December 20, 2004
Yet another sobering "John Fund on the Campaign Trail" column is out today, focusing upon our State's election debacle. Voter confidence in our election diminishes with each new King County shenanigan and each Christine Gregoire election lawsuit.
Also, Fund's column discusses the intriguing possibility of a new election in the New Year...
Posted by Seth Cooper at December 20, 2004
08:38 AM | Email This
1. Interestingly, I have not heard anyone in the Democratic Party suggest that everyone who works for the King County Board of Elections should be fired. If they were really only now discovering ballots, then theey have done such a stunning disservice to their constituents that they should never work in government again. Of course, there is no reason for the Democrats to fire them, if they heroically stole the election for CG. I guess you will know which happened by whether everyone is fired or everyone gets a nice big raise.
Sorry, no new elections.
If Fund thinks there will be a little "cloud" over the election when Rossi wins, that's just fine with me.
Former Sen. Jean Carnahan (D-Missouri) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) did't mind a "cloud" at all.
Besides, in a new election the Libertarian won't run. That's 50,000 more votes for Gregoire right there. That's not fair!
3. Uh, Fedup, do you even understand the basic philosophy of the Libertarians? They are for greatly reducing government. Does that more closely match Ms. Gregoire or Mr. Rossi? Figure it out.
Ferrous, at one time Libertarians were closer in philosophy to Repubs because of economic issues. In Washington State the Libertarian Party's key issue seems to be drug legalization...hence libs.
Carl raises a good point. Eight or nine or ten different examples of incompetence is a good enough reason to turn election law inside out, but it isn't enough cause to clean house at Elections?
It seems entirely appropriate that Larry Phillips won't get his vote counted. Let him take it up with the King County Council.
If you enjoyed Fund's piece, and haven't seen this one you'll like it:
Sorry if I'm repeating someone noting this column...though since it has a nice plug for this site I'm guessing a duplicate posting isn't the end of the world.
6. The plaintiff in the current case is the GOP. That makes the current lawsuit a Dino Rossi lawsuit regardless of the fact that the Democrats and the Secretary of State are appealing.
Who really voted for Ruth Bennett (L) and would they vote for Rossi or Gregoire in a run-off? I think it would basically split down the middle like the rest of the votes.
But ... I think Rossi would gain from recently dismayed Dem's. My wife overheard WEA members in the school lunchroom who voted for Gregoire. They were so appalled at what Gregoire has done that they "regret" ... did you hear that, "regret" voting for her.
I don't think Dem's who originally voted for Rossi would change. They voted on his ability to lead from the center and tackle tough budget issues in our state. Many of those who voted for Gregoire did so along party lines without really knowing what she would bring to the table. Now they know and they would vote for Rossi instead.
Don't be too sure they're won't be a new election. In 1974, the Democrat candidate for Senate was originally certified as the winner over the republican, but then machinations began and the GOP candidate, Louis Wyman, was certified as the winner by, as I recall, two votes. The Senate refused to seat him, so the State of New Hampshire sua sponte through out the 1974 election and held a new election, which the Democrat Durkin, a real jerk by the way, won handily. He only served one term, and the seat has been in GOP hands ever since.
Obviously, neither Gregoire nor Rossi have to worry about the U.S. Senate seating them, but publis dissatisfaction and even civil or uncivil disobedience could reach a level where the only good way out would be to hold a new election.
To the self-styled pundit Ferrous:
The Libertarian Party is for the legalization
of drugs and pornography, and it supports isolationism, pacifism, abortion, and gay marriage. Sounds like the Democrats to me!
The US Libertarian Party nominated a candidate for President named Michael Badnarik, an unemployed guy who came out strongly for the abolition of Zip Codes. Actually, you should be embarrassed.
Yes, libertarians are for drug legalization (which I'm sure attracts some seattle liberals), but only because they want to greatly reduce government. One of the things they want to reduce is the "war on drugs".
I'm guessing that in a "runoff" type election, Rossi would get more of the Libertarian vote than Gregoire. Couple that with the general disgust the public has for Gregoire, and a new election looks pretty good.
But if the court rightfully keeps these 723 magical mystery ballots from being added in on the 3rd count, many people will be fed up with Rossi too.
Our local (liberal) media is painting the lawsuit as Rossi trying to stop legal votes from being counted. I know, their definition of "legal" is laughable, but there's going to be a LOT of people who think poorly of Rossi for "getting courts to tell them to NOT count LEGAL votes", stealing the election, etc. It's not fair, but that's what would happen. And then I think it's anybody's guess who would win a new election...
11. Let me clarify that. I think it would be close to 50-50, but that Rossi would get slightly more from the Libertarians. I just don't think once the liberals get the jist of their "limited government" approach that they would stick around. Are there any Libertarians who could shed some light on which one of the two they would vote for if they had to choose?
12. I'm very conservative and I wouldn't mind legalizing drugs with the caveat of severely regulating them. It's not just a liberal or conservative issue. But when you refer to reducing the size and power of government, I think we can ALL agree that Democrats classically do not want to do that at all.
13. I certainly hope there won't be a new election. While anger is running high right now and there are dems that may indeed "regret" voting for ChrissyMissy, you can bet your horsesass that will be quickly forgotten by the time the government actually organizises a run-off. It will take just enough time for tempers to cool, for vitriolic advertising, for the dems to organize just enough dead voters and/or dogs to win and to strategically place a few votes to be "found" if necessary.
14. Libertarians tend to attract more conservative Republican-types who want to go even further than the GOP on limiting taxes and getting out of the UN. I used to vote libertarian routinely and now vote GOP and I know of another couple of current Libertarians who are attracted to them for the conservative economic stance. I think the reason Ruth Bennett got pegged as hurting Gregoire is that she is an open Lesbian most known for promoting gay marriage. That makes it seem that the vote will cut both ways.
Out of the 1.3 million who voted for Gregoire, how many would switch to Rossi? Maybe 1 out of 10? That would be 130,000 votes. I think the greater concern to Dem's is not the Libertarian vote as much as how the Dem's themselves would vote.
That is why the liberal media has shifted focus from "count every vote" to "Rossi is the one who took this to court first so valid votes won't count". Right now, their focus is to blame the republicans for all the election office problems because Rossi went to court.
But, who went to court first? Wasn't it King County - Dean Logan, who (on the 1st count) wouldn't give the Dem's the names of voters with signature problems? Who took them to court and won the right to run around getting signature affidavites? The Democrats.
Most citizens don't like going to court, but given that Gregoire won't condede until every last vote for her is found and counted, we don't have much choice. But, let's be honest about a run-off - the Legislature won't let happen. It would just make them look bad and they would lose.
The best option for the Dem's is to appeal and hope. Then, blame Rossi for going to court and let the King County canvassing board "decide" enough rejected double votes (such a Christine Rossi) for the win. That seems to be the D's strategy for legitimacy .
I find it unacceptable that King county is taking so much longer then anyone else to recount its votes.
1. It allows more time for documents to be lost or damaged.
2. It leaves less time for appeals and other court action that may need to occur before Locke's term is up.
3. The delay gives an appearance of incompetence or lack of planning and decreases confidence in the whole process. Lets be honest the democrats knew a hand count was coming so they should have planned for it. It took a county with 9,000 votes two days to recount does that mean King county with 900,000 should take 200 days. No five days should have been enough. If the absentee ballots, after the intial recount, were not already in precinct order that would show a major problem. Everything should have already be layed out with a plan ready to be put in place.
I'd support another Election, as long is it was done quickly, and not dragged out over many months. At this point, I think King County has completely destroyed all public confidence in the legitimacy of this election.
I vote mostly republican, but I share some libertarian ideals. I'd like to see most drugs legalized too, along with gambling, and prostitution.
Because these are "vices" that have existed longer than anyone can remember, and we as human beings will continue to seek them out, legal or not. So why turn otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals, expending countless millions of dollars of taxpayer money to prevent these activities, when we could be regulating and TAXING these activities?
A large portion of the taxes could be dedicated to public health programs to help people with gambling and drug problems. Think about how much ancillory crime would also be reduced by this. If Prostitution was legal, there wouldn't be any pimps, violence against women would be reduced because this activity could take place in clean and safe environments, instead of back alleys.
Think about it, the Mafia exists because these activites are illegal, and people still seek them out. If they were legalized, the Mafia would mostly cease to exist, along with the large Columbian drug cartels.
I offer as an example, the prohibition of Alcohol in the 20's and early 30's. Al Capone became the mobster he was because of the demand for illegal alcohol. Once it was legalized again, all the crime associated with "rum runners" and bootleggers simply disappeared. We could easily do the same for drugs, gambling, and prostitution.
And no, I don't think doing this would turn every quaint little Bedford Falls town in the sleazy Pottersville. People (you and your neighbors) are intelligent enough to self regulate to prevent that from happening.
Ok, this wasn't suppoed to be a rant :-) Go Rossi!
I can tell you from listening to a relative who is counting votes for King County:
The ballots were definitely NOT in order by precinct after the first recount. In fact, the first several days of 'counting' really wasn't counting at all - it was 'ordering'. They were putting all the precincts in different stacks to be counted later.
But - having the ballots in order by precinct wasn't that important for the first (machine) recount. This is because each ballot has a bar-code indicating what precinct it is from. Therefore, no matter what ballots you put into the machine, it tallies the precints accordingly.
This is just one example of why a machine count is much more accurate than a hand count.
19. Ferrous, the Democrat party itself believes that Bennett the Libertarian took a pretty good share of democrat votes this time-- specifically what the Ds call the "LBGT" vote (Lesbian, Bi-sexual, etc). Bennett also said that she fashioned her campaign to draw democrats this time. I think I believe it, and I believe that Gregoire lost as many or more votes to Bennett than Dino this time around.
Jason - Why spend resources to deter illegal activities if people are going to do it anyways?
Because we need to draw a line somewhere on what behavior is "right" or "wrong" in our society. Kind of like rules to follow when votes count and when they don't.
Granted, some don't want to take any responsibility for following the laws of a society. They think freedom doesn't involve personal restraint from addictive behaviors. How many deaths, cases of abuse, loss of jobs, homelessness, etc. occur because of alcohol. How much crime happens because of drug addicition. Let's add smoking, STD's, and AIDS into the mix.
What are we really trying to have here in America? Are we considering our children and their future? What kind of family or freedom of religion are we going to allow? We must draw a line somewhere and then support it. There is too much sadness due to alcohol and drug abuse, whether intentional or just youthful experimentation that destroys lives.
We have enough "Sin Taxes" and Gov. Locke is proposing more. Maybe you should ask Gov. Locke to include taxes on drugs and protistution as a way to deal with government overspending. I'll take Rossi's pro-business (read legal business) approach, for the sake of my family and our future.
I've never drank, smoked, tried drugs or bought sex. I think "Sin taxes" are unfair in concept, but in principle those "sins" frequently destroy families and individuals. By allowing them, our society will pay a heavy price tag either way. I'd rather that cost be by way of prevention instead of taxation.
Read the Elway poll, if you understand what it means, you will see that this is what Dori Monson has been tracking for serveral weeks now: ReVote Strongly Favors Dino - so, let's do it!
I can appreciate your opinion on these issues. However I have to point out that in many countries around the world, these activites are legal, and it hasn't destroyed them. Simply legalizing Drugs, Gambling, and Prostitution isn't going to hurt our children if we do it the right way. I think it will help make them better people, because they will be able to make their own choice as to what is right for them, rather than having society at large choose for them.
I think our current alcohol laws are a perfect example of how NOT to legalize a "vice". Today we say that People under 21 are not allowed to drink. We assume that suddenly at age 21 a magical "responsibility fairy" comes down and taps them on the head, bestowing upon them the ability to drink responsbily, and know their limits, and understand the consequneces of crossing that line. It's pure fantasy. People who consume alcohol need several attempts before they even become aware of their own limits. By restricting alcohol until age 21, we actually make it a "forbidden fruit" in the eyes of those under 21, causing them to seek it out illegally, and then binge drink because they don't have the opportunity to learn how to drink responsibly while they are growing up.
Whether legal or not, Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling, and Prostitution will not appeal to everyone, but legal or not they will always appeal to some people. I think we need to distinguish between real crime, like theft and violence, versus "moral crime" or "crimes against one's self", such as drug use, gambling, and prostitution.
Yes, people can be hurt by these activites, but it hurts themselves, no one else (you can argue that it does hurt families too, but so does lots of self destructive behavior that also isn't illegal). However most people who engage in these activites do so in moderation, and with self control. That's what being an adult and take personal responsibility is all about. We wonder why personal accountability is so lacking these days. I think it is a direct result of the government constantly stepping in, acting like the "uber parent" trying to save us from ourselves.
So, rather than spending our tax dollars trying to prevent the unpreventable, we ought to accept that people will always seek out these activites, regulate them, tax them, and then use most of the tax collected to help those who need, and ask for help due to over indulgence.
In my mind, the "War on Drugs" is a rediculous waste of time, money, and lives. A War implies that you are fighting for something, and that it is ultimately winable. The War on Drugs is not winable, it's not even containable. We'd have about as much success if we had a "War on Weather" were we tried to prevent it raining in Seattle. To me, the War on Drugs is just as futile. Given that, we should accept reality, and regear our efforts to deal with reality, rather than fighting it.
Sorry all for getting drawn off-post with "sin taxes" & "legalizing drugs", but here I go ...
"Simply legalizing Drugs, Gambling, and Prostitution isn't going to hurt our children if we do it the right way."
"Yes, people can be hurt by these activities, but it hurts themselves, no one else ...."
If it was only that simple. Counting ballots is supposed to be simple too.
I tell my kids not to be scared of the vacant drug house next door. King County's done nothing in 16 years. Our van was broken into last weekend along with many neighborhood vehicles the past few months. Maybe they were just looking for ballots ... but really, whose drug habit is this "real crime" spree supporting? How many times when caught do criminals claim they needed money for a drug addiction? Why are my daughters afraid to go into our own backyard or garage at night without someone going with them? Is it the drug house next door? The recent arson that burned 10 feet from our house and left the drug house gutted a few weeks ago? Is it the recent car prowls? Was it the family from church that was robbed at gun point in their home last year - to support drug habits? Was it the sex offender notifications that come home from school? These are all true events. Should I move because urban values are creeping into the neighborhood I grew up in? or do I stick it out and try to make my community better?
Many good citizens are simply scared of criminals - especially those who need to support an addiction. Do we tell the abused wife or child to suck it up and just accept their reality? Do we tell them their safety is not worth protecting? Should we accept defeat and get some taxes as a kick-back for legalizing drugs?
My grandfather was an alcoholic much of his life and was abusive to his family. Alcohol never let him live up to his potential - or his children. I would say that alcohol is one of the greatest inflictors of pain and suffering on society. It is already legal. Let's see how much more we can destroy the trust of a wife, husband or child by making drugs and prostitution legal too. Just so we can find another tax source to fund more social programs fed by our moral bankruptcy.
You say it doesn't affect anyone but themselves? Many personalized blue road signs remind us not to drink and drive. In the US, every 30 minutes a life is lost to drinking and driving. Used to be 15 minutes. Is that progress? That's 48 people today - parents, children, friends, ... taxpayers. We subsidize the right to drink responsibly with the lives taken by the irresponsible.
Crimes against oneself directly reflect on our society as a whole. Our nation is in a moral decline individually and collectively. The world sees it, but in our arrogance, we dismiss it as we embrace our modern values. The foundation of America, our traditional family, is struggling heavily. Many educated and very capable people never accept the life-long responsibility of what has made America great - a committed equal marriage and family. Many men seek just a partner or a trophy wife with status quo children. How demeaning. Too many are concerned about their fortunes, careers, social status or getting a legal (or illegal) high. Too much individual selfishness, indugance, critcism, blogging and various addictions are destroying families each day. This doesn't mean we can't stand up and be better individuals and a moral compass to the world - including the ever so morally correct european countries. At least we haven't elected a porn star to the Senate ... yet. There's still hope. I agree that the government shouldn't define that moral compass, but the modern direction we're going isn't too wholesome or healthy for families. The cop out, "parents should monitor what their children watch on TV, visit on the web, etc.", just doesn't fly in the real world. Children see who we are as a nation and what's morally taught in school as "acceptable". At least my daughter knows she couldn't enhance her SAT answers after the test was turned in. The moral compass we currently portray as a nation makes alot of Muslims very upset. Who's right? Whos's wrong? or does it even matter anymore?
My wife has volunteered in all my kids classrooms for many years. One school boy drew pictures of his dad, in prison - for selling drugs. How is a 5-year old supposed to understand? It will be so much simpler to explain when drug addictions are legalized - "Mom, where's Dad?", "He just stopped to pick up some METH" or "He stopped for a quickie with Candi" or "He just lost his paycheck on Texas holdem". Let's make it all legal so no one has to bother with their conscience. How many children are born with fetal alcohol syndrome, addiction to drugs or other needless birth defects? Does that irresponsible consequence now make abortion a morally correct choice? Wait ... we have no conscience, so it doesn't matter.
Drug addiction is real. Alcohol addiction is real. Gambling addiction is real. Sex addiction is real. Be glad if you can consume in moderation - many cannot. Those addictions (along with others) destroy individual lives, self-worth, trust and their families right along with them. Is that a gamble we should take? or should we just bake some "Maui Wowie" into our good 'ole Apple pie. I hope not. The "true costs" of these addictions on society far exceed any taxation we can impose.
I understand that you believe we can't Win the War on Drugs or other addictive behaviors because we can't "prevent the unpreventable". In a broad sense, that is probably true. We certainly can't dictate individual responsibility or conscience. I understand your opinion and didn't intend to change it. But hopefully you will also understand mine. A close friend recently lost their son resulting from drug abuse. I'd suggest that winning drug addiction is defined individually. Is it worth it to save just one child from drugs? If it was your child?
Perhaps we could take this discussion to e-mail, so as not to further hijack this thread.
I understand your point of view. However I think it requires certain assumptions that simply don't hold up in the real world. Just because something is legal, doesn't mean that everyone will do it, or do it to ruinous excess.
Look at Alcohol. Yes, there are drunk driving related deaths every few minutes, yes there are people dying of liver disease, yes there are people ruining their lives and their families lives because of addiction. However, these are the extreme few. If that happened to everyone who tasted alcohol, our society would have long ago disintegrated. Now think about how much crime is avoided because alcohol is legal. We are all probably too young to remember just how bad the illegal alcohol related crime was in the 20's and 30's, but it was absolutely the big issue of the day.
I'm not trying to marginalize the very real suffering that alcohol abuse causes everyday to thousands of Americans, I'm simply saying that it would happen regardless of the legality of the substance. People will find a way to self medicate, addictive personalities will find things to be addicted to. By making these things illegal, we only add to the suffering by adding the element of crime to the mix.
When something that people want is made illegal, it's like putting up a big "Open for business" sign for organized crime. I'm not advocating legalizing these things because I think the associated social problems would go away (though I do think they would be reduced), I'm advocating legalization to get rid of the organized crime, which is responsible for so much violence, and eats up untold millions in taxpayer dollars trying to fight.
I also strongly believe in personal responsibility. Sure, there needs to be a fence on the observation deck of the Empire State building, for those high wind gusts that may knock someone over. But do we really need a sign that says "No Jumping"? If people are going to be self destructive, they will find a way, and a sign, or a law, isn't going to prevent it.
That's the reality I'm refering to. Every case that you sited can be traced back to an individual's decision, to take the drink, to make that bet, to snort (or however it's taken) the Meth, or to sleep with that prostitute. No one forced them to do any of those things. They were all individual decisions, and living with (or dying from) the consequences of our actions is at the core of personal responsibility. How can we expect our society to learn and practice personal responsbility if the government takes it away from us?
If you'd like to continue this conversation via e-mail, you can reach me at:
jason -at- coon -dot- com