BOSTON-Admittedly, it would be unfair to expect our political conventions to be showcases of candor and genuineness. They are by design high-tech political commercials in which each side spins the facts to put its candidates in the most favorable light possible.
And let me say, for the sake of intellectual honesty, that the Republicans are no better than the Democrats. In 2000, the GOP trotted out one Prozac Republican after another, as if the entire show was produced by the talents behind "Mr. Rogers." All that was missing was George W. Bush strolling out to the stage as he put on a grandfatherly sweater singing "Won't you be my voter? . Would you be mine? Could you be mine?"
Also, I should admit that the upcoming GOP convention in New York promises to be something like a remake of 2000 Convention.
But I'm in Boston to cover the Democrats and, as a journalist, I must say I find the Democrats' version of fuzzy-wuzzy agitprop particularly annoying. They are so disciplined that they have all the bite of Elmo gnawing on your ankle. For example, John Edwards may be the first vice presidential candidate ever to avoid mentioning his opponents by name even once in his acceptance speech.
As a conservative, I'm even more bothered by the seemingly defanged Democrats, because it makes their spin seem so much more reasonable.
First, there's this constant insinuation that Democrats are unique in their desire to have "every vote be counted." One of John Kerry's standard lines on the stump these days is that he'll make sure that not only will every vote count, but that every vote will be counted. Or maybe it's the other way around. Regardless, Al Gore, Barack Obama and countless lesser lights of the Democratic Party have been hinting all week that Republicans don't want votes counted, and that poor Democrats are the victims of this mean-spirited attitude.
This is all tendentious nonsense. The Florida recount was a mess that made both sides look bad at one point or another. But it is simply a lie to claim that Democrats were nobly determined to have each vote counted in Florida. They tried to block the military ballots from being counted, and they demanded recounts in only predominantly Democratic counties. It is true that they wanted many of those chad-dangling ballots counted, but they weren't terribly concerned the ballots be counted accurately. For that matter, the Democrats do have a very long record of wanting many votes to be counted - two, three and four times.
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