Miami-Dade: intimidated by GOP mob?

Posted: Nov 30, 2000 12:00 AM
Mob rule! The Miami-Dade canvassing board voted to discontinue its manual recounts. The board felt incapable of completing the recount by the date set by the Florida Supreme Court. Too bad for Gore. He expected to pick up enough "under-counted," "over-counted" or "dimpled" votes to overtake George W. Bush. Why did the Miami-Dade canvassing board vote against the recount, having earlier supported it? According to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., " ... A mob threatened them, banged on their doors, roughed up people ... and they succumbed to the mob violence and intimidation." Nadler even detected a "whiff of fascism" in the air. Gore adviser Ron Klain condemned the "mob violence that stopped the vote in Dade County." "This is a time to honor the rule of law, not surrender to the rule of the mob," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. And Jenny Backus, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said, "The Republicans are out of control," and accused them of using paid agitators to "create mob rule in Miami." "A group of out-of-state, paid political operatives came to south Florida in an attempt to stop county-wide recounts," said Rep. Peter Deutsch, D-Ft. Lauderdale. "They crossed state lines and intimidated the counting in a federal election, which is a violation of the Voting Rights Act." Mob violence and intimidation? From what the news channels showed, a group of fairly noisy, boisterous Bush supporters stood in a hall and pounded on a few doors. The Republicans protested a plan to move the vote count to a room outside of public view. That's a mob? We see more energy in the end zone at a Cleveland Browns home game. Mob rule? Well, not exactly. Miami-Dade County's election supervisor David Leahy told the Los Angeles Times in a telephone interview: "I was not intimidated by that protest. I saw it for what it was ... a noisy, peaceful protest." Oh. In 1992, in Los Angeles, rioters and looters burned over 2,000 fires causing $775 million in insured damage. Fifty-two people died. Rep. Maxine Waters refers to the riot as a "rebellion." Others call it an "uprising." One wag referred to it as a "spring disturbance." But throw together a handful of white, male Republicans holding up placards, and, Gladys, honey, look out, we've got an insurrection! No, what's going on right now in Florida hardly fits the description of mob rule. It's called Democratic desperation. How desperate? When the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously to allow manual recounts to continue, the court referred to a 1990 Illinois supreme court case called Pullen v. Mulligan. The spin doctors pounced. Why, in the Illinois case, the counters counted dimples! Thus, say the Gore advocates, the Florida Supreme Court wants us to apply the so-called "dimple standard." Why is this important? Counting ballots with "hanging chads" or "swinging chads" is one thing. But a "dimpled chad," where the voter makes a slight mark, means more votes for Gore in the counties cherry-picked by the Democrats for a manual recount. But, hold on. According to the Wall Street Journal's John Fund and the Chicago Tribune, the judge in this case rejected the so-called "dimple standard." The judge used the so-called "light standard," meaning a vote counts only if a light shines through the perforation. "The judge," writes Fund, "in Pullen v. Mulligan didn't count indented ballots, because he could not determine the voters' intent." Oops! The Gore camp looks foolish. On the one hand, they apply a zero tolerance standard to exclude some 1,400 overseas military ballots. But then they want "recounters" to somehow discern voters' intent, based on lightly pressed or dimpled chads. The Gore camp wants "every vote counted," yet selected only four pro-Gore counties for a recount. After Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified the election Sunday evening, Gore promptly moved to contest the election. This means a series of challenges over whether legal votes went uncounted. In a five-minute address to the nation, Gore explained the reasons behind the challenge. "I believe it's essential to our country that there be no question, no cloud over the head of the next president, whether it be me or Governor Bush," said Gore. "We need to be able to say that there is no legitimate question as to who won this election." Naw, this ain't about Gore. Never mind the recent Newsweek article which quoted Gore as saying, "I'm not like George Bush. If he wins or loses, life goes on. I'll do anything to win." Storm clouds may be forming, with people becoming increasingly less patient. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 60 percent of Americans now call for Gore to concede. But, why should he? After all, it's not about him. Right.