Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Seems Like Old Times

There are many reports comparing the current voting machine disaster in Florida with the events of November, 2000. And lots of silly Floridians are talking conspiracies:

"The poll workers told her to go home because the voting machines did not work, said Love-Jackson, 42, an unemployed Carol City resident. "It's a lot of Republican bull to keep Bush in," said Love-Jackson, who speculated that somehow the unopposed GOP governor was trying to determine whom he would face in the November general election.

But Ms. Love-Jackson and other such conspiracy advocates may want to take note that the Florida counties control the mechanics of balloting in that state, and the problems are again concentrated in Democratic-controlled counties: Dade and Broward, especially, where Ms. reno has outpolled her opponent by 2-to-1 (although 14 of Florida's 67 counties, including six of the seven that were sued after the 2000 vote, were reported to be experiencing at least some trouble). Also, the problems may be affecting the Democratic primary - the Republican nomination for governor is not in question.

So if there are shenanigans going on, doesn't it make more sense to ask whether one faction of the Democratic Party in these troubled counties has manipulated the voting process to harm the other Democratic faction? Janet Reno is trailing. Shouldn't her thoughts and accusations be that her opponent's faction might have rigged the election though his county-level followers? ("Poll workers didn't show up, forcing some precincts to open late into the morning. And some Democrats were given Republican ballots.") Shouldn't the whole matter devolve into a hideously self-destructive internecine war among Democrats in which they level against each other all the same accusations the Democrats hurled against Bush in 2000 and plan to revive in 2004?

After all, if one is going to go off on a paranoid tangent the way these Florida Democrat conspiracy advocates are doing again, shouldn't at least the rough direction of that tangent have something - if only something small and insubstantial - to do with reality?

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