Money talks trash

Reacting to an explosion in the use of so-called “independent expenditures” in Washington state — particularly in judicial races — the Public Disclosure Commission has asked the legislature to impose tougher restrictions on how PACs fund political campaigns. Not so fast, says the Seattle P-I editorial board:

Whoa. We have our own concerns about the distorting effects disproportionate amounts of money can have. The pursuit of large, centralized contributions can tend to draw candidates away from their individual constituents’ concerns.

But a citizen’s right to express support for a political candidate with cheers or checks seems pretty fundamental. So it could be that an increase in political spending is no more damaging to the process than an increase in political speech.

After all, some of the biggest spending didn’t pay off at the polls last month. John Groen’s noisy attempt to unseat Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander is the prime example.

I don’t take as much comfort from Groen’s defeat as the P-I does. The nasty, mean-spirited and ham-fisted Groen campaign reflected the character and personality of his primary patron — the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) — and it just didn’t go over well with voters. But while the BIAW may be a bunch of rude, cold-hearted bastards, they’re not stupid. And they’re loaded. That’s why they’ve been one of the most effective political organizations in the state over the past decade or so. Thus I fully expect them to learn their lesson from this year’s embarrassing defeat, and spend their money more wisely next time around.

With few exceptions the initiative process has become the exclusive playground of well-financed PACs and wealthy individuals, with measures often devised more as GOTV tools than serious attempts to legislate. And for all the relief over Groen’s defeat, Alexander still could have been overwhelmed if supporters hadn’t scraped together a sizable if lesser chunk of change to fight back in kind. Do we really want our Supreme Court justices chosen via a multimillion dollar game of campaign finance chicken?

The P-I concludes by saying that in a perfect world “public financing for all candidates would level the playing field,” but apparently dismisses such a reform as panglossian. I don’t.

It is time to learn whether public financing would indeed level the playing field, and our state Supreme Court races are the perfect place to start. Don’t just limit the amount of money special interests can spend on judicial candidates, eliminate it entirely. Our Supreme Court is too important to be jiggered by money coming from the right or the left; if it was encouraging that voters saw through the tsunami of cash that was intended to sweep Groen to victory, imagine what kind of jurists we might elect if we took money out of the equation altogether.

Otherwise, if we accept the notion that political money is political speech, and therefore should never be limited, then we implicitly accept an electoral system in which some people have the right to speak louder than others.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This is a tough one, Goldy. I agree with you on public financing of supreme court campaigns — with a ban on candidate spending. But what do you do about groups or individuals, unaffiliated with the candidate or campaign, who want to exercise their free speech rights? If Joe Patriot spends $100 on lumber putting up an 8 x 12 plywood sign in his yard that says, “Groen is a BIAW lackey,” should the state make him take it down? Can the state make him take it down? Hell no!

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    And how will you stop the politicizing of judicial campaigns? Hell, the whole country is politicizing. We’re turning into Northern Ireland, and nobody can stop it, short of deporting all the Republicans. (To where, I don’t know; I can’t imagine any country taking them.) It was, of course, the Republicans who choose the Northern Ireland social model for our nation. So be it. If these guys want social conflict, let’s give it to ‘em, since we have no choice. The only thing to do is get better at ass-kicking than they are.

  3. 5

    Truth_Teller spews:

    If you really said “no one can spend any money on a campaign”, then bloggers couldn’t blog about the campaign… after all, what’s the difference between me buying an ad on a web page for $100 touting a judge and a blogger writing about it on his own page, for which he also pays (domain name costs, server costs, etc.).

    Or is it only media owners and bloggers that have free speech rights? So, the Times or Goldy or Rush Limbaugh can say all they want about a Judge, but if I have to pay someone to get some airtime or paper space to say what I want, then I am out of luck?

  4. 6

    proud leftist spews:

    The judicial branch is the weakest branch of our tripartite government. It lacks the appropriation powers of the legislature and the enforcement powers of the executive. The judiciary’s authority is intimately linked to the public’s perception of the integrity of judges. A perception that judges are biased at the outset of a case, before any evidence is offered or arguments made, is dangerous to the administration of justice. Naturally, some litigants presume bias always, and with some justification. But, when we see judges being purchased–like Groen and the BIAW’s Jim Johnson on the Supreme Court, a widespread and legitimate perception of bias seems unavoidable. At least with regard to judicial races, some form of campaign finance reform is necessary. Judicial races may be distinguished from other types of campaigns as federal constitutional principles do not require election of judges, and, indeed, many states do not provide for contested judicial elections (of course, federal judges are appointed). If we can do away with judicial elections entirely, I would think we can put limits on the types of campaigns that may be waged for judicial seats.

  5. 8

    proud leftist spews:

    Redneck @7,
    As always, you draw your conclusions from an inadequate database. I’d have pursued celibacy if surrounded by Republican women. Not only are they hard on the eyes and unpleasant, but they just lay there and stink. Frigidity is not a family value, my friend. You might try a Democrat woman sometime. Life might look a little less nasty and brutish than it otherwise seems to appear to you.

  6. 9

    John Barelli spews:

    So, MTR, what you’re saying is that male Democrats consider what a woman has to say, and value her opinions, views and arguments, while male Republicans simply think with their gonads, and consider women to be nothing more than sex objects and manufacturing platforms for babies, preferably sons.

    Ok, so tell us something that we didn’t already know.

  7. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    7 Hey Redneck, got a link to a site that explains why Republican sissies don’t pay their political bets when they get their asses kicked in an election?

  8. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    8 Reminds me of an old joke:

    Two Republicans are having sex. The man says, “Oh, did I hurt you, dear?” The woman responds, “No, why do you ask?” The man replies, “You moved.”

  9. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why anyone would want sex with a Republican woman is beyond me. A cute furry female bunny — now THAT turns me on! But a flat-chested, scowling, Republican bitch in heels? Maybe a dartboard, but not reproduction …

  10. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Given your inability to come up with $100 to settle a gambling obligation, I’d suggest that on your budget you should try Aurora Avenue instead.

  11. 15

    Right Stuff spews:

    Here come the Democrats………..
    Betcha the sheriff know the answers…..
    No wonder the Democrats are so eager to talk to Iran and Syria, they don’t know that they are full of TERRORISTS!
    2 years……2 years……..

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam — Sunni or Shiite — Reyes answered “they are probably both,” then ventured “Predominantly — probably Shiite.”

    That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.

    Reyes could also not answer questions put by Stein about Hezbollah, a Shiite group on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations that is based in Southern Lebanon.

  12. 16

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    I can’t wait until we start the following investigations…

    1) What did WHATA DICK CHENEY give to big oil as part of his secret energy commission?
    2) Who and for how long in the rethug leadership helped Foley chester the pages?
    3) Where is the payoff that the Bush regime planned to give the Saudis in the port security deal?
    4) Where are the weapons that we “lost” in Iraq and who might use them againt us?
    5) Where is the money we’ve been sending to Iraq? Who’s getting it?
    6) What sort of illegal no-bid contracts were given to WHAT A DICK CHENEY’s Halliburton and subs?
    7) Why did the Bush regime resist the 9.11 Commission report findings?
    8) How many GOP Congressmen and women REALLY were on the take in the DeLay/Abramhoff K-Street scandal?
    9) Why did the Bush regime REALLY let the Saudi family go on 9.11 while the rest of us were grounded?
    10) How many times did Karl Rove let that fake reporter Gannon suck his dick?

  13. 17

    Right Stuff spews:

    Maybe we should invite Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and Islamic Jihad, to the Whitehouse for dinner and peace talks………
    as Roger is fond of saying;

    Better yet Camp David.


  14. 18

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    No Wrong Stuff – all we need to do is look at the Bush regime date book to see which secret meetings Baby George had before 9.11 with the Saudis and we’ll know who our enemies really are.

  15. 19

    Right Stuff spews:

    Juicy, now GWB is resposible for the tragedy of 9/11?
    let me guess, he hired the terrorists so that he can fatten the pockets of his pet oil company CEO’s? oh and Haliburton don’t forget that terrible Haliburton.
    c’mon r.e.stupid, that’s………stupid

  16. 20

    Right Stuff spews:

    1) Probably was a meeting to map a way forward for energy independance for the USA.
    2)Gerry Studds ( at least the GOP got rid of Foley)
    3)Dubai Port deal? Just because a company is owned by Arabs we overreacted and killed this deal… guess we ought to stop buying Arab oil as well. Bad mistake by both sides here.
    4) No one knows if anything is lost. Just that the small arms are not being tracked via serial number… The potential for problems is huge but, we don’t know for sure that the weapons aren’t accounted for in some other means….. so I guess it is up to the Iraqi’s to track this information. I think it’s insane the amount of $$ we are spending over there ewpecially cause I’d love a free M1911A1!
    5)The people of Iraq.
    6)Any illegal activity should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Haliburton, Carlyle, and Bechtel are but a handful of companies that can undertake such large scale projects.
    7)Resist how exactly. Like the ISG report..something to consider, but not to implement word for word….
    Reid, Daschle, Murray, P Kennedy, Gephardt, Dorgan etc etc
    9)Best I can tell it was three days later. Charter plane becuase they feared lynching…
    10)Ask Barney Frank

  17. 21

    YOS LIB BRO spews:




  18. 22

    proud leftist spews:

    You don’t sound very empathetic toward our rightwing brethren. Didn’t you know that according to them, we just want to love our enemies and make nice with them? They even say we just want to make nice with terrorists, so surely we can say nice things about our political opponents. I’m sure they mean well, after all. Don’t you agree?

  19. 23

    YOS LIB BRO spews:




  20. 24

    anti-liberal spews:

    Sad news for this Christmas Season

    VERY SAD NEWS —- There will be no Nativity Scene in Washington, DC, this year!

    The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity Scene in Washington, DC, this Christmas season.

    This isn’t for any religious reason.

    With the GOP out of power, they simply have not been able to find three wise men and a virgin in the Nation’s capitol.

    There was no problem, however, finding enough ASSES to fill the stable.

  21. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I see in the news that the world’s oldest person died today, leaving behind 560 grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, great-great-great grandchildren, and great-great-great-great grandchildren.

    Not quite up to rabbit standards, but not bad for a human family.

  22. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    From yesterday’s Washington Post:

    “By Thomas E. Ricks
    “Washington Post Staff Writer
    “Sunday, December 10, 2006

    “A top Air Force lawyer who served at the White House and in a senior position in Iraq turns out to have been practicing law for 23 years without a license.

    “Col. Michael D. Murphy was … the general counsel for the White House Military Office from December 2001 to January 2003, and from August 2003 to January 2005. In between those tours, he was the legal adviser to the reconstruction effort in Iraq …. Murphy … served in 2005 as commandant of the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. …”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info, see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: No wonder billions of dollars of Iraq reconstruction money disappeared.

  23. 27

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Just a reminder to all the right wingers this Christmas…

    We TOOK the House from you.
    We TOOK the Senate from you.
    We TOOK a net gain of six State Houses from you.
    We TOOK a net gain of 13 State Legislatures from you.
    We PUT some of your boys in jail.

    And we’re just getting started – so take your dicks out of your sisters’ mouths, bend over, grab your ass and say good bye. Come Jan -we’re gonna finish taking America BACK!

    Happy Fucking Holidays you asswipe, inbred cowards!

    HE HE!

  24. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    From the Washington Post:

    “Inquiry Sought Over Evangelical Video

    “By Alan Cooperman
    “Washington Post Staff Writer
    “Monday, December 11, 2006

    “A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.

    “In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military. …

    “Pete Geren, a former acting secretary of the Air Force who oversaw the service’s response in 2005 to accusations that evangelical Christians were pressuring cadets at the Air Force Academy, also appears in the video. …

    “The 10-minute video is on the group’s Web site, … [which] says the group holds prayer breakfasts each Wednesday in the Pentagon’s executive dining room and organizes small groups to help military leaders ‘bridge the gap between faith and work.’

    “Army Brig. Gen. Bob Casen refers in the video to the Christian Embassy’s special efforts to reach admirals and generals through Flag Fellowship groups. Whenever he sees another fellowship member, he says, ‘I immediately feel like I am being held accountable, because we are the aroma of Jesus Christ.’

    “The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group led by retired Air Force lawyer Michael L. ‘Mikey’ Weinstein, is requesting an investigation in a letter to the Defense Department’s inspector general. Weinstein, a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration, cites Defense Department regulations barring personnel from appearing in uniform in ‘speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration . . . which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted.’

    “All the officers are identified in the video by their Defense Department positions, ‘yet the video failed to include any disclaimers indicating that the views expressed were not those of the Department of Defense,’ the letter says. …

    “In 2003, Army Lt. Gen. William G. ‘Jerry’ Boykin drew criticism for appearing in uniform before church groups and saying, in remarks captured on video, that President Bush was ‘appointed by God,’ that the United States is ‘a Christian nation’ and that Muslims worship ‘an idol.’ The inspector general’s office determined that Boykin had not violated any rules, and he remained in a top intelligence post.

    “This year, Navy chaplain Gordon J. Klingenschmitt was court-martialed for appearing in uniform at a political protest in front of the White House, though he maintained that all he did was lead a prayer. …”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info, see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Didja read that last paragraph? Under the Bush administration, wearing your military uniform to promote evangelical groups = okay, protest prayer = not okay. Geez, makes you wonder what they’d do to an officer for promoting peace.*

    * See

  25. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Amid all the press coverage of the so-called Baker Commission’s recommendations for finding an exit strategy from Iraq, the same group’s proposals to privatize Iraq’s oil is being overlooked.

  26. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wrong Stuff @15: So do you think it was wrong for Sheriff Dave to talk to Gary Ridgway? When he was investigating the case? Ridgway is an evil guy, you know. So maybe the cops shouldn’t have talked to him.

  27. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    15 (continued) Hey wingnut, how is your no-diplomacy foreign policy working for you? Can you point to even one thing that GOP idiots haven’t FUBARed? No, didn’t think so. You are an idiot. All Republicans are idiots. You should all be locked up in kennels.

  28. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Keep your thieving Republican mitts off my line!

  29. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    19 Right Stuff says: Juicy, now GWB is resposible for the tragedy of 9/11? 12/11/2006 at 3:14 pm

    What took you so long? Better late than never, though.

  30. 35

    William "Icebox" Jefferson, Democrat, LA spews:

    Clinton secretly taped Diana!!!! Where is the ACLU and the UN????

  31. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    19 (continued) Let’s start with this:

    “Bush’s approach in most situations seemed a reactive combination of calculations to avoid his father’s mistakes and to reject Clinton’s policies … by forsaking Clinton’s efforts to address the dangers of international terrorism.

    “During the transition between administrations, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger arranged several extensive briefings on this last subject for Bush’s incoming national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, and others on the Bush team, including Vice President Cheney. One briefing lasted half a day. Berger told them that Osama bin Laden was an ‘existential threat’ and told them that he wanted ‘to underscore how important this issue is.’ In another briefing, Richard Clarke, head of counterrorism in the NSC, the single most knowledgeable expert in the government, gave them a complete tutorial on the subject. In yet another briefing, CIA officials were brought in to go over all the intelligence available on terrorism.

    “Don Kerrick, a three-star general and outgoing deputy national security adviser, overlapped for four months with the new Bush people. He submitted a memo for the new National Security Council warning of the danger of terrorism. ‘We are going to be struck again,’ he wrote. But as Kerrick explained to me, he received no answer to his memo. ‘They didn’t respond,’ he said. ‘They never responded. It was not high on their priority list. I was never invited to one meeting. They never asked me to do anything. They were not focusing. They didn’t see terrorism as the big megaissue that the Clinton administration saw it as. They were concentrated on what they thought were higher priorities than terrorism.’ The Principals meeting of national security officials took up terrorism only once, after constant pressure from Clarke, on September 4, 2001, and at that meeting they discussed using unmanned Predator drone spy aircraft, but no decision was made. ‘Unfortunately,’ said Kerrick, ‘September 11 gave them something to focus on.’”

    — Sidney Blumenthal, The Clinton Wars (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2003), pp. 797-798.

  32. 38

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    19 (continued) … And then, of course, there’s the famous Time magazine article in 2002:

    “Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?

    “Long before the tragic events of September 11th, the White House debated taking the fight to al-Qaeda. It didn’t happen and soon it was too late. The saga of a lost chance”

    (To read article, click here:

  33. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    19 (continued) So, in response to your question, the answer is:

    Osama bin Laden and his operatives were responsible for 9/11
    Bush is responsible for ignoring pre-9/11 warnings
    Bush is responsible for the incompetence of his FBI
    Bush is responsible for not catching Osama bin Laden after 9/11
    Bush is responsible for starving the Afghanistan theater of military resources

  34. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    23 I certainly understand why all virgins are Republicans, and all Republicans are virgins.

  35. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    America’s voters have spoken on who’s to blame for 9/11, Iraq, and every other fiasco since Jan. 2001. For details, see Nov. 7, 2006 election results.

  36. 47

    William "Icebox" Jefferson, Democrat, LA spews:

    It’s supposed to say sweet things to little girls like, ”You’re a wonderful friend,” but push its button the wrong way and the Little Mermaid Shimmering Lights Ariel doll may say something else — ”You’re a slut,” according to a California mother whose allegation came to light in a newspaper report. The doll’s manufacturer, Mattel, doesn’t believe it’s possible /snip/ ABC News bought an Ariel doll, and after pressing the doll’s button several times quickly, some employees thought they heard the doll say, ”You’re a slut” […………………………………………..Democrat lawyers Rosenberg, Stein, Goodman, Lowenstein, and Loeb, ESQs, are ready to sue!!!! hehe]

  37. 48

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    GOP Ethics Panel Rebukes McDermott for Not Violating Rules

    In their last-ditch swipes at Democrats, the outgoing GOP House Ethics Committee, which managed to never find a single ethical lapse by any GOP lawmaker, issued a report saying Rep. Jim McDermott did not violate any congressional rules — but rebuked him anyway.

    So, in the “Alice In Wonderland” world of GOP ethics administration, Republicans who accept bribes or hit on pages get a free walk, but a Democrat who didn’t violate any rules gets rebuked. Can you say “partisan asswipes?”

    “By Alicia Mundy
    “Seattle Times Washington bureau

    “WASHINGTON – In an end-of-year effort to wipe longstanding cases off its agenda, the House Ethics Committee on Monday rebuked U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott for leaking an illegally taped phone call between Republican congressmen a decade ago.

    “The committee’s carefully worded report said that McDermott, D-Seattle, did not violate congressional rules of conduct ….

    “In a statement, McDermott said, ‘I am pleased with the conclusion’ of the panel. …

    “The controversy began in January 1997 when Democratic supporters gave him a tape of a phone call between then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., Boehner, and other GOP leaders plotting a way to deal publicly with an ethics investigation of Gingrich. McDermott leaked it to The New York Times and other papers, whose resulting stories embarrassed Republicans who had participated in the call. …”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info, see

  38. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    More rats jump off Bush’s sinking ship!

    Man, I can hardly wait until the finger-pointing and recriminations begin in the GOP ranks! Dontcha just LOVE to watch Republicans EAT EACH OTHER? :)

  39. 51

    William "Icebox" Jefferson, Democrat, LA spews:

    A teenager responsible for a crime spree that sent police into a frenzy said he has no regrets in an interview about what led him to kill. Lavender Howse, 16, murdered one man, and shot a child and a woman within a matter of hours in June, 2005.

    From article:
    “Howse was convicted of shooting a security guard in cold blood, then minutes later shooting a nine year old in the face and another innocent woman walking her dog.
    (snip) Now in prison, he won’t even have a chance of freedom till he’s 81 years old. (snip) He has found God in prison, and has converted to Islam while in the Metro jail. [………..Just a young Democrat felon at play! And he votes!!! hehe]

  40. 52

    William "Icebox" Jefferson, Democrat, LA spews:

    Many Democrat Mooooooooooooooooslims say that Hitler did not kill any Jews. But Democrat Jews say he did. Goldie, Perhaps a Democrat “dialog” to clear this up?

  41. 54

    JCH SUXDICK spews:

    Too bad my mom and dad were brother and sister. Maybe that’s why I am a dicksucking, cowardly republican?

  42. 55

    Janet S spews:

    Why would we hand a large amount of our freedom to the state? That is what Goldy and everyone else who suggests public financing of races is really accomplishing. Yes, money equals power. If you cut off the private sources, then the state has all the power. And the media.

    Oh, BTW, the only problem with the judicial races is that someone managed to outspend the trial lawyers. Shouldn’t it be a conflict of interest for lawyers to donate to the judges who hear their cases? I say cut them off! Ban the money! No one gets to pay for anything! Let’s use rock/paper/scissors to decide!

  43. 56

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    REVOTE IN FL-13?

    DNC chair Howard Dean has called for a revote in Florida’s 13th CD race because of electronic voting machine irregularities.

    “SARASOTA – (AP) — … Howard Dean called for another election in the race to replace Rep. Katherine Harris, saying the declared Republican winner should not be sworn in until election questions are sorted out. ‘You cannot seat someone if you don’t have an election that’s valid,’ Dean said ….

    Democrat Christine Jennings … has sued for a new election … [and] said she will ask the U.S. House to take the extreme measure of conducting its own investigation into the election.

    “State officials certified Buchanan as the winner by just 369 votes. But Jennings claims that touch-screen voting machines in Sarasota County malfunctioned …. More than 18,000 Sarasota County voters who marked other races didn’t have a vote register in the House race, a rate much higher than in the rest of the district. …

    “‘You can bet that if the Republicans were 500 votes short they’d be calling for a new election …,’ Dean said.”

    “House May End Up in 13th District Feud

    “New York Times Regional Newspapers

    “There was talk of … court challenges … after Vern Buchanan’s narrow victory in the 13th Congressional District race, but the ultimate arbiter in the dispute could be … the Democrat-controlled U.S. House. …

    “‘Sarasota voters have been victimized by not having their vote count,’ Jennings said …. But recounts involving touch-screen systems, which lack a paper trail, are usually inconclusive, so this case could be headed for the courts, said Chris Sautter, a Democratic recount expert.

    “It would be ‘extraordinarily rare’ for a court to order a new election …, Sautter said. But a strong court case could pave the way for the incoming Democratic House to step in, since the U.S. Constitution makes the House the final arbiter in House races, he said. …

    “‘We’re been watching this closely …,’ said Lowell Finley, co-director and legal director for Voter Action, a national group formed in 2005 to challenge cases of voter fraud caused by electronic voting machines. ‘The results are extremely irregular, and the fact that a large number of votes don’t seem to be counted in just one race on these electronic machines is a very suspicious circumstance.’ …

    “At the heart of Jennings’ argument is that 18,382 voters who cast ballots didn’t vote for anyone in the 13th Congressional District race. That’s about 15,000 more ‘undervotes’ than in the last midterm election.”

    “Did voting machines steal a Democratic victory? In Katherine Harris’ old Florida district, more than 18,000 votes went missing — and a Republican won a House seat by 369 votes.

    “By Katharine Mieszkowski

    “Nov. 22, 2006 | … Florida election officials named Republican Vern Buchanan the victor in the race for the House seat that Katherine Harris … vacated to run for the Senate.

    “The Florida Elections Canvassing Commission, which is made up of Gov. Jeb Bush and two other elected Republican officials, … awarded the victory to Buchanan despite the fact that the mystery of more than 18,000 missing votes has not been resolved.

    “Neither candidate in the race is backing down … Democrat Christine Jennings filed suit in state court … charg[ing]that there was ‘pervasive malfunctioning’ of the touch-screen voting machines in the race.

    ” … Buchanan held a press conference calling on Jennings to concede …. Jennings responded …, ‘The voters of Sarasota and the entire country deserve answers about what went wrong with this voting system … Our next representative to the U.S. Congress should be chosen by the will of the people, and not by a problem in the voting machine.’

    “… [V]oting rights groups filed their own lawsuit demanding a new election.

    “The recount that officials conducted last week did little to resolve the controversy in the district’s Sarasota County, where the 18,000 votes went missing and where many voters who cast ballots on ES&S iVotronic voting machines complained of problems. Some said the congressional race simply did not show up on the ballot when they voted. Others said that although they remembered voting in the race, when they got to the review screen, the system told them that they had not cast a ballot for either Buchanan or Jennings … before Election Day, some of those voters casting ballots in early voting complained of similar problems.

    ” … The problems could explain the large ‘undervote’ in the county in the House race, where more than 18,380 people who voted in other races — more than 13 percent of the voters casting ballots in the county — simply did not register a vote for either candidate in the Jennings-Buchanan contest.

    “Since Jennings carried Sarasota County, and Buchanan’s margin of victory in the race — just 369 votes — was so small, Jennings contends she would have been elected had the machines functioned properly. Jennings won in Sarasota County with 53 percent of the vote, compared to Buchanan’s 47 … if Sarasota County had had an undervote rate similar to the other neighboring counties, which ranged from 2.2 to 5.3 percent of all ballots cast, and had the missing voters split the way the rest of the county did, going 53 to 47 for Jennings, Jennings would have won the election by between 200 and 600 votes.

    “The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that while more Jennings than Buchanan supporters complained to the paper of problems, both Republicans and Democrats reported the glitches.

    ” … [A] coalition of nonprofit watchdog groups, including Voter Action, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, People for the American Way and the ACLU of Florida, filed their own suit in Florida state court on behalf of nine voters and two poll workers in the district. They asked that a new election be held for the voters in the county who used the touch-screen voting machines.

    “Initially, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, a Republican, tried to dismiss the undervote in Sarasota by suggesting that voters simply chose to sit out this race in protest after a nasty campaign. But that explanation didn’t hold water, since the undervote rates in the very same race in the neighboring counties ranged between just 2.2 and 5.3 percent.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Republican election supervisor; 13% of the vote in a Democratic county goes missing … this stinks to high heaven. But I don’t like the idea of a revote, for several reasons, because you’d have different people voting than on Nov. 7. I think a court or the full House should decide this case according to a preponderance of the evidence — the universal standard of proof for civil cases in our system.

  44. 57

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Keep in mind that when people set out to steal elections by stuffing the ballot box or rigging voting machines, they don’t want to draw attention to their fraudulent activity, so unless they’re stupid they’ll steal just enough votes to put their candidate over the top.

    Notice how Bush “won” in 2000 by one state, and only 537 votes in that state? Notice how Bush was “re-elected” in 2004 by the electoral votes of one state — a state in which there were widespread irregularities? Notice how Vern Buchanan “won” in Florida’s 13th CD in 2006 by only 369 votes — after over 18,000 votes in the district’s most Democratic county disappeared inside the black boxes of paperless, unauditable touch-screen voting machines?

    Wingnuts may attempt to argue that the sweeping Democratic victories on Nov. 7, 2006 proved that voting machines weren’t hacked and elections weren’t stolen. Wrong. Once again, irregularites and voting machine problems were reported all over the country. But Democrats won anyway because GOP election thieves underestimated the size of the anti-GOP vote — and consequently didn’t steal enough votes.

    Some sources estimate the net result of bogus voter challenges, voter intimidation and disinformation campaigns, and ballot box stuffing and voting machine hacking was to give the GOP a 3 million to 4.5 million “vote” advantage going into the election. Considering the Democrats had to overcome this disadvantage — and also had to overcome the effects of GOP-controlled redistricting in many states — puts in true perspective the depth and intensity of voter anger at the GOP. It’s lynching time, folks!

    And George W. Bush is playing with fire if he thinks he can ignore the Iraq Study Commission and “stay the course” in his failed military adventure when polls show only 17% of the public still supports his Iraq policy while 83% oppose it. Those are impeachment numbers.

  45. 58

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 56

    Yes, this is all very suspicious why Sarasota County has such a high undervote rate. But is it really a Democrat county? And did the errors or anamolies with the high undervote really hurt the Democrat more than the Republican?

    In Sarasota County, Florida, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by 117,541 to 77,873:


    And in 2004, Katherine Harris carried Sarasota County by 97,605 to 86,466:

    United States Representative
    District: 13
    County Katherine Harris
    (REP) Jan Schneider
    Charlotte 6,112 4,955
    DeSoto 5,611 3,634
    Hardee 5,003 2,104
    Manatee 76,146 56,802
    Sarasota 97,605 86,466
    Total 190,477 153,961
    % Votes 55.3% 44.7%


    True, there could have been a lot of Republicans in Sarasota County crossing over to vote Democrat. That seems to happen in Sarasota County — they never gave George W Bush nearly the margin that party registration numbers would suggest, nor Katherine Harris for that matter. On the other hand, they really loved Jeb Bush in 2002 and gave a decent margin in 2006 to the successful GOP candidate for Governor. And they sure hated Harris for Senator in 2006.

    United States Representative
    District: 13
    County Vern Buchanan
    (REP) Christine Jennings
    Charlotte 4,460 4,277
    Desoto 3,471 3,058
    Hardee 2,629 1,686
    Manatee 50,117 44,432
    Sarasota 58,632 65,487
    Total 119,309 118,940
    % Votes 50.1% 49.9%

    Nevertheless, maybe the mysteriously large undercount in Sarasota County eliminated more Republican votes than Democrat votes? Could this explain a Democrat carrying a county where Republicans significantly outnumber Democrats?

    I would also note that Manatee County has a less pronounced Republican registration edge over Democrats: 87,291 to 64,498. However, Manatee County voted for the GOP candidate for Congress at a higher percentage than Sarasota County in 2006, as well as in 2004.

  46. 59

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Meanwhile, with everyone’s attention focused on Iraq, most Americans have overlooked the fact Bush’s war in Afghanistan is going to hell, too:

    “Afghanistan war nears ‘tipping point’

    “Government support is flagging, NATO is split on strategy, and Taliban fighters are revitalized.

    “By Laura King and David Holley, Times Staff Writers
    “December 9, 2006

    “‘People previously were repelled by the fanaticism of the Taliban, but anger at Americans is growing.’ — Talat Masood, independent analyst and retired Pakistani general

    “KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — The conflict in Afghanistan has entered a dangerous phase, and the next three to six months could prove crucial in determining whether the United States and its NATO partners can suppress a revitalized enemy — or will be dragged into another drawn-out and costly fight with an Islamic insurgency, according to senior military and security officials and diplomats. …

    “Popular support for the central government is faltering, and Western military allies are deeply divided over how best to combat the insurgency … the Taliban has regained the strength to dominate large swaths of Afghanistan …. [o]bservers point to an inexorable upward trend in … suicide attacks, roadside bombs and border clashes.”

    Quoted under fair use; for complete story and/or copyright info see

  47. 60

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Afghanistan — the war we ought to fight and must win — is being starved of military resources because of Bush’s derailed Iraq adventure. The Russians occupied Afghanistan with 130,000 troops and were defeated; we’re trying to occupy it with 11,000 American troops and 32,000 total U.S.-coalition troops, and it’s not working.

  48. 61

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    58 Richard, you sure have a knack for finding arcane facts on the internet. How did you manage to overlook the fact tht Jennings carried Sarasota County by 53% to 47%?

  49. 62

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    55 Are you shit-faced again, Janet? How does public financing give the state control over campaigns? The candidates can spend the money however they want — on mailings, TV, yard signs, etc. As for your rock-paper-scissors idea — that’s about your speed! Yes, that’s exactly what I would expect a wingnut ignoramus to come up with — chose judges by lottery! No wonder they call you “Janet Stupid.”

  50. 63

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It sure was nice and quiet around here while JCH was working on the roadside cleanup crew as part of his work release.

  51. 65

    Richard Pope spews:

    Anyway, there is clearly something wrong with the voting machines in Sarasota County, and just in this one particular race:

    The undervote on absentee ballots (paper, I guess) is less than 3%, while it is about 1/6 in early voting and election day voting, which are on machines.

    And the machine undervoting rate is spread through the entire county. Hard to say whether it is higher in Buchanan or Jennings precincts, or how it correlates with party strengths in other races. (Darryl’s computer skills are needed here.)

  52. 66

    Mike Webb SUCKS spews:

    In another thread the libtard idiot Senator Prescott”Nazi Traitor” Bush says: re 73:

    If one guy has $1,000,000 and is taxed at 10%, he then has $900,000.
    If another guy has $20,000 and is taxed at 10%, he then has $18,000.
    If the guy with $1,000,000 is taxed at 90%, he still has $100,000.

    In your mind, then, “fairness” means taxing the man with $20,000 at a 90% rate. If you think like that you are living in a purely theoretical world that has no relation to reality and you end up out of power — forever — because you are clinically crazy. 12/08/2006 at 9:56 pm

    The utter stupidity of a lifeless Moonbat!

    The first guy is taxed at 28% so he pays $280,000.
    The second guy is taxed $2000. But he can qualify for tax breaks and other low income government adjustments. The first guy still pays more in tax every year, than the second guy makes in 5, 6, 7, or 8 years even after deductions. That’s income redistribution. Something lost on a Moonbat!

  53. 67

    Mike Webb SUCKS spews:

    Didn’t Goldie ask for your money for Darcy Moonbat!? Wasn’t that money that talks trash?