Harris Blocking People's Will?; Democrats Now Have "Moral High Ground"?; Did Nixon Really Win Popular Vote Because of Alabama?
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) GMA's Diane Sawyer argued
with a member of Florida's electoral board about the Secretary of State
affirming 5pm Tuesday as the vote submission deadline for counties. She cited
how Joe Lieberman "says it would be shocking basically to block the will
of the counties who want to re-vote, that you have to trust the people."
2) "Seems like a real escalation this morning,"
George Stephanopoulos declared of the Secretary of State's announcement. "Have the
Democrats," Charles Gibson suggested, "now gotten the moral high
ground" because of the deadline and the GOP going to court?
3) Did JFK really win the popular vote without regard to any
fraud? Possibly, National Review suggested in recalling how he got credit for
votes for non-national Democratic ticket electors in Alabama.
4) Prominent reporters refused to tell Slate.com's Jack
Shafer for whom they voted for President, the same question which revealed 12
of Slate.com's top 13 editors supported Al Gore.
videos up on the MRC Web page. MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted RealPlayer
video clips of events chronicled in recent CyberAlerts,
including Alec Baldwin denouncing GOP hypocrisy in saying they were following
the law during impeachment but won't now and urging George Bush to call for
a re-vote, David Letterman's audience booing at the mention of Hillary
Clinton's name and Tom Brokaw the morning after the election predicting the
public will demand the electoral college system be "yanked." Go to: http://archive.mrc.org/videobias/vidbiaswelcome.asp
Correction: The November 10 CyberAlert Extra
reprinted a Media Reality Check by Rich Noyes about how the three plaintiffs
in a lawsuit claiming they were confused by the Palm Beach County ballot all
have political experience. Here's how one was identified: "Abigail
McCarthy also claims she cast the wrong vote, but she's a County
Commissioner...." Actually, her first name is Alberta and she's a
Delray Beach City Commissioner, not a County Commissioner, but the point
stands that she's not a political novice.
morning Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford appeared on all three
morning shows, but ABC's Good Morning America gave him the toughest drilling
about the expected affirmation from Florida Secretary of State Katherine
Harris that state law sets 5pm Tuesday as the deadline for counties to file
their certified electoral results. Harris did indeed issue such a statement
later in the morning. (Joe Lieberman appeared on both GMA and Today.)
ABC's Diane Sawyer introduced the interview segment by
putting the burden on Harris for erecting a roadblock: "Alright, so the
key question for the morning remains, I guess one of the key questions this
morning, is the Florida Secretary of State absolutely wedded to that deadline
of 5pm tomorrow, no matter what re-counts have and have not taken place?
Secretary of State Katherine Harris declined all TV requests for interviews
this morning, but joining us now is her colleague, who is Bob Crawford. He is
Florida's Agriculture Commissioner. He is also on the state Election
Canvassing Commission. And by the way, he replaced Governor Jeb Bush on the
election board. We spoke to him by phone moments ago. Is that 5pm deadline
tomorrow afternoon locked in?"
Sawyer pounded away at how the deadline can and should
-- "But as we know,
the Secretary of State has discretionary powers and we just heard Senator
Lieberman, vice presidential candidate to the United States, says it would be
shocking basically to block the will of the counties who want to re-vote, that
you have to trust the people -- the re-count."
-- "But again, as
we said, the Secretary of State does have discretionary powers and you're
going to meet today, or she is going to meet today with members of the Gore
team. Is this just a pro forma meeting? Is nothing going to happen if she's
set in stone?"
-- "A Newsweek
survey says that two-thirds of the American people, or more than two-thirds,
72 percent of the American people say they'd rather have a fair, detailed
count and wait for the results than not. So they're prepared to wait. Does
that affect you at all?"
As Harris explained in
her statement, the law is quite firm. To read her statement, go to:
liberal ruminations on Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
noticed, as George Stephanopoulos declared the Secretary of State's
announcement "seems like a real escalation this morning,"
Charles Gibson wondered if because of that and the GOP going to court
"have the Democrats now gotten the moral high ground?" and Diane
Sawyer stressed how the public is willing to wait if that would result in
Here's a hunk of the discussion from today's
Good Morning America on ABC:
Diane Sawyer: "What do you make of this
morning's turn of events?"
Stephanopoulos: "Seems like a real escalation this morning. If this
deadline is held to, and you know, to be fair, Secretary of State Harris
has been warning all week that she's going to stick to this deadline, but
if this is held to, what you're likely to see is various counties in the
state of Florida also filing lawsuits to extend the deadline. If that
happens, I think there's no natural end to the lawsuits."
does have, as we said, discretionary powers under the law for
extraordinary interference with the state electoral process. Is this going
to be, is she hiding behind this, or is this a real question of law?"
"Well, it's hard to know. I mean, Republicans will say the law is the
law and the law couldn't be anymore clear than the deadline is at 5
o'clock. What the Democrats have said, and Kendall Coffey, the lawyer for
the Gore campaign, has sent a letter to Secretary of State Harris, and
said this was clearly meant to apply to officials who were just not doing
their job, not the ones who are trying hard to finish the recounts."
Charles Gibson: "There's been a lot of question
as to which party has the moral high ground, and a lot of Democrats have
been worried that if the public saw them trying to drag this out that the
Republicans would have the moral high ground. But now the Republicans are
in court trying to cut short the hand counts, and the Republican Secretary
of State is saying 'Have these votes in by 5 o'clock tomorrow, that's when
we'll count them.' Have the Democrats now gotten the moral high
"Well, they clearly think so. They think that if they're behind the
principle of every vote counts and every vote should be counted, they're
going to have the moral high ground, and you saw Senator Lieberman talk
about Republicans delaying now because by sticking to the deadline,
they're having more suits. I believe they think they do. You know, the
Democrats are under a lot of pressure, Vice President Gore was under a lot
of pressure over the weekend from other Democrats who simply say once
every vote is counted in Florida, you have to forego all future lawsuits.
In fact, he was considering giving a speech. I think this action this
morning means that is less likely right now."
Senator Lieberman said when I talked to him he wouldn't rule out the
possibility that they would go into court. They haven't figured it out
yet, but they wouldn't rule out the possibility of going into court, even
after we get a final Florida total."
"Right. I think that is unlikely if they actually do get a full
re-count throughout the state of Florida, but if they don't, I think they
will go on, and they're also considering, for example, joining the
counties now in their lawsuits to extend the deadline."
George, when we see the Newsweek poll that the majority of the American
people say they're content to wait if it means there's fairness in the
"Up to a point, probably."
Al Gore's team claiming his popular vote victory gives him the moral
high ground, National Review today raised the likelihood that President
John Kennedy did not win the popular vote even without considering any
vote fraud. In Alabama in 1960 Democratic electors were split between
those supporting the national ticket and segregationists opposed to the
national ticket, but Kennedy got credit for the votes for both slates.
The National Review's John J. Miller and Ramesh
Ponnuru disclosed in their Washington Bulletin e-mail report today:
Nixon Defeats Kennedy!
Did Nixon win the popular vote in 1960?
The history books say John F. Kennedy not only beat Richard Nixon in
the 1960 Electoral College vote, but also in the national vote -- though
only by a hair. This latter victory, meaningless in any constitutional
sense, carries with it an important kind of claim, as Vice President Gore
and George W. Bush are now discovering. The winner is said, as Bill Daley
put it last week, to be "the people's choice."
Yet JFK may not have won the popular vote, even if we set aside all the
charges of fraud in Illinois and Texas. JFK is typically credited with 57
percent of the vote in Alabama. But he probably doesn't deserve it. Here's
George Mason University's Gordon Tullock, in a letter published by the New
York Review of Books on November 10, 1988:
"The year 1960 was a period in which the southern whites after a
long, long period of solid support of Democrats were beginning their shift
into their present Republican voting in presidential elections. As a first
step in that direction, a number of 'true Democratic' movements were set
up in the South, the purpose of which was to avoid endorsing that national
Democratic candidates and at the same time not endorse the national
Republican candidates. Alabama has a primary election for presidential
electors. In the primary election a slate of anti-Kennedy electors won six
of the seven nominations and five were won by pro-Kennedy electors. The
six anti-Kennedy electors then proceeded to carry on a vigorous and active
campaign. The pro-Kennedy electors stayed home and said nothing. The
ultimate outcome was 324,000 for all eleven Democratic electors. The
anti-Kennedy electors received eight thousand more votes than the
"The popular vote is very difficult to disentangle. The above
figures [published in a reference guide, and crediting JFK with 324,050
Alabama votes and RN with 237,981] assume that the people who voted for
all eleven of the electors were pro-Kennedy. Obviously, this is too
simple, but what should be substituted for it is by no means obvious. I
personally would suggest that we simply discard all these votes in the
popular total on the grounds that we can't tell what these voters thought.
Another possibility would be to divide the popular vote cast for these
eleven electors in the same ratio as the popular vote in the earlier
primary. Either of these corrections would lead to Nixon's having more
popular votes nationally than Kennedy."
It's something Al Gore may want to keep in mind this week
END Reprint of National Review report.
For National Review Online and its daily analysis of
the ongoing campaign, go to: http://www.nationalreview.com
the Press Corps Vote For?" Last Thursday Slate.com's Jack Shafer
updated readers on his effort to get prominent reporters to divulge for
whom they voted, as Slate.com did for its staff the day before the
election. He was unsuccessful as no one he contacted would say for whom
they pulled the lever, or followed an arrow to punch out.
As outlined in the November 7 CyberAlert Extra,
Slate.com listed how "nearly 100 percent of its senior editorial
staff planned to vote for Al Gore. Specifically, 12 of 13 people holding
positions above copy editor or editorial assistant, though those
lower-lever people were also near-universally in support of Gore. And the
13th guy isn't behind Bush: He's for libertarian Harry Browne."
For details, go to:
On November 9, Slate.com deputy editor Jack Shafer,
the guy who voted for Harry Browne, relayed the reaction to his inquiries
to top name reporters:
"The next time
I poll a bunch of journalists, remind me to conduct
it in a bar.
"On Monday of
this week, I announced the death of journalistic objectivity. It's no
secret, I wrote, that most reporters are opinionated cusses, and most of
them are Democrats. And, I wrote, the sooner they own up to their
opinions, the better -- the better for them, for journalism, and for our
readers. Having opinions doesn't necessarily disqualify reporters from
doing good journalism. In fact, I wrote, it's almost impossible to do
journalism of any kind -- short of stenography -- without having an
informed point of view. And making a full disclosure of who we vote for
could provide our readers with a valuable data point from which to judge
the fairness and accuracy of our coverage.
short form of the argument. Having buried objectivity, I disclosed who got
my vote for President (Harry Browne) as
did my Slate colleagues. Then, in an effort to expand the circle of
self-disclosure, I queried 33 prominent political journalists to see who
they voted for.
journalists responded to the poll, and none gave up he name of their man
Those who replied but
refused to divulge their political preference: Walter Isaacson of Time,
Joe Klein of The New Yorker, William
Powers of National Journal, Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal, Michael
Isikoff of Newsweek, Joseph Lelyveld of the New York Times, Jodie T. Allen
of U.S. News & World Report, Maureen Dowd of the New York Times and
Matt Cooper of Time.
To read their reasoning, go to:
http://slate.msn.com/code/PressBox/PressBox.asp?Show=11/9/2000&idMessage=6463 -- Brent Baker
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