Who Really Won?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Olbermann Says Republicans Should Think Of History

Keith Olbermann thinks the Republicans should take the letter from the House Democrats (and those 34 questions) seriously....

But posterity is a stern taskmaster. At the time, the election disaster of 1876 was wrapped up nicely, with Rutherford Hayes taking the oath early in 1877, and Samuel Tilden slipping into the backwaters of history. But ask any American of any political stripe about 1876, and if they paid attention in one Social Studies class in High School, they’re likely to tell you that was the year the presidency was stolen. A comprehensive study of the machinations that permitted the seating of a man who won neither the popular nor the electoral vote - and the awful consequences for the South of the resulting enabling compromise - was published as recently as last year (Roy Morris’s Fraud Of The Century).

It is neither wild speculation nor partisan sour grapes to suggest that unless Blackwell promptly answers the 34 questions raised in the Democrats’ letter, the 2004 election will meet a similar historical fate. With the exponential growth in the rapidity of research, the issue, unless settled now by thorough and transparent investigation, could trickle gradually into the collective public consciousness - and far sooner than did the Hayes/Tilden fiasco. It should be assumed that even if the day-to-day chroniclers of such things in the media find Ohio’s vote too complicated, or too unlikely to alter the outcome, investigators and historians will populate the bookshelves of the nation with scathing analyses, even dismissals, of the 2004 vote - probably even before the nation again goes to the polls.

Logic must suggest to the more sober of the Republicans that this needs to be addressed now. A party trumpeting the already-exaggerated claims that its vote majority owes largely to the “Moral Values” issues has got to be aware of the potential for long-term damage that continuing a stonewall answer to those 34 questions (and others) can wreak. I only have to look away from this screen for a second, to my small collection of political campaign buttons, to underscore the wisdom of this warning. One of mine reads “The ‘I’ in Nixon stands for integrity.”