Here’s a Proposal: Republicans Stop Saying That Obama’s a Muslim, and Democrats Stop Saying that The Supreme Court “Stole” The Presidency For Bush

Law professor/blogger Ann Althouse properly chastises The National Review’s Jonathan Cohn for designating “Bush v. Gore” as the most earth-shattering case of the 21st Century, and not just because the case, decided in December of 2000, occurred in the 20th Century.

“Ridiculous! I can’t believe Cohn doesn’t know that if the case had gone the other way Gore would still have lost in the end!”, Althouse writes, reminding her readers of the results of the objective, meticulous and multiple recounts performed by journalists in 2001, which showed—much to the surprise of the counters, who were dying to be able to report that Gore had been robbed—that “George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida’s disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used.”

I can believe Cohn wrote what he wrote, because the claim that Bush’s presidency was “stolen” has been a cornerstone of Democratic political warfare and unscrupulous hard Left activists since the chad-counting stopped. It stoked the base, misled the public, increased partisan anger, divided the country and undermined Bush’s presidency, all good things from a partisan perspective (and the truth be damned), just as Republicans have been happy to allow the unjustified doubts about President Obama’s loyalty and citizenship linger among its most fanatic partisans.

Both lies have illicitly undermined trust in our institutions (not that there haven’t been plenty of valid reasons for that too), and the Bush v. Gore canard has also seriously damaged faith in the Supreme Court and the rule of law.

The judicial reasoning of the majority ruling in the case, which to all intents and purposes settled the 2000 Presidential contest with Bush the victor, can be legitimately challenged, and there is persuasive legal scholarship on both sides. It is also fair to note that it was just chance—moral luck—that the subsequent recount showed Bush to be the likely winner; it could just as easily have shown the opposite. But it did not. One can argue that the case was wrongly decided; one can argue that the justices were biased; you can argue that the Electoral College should be abolished, but to continue to say that the election was “stolen” is indefensible and willfully dishonest.

It should have stopped ten years ago, and anyone who continues to spread the lie should be called on it and condemned, as Althouse did with Cohn.

And Obama isn’t a Muslim, either.

13 thoughts on “Here’s a Proposal: Republicans Stop Saying That Obama’s a Muslim, and Democrats Stop Saying that The Supreme Court “Stole” The Presidency For Bush

    • Because there was no 0 AD, 100 was technically the end of the First Century; consequently, 200 was the end of the Second Century, and so on.

    • I would like to note as well that we did not celebrate the new millennium (And thus the dawn of the 21st century) in 2001, but in 2000. Which suggests that the year 2000 was indeed in this century.

      Regardless, I sigh inside every time I see someone claim either- but the Muslim claims I can at least chalk up to ignorance, which is excusable. There isn’t an excuse anymore for the chads crap. Get over it people, it was 11+ years ago. Bush isn’t even in office anymore.

  1. The “2000 vs 2001” issue was briefly discussed publicly at the time, but the MSM being heavily populated with those not well versed in such things, and that the “00” thing was “just too cool”… well, the misconcept (if that is a real word) that the century began in 2000 prevailed.

    Remember, if a poll had been taken in June of 1492 the the results would have been highly favorable to the world being flat (and that Chris would fall off the edge before reaching India). The public only knows what it is told, not necessarily what is.

    • I’d point out that in educated society of Columbus’ time (and among all experienced deep water sailors) it was an accepted fact that the world was spherical. And This Guy is absolutely correct. We inevitably celebrated the beginning of the 21st Century on January 1st, 2000, but- because there was no Year Zero- the century truly began on that date in 2001.

      In the 2000 election, Gore tried hard to bring Florida into his camp by selective recounts in Democrat-heavy counties, such as Palm Beach. However, even with multiple recounts and with partisan Democrat participants who proclaimed “Gore” with every disputed ballot (with no more than a glance!), it still became clear that Bush’s lead was only widening. At last, they gave up to concentrate on building up the myth of a stolen election in order to maximize their future chances and delegitimize Bush’s administration. They still parrot this today.

  2. “[T]he claim that Bush’s presidency was ‘stolen’ has been a cornerstone of Democratic political warfare” isn’t true. Since it’s not true — and in fact obviously not true — you probably shouldn’t say it.

    Gore conceded that the installation of Bush as President was entirely legal and proper. And no leading Democrat has contested that. And no leading Democrat made or has has made a major issue of it, nor have any of the leading public intellectuals associated with with the Democratic party. Nor was there any kind of sustained campaign to make this an issue in the elections of 2004 or 2006. In fact, it wasn’t raised as an issue at all. AT ALL. OK?

    There was some intermittent minor grumbling on internet forums, and by a handful of B-list and C-list bloggers. And that’s essentially it. Considering the fairly sketchy legal and political maneuverings that went down, and given that it is at best unproven that Bush would have certainly won a state-wide recount, I think that the Democratic party, the Democratic establishment, and the mass of the Democratic rank and file showed considerable restraint.

    Richard Nixon showed similar restraint when he declined to make an issue of Richard Daley’s possible, even probable, shenanigans in Illinois which may well have cost Nixon the 1960 election. I never thought I would say this, but we should all hope for the day when the Republican party is again led by people of at least the character, integrity, and patriotism of Richard Nixon.

    But those days are over, for now. Norman Ornstein from the American Enterprise Institute — the American Enterprise Institute! — was interviewed by Judy Woodruff tonight. In response to question “What’s at the bottom of this [mess]?”, he said “[T]he fact is, it’s asymmetric polarization, Judy. Right now, what we have seen is an unwillingness by a minority party, defined as a party that doesn’t hold the White House, the Republicans, to provide any votes for anything that President Obama would support…”

    (Here’s the transcript:

    I guess if I found myself well to the right of *Norman Ornstein* on questions of this nature, I’d wonder on what planet in this solar system I could possibly consider myself to be “non-partisan” or bi-partisan.

    I get that it would probably be impossible for you to ever say to yourself “you know, it’s not he-said-she-said anymore. One of the two major political parties of the earth’s most powerful nation is going badly off the tracks, and that’s a problem”. Maybe you need to live in a world where Rush Limbaugh and Ward Cunningham are equally influential and balance each other and you can split the difference and chastise them equally.

    But you could *try”. Right? You could try. Because when people such as you who are, or aspire to be, public intellectuals live in a world where things are aren’t so are proclaimed to be so, this is not helpfu to any of use in the long run, I don’t think.

    • It is true. Chris Matthews has suggested it; Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, The Nation, The New Republic, and many, many more respected left-leaning columnists and commentators, not merely fringe bloggers as you suggest. CBS’s anchor Scott Pelley, interviewing Justice Stevens, asked him if HE agreed that the election had been stolen. (Stevens said no.)

      The accusation is all over the web, it is true—like at the the site Various academics on the left have had no problem accusing SCOTUS of “stealing” the election, Gwendolyn Mink, Professor of Politics at the University of California. As for Democratic leaders, they usually used the form of saying–“joking”— that Gore was “elected”—which he was not. I heard Joe Lieberman do this twice. Harry Reid suggested in an interview that the 2004 election was stolen…I can’t find it, but if he’s do that, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t supporting those who made the claim about the 2000 election. Rep. Carrie Meek, among others, made the stolen election claim to a crowd.

      As for Gore, when he was asked the question directly by the Times–in 2008!!!, we got this:

      “On whether he believed the Supreme Court stole the 2000 presidential election with its decision in Bush v. Gore:

      “I’ve chosen not to challenge the rule of law, because in our system there really is no intermediate step between a Supreme Court decision and violent revolution. When the Supreme Court makes a decision, no matter how strongly one disagrees with it, one faces a choice –are we, in John Adams’ phrase, a nation of laws, or is it a contest made on raw power?”

      That’s a provocative non-answer, designed to keep the lie alive. He doesn’t say, “Of course not, though I disagree with the Court’s reasoning.” He says. “we have no choice but to accept it.” That’s what I’m talking about. That was the Democratic approach—noble victims of an election that wasn’t legitimate.

      The fact that the question is asked by Pelley and the Times proves my point. The doubt has been planted, and it was the Democrats who planted it. There is no more justification for asking whether the 2000 election was stolen than to ask whether one thinks the Holocaust occurred, the moon landing happened, or whether Obama is a citizen. Asking the question legitimizes the lie.

      • Harry Reid suggested in an interview that the 2004 election was stolen…I can’t find it,

        You should seriously consider the possibility that your memory is mistaken.

        Harry Reid was a major Democratic player in 2004 (as he is today). It’s simply not plausible that he could have made such a statement in 2004 without there being a great deal of evidence of it on the web.

  3. There is no reasonable, fact-based argument that Obama is a secret Muslim. In contrast, there are reasonable, fact-based arguments that had all the votes been properly counted — or had many legitimate voters not been disenfranchised by the Florida government — Gore would have won the presidency.

    But that doesn’t mean that the Supreme Court cost Gore the election. Gerry Pomper of Rutgers summed up the facts well:

    In the end, there is no single statistical “reality” to the Florida vote, and the consequent presidential election. Shaped by politics as much as arithmetic, the recount results abound in irony. If the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed the recount to proceed, its evident preference for Bush would have been fulfilled, without bringing disdain upon the Court. If Gore’s attempt to limit the recount to four presumably friendly counties had succeeded, he would have lost his effort at vindication. If the vice-president were willing to challenge the late military ballots, he would have gained considerably. If Bush’s lawyers had won their demand for a state-wide recount, they would have lost the election.

    That’s not as simplistic as the “Bush won, and dems who disagree are being dishonest” argument that you make in your post, but it has the advantage of being truthful.

    the Bush v. Gore canard has also seriously damaged faith in the Supreme Court and the rule of law.

    The Supreme Court has no right to be free of criticism. The Bush v Gore decision probably didn’t change the outcome of the election; but it was an unprincipled and partisan decision, and it’s unfair to expect Democrats to refrain from criticizing that. When the Supreme Court does something unethical that reveals that the judges are unprincipled partisan actors, the resulting loss of faith in the Court is the fault of Court — not of the Court’s critics.

    • Barry, “stole the election”…or various innuendos implying the same thing— is exactly as I described it…a lie. I agree, and said, that there can be legitimate criticism of the decision, not that I agree with it. Your characterization, however, is pure confirmation bias and slander. The Florida Supreme Ct.’s decision that was overturned was a reversal of existing Florida law. The SCOTUS decision reversing it was not 5-4, but decisive. The liberal wing’s minority opinions in the 5-4 decision to end the recount were every bit as influenced by partisan bias as the other side (which is not to say either was in bad faith), and the decision itself prevented a drawn out delay in moving forward that would never have been resolved with complete certainty, and would divide the country further every second it was continued.

      Criticism of SCOTUS is fine—attacking the integrity of the best and most distinguished judges in the country is not, which is what the Democrats…and YOU…do by accusing the majority of partisanship. The conservative justices have bucked conservative positions plenty–it’s a slur.

      The 2000 fiasco was caused by Al Gore’s failure to rise to the statesmanship level shown by Richard Nixon in 1960, and by the Florida courts changing the state’s election rules after the vote…and by Gore’s self-serving, too-cute-by-half tactic of calling for a recount only in precincts where he thought he could pick up votes (because Democrats were doing the counting.)

      During the recount, I predicted ( I wasn’t the only one) that the Court would end it because that was the only way it would end short of a horrible fight in the House and Senate, because that was what in the best interest of the country. I just thought the majority would be larger…why the liberal wing’s members couldn’t see that this was a special situation where the Court had to deal with a potential constitutional crisis, I don’t know. It was a heroic decision….and I would have felt the same way if the party’s positions were reversed.

      For the record, I think the lie that the Supreme Court stole the election is more damaging and irresponsible than the Muslim fantasy. It wouldn’t make any difference if Obama WERE a Muslim—or a Scientologist, a Hindu or an atheist. The president’s religion doesn’t matter. Stealing an election matters.

      • Barry, “stole the election”…or various innuendos implying the same thing— is exactly as I described it…a lie.

        Well, it would be hard to discuss this unless we first agree on what “stealing the election” consists of.

        I do think it’s obvious that the decision made by the Conservative majority would never have been made by those same conservatives had Bush’s and Gore’s positions been reversed. The decision itself was strained — so much so that they took the radical step of saying that the decision should never be taken as precedent, and would only ever apply to the Bush v Gore race.

        (You say “nah nah, the liberals were partisan too.” But that doesn’t matter; a partisan and dishonest majority decision is not magically made legitimate by the claim that other people are also bad actors.)

        Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s true that the Supreme Court “stole the election,” because I don’t think that their decision changed the outcome of the election.

        That said, there are certainly many democrats who honestly believe that the Supreme Court, acting in bad faith, changed the outcome of the election. I would describe those folks as “mistaken,” not “lying.”

        Criticism of SCOTUS is fine—attacking the integrity of the best and most distinguished judges in the country is not, which is what the Democrats…and YOU…do by accusing the majority of partisanship. The conservative justices have bucked conservative positions plenty–it’s a slur.

        Bush v. Gore was a special case, because the Justices believed they were deciding who would choose their own replacements. By declaring Bush the winner of the election, the five conservatives guaranteed that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court would be continued (whereas if Gore had been elected, that same majority would have been imperiled).

        The ridiculous conflict of interest raised by five Conservatives on the SCOTUS choosing the person who will choose their successors is obvious, and virtually everyone in the country who is not a conservative can see that.

        It’s true that the Conservatives on the Court have occasionally made decisions that conservatives disagree with (although not often, and usually only when the law is extremely clear-cut, not when there’s a 5/4 split). But none of those decisions mattered as much to them as the outcome of Bush v Gore. It’s easy to occasionally rise above partisanship when you have nothing personally at stake; the real question is, how do you act when something genuinely important to you is what’s at stake? And when faced with that test, the five Conservatives on the Court issued a ridiculous and obviously unprincipled decision.

        What the courts — both at the Florida level, and at SCOTUS level — should have demanded is a full, fair and consistent recount of the entire state, using a single standard for the entire state. Neither Bush’s demand that vote-counting be halted, nor Gore’s demand that just a handful of areas with Democrat majorities be recounted, were honest, ethical, or what was best for democracy.

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