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 Entire Archive2004 Election Items

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The Voting System is Broken--and So are the Political Parties
Last Friday Ohio's top election official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a report concluding that the voting systems that decided the 2004 election in Ohio were rife with "critical security failures". The perpetrators were so cocksure they could pull it off that the servers for the computation of the Ohio vote count were in... Read More
Only a few days after the national election, President Bush appointedhis campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, the new head of the Republican National Committee. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Mehlman offered the world his own analysis of the voting patterns in the 2004 election and what they tell us as to why his boss won. As the Washington... Read More
It didn't take the neoconservatives long to figure out the real truth about the election and explain to us, hanging breathless, what we should think about it. David Brooks in the New York Times was perhaps the first to unveil it to the rest of us out here in the boonies. The truth, you see,... Read More
Barely a week has passed since 84 percent of the nation's self-described conservatives cast their ballots for George W. Bush, and already the president and his administration have delivered at least two good, strong, swift kicks in the teeth to the voters who elected him. Speaking in Mexico this week Secretary of State Colin Powell... Read More
The re-election of President Bush is a sad event; the failure of Kerry is not. Before the election, we called upon our American readers to vote for a Third Candidate. Some readers agreed and voted - for Nader or Greens or whomever their consciences were happy with. Today they have nothing to regret. Others objected,... Read More
If last week's election returns tell President Bush anything about immigration policy, it is that he ought to continue and even expand the"guest workers" program he unveiled last January. What was essentially an amnesty for illegal aliens, a reward for lawbreakers and an open invitation to the world to immigrate to this country seems to... Read More
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
"Why Is He Losing?" was the title I initially gave a column I wrote for The Nation a couple of weeks ago before the election. My editor there, Roane Carey, worried that this was maybe too pessimistic, amid supposed portents of a sudden swell for Kerry. So we called the column You Can't Blame Nader... Read More
When a drunken man tries to walk a tightrope, it is never possible topredict whether he will make it across or fall. Nothing you can reasonably foresee happening can possibly affect the outcome of his walk, and whatever happens depends entirely on accident. So it was with the great presidential election of 2004, now quickly... Read More
Forget Ohio. Forget the mathematics. Forget all the lawyers. By any measure, in terms of direct - not indirect, Electoral College democracy - George W Bush has won this referendum. A president who was never above a 50% approval rate in the past few months, who lost all three debates with challenger Senator John Kerry,... Read More
"We will export death and violence to the four corners of the Earth in defense of our great nation." - George W Bush in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack It all boils down to Iraq. Will the majority of Americans reject George W Bush because of his defining moment - launching an indefensible preemptive war?... Read More
At the time of writing — 1:45 am Wednesday morning — George W. Bush needs just one Electoral College vote to get him over the top. I'm going to take this as a done deal, and start gloating. Now, gloating is of course bad — coarse, heartless, insensitive, and ill-mannered. Magnanimity in victory, that's the... Read More
"Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security." - Osama bin Laden, October 30 Osama bin Laden's alleged cave in Afghanistan comes complete with room... Read More
What will happen to American conservatism as a result of the 2004 election? Obviously, the answer depends largely on what happens in the election, and we won't know that until tomorrow (or later). But that doesn't stop pundits from telling us anyway. Pat Buchanan believes a "civil war" will break out inside the Republican Party... Read More
"Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise Try to amplify the times, and multiply it by six- Teen million people are equal of this high pitch Maybe we can reach Al-Qaeda through my speech ... Let the President answer on high... Read More
In politics, a wise man once told me, there are only two important questions: (1) Who should win? (2) Who will win? You don't have to be very wise to understand that the answers are not necessarily (or indeed very often) the same. As to the first question, my own wisdom, such as it is,... Read More
The most significant aspect of the US Presidential elections is the dramatic shift of the entire political spectrum to the Right. Fundamental reactionary changes in the US constitution, social legislation, international politics and law, as well as historical experience have become the common language of both major candidates in this election, without any mass popular... Read More
Democratic Party: an Advanced State of Decay
Let's hedge this with all the usual qualifiers. Kerry could pull it out. The spread's within the margin of error. Respondents to polls are lying out of fear of John Ashcroft. Pollsters aren't reaching Kerrycrats with cell phones. But whatever way you cut it, after three debates in which polls assessed him as the victor,... Read More
After nearly two years of bitter controversy about the role of neo-conservatives in dragging the country into a useless and apparently endless war in the Middle East, it has finally begun to dawn on some of the neo-cons' liberal enemies that their critics on the right have been warning about them for years. In Sunday's... Read More
"I just know how this world works." - George W Bush For all the talk of history being made in Florida (not again!), the first of three debates between US presidential contenders George W Bush and John Kerry may go down in history as "The Attack of the Split Screen". Some people may be naive... Read More
After nearly a decade of obsession with and pandering to the Hispanic vote, the leaders of both major political parties are finally being told an unpleasant truth — the Hispanic vote is overrated. Last week William Frey, one of the country's leading demographers and a major expert on immigration, unbosomed this lesson in an interview... Read More
The Ethics for a New Century
Kerry's nattering on the campaign trail is getting increasingly incoherent. Just this week the Massachusetts senator was expounding "victory in Iraq" in his most pompous baritone. There's no question about who he's courting in these speeches. Only the elusive "undecided voter" is showered with such lavish attention at this late date. On the other hand,... Read More
Go to Baghdad; Then Visit the West Bank C'mon Ralph, You've Got Nothing to Lose
If I were Ralph Nader, (and given the number of people screaming at me about stabbing Kerry in the back I sometimes think I am) I'd get on the plane to Palestine, and Baghdad and spend less time on ballot access fights with lawyers working for the Democrats. There's about six weeks left to run... Read More
Internationalism and Zionism
Finding himself behind in the polls, John Kerry has begun to focus more intensely on the morass in Iraq, perhaps hoping to restore his fortunes by mobilizing the potential anti-war vote as fully as possible. Kerry has even said that if elected he will remove American troops from Iraq, though his timetable may strike us... Read More
Does it make any difference who wins the presidential election? Both major candidates are so close to each other on so many major issues—immigration, trade, even foreign policy—that it's very hard to tell, and many conservatives who usually vote Republican are asking why they should vote for President Bush at all. One reason they should,... Read More
195 Lbs. of Political Helium and Not an Ounce of Sincerity
Apart from being the most excruciatingly painful public speaker in the last century, John Kerry does absolutely nothing to move the progressive agenda forward. His campaign can be fairly interpreted as a full scale retreat from the ideals espoused in the New Deal and an abject capitulation to the "right-tilting philosophy of the administration. "And... Read More
Leaving John Kerry
New York's Foot Soldiers (our only real hope) by MIKE WHITNEY There's been precious little from the Kerry camp about the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Maybe that's something Kerry "could do better" too. To his credit, the Massachusetts senator did send out an e mail to supporters in the Democratic Party calling for Donald Rumsfeld's... Read More
The Republican National Convention ended with a fine stirring speech by George W. Bush. The whole convention was, it seems to me, a roaring success. If I were John Kerry, I'd be feeling very worried right now. As always with an acceptance speech, the President had to do two things simultaneously: fire up his own... Read More
Having finally figured out the security-pass system, I thought I'd spend the third evening of the Convention watching it live, so I set off for the main hall. There was a brief detour on the way. Someone called my name as I walked through the lobby at the Garden. It was Ed Capano, National Review's... Read More
"Right Wing Sees Betrayals," the headline in the Washington Timesshouted last week, and it's about time the right wing did. This particular headline referred to what had been going on inside the Republican Convention's platform committee, where conservatives were given the run-around by the party establishment on several issues dear to them. One such issue... Read More
Now I know what a modern party convention is for. I sat down to last night's big speeches with low expectations, ready to squirm in fact. Arnold Schwarzenegger's fun to watch in movies, but not my kind of Republican. (You couldn't call Arnie anything "lite," but I think of him as a sort of George... Read More
"This battle will take time and resolve. But make no mistake about it: we will win." - George W Bush, September 12, 2001 "Can we win the war on terror? I don't think you can win it." - Bush, August 31, 2004 The war in Iraq is part of the "war on terra". You're either... Read More
Kerry's Slippage
Even the people who tell me they will vote for Kerry take pains to stress that they don't like him. CounterPuncher JoAnn Wsypijewski, who marched against Bush in New York Sunday phoned me to say that though she didn't like Kerry but would vote for the man ," I know now he's definitely going to... Read More
After several weeks of fulminating about John Kerry's war record and the medals he presumably awarded to himself, Republicans finally got down to the real point about the man who would be president. Amazingly it was none other than the forgotten Robert Dole, himself something of a war hero from World War II, who seems... Read More
For the first presidential election since 1988, Pat Buchanan is not on the ballot this year, but his soul goes marching on in a new book just released on the eve of the Republican National Convention. Where the Right Went Wrong is not, as it is already being billed, an"attack" on George W. Bush, but... Read More
Joseph August /
After the American electorate wades through the scintillating debate about which presidential candidate is less patriotic than the other, some voters may display an interest in picking one of them to vote for. Many have already decided, and the bad news for President Bush is that a lot of them are the people who voted... Read More
Bush v. Kerry? Not Even a Dime's Worth of Difference
Kerry goes from bad to worse. Last week he dropped Saddam's non-existent WMDs as a campaign issue. He did this huge favor to Bush via his (Kerry's) foreign affairs spokesman, the insufferable Jamie Rubin, formerly the top State Department flack in the Clinton years. Rubin told the Washington Post last weekend that knowing then what... Read More
Outside Kerry's Tent
Can someone win the presidency entirely on the basis of a negative asset? I wouldn't have thought so, but here's John Kerry, just about 90 days shy of election day, promoting himself as a man of presidential caliber entirely on the basis that he's the Anyone in "Anyone But Bush". Aside from the flag wagging... Read More
On Tuesday night in Boston, the United States was hit by a weapon of mass enlightenment. The name of the weapon is Barack Obama. He's not even a US senator - yet: but he will almost certainly be one in November. Not a uniter, not a divider: the ultimate transcender. Some day, some say, he... Read More
If you'd like to cast a ballot for a conservative this year, forget George W. Bush and don't even blink an eye at the liberal drip from Massachusetts who's the hero of the week. Ralph Nader, believe it or not, actually has some interesting (not necessarily good or right) things to say, but it would... Read More
The moment he came out swinging into the Hollywood set of Fleet Center in Boston on Monday, to the trademark sound of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop", self-described "foot soldier" Bill Clinton was on a roll. As superstar entrances go, this would defy anything pulled off by Mick Jagger or David Bowie. And then, in a... Read More
The Democrats and Their Conventions
I've tried shouting "Kerry-Edwards" on the step out to my garden. The cat yawned and the flowers drooped. Democrats know this in their hearts. Twit them about Kerry's dreariness, reminiscent of thin cold chowder or Weeping Ed Muskie and one gets the upraised hand and petulant cry, "I don't want to hear a word against... Read More
The Democrats and Their Conventions
Always partial to monopolies, the Democrats think they should hold the exclusive concession on any electoral challenge to Bush and the Republicans. The Nader campaign prompts them to hysterical tirades. Republicans are more relaxed. Ross Perot and his Reform Party actually cost George Bush Sr his reelection in 1992, yet Perot never drew a tenth... Read More
The Democrats and Their Conventions
At convention time, in years gone by, pundits would decry with patronizing chuckles the supposed proclivity of the Democratic Party to "tear itself apart". Auto-rupture is actually a good thing. As Hegel once said, "a political party only truly exists when it is divided against itself". In Hegel's sense, the Democratic Party has ceased to... Read More
The Democrats and Their Conventions
Freshets of creativity and excitement pulsing into the nation’s bloodstream, improvements in the general quality of life, have nothing to do with the presidential elections rolling around every four years, which rouse expectations far in excess of what they actually deserve. As registers of liberal or conservative political potency, American presidential elections seldom coincide with... Read More
With 90 percent of black voters and 65 percent of Hispanics supporting Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 election, Mr. Gore's successor as the Democratic presidential candidate has to understand that he can't possibly win this year without similar support from both groups. Indeed, John Kerry, as recent polls suggest, will win just such... Read More
Writing at CounterPunch, Gabriel Kolko, the left-wing historian and critic of U.S. imperialism, makes the astute observation that John Kerry's multilateralism would be more effective in advancing imperial interests than Bush's unilateralism. ("The U.S. Must Be Isolated and Constrained: The Coming Elections and the Future of American Global Power," March 12, 2004) That is because... Read More
Aristotle defined an oligarchy as a polity in which the few elect the rulers to govern over the many. That formula fits exactly the description of US primaries and general elections. In New York State where only 15% of the party members voted in the recent Democratic primaries, Kerry won with 8% of the registered... Read More
Campaign Diary Winning with Ralph Nader
Listening to Democrats screaming about Ralph Nader's entry into the presidential race we finally understand the mindset of those Communist dictatorships that used to take such trouble to ensure that the final count showed a 99 percent Yes vote for the CP candidate. It's a totalitarian logic. "Anybody But Bush" chorus the Democrats. But they... Read More
The Establishment media essentially removed Howard Dean from the presidential race. As Sam Smith puts it in his article at CounterPunch, "Dean in Freefall: Howard's End?", the primary cause of Dean' demise was "the most excessive and gratuitous media assault on a presidential candidate in recent times." Dean has indeed received a bad press. For... Read More
Where do you begin to take apart the evasions, half-truths and outright lies that merrily danced from the lips of the President of the United States in his State of the Union address this week? One place to begin is to listen to the inanities uttered by his Democratic rivals in response. Interviewed by NBC... Read More