The Portable GOP Demonstrationgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Friday November 24 10:39 PM EST
The Portable GOP Demonstration
Nov. 24 - Suspicious of Miami-Dade election officials' sudden decision to stop the manual vote recount, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman and six congressmen today accused Republicans of orchestrating a demonstration to intimidate the county elections board.
Until Wednesday, the heavily Democratic Miami-Dade was one of the three Florida counties conducting recounts in the still-unresolved presidential election. On that day, in an apparent exercise of spontaneous public outrage, pro-George W. Bush demonstrators surged through the county office building in Miami-Dade County, demanding an end to the hand recount there. The shouting demonstrators accused Democratic election officials of taking the count behind closed doors and apparently contributed to one election supervisor's vote to end the hand recount.
"If what I'd envisioned worked out and there were no objections, we'd be up there now counting," election supervisor David Leahy said.
But that demonstration, ABCNEWS has learned, was neither spontaneous, nor local. It was an organized Republican Party protest, run by 75 party supporters out of a motor home headquarters in Miami. Today, six Democratic congressmen suggested the Bush campaign was behind the allegedly orchestrated protest and sent a letter to the Justice Department urging it "to investigate what may be an egregious effort to undermine" the right of voters in Miami-Dade County.
"According to many published reports, unruly and violent protestors managed to create a climate of fear and intimidation, with the intent of preventing the canvassing board from completing its difficult task," the letter said. "The actions ... included punching and kicking individuals, pounding on doors, screaming threats and other intimidating acts."
The letter was signed by Reps. Peter Deutsch and Carrie Meek, both of Florida, Sheila Jackson Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson, both of Texas, William Jefferson of Louisiana and Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington, D.C.
Democratic Process or Intimidation?
In a statement this afternoon, Lieberman called the demonstrations a "disservice to our democracy" and called on protesters to stop their bully tactics.
"These demonstrations were clearly designed to intimidate and to prevent a simple count of votes from going forward," said Lieberman, speaking to reporters outside the vice presidentís residence in Washington. "This is a time to honor the rule of law, not surrender to the rule of the mob. We need a fair count of the ballots in question and that must include freedom from intimidation."
But representatives of the Bush campaign suggested that Lieberman's complaints were disingenuous, noting that Democrats did not complain when the Rev. Jesse Jackson organized protests in Palm Beach County last week.
"Where was Joe Lieberman when Jesse Jackson organized Democratic protests in Palm Beach County to protest on behalf of Al Gore?" asked Bush campaign spokesman Ari Fleischer. "Why didnít he publicly disclaim those protests? Today's remarks are the latest example of Al Gore saying one thing, while doing another." Now the Republican demonstrators and their motor home are in Broward County, where a manual recount is still ongoing.
"There are paid political operatives from out of state who have come down to South Florida" and helped stop the recount in Miami, said Congressman Deutsch. "I think we need to immediately have a federal investigation of this attempt to stop a fair and accurate count."
But Republican Party lawyer Theodore Olson told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America he thought the protests were part of the democratic process.
"If citizens of the United States are voluntarily objecting to the process where the rules change, and where Democratic officials take these ballots behind closed doors where they can't be observers, I think American citizens are entitled to do that sort of thing," Olson said.
Motor Home Heads North
The motor home showed up at 8 a.m. today near the Broward County courthouse. They came in honking and shouting, and about 100 people poured out of it and other vehicles to start a demonstration. Some were recognized by reporters as the same people from the "spontaneous" Miami demonstration.
A smaller group of about 40 Republican protesters is marching outside the recount in Palm Beach County, but they don't seem to be from the Miami motor home.
In Miami, they said they were there to help the media.
"We provide a service for you, for our surrogates who you want to speak to," one operative said when approached by ABCNEWS.
But they also got directly involved in leading demonstrations, and were even willing to dress up in seasonal outfits to provide so-called protester color for local news reports.
The Republican demonstrators said they were from all over the country, including Washington, D.C., and New York.
With security much heavier in Broward than Miami-Dade, the protesters are staying put outside the building. From their position, the protesters would have to pass several layers of police protection, take two elevators and walk several hundred feet inside the building to get to the recount site. Protester-free, the recount is continuing quietly in a room in the north wing of the courthouse.
Democrats seem to be laying low at the Broward protests, though they've been flying their own supporters in by the dozens daily. They're relying on local sheriffs to keep order, Democrats said.
Deutsch said Democrats were "using the rule of law in the United States of America to try and correct" what he described as "the efforts of the out-of-state paid political mob."
-- (In@political.news), November 25, 2000
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 25, 2000.
Tee Hee. So what did Deutsch have to say about the out-of-state Jesse Jackson who was trotted out on Day One?
-- Scarecrow (Somewhere@Over.Rainbow), November 25, 2000.
This is absolutely hilarious. The Democrat Party has been organizing and bussing people to Protests, sitins, and Demonstrations since before JFK was bumped off and now they are complaining that the Republicians finally decided to influence the political process too. Pot calling the kettle black? Hipocracy? Double standard? Sour grapes? The election board had already cancelled the elections once and were forced to reverse course. Hey morons, the reason the recount was canceled was that the All Democrat Florida Supreme Court ruling did not allow enough time to recount 640,000 votes and somebody did not understand that a recount of only part of the votes in the precincts where they could steal enough votes was not acceptable. Live and Learn. Some people never do. Congratulations to the Republicians for finally figuring out how to influence the process. These people were in mortal danger? HA HA HA.
-- Alphonse (BigAl@amazed.wow), November 25, 2000.
Ideas straight out of the Democrat hand book on how to influence public opinion and steal elections.
-- Ooops (Ooops@slipofthetongue.com), November 25, 2000.
Pubs discover demonstrating. Whoda thunk? Dems discover whimpering. Old news. Media discovers nothing but reveals its bias when the wrong team demonstrates.
-- Carlos (email@example.com), November 25, 2000.
"In Broward yesterday, a brick was thrown through a window at the county Democratic Party office. A note attached to the brick read: 'We will not tolerate any illegal government.'" -from Washington Post today
"This is absolutely hilarious. The Democrat Party has been organizing and bussing people to Protests, sitins, and Demonstrations since before JFK was bumped off and now they are complaining that the Republicians finally decided to influence the political process too."
There's a difference between protesting in organized groups peacefully, which is legal, and punching, kicking, and otherwise physically assaulting people or destroying property. That's illegal in this country, moron.
-- GOP Morons (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 25, 2000.