Monday, September 15, 2003
Isn’t it refreshing to read the words of a distinguished Independent who can see through the shenanigans of both Parties and expose them for the cynical manipulative jacknapes they are? His Grace, Lord Saleton, the Duke of Slate delivers a thorough dressing down to those nasty odiferous Democrats that would make even a heathen Jacobite realize that it is all so very silly to be a partisan. It’s much better to remove one’s self from the lower orders who muck about in the political mud, splashing it willy nilly on their betters.
I am, therefore, from this day forward, an Independent. I shall spend my days staring in the mirror at my remarkable visage congratulating myself on being a peerless, dispassionate observer of the hideous hoi polloi while remaining above the fray.
My newfound evenhandedness comes as a result of the great Lord Saleton’s brave revelations about the unseemly new proclivity of the Democratic rabble to accuse the Republicans of being dishonest while pretending that they are not even more dishonest themselves. Yes, they are actually doing that. I know it’s difficult to fathom but it will do our class no good to put our heads in our jewelry boxes and pretend otherwise.
The scope of Democratic perfidy was so shocking I had to have my butler administer a large draught of laudanum and Madeira just to keep my poor head from spinning. When I revived, I was eminently grateful that that His Lordship was sufficiently clearheaded that he was able to suppress these absurd ramblings in just a few short paragraphs:
In Florida, Al Gore originally asked for a recount only in counties in which he thought Democrats would gain votes. Moreover, to be precise, he wasn't for "counting" more ballots; he was for reinterpreting already-counted ballots until he came out ahead. Gore's lawyer, David Boies, argued that ballots should be interpreted as votes for Bush or Gore based on "the intent of the voter, not how the voter manifests his or her intent"—in other words, without rules. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a Gore surrogate, actually claimed, "The punch cards were wrong." Gore eventually moderated his position, but not until he had to.
And here I had thought that the knave Albert of Gore had asked for recounts in certain counties because there was no provision for a statewide recount in Florida law and asking for one would have necessitated appealing to each county in the state under an extreme time constraint. Wherever did I get the idea that precedent implied that applying for recounts in particular counties was predicated upon the idea that both parties would choose certain counties to serve as proxies for their support in the state as a whole? Merciful heavens, how misinformed I have been!
And I had also been under the misapprehension that he had asked that all ballots in the requested counties be recounted and now it is revealed that he only wanted already counted ballots to be “reinterpreted” until “he came out ahead.” My dear God, how can the man live with himself?
And then there is the vile Shylock, Mr David Bois, asking that the intent of the voter be the basis of interpretation. The rotten cur. Yes, the state constitution may have explicitly said that the votes must be counted so as to reflect the intent of the voter, and the scurrilous rogue Bois may have been talking about situations in which the ballots clearly showed a preference that the machines were unable to detect, but those of us who reside above the stinking morass of partisan politics know that he was really arguing that the recount should be conducted with no rules at all. That is the way “those people” think.
As for that most famous partisan General Markey, only a fool would believe that his statement didn’t reflect the totality of the legal arguments set forth in the various court cases. There was nothing more that needed to be said. The Democrats are, quite simply, liars and idiots.
But, Lord Saleton doesn’t stop there! He shrewdly points out that the Texas Republicans are only violating custom, not law, in attempting to redistrict to their advantage only two years after a court redrew the lines. Finally, someone points out that custom is no longer a guiding force in our culture. We modern Independents answer to nothing but the law and the rules. It’s true that Archbishop Thomas DeLay said quite plainly that he wanted to redistrict because he “wanted more seats,” but that is his privilege as head of the House of Common Republicans. Unless there is a specific law against it, there can be nothing wrong with it.
(And, Lord Saleton verrry cleverly uses the most devastating tool in his rhetorical arsenal. He says, “I can only imagine the cries of outrage I'd be hearing from my liberal friends if those were Republicans thwarting a Democratic legislature.” Checkmate, my little partisan friends.)
As for His Grace’s revelations about the despicable claims that His Highness is not legitimate, one can only say bravissimo! Just because the electoral college vote in the state governed by the president’s brother was decided by a mere 500 votes and the president didn’t win the popular vote and a divided Supreme Court decided the election in a legally dubious decision and the Republicans impeached a Democratic president on a party line vote just 2 years earlier, doesn’t mean that the Democrats should be unmannerly and accuse the Republicans of undemocratic actions and assuming the presidency through ignoble means. In any event, if the Republicans threw punch card ballots over the white cliffs of Dover would that give the Democrats leave to do the same? I think not.
Similarly, Democrats have absolutely nothing to complain of when the paid citizen gatherers of Viscount Issa managed to persuade the harried vassals of California to sign petitions (whilst carrying bags of nappies and victuals outside the market) to oust the evil Grayman of Davis from his unlawfully obtained governorship. After all, he did deserve it. He violated the rights of Republicans to vote for the governor of their choice by running advertisements in their primary. True, there is no law against it, and the technique was used by many Republicans in other states, but it is unseemly to violate customs merely because they are not technically unlawful.
We Independents do not believe that just because a law does not exist prohibiting certain behavior that we should nonetheless engage in such behavior. There is such a thing as right and wrong. And, while Republicans may have engaged in similar behavior, their states do not have similar recall laws so they logically cannot be held to the same standard.
Lord Fair and Balanced concludes his unbiased observations by revealing what is really important in this debate.
I'm not excusing the games Republicans play. But by projecting all evil onto Republicans, Democrats spread the same political disease: the notion that you don't have to be wary of lying or cheating unless the other side is doing it. Lying and cheating don't belong to Republicans or Democrats. We're all susceptible, and we're all guilty.
Sure, some people are more guilty than others. But if that's your obsession, I commend to you the words of my colleague, Jack Shafer: If you're interested in which wing lies more, you're probably not very interested in the truth.
Indeed. If one is more interested in the lies of one side or another, one is simply inferior to those of us who are taking the High Road. We do not care about the silly prevarications of politicians, whether it be about the democratic system or weapons of mass destruction.
How tedious these little people become with their shrillness. Quiet please. Great minds such as ours must be serene and tranquil in order to remain above the fray. Please, please keep it down, children.
Would you care for a kumquat?
digby 9/15/2003 06:55:00 PM