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It's A Plains Shame

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Posted 9/23/2005 | Politics: Last Monday, Jimmy Carter said he believes Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election. When will this fable-feeding partisan nonsense ever end?

The former president from Georgia should know better. But he, like so many other embittered Democrats, has become immune to factual argument.

"Well, I would say that in the year 2000, the country failed abysmally in the presidential election process," Carter, the man from Plains, Ga., said at American University in Washington, D.C. "There's no doubt in my mind that Al Gore was elected president."

There should be little doubt in anyone's mind that Carter's statement was motivated by either an irrational loathing of the man who won or is the product of intellectual laziness. It's indisputable that George W. Bush was the lawful winner the 2000 election. At no time after the polls closed did Gore ever hold a lead. Bush still led at the end of the recounts.

Even the media group that sifted through the Florida ballots found that Bush was the winner. When using the counting standard supported by Gore, it found that Bush's official 537-vote margin moved to 1,665.

In fact, "under almost all scenarios, Bush still would have won," Martin Merzer wrote in the April 4, 2001, Miami Herald, which led the media examination.

Of course Carter offered no hard evidence for his claim. "In my opinion," Carter mused, Gore "received the most votes in Florida."

But Carter had a bogeyman, five of them, actually, ready to offer to a crowd that clearly shared his fetid imagination.

"The decision was made as you know on a 5-4 vote on a highly partisan basis by the U.S. Supreme Court, so I would say in 2000, there was a failure."

And the Florida Supreme Court, with every justice a Democratic appointee and none a recognized conservative, wasn't operating in a partisan manner? The only reason the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in was to stop the Florida court's blatant attempt to fix the election.

Oh, yes, this, too: There was a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But it was the 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gets ignored that said "there are constitutional problems with the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court" and reversed that court's decision.

That 5-4 decision Carter referred to that the left uses to wave the bloody partisan shirt and point out how close the ruling was? It merely said there was no time to conduct a recount with uniform standards that wouldn't violate the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.

Carter's inability to accept these facts about an election in his own country, the most heavily scrutinized election in history, casts a mass of doubt on his ability to make a lucid examination of an election.

But then we've known that. Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has traveled abroad for years as an official observer, habitually legitimizing the elections of dictators and other unsavory characters, most recently Hugo Chavez last year in Venezuela.

Economists Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Roberto Rigobon of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at the numbers and said there was less than a 1% chance that Venezuela's 2004 recall referendum was honest. Carter and other monitors were shown only what their keepers wanted them to see.

But that must have been fine with the former president. It seems like Carter never met a dictator that he didn't like. He's patronized such fine citizens as Yassar Arafat, Leonid Brezhnev and Daniel Ortega. So how bad can it be to install Chavez in the tyrant's seat?

Apparently not as bad as allowing a duly elected president to sit in the White House if that president's name is George Bush.

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