor Man’s Institute, and others point out RFK’s gross errors, I would like to see thoughtful Democrat bloggers like Kevin Drum and Roxanne Cooper respond. [...]

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  47. Ohio was stolen! Not….

    Hat tip Allah for two great links. Click here and…

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  48. care4all says:

    I have followed this from the beginning. There were thousands of reported problems in Ohio in 2004. To deny this, is to be ignorant of the facts. See:
    http://www.blackboxvoting.org/

    also:

    http://www.iwantmyvote.com/

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  49. Iowa Voice says:

    Salon Shoots Down Kennedy Article…

    This is really something. Salon is, by most accounts, a left-leaning website. How far left is a matter of debate, but I will say that I’ve had links come in from that site in the past, and the comments were all from foaming-at-the-mouth liberals.

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  50. Richard says:

    Doctor Biobrain :

    Perhaps I should also apologise for the long comment, because I think this one is going to be nearly as long as yours.

    From your rebuttal : “As for the charges they make, they’re clearly spinning some minor items into big items.”   I haven’t read the ACVR report, but I’m quite willing to take your word for it.   My experience is that when politicians open their mouths or sit down at their keyboards, a lot of spin is generated.

    Unfortunately, once accusations of spin start to fly, it’s all too easy for bystanders to get splashed. (Sorry for that clumsy metaphor.) Even you are not immune.

    For example —
    You start your rebuttal with the Milwaukee tire-slashing incident, which you are at pains to characterise as “a stupid prank”, “five idiots with too much time and too little brains”, “low-level campaign workers who did something totally stupid”, “stupid punk kids who don’t know any better”, “this minor prank”.

    I don’t dispute your charge that the “ACVR is clearly being deceptive for suggesting that these were “paid operatives” who were somehow colluding with the DNC.” but you lay yourself open to a similar charge of being deceptive because you neglect to mention that these weren’t just five random idiots — they were the son of Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Wis), the son of former Milwaukee Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt, and three other Kerry-campaign workers. Also, they weren’t “kids” in the usual sense of “teenagers or younger”. Their ages were 20, 25, 28, 32 & 35.

    In fact, the more we learn about it, the less it looks like a kid’s prank, and the more it looks like a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the voters who depended on those vehicles.

    (P.S.: the 20-year old was found not-guilty; the other four got jail terms.)

    However, the thing which really amazed me was your final paragraph.

    First you refer to Democrats accusing Republicans of “a concerted effort by the Republican Party to suppress votes.” Next you admit a lack of proof and that “maybe it didn’t happen.” And finally you try to use this unproven and maybe non-existent “effort” to support a contention that “… to suggest that the Democrats are the election-fraudsters is entirely whack.”

    No ! What is entirely whack is the way this smoke-and-mirrors accusation against Republicans can mysteriously be transmogrified into Democrat innocence.

    Is that just spin ? To me it looks like something worse.

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  51. Submitted for Your Approval…

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher’s Council for this week’s vote. Council li…

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  52. care4all says:

    Richard, Try this read:
    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0604-20.htm

    Also, rather than respond to someone who claims no proof, check out sites I have given above where there IS documented proof.

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  53. The Council Has Spoken!…

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are Abolish the “N” Word by ShrinkWr…

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  54. Niels Jackson says:

    Biobrain: The only serious accusation involved a temporary restraining order placed on Kerry-Edwards people in Ohio who were supposedly lying to Republicans about polling places and whatnot. But oddly, I tried to research how this turned out and canâ??t find anything about it. My search was far from exhaustive, but the only results I get are regarding the ACVRâ??s reference to this, as well as rightwingers mentioning the restraining order. I see almost nothing else. Itâ??s as if it disappeared after election day. Needless to say, a temporary restraining order is NOT a conviction; so I have no idea if this incident really happened.

    Look it up, then. See pages 16-33 of this PDF file: http://www.ac4vr.com/reports/032405/R-U.pdf Very interesting. The first judge had to recuse himself from the case, because he himself had received one of the deceptive phone calls from the Democratic Party. Then there’s an affidavit from a Democratic Party official, ADMITTING that such calls were made on at least three occasions, but stating that she told the guy to stop. See pages 17-18 of the file.

    So no, it’s not as if the incident never happened. Documentary proof is right in front of your eyes, including a Democratic official who admitted that it happened.

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  55. Neat how you start out by mentioning one (utterly wacky) conspiracy story that right-wing blogs didn’t buy, and then juxtapose that with one (allegedly) wacky conspiracy story that liberal blogs didn’t immediately reject…though they didn’t accept it, either.

    This is, after all, the rules under which we’ve been operating for about 20 years. Liberals do anything wrong, they’re vilified; conservatives do anything right, they’re applauded.

    Almost no liberals I know in any way bought any claims about electoral shenanigans in 2004, incidentally.

    As for liberals being wimps…well, actually you’re probably mistaking *thinking* for wimpiness. Just because liberals tend to look before they leap…or think before they fight…doesn’t make them wimps.

    Incidentally, you’ll note that conservatives tend to make the wimp charge from a safe distance…

    Just sayin’…

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