Pharyngula

Church and State, hand in hand

What an attractively symmetrical graph:

i-889d286053ac6decb0ab6ccc6a734175-charts_mv5.gif

People who don’t go to church mostly disagree with GW Bush; people who do go to church regularly mostly agree with GW Bush. Unfortunately, these results are from a poll taken in 2005, so it may have lost some of that symmetry since—I certainly hope it has, and that all of the bars in “agree for the most part” category have since gotten smaller.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    June 28, 2007

    This suggests that religion is bad for your brain, causing people to have faith in George W. Bush. My parents go to church regularly and think George Bush is okay. I never go to church and I think he’s a right wanker.

    No, we don’t talk much politics over the dinner table. Very bad for the digestion. (And I don’t want Mom to think it’s her duty to poison me as a traitorous subversive.)

  2. #2 natural cynic
    June 28, 2007

    Yeah, Bush’s popularity has eroded. Jan 2005 – 47-49%; Feb. 57%; Aug. 40%; Nov. 37-39%

  3. #3 Library Diva
    June 28, 2007

    Natural Cynic, I still don’t get why it’s even that high. The man just baffles me. I can’t believe he got elected governor of Texas. I can’t believe he won the Republican nomination. I can’t believe he got to be president, and I can’t believe that he got a second term even after everyone knew how terrible he was. What do people like about him? There’s nothing admirable about the man.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to have a beer with him. He never sounds slightly intelligent or even interesting, and he has trouble even talking about his personal life in interviews. He doesn’t have any charm and doesn’t seem to have any beliefs other than “Rich people should be rewarded.”

    I’ve always suspected that his so-called “Christianity” is a bunch of crap, too. He saw which faction was becoming the power in the Republican party and he played them like a fiddle. If the party was dominated by Harley riders, he would’ve bought a leather jacket, made a pathetic attempt at riding a bkie (remember when he tried to use a Segway and fell right on his ass? that was great) and would’ve frequented the bike-rally circuit. All he cares about is power, and keeping it. It’s sad that so many people fell for it. I’m surprised they’re not feeling more betrayed by him, actually: nearly 8 years, and abortion’s still legal and Jesus is still not in the classroom.

  4. #4 Bob O'H
    June 28, 2007

    It used to be said that the Church of England was the Conservative Party at prayer. Curious given that we were all taught in school about Jesus’ message, and it was clearly left wing.

    Bob

  5. #5 Christianjburnham@gmail.com
    June 28, 2007

    When people discard religion they seem to revert to a default left-wing humanist state with perhaps a dash of libertarianism.

    Has anyone heard of an ex-religionist turned atheist who let her morals slide into disrepair? Funny, me neither.

  6. #6 Callandor
    June 28, 2007

    “Yeah, Bush’s popularity has eroded. Jan 2005 – 47-49%; Feb. 57%; Aug. 40%; Nov. 37-39%”

    It’s far lower than that. An average of multiple polls pegs him at 29.4%. You can pick other polls, and he’s down to 26%.

  7. #7 Julia Heathcote
    June 28, 2007

    Library Diva, I happened to be in the US at a palaeontology conference on election night 2004. A colleague the next day blinked back tears – he couldn’t remember an election in which he had invested so much emotionally, intellectually and financially. To see Bush re-elected, after everything that had happened in the previous four years, had broken my friend’s heart.

    Before the election, websites like Cafe Press had mock campaign slogans available on t-shirts and bumper stickers. I saw one that said “Bush Cheney ’04 – don’t change horses mid-Apocalypse”. I can only assume that somewhere that stuck as a genuine suggestion.

  8. #8 Norman Doering
    June 28, 2007

    I’ve got some interesting polling data on my blog:

    …before the 9/11 attacks a 1999 Gallup poll had showed 49 percent of the American public would have been willing to vote for an atheist, by 2006 it had dropped to 37 percent. Now, according to the latest Newsweek poll, it’s down to 29 percent.

    Those results seem to contradict this Feb. 9-11, 2007 Gallup poll where atheists score 45 percent, only dropping 3 points, which is still the lowest rating.

    There are links on my blog.

  9. #9 Hidari
    June 28, 2007

    Marxists have greatly muddied the waters over Hitler’s rise to power by over-emphasising the class element of his support. There are some extremely weak links between being middle class and being a Nazi party member but there are also issues of gender and geography to take into account.

    In fact the best predictor of Nazi party membership (by far) is religious affiliation: specifically evangelical protestantism (i.e. the ‘spiritual’ (no pun intended!) ancestor of Bush’s evangelical protestantism).

  10. #10 Ray M
    June 28, 2007

    Libray Diva: I totally agree with your sentiments. When I first heard Bush was being proposed as a presidential candidate I simply assumed it was a joke. I checked the calendar, but it wasn’t April 1st. It turned into a nightmare.

    I hear people say they like him because he’s “one of the guys”, just like them, and they feel good having someone “like them” in the White House. Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone like *me* in the White House; I want someone far smarter than I am, someone who can grasp the complexity of this world and handle it with competence. I want someone who can put together a sentence – heck, even a phrase – with more than three words, those words containing more than two syllables each. I wouldn’t even mind someone with religious beliefs, just as long as (s)he kept them completely away from politics.

    Having said all that, it occurs to me that, ten years ago, Tony Blair was just such a person (alright, different country), except that somehow the promise evaporated into dismay when he became Bush’s buddy. How ever did *that* happen? And now we hear he is converting to Catholicism. Sigh… perhaps there really is no hope.

  11. #11 David Marjanovi?
    June 28, 2007

    To see Bush re-elected

    You mean, elected for the first time, if at all… I still haven’t seen evidence that anyone won the elections of 2004.

  12. #12 David Marjanovi?
    June 28, 2007

    To see Bush re-elected

    You mean, elected for the first time, if at all… I still haven’t seen evidence that anyone won the elections of 2004.

  13. #13 Evolving Squid
    June 28, 2007

    Natural Cynic, I still don’t get why it’s even that high. The man just baffles me. I can’t believe he got elected governor of Texas. I can’t believe he won the Republican nomination. I can’t believe he got to be president, and I can’t believe that he got a second term even after everyone knew how terrible he was. What do people like about him? There’s nothing admirable about the man.

    He got elected the first time in part because he is from a rich enough family with enough soft power to carry the day, combined with the fact, that there was only really mediocre competition… Nobody was really hot on Al Gore when he was in office with Clinton, and it was pretty unreasonable to expect people would suddenly warm to him. As a foreigner looking in, Al looked like a weiner. The Shrub started spoon feeding people what they wanted. Even then it wasn’t really enough and he had to take the election the old fashioned way: money and influence.

    He got elected the second time because, in my opinion, Americans would rather choose the devil they know than the one they don’t. Kerry is almost certainly a brighter, more sane man, but from my vantage point he was also an indecisive wanker. Many Americans seem to appreciate a man who is decisive – even if some of the decisions are bad, to a man that is usually right – but can’t wipe his arse without waffling about which hand to use.

    Throw in the fact that The Shrub worked hard to court the religious yahoo vote both times and you have 8 years of bushy bliss.

    What’s much more frightening, in my opinion, is that there’s enough people on the religious fringe that it’s not really a fringe and is sufficient to carry an election. If he was running in almost any other country, his campaign tactics would almost certainly not work as he’d be written off as a religious loon.

  14. #14 Evolving Squid
    June 28, 2007

    You mean, elected for the first time, if at all… I still haven’t seen evidence that anyone won the elections of 2004.

    You people have to let this drop. He won the election fair and square according to the rules set down in your laws. Get over it.

    If you don’t like the laws, work to change them. Fair enough.

    But you can’t say the guy didn’t win the election because the Electoral College voted him in. Therefore he won. The fact that the Electoral College has only a tenuous connection to the public polls is another matter completely.

    I am truly shocked at how many Americans seem to not understand how their own electoral system works.

  15. #15 Zeno
    June 28, 2007

    Thanks for the little lecture on the Electoral College, Evolving Squid, but most of us know how the damn thing works. What galls us is that Bush and his gang managed to prevent a complete count in Florida. By most reasonable standards, Gore should have carried that state (even without compensating for the notorious butterfly ballot). The U.S. Supreme Court, however, had just enough supporters of states’ rights who suddenly decided not to leave the counting to Florida and its officials and courts, and it voted 5 to 4 to abort the comprehensive statewide recount ordered by the Florida court.

    “Fair and square” is not even close to being a valid description of the theft of Florida. I have no plans to let this drop. Bush reeks of illegitimacy (in addition to the dishonesty and incompetence).

    There, now I feel better…

    … actually, not.

  16. #16 Ray M
    June 28, 2007

    I am truly shocked at how many Americans seem to not understand how their own electoral system works.

    I suspect it’s because they’re grasping a beer in one hand, the remote control in the other, and have a Big Mac sitting in front of them. Not that I like to generalise, of course…

  17. #17 Ray M
    June 28, 2007

    Zeno: while I’m quite sure that all the (American) posters here understand the Electoral College, I’m equally sure that you are far outnumbered by those that do not (and who do not even *care*).

  18. #18 Carlie
    June 28, 2007

    Oh, please. Don’t start saying we don’t understand our electoral system. Even with as much as I think our educational system is crap, they do teach general civics in just about all high schools, and do manage to get the message across. Even if some people don’t get it, it’s covered 24/7 running up to each election enough to get it. The problems aren’t with the electoral college, they’re with the facst that every voting district has its own way of casting and counting ballots, most of which have numerous reliability and accounting problems, and that the Supreme Court disallowed proper recounts.

    That said, the real problem with the last presidential election is that it was in any way close enough that the voting system problems played a role in determining the winner at all. It should have been an unquestionable landslide.

  19. #19 Carlie
    June 28, 2007

    … (Hit post too soon)

    And the fact that a percentage somewhere around half of voters did, in fact, vote for Bush means that yes, we got the president we deserved. And that the DNC has absolutely no media sense whatsoever.

  20. #20 Blake Stacey, OM
    June 28, 2007

    Some years ago, a chap named Natapoff proved that having an Electoral College actually increases the average person’s voting power, because it ups the odds that the rest of the country will deadlock and your vote will be the one which decides the election. This leads inevitably to screwy results when the elections are closely matched.

    Of course, nobody looks at the process except when the elections are a close call, so we don’t see the full range of effects at work.

  21. #21 David Marjanovi?
    June 28, 2007

    But you can’t say the guy didn’t win the election because the Electoral College voted him in.

    I’m not talking about the electoral college (and I’m not an American — been there for a whole week in my life so far).

    For 2004, I’m talking about the… “glitches” and the “irregularities”. These range from the clearly unintended — people finding out that they reset the voting machines after each vote by deleting all votes — to the quite fishy — like districts with incredibly low or incredibly high turnout (sometimes over 100 %), or the fact that the head of the Bush “re”election campaign in Ohio was in charge of counting the votes — in fact they all ran through the computer on his desk. The way elections are handled in the USA is outrageous.

    For 2000, I’m talking about the fact that Captain Unelected got 55.5 periodic % of the votes of those people who had the right to vote — all nine of them. What the Supreme Court did was a coup, there are no other words for it.

    Oh, and never mind the fact that a recount of the Florida ballots of 2000 showed that Gore won under all criteria for “validly marked ballot” except one — and this one is explicitely illegal under Florida law.

    —————

    Comments 17 and 18 are still spot-on, though, except that I have a hard time imagining anyone who really deserves Fearless Flightsuit.

  22. #22 David Marjanovi?
    June 28, 2007

    But you can’t say the guy didn’t win the election because the Electoral College voted him in.

    I’m not talking about the electoral college (and I’m not an American — been there for a whole week in my life so far).

    For 2004, I’m talking about the… “glitches” and the “irregularities”. These range from the clearly unintended — people finding out that they reset the voting machines after each vote by deleting all votes — to the quite fishy — like districts with incredibly low or incredibly high turnout (sometimes over 100 %), or the fact that the head of the Bush “re”election campaign in Ohio was in charge of counting the votes — in fact they all ran through the computer on his desk. The way elections are handled in the USA is outrageous.

    For 2000, I’m talking about the fact that Captain Unelected got 55.5 periodic % of the votes of those people who had the right to vote — all nine of them. What the Supreme Court did was a coup, there are no other words for it.

    Oh, and never mind the fact that a recount of the Florida ballots of 2000 showed that Gore won under all criteria for “validly marked ballot” except one — and this one is explicitely illegal under Florida law.

    —————

    Comments 17 and 18 are still spot-on, though, except that I have a hard time imagining anyone who really deserves Fearless Flightsuit.

  23. #23 Barry
    June 28, 2007

    Get over it? No.

    That was the right’s great strength in the 1990’s; they didn’t (and don’t) ever get over losing. They both ramp up for the next election, and throw a fit over losing the last one, implying that something went wrong.

  24. #24 speedwell
    June 28, 2007

    I suspect it’s because they’re grasping a beer in one hand, the remote control in the other, and have a Big Mac sitting in front of them. Not that I like to generalise, of course…

    Of course you don’t.

    OK, I don’t like beer, don’t watch TV, and am a vegetarian. But I fail to see what is so terrible about beer, TV watching, or fast food, provided they are all done in moderation (checking… yep, Ray said “a” beer and “a” Big Mac…). True, better food and better entertainment exist, but the next time you have a glass of tap water while looking out the kitchen window watching the ass of the girl walking her dog, I hope you don’t mark yourself down as a miserable nekulturny mundane.

  25. #25 Dahan
    June 28, 2007

    I agree with Barry. You know, I voted for Gore and would have been depressed and unhappy about the result of the election even if Florida had been allowed to check into irregularities and still found that Bush had won. But I could have dealt with that. At least we would know the truth. But no, we weren’t given even that much solace. No, we were stopped from finding out the truth, which is why so many of us are skeptical about the true outcome of that election. Get over it? No, not when I have family members in Iraq getting shot at for no good reason as a direct result of it.

  26. #26 dogmeatib
    June 28, 2007

    A number of people have commented already on the mistaken impression that Americans don’t understand how their election system works. That has already been shown to be, at best, a rather dubious claim, one I will leave alone. The actual argument, for those of us who didn’t vote for Bush in either election, revolves around irregularities in both elections.

    In 2000 you have the obvious fiasco in Florida. The biggest problem there is that the Supreme Court used very questionable judgment in their decision to grant cert to the case. It was a purely internal Florida matter that had been decided by the Florida Supreme Court. The 14th amendment argument was a rather dubious one, especially given the fact that the complainant (GOP) had already completed their recount(s) and had gained the benefits of what they argued was a violation of the rights of voters. That is another mistake many people make, the Supreme Court did not decide the election, they simply ordered the Florida SC to reconsider their ruling allowing the targeted recounts. The only obvious solution would have been to do a complete statewide recount which would have taken too long thereby delaying the certification of the results. Bush didn’t win on a technicality, Gore forfeited based on a technicality (and a desire to protect the country).

    2004 had some serious flaws in voter returns. There are still some cases going on in Ohio with rather well founded charges of voter suppression. Also there is ample evidence that the newer machines have serious flaws that may not be so “accidental.”

  27. #27 Chris
    June 28, 2007

    I never understood, even at the time, why getting an unreliable result quickly was supposed to be better for the country than getting the *right* result no matter how long it took. Would you accept that kind of solution in building a house? “We don’t know if this stairway will hold your weight or not, but we need to have some kind of stairway by the deadline so we’ll just go with it”? So why is it okay to chuck democracy rather than take the time to get it right?

    It really wouldn’t have killed the country for the Speaker to be acting president for a month or two while a full recount was done, if that’s what it took. I don’t think any Congressional seats were in much dispute (or was it just overshadowed by the presidential controversy?).

    What really concerns me, though, is that we have a Democratic-controlled Congress now and there’s still been no action (that I know of) to prevent similar election problems in 2008. Rigorous rules on election records, placing accuracy above speed in recount decisions, and why not throw in ballot clarity while we’re at it. Oh, and maybe some tougher anti-voter-intimidation laws. It’s obvious even to people who agreed with the ultimate results of the last several elections that the *process* had major flaws.

  28. #28 TDavis
    June 28, 2007

    You know, the old saying “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” is so true. I can honestly say that President Bush hasn’t always done what I thought he should do, but he did it in the best interests of our country. That doesn’t give me the right to nitpick him to pieces over a decision made by the highest office in our country. As an American, I am compelled to support our country to show unity behind our president. If he fails or excels, then I have an opportunity to show my displeasure/pleasure with a vote. With all of the turmoil and bitterness openly displayed in our wonderful, beautiful America–it’s no wonder that Satan’s dancing with delight (middle east). It will be “Bye bye, Miss American Pie…” if we don’t bring ourselves into check.

  29. #29 Dahan
    June 28, 2007

    TDavis,

    Your rights go beyond just using your vote to show your pleasure or displeasure. Freedom of speech, freedom to petition, freedom of assembly, all these are there for you to use because our founding fathers thought that was important. You actually do have the right to nit-pick, although being upset about leading us into a wasteful and illegal war is hardly nit-picking. Further, suporting your country and supporting the president are often two very different things. When I swore my oath when I joined the Marines, it was to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States from enemies both foreign and here in America. The president of the US can be an enemy of the constitution also. This one has proved that.

  30. #30 David Marjanovi?
    June 28, 2007

    As an American, I am compelled to support our country to show unity behind our president.

    But that’s it. If he wasn’t elected, he’s not the president.

    And if he was, the Iraq war is still illegal, which means in your logic that you are compelled to get your country rid of the criminals who started it. Don’t you agree?

  31. #31 David Marjanovi?
    June 28, 2007

    As an American, I am compelled to support our country to show unity behind our president.

    But that’s it. If he wasn’t elected, he’s not the president.

    And if he was, the Iraq war is still illegal, which means in your logic that you are compelled to get your country rid of the criminals who started it. Don’t you agree?

  32. #32 Evolving Squid
    June 28, 2007

    I’m sorry but it really sounds like sour grapes. How many of you great defenders of democracy would be complaining if Gore had been made president? The same “irregularities” and issues would have been there, but they would have gone in your favour.

    Would you be so vocal as to stand up against your chosen candidate and say “Hey, you didn’t win the election”?

  33. #33 Rey Fox
    June 28, 2007

    Oh, you’re right, there’s a chance we might not be totally pure, so we should just shut up and stop criticizing bad election practices. Let the State function, it knows better than us.

    Sure, we could all swear that we’d complain the same if our candidate won under such circumstances, but I don’t see the point in doing that because you could just believe us or not believe us. So why don’t we just wait until such an election actually happens before throwing down accusations?

    But I do agree that the last seven years of Bush rule have been awfully god-damned sour.

  34. #34 bullfighter
    June 28, 2007

    TDavis is espousing totalitarian ideas, and Evolving Squid is spewing nonsense. However, nobody has characterized the 2000 coup d’etat quite right.

    Bush stole the election, but, while the Gang of Five on the SCOTUS gave that theft the final, unappealable imprimatur, it was in fact the incompetent and confused Florida Supreme Court, with the help of Gore’s incompetent legal team, that handed the election to the thief.

    When the recounts were completed, it was proven that Floridians voted for Gore; however, a recount completed under the rules set by the Florida Supreme Court would have most likely given the victory to Bush. (Only if very strict criteria for counting chads were used – the criteria advocated by Republicans – Gore would have won the recount as ordered.) Of all easily imaginable sets of recount rules, the one set by the Florida Supreme Court was the only one that would have resulted in Bush’s victory.

  35. #35 Kseniya
    June 28, 2007

    EvoSquid makes an important point. Or, raises one.

    How many Republicans have lifted a finger to push forward any investigations into voting irregularities of any kind?

    Squid, perhaps you should be talking to them. Perhaps instead of admonishing the hypothetical do-nothings, you ought to be confronting the actual do-nothings.

    Well?

    Regarding the TDavis-Dahan exchange, I do see some value in backing ones president/country out of respect for both, but there is a threshold across which that kind of support is no longer even remotely patriotic. Let us never confuse the government with the country.

    And while it is true that there is some power in the vote, the power is only as good as the integrity of the voting process. It’s not clear to me that the “Grin and bear it, then vote’em out” approach is in the best interest of anyone or anything other than whatever administration happens to be in power between elections.

  36. #36 jackd
    June 28, 2007

    Hey, remember the article up at the top of the comments?

    I wonder what “moral/ethical” values people had in mind, especially the ones who said they agreed with Bush? My guess would be ‘pro-family’ – a.k.a. anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-science – and pro-war.

  37. #37 constitutionalist
    June 28, 2007

    “You people have to let this drop. He won the election fair and square according to the rules set down in your laws. Get over it.

    If you don’t like the laws, work to change them. Fair enough”

    Interesting string here, many posts from overseas, and my fellow countrymen seem to have missed the point as well. In 2000 Bush DID NOT win the election, he was appointed by the Supreme Court, where 3 justices should have recused themselves because 1)Clarence Thomas’ wife, an attorney worked for the RNC and helped prepare the case to stop the recount. 2)The attorney who presented the oral arguments for the Republicans happened to have his mother sitting on the bench at that time….Sandra Day O’Conner. The third conflict was also in the majority ruling was another conservative justice who also had a relative working on the Republican challenge (I have misplaced the name sorry).

    The Second reason the election was lost is the fault of Democrats again. If you remember all the protests outside electorial offices, go back and reread your history. ALL of the protests were AGAINST a recount of the “hanging chads”. Election officials had demonstrators threating them, in several cases throwing bricks through the windows of public offices, etc. Who organized those protesters you ask? Does the name James Baker ring a bell? He was on the lead bus from OUT OF STATE protesters who flooded into Florida. Where were the Civil Libertarians? Oh, and a reminder of how history repeats itself, remember Selma, say 1963 when civil rights marchers were attacked by police dogs, beaten, hosed (literally)? Where were the police and National Guard who should have protected our electorial process….why didn’t the Govenor of Florida act? Oh, that’s right wasn’t George Bush’s brother Jeb the Govenor?

    Finally, Democratic Liberals elected Bush. How you ask, go back and look at the numbers who decided to desert and vote for Ralph Nador. The number alone in Florida would have overwhelmingly decided the election for Gore. In an election too close to call, progressive liberals worried about a canidate not as radical as they deserted the party and GAVE the election to Georgie Boy. I attended a a Progressive Convention in D.C. 2 weeks ago called Take Back America 2007.Ralph Nador introduced Mike Gravel, Nador though was soundly booed.

    I hope we do not forget the lesson of 2000 To quote Joh Edwards, “It’s time we found something else to be patriotic about besides war”. For those of you across the pound we are falable, but you don’t know what happened, now you have an idea.

  38. #38 jpf
    June 28, 2007

    How many Republicans have lifted a finger to push forward any investigations into voting irregularities of any kind?

    Well, they did in Washington State when recounts resulted in their guy losing the race for Governor. It was like Bizzaro World here, with Republicans protesting in front of the Capitol in costumes and claiming all sorts of conspiracy theories and the Democrats poo-pooing them as being paranoid.

    In fact, the Gonzales scandal about the politically motivated firing of attorneys was linked to this since one from WA, John McKay, was alleged to be fired for not investigating the elections as far as the Republicans would have liked.

  39. #39 Caledonian
    June 28, 2007

    It wasn’t the Florida Supreme Court, or the US Supreme Court, or Gore’s legal team, or anyone else who gave Bush the victory.

    We did, when we chose to accept the outcome we had been presented.

  40. #40 Neil
    June 28, 2007

    First to the foreigners: Many Americans understand their electoral system just fine. Many are too lazy , ignorant and self-involved to bother understanding-and most of those people vote republican. As far as I can tell, out of irrational fear or just old-fashioned bloodlust that helps them cope with their meaningless, hopeless existences of being nothing but breeders of cannon fodder.

    There were several legitimacy issues with both elections. One can talk about how corrupt the dems might have been, but in my 16 years of voting, I have seen republican corruption yearly, sometimes daily. Again, only fear and hatred seem to be able to keep this running. The only things I know for sure are that the areas that had irregularities were under at least partial control of bush family members and close allies, and that they will probably never be looked into seriously.

    And for once Caledonian, you are at least half right. Our existing government did in fact fail us horribly, but I suppose a properly skeptical voter should expect that at least from time to time. But the second sentence of your comment nails it right on the goddamned head.
    I still remember feeling not disappointed, but closer to machine gun pointing rage when I saw footage of republican “demonstrators” shutting down a recount effort in Florida. If those people had been true grassroots demonstrators, they would have been arrested on the spot, and they would have achieved nothing.

    Lastly, for TDavis: You are a complete and utter tool. Thoughts like yours help keep worthless, mass murdering, power addicted madmen in office. The whole idea of political unity in America, in all reality, is nothing but one of the cheaper herding tools of your corporate and warlord masters. How much you must love sucking ass.

    “I can honestly say that President Bush hasn’t always done what I thought he should do, but he did it in the best interests of our country.”- TDavis

    Tell me the truth-does it hurt having to perform both a labotomy and a castration on yourself? There is no other way you could have typed that sentence with any sincerity whatsoever.

  41. #41 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    Some years ago, a chap named Natapoff proved that having an Electoral College actually increases the average person’s voting power

    Yes, well, being a Californian — a large western state — I’m not an “average person”. In fact there are no average people, there are only averages. I’m surprised that you would make such a stupid and fallacious argument, Blake.

  42. #42 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    We did, when we chose to accept the outcome we had been presented.

    I never made any such choice. That’s as bad Blake’s nonsense about “the average person” — attributing to individuals the characteristics of a group they belong to, or vice versa, is a fallacy.

  43. #43 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    In fact, the Gonzales scandal about the politically motivated firing of attorneys was linked to this since one from WA, John McKay, was alleged to be fired for not investigating the elections as far as the Republicans would have liked.

    It is sickening how uninformed Americans are. The “scandal” isn’t just “linked” to voting issues, that is its heart and sole. Karl Rove’s goal was to create a one-party system, and one of his tools was an attack on those groups identified as voting heavily Democratic through intimidation and bogus felony lists (think Florida, ChoicePoint, Kathleen Harris). This foul campaign was legitimized as “fighting vote fraud” — which is virtually non-existent. Not only did Rove turn black into white by casting intimidation of minority voters and eliminating them from voter rolls just for having names similar to felons as fighting “vote fraud”, but he sought to tie this “vote fraud” to Democratic candidates by indicting them for this “crime” that never happened — this would poison their campaigns and lead to their defeat even if the cases eventually were thrown out of court. Most of the federal attorneys who were fired had balked at filing these indictments — that’s why they were fired. This “scandal” goes to the very heart of the legitimacy of the voting process in the U.S., but most Americans are oblivious to it.

  44. #44 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    The third conflict was also in the majority ruling was another conservative justice who also had a relative working on the Republican challenge (I have misplaced the name sorry).

    Scalia’s son worked for Ted Olson’s law firm — you know, Bush’s lawyer who argued his case before Scalia et. al. Hey, no appearance of a conflict interest there.

  45. #45 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    Election officials had demonstrators threating them, in several cases throwing bricks through the windows of public offices, etc. Who organized those protesters you ask? Does the name James Baker ring a bell?

    Even more striking, a photo of the demonstrators who intimidated election officials was printed in a Washinton D.C. paper and someone noticed some familiar faces:

    “The Miami protesters included a policy analyst in House majority whip Tom DeLay’s office, a majority chief counsel on the House judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice, a political division staff member at the National Republican Congressional Committee, a former House Republican conference analyst, a former aide to Tennessee Sen. Fred D. Thompson, a Bush campaign staffer, an aide to Rep. Van Hilleary (R-Tenn.), an aide to Chairman Don Young, (R-Alaska) of the House Resources Committee, a legislative assistant to Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and a former aide to former Rep. Jim Ross Lightfoot (R-Iowa). These weren’t ordinary Miamians taking their case to their elected officials.”

  46. #46 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    When the recounts were completed, it was proven that Floridians voted for Gore; however, a recount completed under the rules set by the Florida Supreme Court would have most likely given the victory to Bush. (Only if very strict criteria for counting chads were used – the criteria advocated by Republicans – Gore would have won the recount as ordered.) Of all easily imaginable sets of recount rules, the one set by the Florida Supreme Court was the only one that would have resulted in Bush’s victory.

    You’ve got this totally wrong. Gore would have won if he had called for recounts in every Florida county, but he only challenged 4; The Florida Supreme Court could not go beyond what he requested. And it’s great fun to bash Gore for making mistakes in hindsight, but don’t think for a moment that you would have been, or are, wiser than him.

  47. #47 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    I’m sorry but it really sounds like sour grapes. How many of you great defenders of democracy would be complaining if Gore had been made president? The same “irregularities” and issues would have been there, but they would have gone in your favour.

    Uh, right, so the same considerations apply to the guy who lost because the other guy cheated as apply to the guy who won because he cheated.

    This is a common Republican theme — that Democrats are hypocrites for complaining about Republicans being immoral cheats and criminals because Democrats would be immoral cheats and criminals too if given the chance. What’s most remarkable and revealing about this argument is that they actually think it’s sound.

  48. #48 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    As an American, I am compelled to support our country to show unity behind our president.

    Did you get that from Goebbels?
    The country is not supported by “showing unity behind” a criminal thug who has raided the treasury, trampled the Constitution, committed mass war crimes, lied, cheated, and enabled many other liars, cheaters, tramplers, raiders, and war criminals, someone who has done great and lasting harm to the country.

    Read what Teddy Roosevelt had to say about you:

    “The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

    Theodore Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star,
    May 7, 1918

  49. #49 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    The 14th amendment argument was a rather dubious one

    That’s an understatement. Bush’s transition team (Scalia, Thomas, et. al.) actually argued that votes shouldn’t be counted because doing so would “dilute” (their term) the voting power of those whose votes has already been counted. That’s right, folks, your vote shouldn’t be counted because that would dilute the effectiveness of your neighbor’s vote — or vice versa, depending on which of you is a Republican. At least they had the wisdom to declare that their logic applied only to this special case of getting Bush into the White House, and was not to be considered nowhere nohow in any other case.

    That is another mistake many people make, the Supreme Court did not decide the election, they simply ordered the Florida SC to reconsider their ruling allowing the targeted recounts. The only obvious solution would have been to do a complete statewide recount which would have taken too long thereby delaying the certification of the results.

    No, that is not true; the one making a mistake is you, who are talking off the top of your head without having checked the ruling and perhaps never having read it. The SCOTUS expressly forbade the Florida SC from ordering a recount; this was one of the legally striking points about the case, the degree to which the states-rights-when-it-protects-racism majority trampled on the Florida court’s domain:

    “That date is upon us, and there is no recount procedure in place under the State Supreme Court’s order that comports with minimal constitutional standards. Because it is evident that any recount seeking to meet the December 12 date will be unconstitutional for the reasons we have discussed, we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida ordering a recount to proceed….Because the Florida Supreme Court has said that the Florida Legislature intended to obtain the safe-harbor benefits of 3 U.S.C. § 5 Justice Breyer’s proposed remedy-remanding to the Florida Supreme Court for its ordering of a constitutionally proper contest until December 18-contemplates action in violation of the Florida election code, and hence could not be part of an “appropriate” order authorized by Fla. Stat. §102.168(8) (2000).”

    Bush didn’t win on a technicality, Gore forfeited based on a technicality (and a desire to protect the country).

    No, this is absolutely not true; the Bush transition team/SCOTUS majority shut the door on Gore. Stop making stuff up, and go read the damn document, or read the books by Bugliosi and Dershowitz, who each analyzed this criminal legal travesty by the gang of five.

  50. #50 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    I never understood, even at the time, why getting an unreliable result quickly was supposed to be better for the country than getting the *right* result no matter how long it took.

    It’s funny how many people take their not understanding something as an indication that someone else made a mistake. The ones arguing for a quick result were Bush, his legal team, and his supporters, who believed that “the *right* result” was Bush in the White House. There were legally mandated deadlines, and some discussion of how firm they were, but any thought that they could be bypassed was squashed by the gang of five, who thereby got “the *right* result” in their eyes, namely Bush as pResident. What you don’t seem to understand is that for many people, “the *right* result” is not that which is fair or legal, but rather the outcome they prefer, without regard to those considerations.

  51. #51 truth machine
    June 29, 2007

    Another comment about this after researching it some:

    Some years ago, a chap named Natapoff proved that having an Electoral College actually increases the average person’s voting power, because it ups the odds that the rest of the country will deadlock and your vote will be the one which decides the election.

    It has been noted that, according to Natapoff’s concept of “voting power”, optimal results would come from picking one person at random and having that person pick the winning candidate. The obvious conclusion is that Natapoff’s concept is bollocks. The goal is not to maximize the chances that an individual has the final say, but to do virtually the opposite — to achieve representation, so that the winner of the election reflects the desires of the populace as taken as a whole; rather than “the average person”, it is the average across all people that should be decisive. The Electoral College acts against that by skewing heavily toward small states. Natapoff (who is a physicist studying the behavior of astronauts; he works on election system theory in his spare time) has some ideas to deal with that, but they are still based on a fundamentally flawed criterion. We should eliminate the Electoral College but, more importantly, we should switch to IRV, Condorcet, or some other voting system that doesn’t insititutionalize the two-party system by marginalizing less established candidates, as our archaic first-past-the-post system does.

  52. #52 bullfighter
    June 29, 2007

    “truth machine”:
    You’ve got this totally wrong. Gore would have won if he had called for recounts in every Florida county, but he only challenged 4; The Florida Supreme Court could not go beyond what he requested. And it’s great fun to bash Gore for making mistakes in hindsight, but don’t think for a moment that you would have been, or are, wiser than him.

    Some of your other comments were quite lucid, but in this case you obviously don’t know squat what you are talking about, which also means that your arrogance in characterizing other people’s ignorance is woefully unjustified.

    Not only could the Florida Supreme Court go beyond what Gore requested, it did go far beyond it: they ordered a state-wide recount. If you don’t know such a basic fact, you really shouldn’t be discussing anything related to the 2000 election.

    What the FSC failed to order – and it turned out to bias the results by thousands of votes – was an examination of the so-called “overvotes”. They only ordered a recount including “undervotes”, ballots with no registered vote in the original count. And if you had watched the oral argument, you would have remembered the Justices asking David Boyce (sp?) about “overvotes” and him replying that they (i.e., Gore’s team) were not asking for a consideration of those ballots because they didn’t believe there was any way to retrieve the intent of the voter. They thought overvotes were irreparable. That is why they contributed – perhaps crucually – to the FSC’s colossal error. There is no reason to believe that the FSC would not have included “overvotes” if any party had given any reasonable argument in favor of their inclusion.

    And I can say with certainty that I would have been wiser, because I understood what an idiotic argument Boyce was making as he was making it – not at some point later. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, on many ballots, it was possible to mark one candidate AND use the write-in space to write the name of the same candidate. As such ballots reveal the intent of the voter unambiguously, they should have been counted in any recount. And those were the ballots that, when counted, gave the bulk of the state-wide advantage to Gore.

    Gore also unnecessarily conceded on 600 or so obviously illegal military ballots (he didn’t take that issue to any court at all), which was a far lower number than the “overvotes”, but would have been enough to outweigh the official (Harris) count, and would have been quick enough to resolve before all deadlines.

  53. #53 bullfighter
    June 29, 2007

    Caledonian:
    It wasn’t the Florida Supreme Court, or the US Supreme Court, or Gore’s legal team, or anyone else who gave Bush the victory.

    We did, when we chose to accept the outcome we had been presented.

    Your point is true in aggregate, but that “we” is not all-inclusive. I never chose to accept the outcome. I went to DC to protest on inauguration day. Unfortunately, there were only a few thousand protesters, organized at the most rudimentary level. Yes, it is a tragic guilt of this country’s liberals and honest conservatives that there weren’t a million protesters, and that there wasn’t any widespread movement for civil disobedience. But sice that didn’t happen, we who didn’t accept the outcome had no choice but to live with it.

    (BTW, I never called GWB “President” until after the 2004 election. I still don’t think he is legitimate, but at least it is hard to dispute that he won in 2004 as far as the count of ballots cast goes.)

  54. #54 Kseniya
    June 29, 2007
    How many Republicans have lifted a finger to push forward any investigations into voting irregularities of any kind?

    Well, they did in Washington State when recounts resulted in their guy losing the race for Governor.

    True, true, but I specifically meant the reported and alleged irregularities in the elections (2000, 2004) that their guy won. As EvoSquid (correctly) pointed out, it doesn’t mean quite as much when the bitching is over how and why your guy lost a close one.

    We should eliminate the Electoral College but, more importantly, we should switch to IRV, Condorcet, or some other voting system that doesn’t insititutionalize the two-party system by marginalizing less established candidates, as our archaic first-past-the-post system does.

    Yup.

  55. #55 Keith Douglas
    June 30, 2007

    I’m with the posters who point out how really fooked up federal elections are in the US. I thought for a while it was just the mistake of giving that power to the states, but now I see it is much more systemic than that. And the exposés of Diebold should be read and seen by all. Was the election hacked? I don’t know. Could it have been? Yes.

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