12 October 2004

Bush v. Gore

Digby has an amazing post about the implications of Bush v. Gore that I found through mighty Atrios.

Most striking for me, he talks about the Gore team's decision not to try for a statewide recount. Reading Jake Tapper's Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency, I somehow didn't find it convincing that the Gore team feared that a call for a statewide recount would have been overreaching. This always struck me as the point at which Gore lost the unambiguous moral high ground. But Digby quotes the recent Vanity Fair article, which makes this more clear.

The Bush team knew full well that Gore could not have asked for a statewide recount, because there was no provision for it in Florida law. A losing candidate had 72 hours to request a manual recount on a county-by-county basis or wait until the election was certifed to pursue a statewide recount. The requests had to be based on perceived errors, not just the candidate's wish to see recounts done. Certainly, Gore chose counties that seemed likely to yield Gore votes. But he chose them because that's where the problems were.

Proper as this was by Florida election law, the Democrats' strategy gave Baker the sound bite he'd been seeking: Gore was just cherrypicking Democratic strongholds. It was a charge the Bush team wielded to devastating effect in the media, stunning the Gore team, which thought its strategy would be viewed as modest and fair.

Check out what Digby has to say; it's long, but well worth it.

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