Friday, December 31 2004
About 2,400 miles and 118,328 votes. That's the difference between Christine Gregoire's 129-vote victory over Dino Rossi in the Washington governor's race (achieved after one machine recount and one hand recount) and George W. Bush's 118,457-vote victory over John Kerry after the recently completed recount in Ohio.

On Wednesday Rossi sent a letter to Gregoire asking her to join him in calling for a revote. Not surprisingly, Gregoire brushed the request aside. Yesterday afternoon Gregoire was offically declared the state's Governor-elect - at least for now.

Rossi is considering challenging the election results in court. If you've been following Soundpolitics you know there looks to be some evidence to support a legitimate legal challenge. This article in today's Seattle Times (which, by the way, shows the growing power of the blogosphere by crediting Soundpolitics' Stefan Sharkansky) ends by quoting state GOP Chairman Chris Vance on the status of a legal challenge:

"We've got to put something together that is rock, rock solid," he said. "It's going to take awhile; everybody needs to be patient."

This is absolutely right. Republicans need to tread lightly here. They should only go to court if and when they have incontrovertible evidence of fraud, manipulation or error that is certain to change the outcome of the election back in Rossi's favor or of generating a revote. Otherwise, if Republicans do challenge the election without producing the goods, they run the risk of looking like sore losers with no respect for the process.

Ohio is a good example of what I'm talking about. After the recount initiated by Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik and Green candidate David Cobb, Bush's lead shrunk by only 300 votes to 118,457. Now the AP reports the Green-Libertarian-Dem axis is calling for yet another recount.

There is not a single piece of serious evidence of vote fraud, only complaints of long lines and faulty machines, etc. - in other words a list of garden variety election day issues that happened in places all across the country. Neverheless, David Cobb, the Green Candidate, claims in his latest press release that:

"We have done our utmost to protect the integrity of our right to vote in court and through the recount process, yet a cloud of suspicion still hangs over the election results. We cannot sit back and allow our rights to be violated."

A 118,457 vote margin is some cloud of suspicion. And, by the way, from the same press release:

Cobb will be speaking at rallies in Columbus, Ohio and Washington, DC on January 3 and 6, respectively. The Columbus rally is at 1 p.m. at the Capitol Theater, 77 S. High Street, and is sponsored by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH, the Cobb-LaMarche campaign and many other organizations.

Separately, the Cincinnati Post reports:

A group of 37 Ohio voters, backed by the Rev. Jesse Jackson of Illinois, have filed a complaint with Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer asking that the election results be overturned. The complaint alleges a host of flaws with the election, ranging from long lines at polling places in inner city neighborhoods to results that did not square with exit polls.

In addition the motion to overturn the election, Democrats filed a motion to disqualify Justice Moyer himself:

The chief justice of the state Supreme Court refused Wednesday to remove himself from a case challenging the results of the presidential election.

A group of voters had claimed Chief Justice Thomas Moyer "wittingly or unwittingly acquired knowledge of deliberate national and statewide election fraud" and should step aside.

Moyer called the voters' claim "wholly without foundation." He added that he has no reason to remove himself since the challenge doesn't involve his own election and he has nothing to gain by a change in the results.

In Wednesday's ruling, Moyer said the challengers have provided "nothing suggesting that Ohio election officials are engaging, or will engage, in illegal conduct," and called their documents "woefully inadequate."

Cliff Arnebeck, an attorney representing the voters, said Wednesday said he was reviewing the documents Moyer referred to.

If Mr. Arnebeck is representing the voters, should he already be aware of the documents he filed? Just asking. And it doesn't stop there. Democrats have also filed a separate motion challenging the results of Justice Moyers recent election:

"The allegations of fraud in the presidential election are similar to those made in a separate challenge to Chief Justice Moyer's election over Democrat C. Ellen Connally, a retired Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge.

The challenge to the chief justice's election, currently being weighed by Justice Maureen O'Connor, suggests the Bush-Cheney campaign included him in its alleged pattern of fraud because it wanted the Republican in a position to rule on any subsequent challenges."

In other words, between the Green party candidate, Jesse Jackson, and the lawyer/co-founder of the far-left Alliance for Democracy we're seeing a full frontal assault designed to undermine the legitimacy of a clear Bush victory in Ohio based on conspiracy theories and on flimsy, if not wholly unsupported allegations.

THE LAST WORD OF 2004: What a remarkable year. From the snows of Iowa in January to the waves of Asia in December, 2004 has been jam-packed with the sort of monumental events that had the entire country sitting on the edge of its seat. It's been a great year to be the proprietors of a political web site and we'd like to thank all of the readers who were with us along the way. Best wishes to all in the year to come. - T. Bevan 10:30 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Wednesday, December 29 2004
THE PATHETIC ETHICS OF JIM McDERMOTT: It's bad enough that Jim McDermott went to Baghdad in October 2002 and called the President of the United States a liar. Or that the following month the voters of Washington state's 7th Congressional District added insult to injury by reelecting McDermott with 75% of the vote.

This year, in an October 22 court decision over the question of McDermott's involvement in leaking the transcript of an illegally intercepted phone call in 1997, Judge Thomas Hogan held that McDermott's "willful and knowing misconduct rises to the level of malice." McDermott, who is appealing the decision, has been ordered to pay a $60,000 fine and all the legal costs in the case, which could run close to $600,000. Once again, voters didn't seem to care: two weeks after the judge's ruling McDermott won reelection to a ninth Congressional term with 81% of the vote.

As most of you probably remember, the case against McDermott involves the now famous 1997 conference call regarding the ethics investigation of Newt Gingrich that was surreptitiously recorded off of the cell phone of Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) by a couple in Florida. The couple then passed along a transcript of the illegally taped conversation to McDermott who promptly leaked it to The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. At the time McDermott was the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee.

The Florida pair who taped the phone call eventually pleaded guilty to violating wiretapping laws and received fines of $500 each. McDermott denied leaking the transcript and was never charged with a criminal offense, but he did resign his seat on the Ethics Committee.

Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports today that in the wake of the recent court decision McDermott fired off a rather odious fundraising letter titled, "Newt Gingrich Yesterday, Tom DeLay Today:"

"Exercising his First Amendment rights," [the letter] says, "McDermott used the press to expose Gingrich's deceptive behavior in violation of an agreement with the ethics panel."

The McDermott letter claims that the GOP leadership "continues to use the courts" to "pursue" him.

It is a dubious claim. Boehner is no longer in the leadership. Gingrich and then-majority leader Dick Armey are long gone from Congress.

Instead, the letter takes after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and invites givers to "help continue the fight for Democratic values."

Only indirectly is the letter's real purpose disclosed: Its goal is not to fund any campaign, but to pay McDermott's legal fees. "We cannot allow Republican leaders to financially destroy a member of Congress who has a proven track record of standing up for endangered democratic values," it states.

The truth is far different. McDermott could have settled with Boehner. The Ohioan simply asked for an apology to the House, an admission of wrongdoing and a $10,000 donation to charity. Instead, McDermott is appealing the latest judgment, and wants donors to foot the bill.

Thanks to the recent court decision, after seven long years the House Ethics Committee has finally decided to launch an investigation into McDermott's behavior. Let's hope they concur with Judge Hogan, conclude the obvious and charge McDermott with violating the standards of conduct and the ethics rules of the House. And let's hope the voters of Washington state's 7th district take notice this time and go find themselves a better representative. - T. Bevan 9:45 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Tuesday, December 28 2004
Just hours after one of the worst human tragedies in recent memory, leaders of the United States, Britain, Australia, France, Germany and many other governments from around the world released statements offering their condolences for the passing of so many innocent souls and pledging to marshall the resources of their respective governments to assist stricken countries in feeding and clothing the homeless, treating the wounded, burying the dead, and rebuilding shattered communities.

Yesterday Osama bin Laden released a different kind of statement. In an audiotaped message bin Laden demanded Iraqis boycott the coming elections and threatened that "everyone who participates in this election will be considered an infidel."

Bin Laden also bestowed the title of "amir" (deputy or prince) upon Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and said he was "pleased" with Zarqawi's efforts in Iraq. The last time the world saw Zarqawi he was slicing the head off an innocent person on videotape.

Obviously, the contrast couldn't be greater. On one hand you see an army of compassion; governments and citizens banding together to help one another in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy. On the other hand you see an army of tyranny and death; a group of thugs and murderers who spend every waking moment trying to prevent people from living in freedom.

As we all ponder the meaning of what happened on Saturday and how such tragedy could befall so many on one of the holiest days of the year, I'd humbly suggest that perhaps a great contrast is what God had in mind. Not a contrast between Christians and Muslims, but rather between the display of a massive global outpouring of heartfelt compassion and the sinister threats of a group of heartless terrorists. A contrast, in other words, between good and evil. And in the battle between good and evil we can rest assured, to borrow a phrase from a rather well known Texan, that "God is not neutral between them." - T. Bevan 11:45 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

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