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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 09:42 PM
Original message
"Coincide" vs "Coincidence"
On Monday 7 August Gore announced his vice presidential choice: Senator Joe Liebermann of Connecticut. I was so outraged that for a moment I thought I would not be able to support the ticket. ...Liebermann is not only sanctimonious but a hypocrite. ...Liebermann is also president of the Democratic Leadership Council, the republican wing of the Democratic Party, and even more conservative than Gore, who himself is too conservative for my taste (or for his father's, who whispered to me at a Democratic banquet in Washington seven or eight years ago, after I said to him how proud he must be of young Albert, 'Yes, I am very proud but I wish he were a little more liberal').

I began to feel like the old Gold Democrat Senator David B. Hill, who, asked how he viewed Bryan's nomination in 1896, replied, 'I am still a Democrat very still.' For a moment I even wished I could vote for Ralph Nader. I had heard part of his acceptance speech at the Green Party convention one morning while I was doing my exercises, and I was rather taken by the thoughtfulness of his remarks. He spoke about leadership, for example, and said that the real task of leadership was to produce, not followers, but leaders. I liked too his argument that the corporations have taken over both major parties.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.; Journals: 1952 2000; August 15, 2000; pages 846-847.

Recent comments by Ralph Nader, about his belief that President Obama should be impeached, have brought to the surface some of the old tensions within segments of the Democratic Party. I am reminded of the fall of 2000, when my brother, brother-in-law, and I were discussing the upcoming presidential election. My brother, although a registered Democrat, was not going to vote for the Gore-Liebermann ticket. His reasoning was similar to what Schlesinger notes in the above quote; he said that Nader better represented his values.

My brother-in-law, also a registered Democrat, warned him that a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush. I clearly remember his frustration that he could not get my brother to agree with his point of view. And, for years after the 2000 election, he would bait my brother by asking if he was still sure there is no difference between Bush and Gore?

I never gave serious consideration to voting for Nader in 2000. I admired much of his earlier work, although I never cared for his personality. Still, personality isn't a big deal for me: I can vote for people I don't like, so long as we share enough common values. More, in national elections, most candidates are so packaged that their true personality rarely comes through.

Although Al Gore was more conservative than I wished, I thought he had the potential to be better in some areas than Clinton. In particular, I believed that he would be an environmental advocate. Yet, unlike my brother-in-law, I had no problem with people voting for which ever candidate they sincerely believed best represented their beliefs and values.

In the years since, I've enjoyed some debates with friends about that election. Some people continue to blame Ralph Nader for Bush and Cheney's taking office. When I point out the errors in that stance, more than one has asked if I think it was a coincidence that Nader had the number of votes that Gore needed to win?

On the surface, of course, that sounds like a valid point. However, it reflects a shallowness of comprehension. One need only to remove the nce from coincidence, to get coincide, which is the concept that one must grasp to understand why Bush was installed into the White House, despite the fact that Gore won the 2000 presidential election.

Patrick Buchanan had enough votes that were clearly intended for Al Gore in Florida to have changed the outcome of the election. However, just as Buchanan's candidacy was not the cause of Bush's victory, neither would those votes have put Gore in office. The simple truth is that the machine was prepared to deny Gore the presidency, and was prepared to do anything and everything necessary to install George W. Bush. One example should do: they denied thousands of citizens the right to vote and did so based entirely upon race.

Should that not suffice, one can read Vincent Bugliosi's classic book, The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President. The forewords by Molly Ivins and Gerry Spence are outstanding. And Bugliosi documents that the machine was prepared to soil even the essence of Constitutional law to place Bush and Cheney in office.

The candidacies of Ralph Nader and Patrick Buchanan coincided with the theft of the presidency. They occupied the same space and time. No coincidence. Likewise, not the cause.

I do not say this as a Nader advocate. I'm not endorsing a third party. I'm still a Democrat very still, sometimes, in terms of the national excuses for leadership. But a grass roots Democrat. A pro-union Democrat. An anti-war Democrat. An it's time to over-turn some tables in the corporate temple Democrat.

Peace,
H2O Man
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. You always hit thenail on the head. Kudos Waterman
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. Thank you.
I'm planning to post an essay about the "new war" pretty soon. I'm hoping that those who read it, no matter if they are in favor or opposed to the US participation in the violence in Libya, will find of some interest. However, I'm sure that relatively few DUers will read it. Emotional arguments are in style here recently.
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JonLP24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R
And you're so right about Florida. They were so determined to have Bush as the winner, starting with disenfranchising, ballot designs, etc. I don't blame the third parties at all.

Palast has a great book on that election which I'm sure you probably have read.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
20. Right.
I do understand some of the frustration that people feel towards Nader. But it is vital for people to understand what actually happened .... where the criminal behaviors were rooted, and what crimes were endorsed by the Supreme Court.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. Being a Democrat today, seems to be a vote for the more sane Party.
Seems like we are way past voting on perceived policy differences. I take stock of the vast collection of people who are advocating for both Parties and conclude that only one has the interests of the middle class at least nominally in mind.

Just as an aside, check out the results of the NH electoral results. Had those Nader votes gone to Gore, Florida wouldn't have mattered. Oh well, 20/20 hindsight. We probably got what we deserved.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. That requires the
assumption that the Nader votes would have gone to Gore, had Nader not been in the race. One can speculate that they would have, or would not have. Yet it is speculation, nothing more.

What is not speculation, but is fact, is that thousands of people were not allowed to vote in Florida, and that thousands who did vote, did not have their votes counted.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Very true. We'll never know the road not taken.
Florida's vote was rotten any way you look at it. Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 people. A shame we didn't have a "2nd choice" option to test those Nader votes. I somehow doubt that most of those votes would have gone to Bush, but we'll never know for sure. But NH's results were particularly tough to take:

278,559(48.1%) Bush
266,848(46.8%) Gore
22,198(3.9%) Nader
6,976 (1.2%) Other

A swing of 12,000 voters there and US history this past decade would be as different as I can imagine it. Or maybe TPTB would have found another way to get Bush into the WH.

Of course, maybe Lieberman would have been elected in 2008 (McCain v. Lieberman - what a choice)...so there's that positive benefit....



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Jim Lane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:06 AM
Response to Reply #8
14. We may not know with certainty but we can make some very educated estimates.
Nader himself posted poll results on his website. Nader voters were asked what they would have done if Nader had not been on the ballot. Their responses: some vote for Gore, some for Bush, some for a different minor-party candidate, some write in a name, some leave the presidential line blank, some stay home entirely.

All Nader voters not in the first two categories are making themselves irrelevant and we can ignore them. In those first two categories, as you'd expect, Gore voters outnumbered Bush voters. IIRC the difference was 13% of the total. On those numbers, a Nader decision not to run would have benefited Gore by 13% of Nader's vote total.

Your thesis is that the machine would have stolen roughly 13,000 additional votes in Florida -- that is, 13,000 more votes than they actually did steal, including the illegal disenfranchisement of about 50,000 minority voters. You're attributing great powers to them. While I don't doubt their willingness to do whatever they could, they weren't superhuman. At some point the Gore margin would be great enough that the Republicans could not have gotten away with the level of fraud necessary to steal Florida.

Incidentally, I don't accept Nader's poll results at face value. Many Nader voters were very angry at the Democrats. I think the poll results reflect that. If Nader had withdrawn early on (or never run), there'd be less anger and more Gore voters. Furthermore, there's probably some discrepancy between what Nader voters said they would do and what they actually would have done. Standing in a voting both, looking at those names BUSH and CHENEY, more of them would have gritted their teeth and voted Democratic. If I'm right about that, then the machine would have had to steal even more votes to swing Florida.

This isn't a litigation matter, but the law provides a good way of looking at it. You can win a lawsuit without proving your case with certainty. The standard applied in a civil suit is the preponderance of the evidence. Here, the preponderance of the evidence convinces me that, if Nader had chosen not to run in the general election (i.e., had run in the Democratic primaries or had stayed out entirely), then Gore would have become President.

I'm not disputing Nader's constitutional right to run. By the same token, though, I have a constitutional right to criticize his decision. As a plaintiff's lawyer who had always admired Nader, I mourn what he did. His entire legacy is sullied.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Very interesting!
A well-stated and thoughtful position. Although in the flow of the thread, your response appears to be directed to our mutual Good Friend, Old and in the Way, I'm thinking (perhaps hoping) that it is in part a response to my OP, as well. And so I'd like to take a minute to respond.

I absolutely like the concept of discussing/debating issues such as this in the context of a civil trial. Focusing upon the preponderance of the evidence, rather than an absolute right vs wrong, is our best avenue towards civil discussions something that is of more benefit to the DU Community than much of the current arguing we see here. For as I noted in my OP, three good and decent people and I do believe that description fits my brother, brother-in-law, and myself can disagree strongly on this very issue.

In fact, it may be that such civil discussion and debate can lead to a convergence . a concept that, like coincide, can be applied to the combination of factors which resulted in George W. Bush being installed as President of the United States. Now, let's take a closer look at a couple of other points you made.

First, regarding the poll results from Nader's web site. I am confident that we can all agree that, from the day after the 2000 election until, at very least, the Supreme Court's decision, there was significant tension across America. There was a heated conflict between two large groups: those who wanted all votes to be counted correctly, and those who wanted Bush installed, regardless of the actual election outcome. In that context, a poll of voters who perhaps, or even likely did actually vote for Nader, can best be viewed as hindsight, and of relatively little evidentiary value. It assumes that, had Nader not run, the election campaign would have been otherwise exactly what it was, a proposition that simply does not fit the actual events.

Second, regarding the attributing great power to the machine, I would request that we substitute the word awful for great. I'm not suggesting the correct usage of great is incorrect, but I think that awful is more accurate. For we are discussing the type of power that allowed the machine to disenfranchise literally thousands of voters, based upon race. Our nation struggled with this very issue for far too many years, with the awful power of a racist, sexist, and class-based machine attempting to prevent groups of citizens the right to vote. The fact that the machine could still do exactly that in 2000 is definite proof of its awful power.

And, as if that were not enough, that very machine was able to pull the puppet strings of enough US Supreme Court (In-)Justices to, as Mr. Bugliosi proves, undermine the Constitution and chose our president. So, yes without any question whatsoever I recognize the awful power of that machine. It's poison fruits can easily be seen by comparing a snap-shot of the pre-Bush/Cheney America to the post-Bush/Cheney America.

Yes, I absolutely attribute awful power to that machine. And I hold the owners and operators of that machine responsible for the awful destruction it has done. More, as the Schlesinger quote in the OP suggests, those owners also operate within both major political parties. Joe Liebermann, when he was a registered Democrat, provided all the proof anyone should need of that fact.

Again, I appreciate your response. I think the convergence of ideas offers forum members an opportunity to expand their outlook. For, after all, even Al Gore himself provides an example of how an individual can grow. The current Al Gore is certainly benefited not from the theft of the election, but despite it and is a better man than the Al Gore of 1992 or 2000.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. Thanks for your comments Jim.
"Your thesis is that the machine would have stolen roughly 13,000 additional votes in Florida"

I'm not sure, but I think you're conflating H20's OP on the Florida vote and my posts on the New Hampshire results. My only point being that while the 2000 election results will always be focused on the Florida outcome, had 12-13,000 Nader voters switched to Gore in NH, Florida wouldn't have mattered.

Whenever I hear someone day, "my vote doesn't matter", I use this as an example that, no it really, really does.
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Beam Me Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 09:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. TOTALLY: A "I know what I'm getting when I vote for it whether I like it or not" Democrat.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #4
22. Yeah.
There were some things I liked about Gore. He was a better advocate for the environment, I believe, than was Clinton. I would have been as likely to campaign as much as I did in '92 if it were a Gore/Clinton ticket.

There were also things about both of them that I didn't like. But, at the time, I made what was the correct vote for me. That doesn't mean that I am opposed to people voting as their conscience dictates, including a "protest vote." (I would not discuss this on DU, were I considering it, though, as I think the rules are correct -- no advocating for non-democratic candidates. I was troubled by the recent exception to the rule.)

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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
6. Recced and agree with every word of this.
Very troubled by confirmation that we effectively have two parties in America: the Corporate Center Right Party, and the Lunatic Right-wing, with a very large group of disenfranchized progressive Democrats who have been permanently out-of-power, vilified, and ignored by the Party leadership since Henry Wallace was ousted from the ticket in 1944.
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2gabby Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
7. That was just great. Good read. rec'd and can we make everyone read that?
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
9. Thanks for starting a good thread. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.
I've taken my licks from the pro-Gore crowd. I just did not feel that he would be a very good President and he did not earn my vote.

The real issue is and has always been the Supreme Court 5-4 decision. Justice John Paul Stevens, in his dissent, summed it up:

Finally, neither in this case, nor in its earlier opinion in Palm Beach County Canvassing Bd. v. Harris, 2000 WL 1725434 (Fla., Nov. 21, 2000), did the Florida Supreme Court make any substantive change in Florida electoral law.6 Its decisions were rooted in long-established precedent and were consistent with the relevant statutory provisions, taken as a whole. It did what courts do7it decided the case before it in light of the legislatures intent to leave no legally cast vote uncounted. In so doing, it relied on the sufficiency of the general intent of the voter standard articulated by the state legislature, coupled with a procedure for ultimate review by an impartial judge, to resolve the concern about disparate evaluations of contested ballots. If we assumeas I dothat the members of that court and the judges who would have carried out its mandate are impartial, its decision does not even raise a colorable federal question.

What must underlie petitioners entire federal assault on the Florida election procedures is an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed. Otherwise, their position is wholly without merit. The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by todays decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this years Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nations confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.

I respectfully dissent.


So Al Gore was ripped off. But not by Ralph Nader.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 11:39 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
11. Thank you, H2O Man.
This irrational rage focused on a mere man only serves to obscure the myriad of immoral and illegal machinations that propelled GWB into office.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
12. Kick.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:18 AM
Response to Original message
13. VERY interesting
THANKS for posting this! :thumbsup:
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:43 AM
Response to Original message
15. Good post as usual
:hi:
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 05:14 AM
Response to Original message
16. Recommended.
I'm still blown away with the simplistic thinking that Nader cost Gore the election with all that transpired from the voting machines, interruption of the count, and Buchannon "votes" in Democratic strongholds not to mention the unprecedented appointment of a President by the Supreme Court in lieu of a finalized vote count.
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raouldukelives Donating Member (945 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
19. k&r
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
21. k&r...
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20score Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:16 PM
Response to Original message
23. This is worth saving. Well done!
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myrna minx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
24. I throughly enjoy reading your thoughts. K&R n/t
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woofless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
25. Thank you Brother,
for this and many, many other thoughtful posts.

Woof
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tavalon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
26. What an astute analysis!
BTW, Gore has mellowed and become more liberal in his middle age. I think he's always had politics in his blood, but Washington DC wasn't that good for him.
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blackspade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
27. Well said.
'An it's time to over-turn some tables in the corporate temple Democrat.'

Indeed.
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dave29 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
28. Yes, I will never forget the mistaken votes for Buchanan from the Jewish community in Fl
at least on their part, it was a mistake. Votes for Nader were not... and I say that being one of them.

I voted for Nader in Texas.

I sincerely regret it. Not because it's a coincidence or coincided with anything...

rather I went specifically with the personality and not the policy. I did not know any better.

Now, I do.
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Overseas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
30. K&R. Thank you.
That really was the key. The way the right was bound and determined to appoint W by any means necessary.

And so sad that more Democratic legislators didn't rise up against it.

And that the story about the voter roll purging in Florida was aired overseas but not in the USA.

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mirrera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
31. Haven't logged in in a while but I had to to say AWESOME post...
You expressed a stream of similar thoughts, more eloquently than I have been able to do... thus the not logging in. :-)
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pmorlan1 Donating Member (763 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
32. Excellent Post
For some people it's just easier to blame Nader. I didn't vote for Nader but I know Nader didn't cost Gore the election. Anyone watching the legal action in Florida and in the Supreme Court knows exactly why Gore "lost" the election.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 07:27 AM
Response to Original message
33. An piece worth bookmarking and rereading over and over.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
34. Thank you for this commentary, H20 Man. I did vote for Al Gore in 2000,
but would vote for Ralph Nader now as opposed to anyone on the Democratic short list (President Obama, this includes you).

The nation is in the grip of two corporate-controlled, anti-grass roots, anti-union, pro-war, pro-Imperial insanity parties--a fact that pains this 40+ year Democrat greatly.


"Overturn the tables" INDEED!



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