The new Republican line

The new Republican line is that all the mess going on down in Florida is the result of the Democrats’ decision to “depart from the rule of law.” (I’m calling this the new Republican line because they’re all using it on the Sunday morning shows – especially Sen. Fred Thompson on This Week.) But wait a second: aren’t law courts the font of the “rule of law”? I know there a difficulties aplenty with getting elections into the courtrooms. But for serious “rule of law” theorists the rule of law is all about independent courts, an independent judiciary, and – yes, god forbid – lawyers. Process, process, process! Procedure, procedure, procedure! Give two hypocrite points to the GOP on this one.

Several Talking Points readers have pointed out the answer to the apparent contradiction noted in last night’s post: i.e., why the Republicans are going ballistic over the hand-recounts at precisely the moment when those counts don’t seem to be going as well as the Democrats had hoped.

The answer? These unofficial estimates coming out of Broward and Palm Beach don’t include a growing stack of disputed ballots with dimpled chads and pregnant chads and so forth. Depending on how the Florida Supreme Court rules those ballots could throw the count decisively in Al Gore’s direction. So, yes, the Bush folks do have reason to be worried.

One more question. The new Republican battle cry is over these tossed out military absentee ballots that don’t have postmarks. The GOP is really sharpening the blade on this one – trying to characterize this as a Dem effort to disenfranchise soldiers. (Ahh … what a responsible thing to say.) But according to the New York Times, “In counties carried by Mr. Bush, 29 percent of the overseas ballots were ruled invalid, but in counties carried by Mr. Gore, the figure was 60 percent.” It sounds like Gore’s ox is being gored more than Bush’s. Are those tossed out ballots in the Gore counties military ballots or are they civilian ballots? That’s the question Talking Points hasn’t heard the answer to. The Times article seems to imply that the thrown out ballots in the Democratic counties were military ballots, but doesn’t quite say so.

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