Today, the Washington state legislature certified Democrat Christine Gregoire as winner of that state’s gubernatorial election. The problem is that Gregoire did not win except through a likely-fraudulent recount process that added hundreds of ‘Democratic’ ‘votes’ to her tally. The original count of the votes determined that Republican Dino Rossi had won by a slim margin of 261 votes (out of 2.8 million). The first flawed recount determined the Rossi won by a mere 42 votes. The second flawed recount—reminiscent of the Florida gibberish in 2000—put Gregoire ahead.
Many of you are expecting me to condemn this and demand that the Republicans fight back. On the contrary, the Republicans should drop their demands for a ‘re-vote.’ In 2000, after the electoral process had gone through, the Republican party demanded that Democrats quit being sore losers and accept that George W. Bush had won Florida. Today, I demand that the Republicans do the same in Washington. The democratic process has gone through; the election has been certified; it is time to move on.
But that does not mean it is time to forget, any more than I expected Democrats to forget what happened in Florida 2000 (my recurring shorthand for ‘in Florida in 2000′). After a problematic election, it is important to certify and accept a winner after a reasonable recounting process. But it is especially important, after the fact, to carefully examine what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. If it is determined that anybody committed fraud, it should become part of the public record.
In the aftermath of Florida 2000, Democrats and the mainstream media went on a spree of investigation in an attempt to prove that, had the Supreme Court not intervened, Al Gore would have become president of the United States. Despite the continuing ‘stole the election!’ blathering of the Democratic elite, these after-the-fact recounts proved that President Bush would indeed have won Florida by several hundred votes had the Gore recounts been permitted to continue (even using the most Gore-leaning counting criteria).
Nobody stole any elections in 2000. President Bush was vindicated. (Oh, if only the mainstream media and Democratic Party had noticed.)
So that is what I want the Republican Party to do today: Accept Gregoire’s ‘victory’ and instatement as the Governor of the State of Washington, but investigate the election. Take the next six months to legitimately count the votes, identify where fraud has occurred, and figure out what the real results were.
Christine Gregoire may really have won the gubernatorial race in Washington. If it turns out that she did, then it’ll look really darn good that the Republicans did not attempt to drag out the election, pursue re-votes, and so on. But, on the other [more likely] hand, determining that Dino Rossi had won and that a statewide Democratic Party machine had turned the election to their side with fraud and deceit is something that the people need to know (and it would likely cause a backlash against Gregoire, possibly resulting in her removal from office under Washington’s recall provisions).
In other words, the Republican Party—and democracy as a whole—is better served by accepting Gregoire’s ‘victory’ rather than fighting it in the short term. Let her take office, then decide what to do from there.
Al Gore’s moronic fight to “count all the [illegal and invalid] votes [that might help me get ahead]” in Florida made him look like a desperate man grasping at straws. It attempted to throw out the rule of law for partisan gain. The hanging chads and discerning of ‘voter intent’ from a myopic analysis of scratches on pieces of paper shook our faith in the electoral system. Al Gore and the Democratic Party pursued this for their own purposes against the best interests of our country. It was selfish.
The Republican Party doing the same thing now in Washington would be equally selfish. That we are talking about one state’s gubernatorial elections rather than the presidency does not change that.
In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy was running against Republican candidate Richard Nixon. As many of you are probably aware, Kennedy won, but the 1960 election was one of the closest elections in the history of the United States. Later analysis showed that widespread voter fraud perpetrated by members of the Democratic Party—particularly in Illinois—may have stolen an election that belonged to Richard Nixon.
Nixon got to be president later, of course (and we all know how that ended). But in 1960, he did something quite respectable: Despite questions about Democratic fraud and deceit in Illinois and elsewhere, and despite the fact that a selfish drive in the courts (like Al Gore’s in 2000) may have made him President of the United States, he conceded.
Yes, Richard Nixon—of all people—put the well being of his country over his own ambitions and his own political party. Imagine that.
You won’t hear me say this often (if you ever hear me say it again), but the Republican Party in Washington should take a lesson from Richard Nixon. Concede the gubernatorial election and be done with it . . . for now.
But the Republican Party (and the mainstream media, though I’m not optimistic about them) needs to examine the outcome of this election as diligently as the Democratic Party and the mainstream media did in Florida 2000. The people of Washington—and of the entire country—need to know who really won and who played dirty. If, as I suspect, Gregoire and the Democrats did engage in recount fraud, then the way to deal with it is an attempt to recall the governor later (or criminal charges, if appropriate). The time to fight about it is not now.
I have long believed that members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties care about this country, but the attack-dog partisanship that has come about as a result of Democratic tactics in the aftermath of Florida 2000 has made me question that belief. Now is the opportunity for the Republican Party to prove that it puts nation over self; now is the opportunity for Republicans to prove that they prefer the high road.
In Florida 2000, Democrats claimed that Republicans would have done the same thing in Al Gore’s shoes. In response, I cited the 1960 election as proof that they would not. I would hate to have the Washington Republican Party prove me wrong. Drawing out the Washington gubernatorial election any longer than has been done already will hurt the Republicans, even if they are successful in taking the office that should probably be theirs. More importantly, it will hurt the citizens’ faith in the electoral process.
If you have a good, friendly relationship with a Democrat who is willing to speak honestly and analytically about their party, ask them if it was worth it. Ask them if the hanging chads and counting invalid votes and recounts and court cases helped or hurt their party.
An honest Democrat will concede that Al Gore’s attempt to steal the 2000 election (remember, Bush would’ve won if the Gore recounts had finished) seriously injured their party. The tactics of hyper-partisanship and mindless Bush-hating—which started there—has lost the Democratic Party seats in both the House and Senate, lost governorships, and failed to win back the presidency from a comparatively unpopular president. So was it worth it?
The Republican Party should learn from the Democrats’ mistakes. Plunging a state into electoral chaos, no matter how right you think you are, is not worth it. Accept that Gregoire won. But if her win turns out to have been as nefarious as it seems to be, then (and only then) the Republicans must act. Democratic Governor Gray Davis learned in California that lying to the people in a state that allows a gubernatorial recall doesn’t go over so well; if the Democratic Party has to re-learn that lesson the same way in Washington state, then so be it.