Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
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Home » Archives » July 2004 » We report, you decide....

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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.

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.
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.

Len on 07.14.04 @ 08:39 AM CST


Replies: 3 comments

on Wednesday, July 14th, 2004 at 2:06 PM CST, mike hollihan said

Two things going on here that need addressing separately:

First, this whole talk of what to do about elections was prompted by real life events. 9/11 happened on the day of a major election in New York; no one had considered to prepare for such an eventuality because it was so far out there to the thinking of the time. (How odd does that sound today?) Then we have the bombing in Madrid near their election date, which was intended to influence those elections.

There is a legitimate concern that just such a thing will happen in America this Fall. I fear it, certainly. So, we need to have plans in place to deal with it, because it is now "thinkable" that it will happen.

Manish' point is something else altogether. "Suppose something happens near the election date that might influence people's opinions about the candidates?" Well, duh!! That happens all the time, since time immemorial. Think Schwarzeneggar and the LAT article about his "groping" right before the election, or the "story" of Bush's alcoholism in 2000. That's just the nature of things.

Taken to absurd lengths, should we have delayed the election of 1930? Hoover was swamped by the Depression, one of the worst events in American history. Shouldn't he have been given time to correct it, or shouldn't people have been given time to get past it, so they wouldn't vote with their emotions?

If Kerry was a strong candidate, it wouldn't matter. He could stand up and say, "You see? I warned you." and people would flock to him to change things. Do you think that would happen? Obviously, neither does Manish, which is why the whinging.

Sheesh. The Democrats always come down to this. "People are too emotional and easily manipulated to let them decide for themselves. They need cool, rational, appointed bureaucrats to keep society on an even keel."

Find a strong candidate, elaborate a clear vision and platform with good policies. The Democrats got sent to the woodshed in the Nineties for losing their way, and this is their new strategy? Accept your coming whipping like men and women. Go away for a while and re-invent yourselves yet again.

on Wednesday, July 14th, 2004 at 2:07 PM CST, mike hollihan said

Ooops! I meant Billmon instead of Manish! Very sorry about that, Manish.

on Thursday, July 15th, 2004 at 7:26 AM CST, Len Cleavelin said

It strikes me that it's an issue that should be handled at the local level vice the federal level. The chances of an attack of such a magnatude requiring a nationwide curtailment of elections seem slim to me.

Though jeez, give Billmon credit for trying to put out a suggestion that there might be some legitimacy to exploring the postponement issue that *isn't* part and parcel of a conspiracy theory involving the bAdministration's using such an attack to make Shrub Dictator-for-Life or something like that.


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