Much has recently been made of the fact that, though every public poll makes it as sure as anything can be in politics that the Democrats cannot help but retake the House of Representatives eleven days from now, Karl Rove and the President insist they are absolutely certain it can't be done. Rove explained to a perplexed NPR host why this was so: "You're entitled to your math, and I'M entitled to THE math."
Reminds one of the moment in the 2000 EV presidential election when the networks announced that, contrary to a network-employed Bush relative's earlier announcement, Al Gore had in fact taken Florida, hence won the election. Immediate jump cut to ready cameras inside the Bush camp, where the alleged loser said, in effect, Not so fast. Why? This one's a quote, too: George W. Bush snapped, "Well, I'M talking to the people who're COUNTING THE VOTES."
I believed him then, and I do now. I'll just bet he was.
I strongly suspect that Bush and Rove have every reason to be confident. Not just because the districts have been so fiercely gerrymandered that, in a normal year, vast majority support for Democrats nationwide can and does, in fact, repeatedly translate into narrow wins by the GOP; because this year, that isn't enough. Not even because Rove and the Prexy know which slanderous attack ads are waiting to fool the gullible at the last minute, with no time for rebuttal; this year, that wouldn't do it, either. Not even if they have some Wag the Dog scenario waiting in the wings, where a "sudden emergency" theoretically pulls voters to the GOP.
These clowns have provided one constant emergency for years, now; even that wouldn't do it.
But having just watched some of last Tuesday's? (I think) hearing of the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) on C-SPAN 2, I can think of additional possible reasons for GOP optimism...and indeed for what Bush and Rove display, which is (as always at election times) not optimism, or even confidence, but actual certainty.
1. As of now, the EAC has no ability whatsoever to test the reliability of voting machines. They're gonna start some kind of program to look into that. Pretty soon.
2. Like the state by state certification process, that program will forbid examination of the actual voting machines being used. By law, even in the face of evidence of fraud, no authority, state or federal, is allowed to examine the actual voting machines at issue. "Trade secrets," don'tchaknow. They might be allowed by the manufacturer to examine similar machines for sale at the factory, though, to see if the display models are okay.
I assume that in a sufficiently obvious case law enforcement could impound the things (though if our current U.S. Attorney General ordered it, how confident would you be in the result?)...but unless several conspirators confessed to fraud at once, how is that "obviousness" gonna happen?
NO random spot checks. In fact, NO examinations AT ALL. "Trade secrets," y'see...mandated by the very Congress whose power is at issue in these elections.
No, I am not making this up.
I don't know about you, but I can't come up with a single innocent reason for this law. "Trade secrets"? For heaven's sakes, there are lawsuits carried on all the time which involve actual state secrets, issues of national security itself, and judges and lawyers with the proper security clearances and non-disclosure agreements are able to carry them out, in all but the most narrowly restricted circumstances. There is no reason on earth that properly-trained nonpartisan technicians, backed by credentialed techs from the political parties, with proper NDA's in place, couldn't OPEN UP A FUCKING ADDING MACHINE TO SEE WHETHER IT'S BEING GAMED.
The Las Vegas Gaming Commission can, and does, do this with slot machines. What's the difference?
The difference is that the Vegas Gaming Commission is empowered to stop fraud. By federal law -- the (get this) "Help America Vote Act" (talk about truth in advertising!), which Shrubby & the GOP pushed through back in 2002 -- there is NO authority empowered to examine the actual voting machines being used, hence to prevent e-voting fraud, should it occur.
A few brave state Secretaries of State have challenged this. One of them, California's Kevin Shelley, was forced out of office, and replaced (by Governor Fartzenknocker) with a GOP pal who promises to "bring California into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act."
Not making that one up, either. "Here, America...let us HELP you vote." :P
Eighteen members of the GOP-controlled Congress (some of them Dems, I'm sure) are currently under investigation for corruption. Several others (all Republicans) have already pled guilty to selling their votes for actual bribes. And the things we know for certain the GOP does, don't give much hope for honor: deliberate voter suppression, having the votes tallied by their own campaign heads (Katherine Harris, anyone?),* redrawing districts early to get more seats, despite majority will...you get the idea.
Rove says he's entitled to "THE math." The President said he was "talking with the people who're counting the votes." And unless Democratic voters flood the polls on November 7 in such numbers that they don't dare steal enough seats to keep control, their certainty might just prove out again. :(
93 93/93 -- AJ
* She's not alone. In 2004 Ohio vote-counters (under Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, currently running for Ohio Governor -- though he says he's having his assistants run the actual election he's, uhh, competing in) -- expelled reporters thanks to a "Homeland Security Emergency" which Homeland Security said it never called. Had Kerry won Ohio, he'd be President now. Just sayin. :/
When asked whether, as a GOP operative who was also heading up the Ohio vote count, he'd be in danger of becoming "2004's Katherine Harris," Blackwell quipped, "She hasn't done so bad." Indeed.
But Blackwell's case also gives reason for hope...because, like Katherine Harris herself in her Florida Senate race, he's down by so many points that nobody would BELIEVE he won. Hence, my argument for hope in "flooding the zone."