Monday, December 23, 2002

This comes from a posting I just made in the comment's section on Atrios' blog. Yet another instances of the endless Bush v. Gore debate had reared its ugly head. This gives me my first opportunity to put my opinion on this matter into this blog for posterity. For me it has nothing to do with which of them, Bush or Gore, had the right to the office. Neither of them did. No one does (despite what the GOP thinks). To me it has everything to do with the short-circuiting of the constitutionally mandated process. You see, one of the greatest myths of the 2000 election was that the Supreme Court had to intervene when it did. This is a lie. The Constitution had a process outlined for exactly what was supposed to happen in rare situations like the 2000 election. Here's what should have happened: 1. The vote counting process should have been allowed to continue in Florida as dictated by Florida procedures as interpreted by the ultimate legal authority in Florida, its Supreme Court. If Bush came out ahead, Gore would have conceded and Bush would be the legitimate President. 2. If Gore came out ahead, the Florida legislature, dominated by Republicans, would have voted to submit an alternate slate of electors for Bush. 3. The process would have then moved to the Congress, where the elected representatives of the people would have had to vote on which slate of electors to accept (this is the constitutionally mandated part). Since the GOP had the majority in both houses this means the Florida slate would have been accepted, Gore would have conceded, and Bush would be the constitutionally legitimate President. I voted for Gore. I did not want Bush to be President. I consider him to be the worst President in my lifetime, quite possibly the worst President this country has ever had, and a greater threat to our health and security then Osama bin Laden could ever hope to be. But, if the GOP had simply allowed the constitutionally mandated process to complete I would have conceded that he was the constitutionally legitimate President. (yes, there might have still been some argument about whether the Florida legislator had the right to submit an alternate slate of electors. But the ultimate decision on all of this resided in the halls of Congress, not the Supreme Court). But the Republicans simply weren't willing to let the mandated process complete its course. Why? Because they knew that, even if they were 99% likely to win(*), the members of congress who voted to seat Bush would have to answer for their vote two years later. (* I concede the outside possibility that some Republicans might have balked at overriding the will of the Florida voters.) In other words, the Republicans were and are cowards. They were afraid to put their positions on the line in order to defend their preferences. Instead, they hid behind the cloaks of the felonious five and let them take the brunt of the heat. After all, Scalia et al. don't have to face re-election. Legitimacy has nothing to do with it. Cowardice is the key word here and the GOP is nothing but a party full of cowards.

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