07/14/2004: We report, you decide....music: John Fogarty: Centerfield
I've had other things occupying my time and mental energies to the exclusion of the proposal by the bAdministration to delay the November elections in the event of a terrorist attack on the U.S., but just to show that there are two sides to every question, consider the opinions of Manish, the Damn Foreigner (good to see he's not dropped off the face of the earth):
Let me say that I think that is a bad idea. Election Day, in most respects, is just like any other day. People go to work, school, buy groceries and everything else. Along with that, many tragedies do occur. People die in car accidents, get hit by busses and have heart attacks or brain aneurysms. However, elections go on.... The only caveat I'd put to that is in the case that if one of the major candidates is killed, it might be prudent to hold off.with the opinions of Billmon:
I'm trying very hard not to be overly paranoid about this - which isn't easy considering the cast of characters involved. I don't know anything about Soaries or his political connections, and considering the administration's past patronage practices, I probably don't want to know.Frankly, I'm not sure where I stand on the proposal yet, though my native distrust of Bush and his puppetmeisters makes me nervous about the motives behind this proposal on general principle.
But before rushing to the conclusion that this is the opening move in a plot to overthrow the Constitution of the United States and make George "Baby Doc" Bush president for life (Shrub: Well, it would make things easier...) maybe we should try the following thought experiment:
Suppose that one week before election day, the United States is hit by a major terrorist attack - I mean a really big one, like a dirty bomb on the Washington Mall or a liquified gas tanker exploding in the port of a major American city.
Suppose that on the eve of the attack, national polls and the electoral math both show Kerry-Edwards clinging to a narrow lead over Bush-Cheney, one that appears sufficient, barely, to put the Democrats back in the White House.
Let's further suppose that a week after the attack, on the eve of the election, those same national polls show an enormous "rally around the President" effect, one that pushes Bush's approval ratings back towards 80% - not only enough to guarantee Shrub a landslide reelection victory, but also enough to sweep the Republicans to a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a 1932 or 1974-sized edge in our Chamber of People's Deputies.
Under those circumstances, would you want the election to be held as scheduled? Or would you rather it was postponed for a month, until the initial shock had passed and the voters had had a chance to consider whether the administration's incompetence and the relative indifference of the GOP Congress to homeland security needs might not have contributed to the disaster?
If your answer is yes, you definitely would want the election to go forward on the scheduled day, terrorist attack or no terrorist attack, then I guess you're entitled to regard any legal tampering as an automatic outrage.
But if your answer is no, you would not want the election to go forward on November 2 under the conditions I have described, then you have to acknowledge that some kind of legal mechanism needs to be created soon to allow someone in a position of national authority to make the call to postpone the election.
Len on 07.14.04 @ 08:39 AM CST