Daily Archives: August 6, 2004

McCain Denounces Republican Ad

The anti-Kerry ad Karl Rove rolled out this week is one of the most shameful tricks they’ve ever pulled, right up there with the smear campaigns against Max Cleland and McCain himself, and he’s not having any.

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry’s military service “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it.”It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,” McCain said in an interview, comparing the anti-Kerry ad to tactics in his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush in 2000.

The 60-second ad features Vietnam veterans who accuse the Democratic presidential nominee of lying about his record as a decorated Vietnam War veteran and betraying his fellow veterans by later opposing the conflict.

The ad, scheduled to air in a few markets in Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, was produced by Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potham, the same team that produced McCain’s ads in 2000.”I wish they hadn’t done it,” McCain said of his former advisers. “I don’t know if they knew all the facts.”

Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, “I hope not, but I don’t know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad.”

“I deplore this kind of politics,” McCain said. “I think the ad is dishonest and dishonorable. As it is, none of these individuals served on the boat [Kerry] commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. I think George Bush served honorably in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.”

Yeah, well, one out of two ain’t bad.

Touch-Screen Problems in Florida

Jeb is still insisting ‘there’s no problem’ with the voting machines in Florida, but a report by the Florida Division of Elections says otherwise.

The Florida Division of Elections’ report found that the rate of so-called undervotes, or blank or incomplete ballots, in the 2002 gubernatorial election was nearly three times higher in counties using touch-screen machines as in those with optical scan systems.In the election, which incumbent Republican Gov. Jeb Bush won by a wide majority, more than 44,000 votes were ruled invalid because of undervotes, overvotes (when a voter chooses more than one candidate) or flawed absentee ballots, the report said.

The document, the basis for an article in Thursday’s editions of the Miami Herald, was seized upon by critics of the screens, which Florida’s most populous counties have purchased to prevent a repeat of the election debacle of 2000. The report attracted little notice when it was issued last year.

Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way Foundation, a voters’ rights group, wrote Bush to suggest that residents of the 15 counties with the touch screens, which are akin to bank ATM terminals, be given the option of casting paper ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

“This would send a signal that election officials are willing to go the extra mile to let voters use technology they trust, even if it’s just a pencil and a piece of paper,” Neas said from Washington. Neas’ group has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union in suing Florida to force the state to install backup systems on the touch-screen terminals so a paper trail would be generated for use in any recount.

The Division of Elections and Bush’s office did not return calls for comment Thursday. But the agency, in a statement issued July 27, maintained that because of new hardware and voter education, Florida’s undervote rate was at its lowest level ever. An undervote is not a lost vote or error, it said, but occurs when citizens exercise their right to withhold their vote.

However, the day before the article on the report was published, Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, a Democrat, asked the county manager whether their jurisdiction should shift from touch-screen machines to paper ballots and optical scanners for the Nov. 2 election.

Last week, election workers in Miami said computer crashes had led to the loss of 2002 election data for the county, yet more proof of the touch-screen system’s unreliability, according to its critics. The computerized records were later found. (emphasis added)

Jeb has stubbornly refused to provide a paper-trail for Florida voters, claiming at various times that all the problems with touch screens have been fixed (they haven’t), that adding printers to them is too expensive (it isn’t), or that there just isn’t time before the election (there’s more than enough). As each of these excuses has been shot down, Jeb has become more rather than less adamant on the subject, insisting again and again that nothing needs to be done, yet–

Bush’s own party, in a flier sent to voters in July, has expressed wariness about the touch screens, advising Republicans in South Florida: “Make sure your vote counts. Order your absentee ballot today.”

We trust the Florida Democrats are doing likewise?

Keyes to the Kingdom

The latest move to stop the Obama landslide in Illinois by a–can we say, beleaguered?–state GOP is a sad attempt to recruit serious right-wing fruit-loop Alan Keyes, ex-fringe Pub Prez candidate, current ultraconservative talk-show host (yes, another one), and presently a resident of–wait for it–Maryland. Unfortunately for the Ill GOP, Mr Keyes, who is reported to be ‘thinking it over’, will be unable to accept their desperate gracious offer because he has very strong views on such things. He’s against ’em.

Perhaps most problematic for Keyes is that he has few connections to Illinois and has criticized others for carpetbagging. In 2000, conservatives courted Keyes to drop his presidential bid and run against Hillary Rodham Clinton for U.S. Senate in New York, but Keyes blasted the idea and ripped Clinton.”I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn’t imitate it,” he said on Fox News on March 17, 2000. (emphasis added)

If Keyes thinks carpetbagging represents ‘the destruction of federalism’ and has already turned down one bunch of pleading whining frantic conservatives, what makes the Ill GOP think he will accept now? That would be…hypocritical. Wouldn’t it? He as much as admitted it to the begging on bended knee committee members who came to make the offer.

“I do not take it for granted that it’s a good idea to parachute into a state and go into a Senate race,” he said before meeting the Republican leaders. “As a matter of principle, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

And there were one or two other itsy-bitsy problems.

But members also became aware that Keyes might not take the nomination if the committee voted for him. The 53-year-old insisted that before accepting the nomination he must have the full support of House Speaker Dennis Hastert and U.S. Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, several Republican sources said.Keyes also wanted assurances of financial backing for the race.

Now, I don’t imagine Frist or Allen are going to object since they have NOTHING to lose, and we all know the Pubs have rich backers with money to burn in a losing Senate race, but are they really going to want Keyes out there embarrassing them in a high-profile campaign while Junior is running for his life? The person who may have the last word isn’t any of the ones mentioned; the question is, ‘Will Karl Rove OK Alan’s run?’ And that’s a much dicier question. Frist is likely to be the go-between, so he’s the one to watch. If he starts to do the pee-pee dance, Rove’s not happy.

Which leaves them with one Andrea Grubb Barthwell (that middle name is going to be a problem considering how well Chicagoans like a good joke) who is also black–the Ill GOP has obviously decided to play the race card, even if it was hard at first to be sure that’s what they were doing.

Ah, irony! Republicans playing the race card! Although, [when] I saw finalist Andrea Grubb Barthwell (a neighbor, one town over in River Forest, Ill) on the local news, I wasn’t sure if she was ‘Black’, until the USA Today article confirmed it.

Barthwell is something of an unknown, her only apparent experience having been as a deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the last couple of years. However the standard good fun/hypocrite signs are up that are usually over the heads of the Pubs’ candidates: it would seem that she, too, despite her brief time in the spotlight, has an ‘incident’ in her past.

Barthwell said the committee asked her about allegations that she engaged in “lewd and abusive behavior” while serving in the White House drug policy office.An internal inquiry found last year that Barthwell made repeated comments about the sexual orientation of a staff member and used a kaleidoscope to make sexually offensive gestures.

A kaleidoscope?!?! I hope it’s her but either of them will be entertaining to watch. I’m beginning to envy TCF’s front-row seat.

(Thanks also to whopundit for the heads-up on the Keyes anti-Hillary statement)