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View Diary: Al Gore: NSA’s actions revealed by Snowden are “a threat to the heart of democracy.” (179 comments)

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  •  A national pol who doesn't think Constitution was (50+ / 0-)

    amended on 9/11--what an odd idea.  There's a broad Beltway consensus that the 2d Amendment (as interpreted by the NRA) still exists, as does the right to buy elections allegedly conferred by the 1st Amendment.  I guess that the 3d Amendment is still viable--no soldiers have sought lodging at my home yet.

    The rest of the Bill of Rights, however, had to be scrapped in the GWOT.  The 1st and the 4th Amendments as they were formerly understood are, in particular, clearly dead letters.  I guess that Gore's having a presidential election stolen from him protects him from that Groupthink.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 11:49:17 AM PDT

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    •  Gore did a piss-poor job (36+ / 0-)

      of contesting the election results, first by hiring a Republican lawyer (Boies) to represent him, then by presenting a remarkably weak case (challenging the vote count in certain counties in what was essentially a states'-rights -- and statewide -- matter), then by quashing any attempt to contest the results in the Senate.

      Gore earned his "defeat."  Maybe his heart wasn't in it; he's said himself that being a politician put him in a position where he had to make too many compromises.  And like Carter he's redeemed himself admirably ever since.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 12:09:00 PM PDT

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      •  I know where at least some bodies were buried here (18+ / 0-)

        in FL in '00.  If could discourse for hours on that travesty, but, thankfully, I don't have the time to do so right now.    

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 12:20:35 PM PDT

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        •  It Wasn't Gore's Defeat (0+ / 0-)

          This is something people are confused about. It wasn't Al Gore's election. It was the People's election.

          And that election wasn't, as Mr Gore has claimed, stolen from him.

          It was stolen from us.

          If he, and the majority of corrupt, spineless Democrats, had grasped this simple truth, then history may have gone differently.

          But Gore and his team were a bunch of elitest assholes who saw the recount in the most corrupt way - how can we peel off just enough votes to win?

          If they had approached it in the democratic way, which, as Democrats, you would think they would have, and fought for, demanded, that every single vote in Fla be recounted, we, the people, would have not only won a better president, we also would have won the battle over our democracy.

          Pleaswe, spread it around. Election don't belong to politicians. They belong to the people.

      •  It all came down to Lewinsky (16+ / 0-)

        had not Clinton done the deed, Gore could have used him to campaign and win in states where he lost. But he had to keep away from Bill's taint. You could say that a single 'blow job' cost the US more dearly than we could ever have imagined. I'll always be mad at Gore for not fighting harder and Clinton for being a jerk.

      •  Not to mention (10+ / 0-)

        telling those in Congress who did see irregularities in the election to Sit Down and Shut Up.

        What the hell was he thinking unless he really didn't want the job after all?

        You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

        by Johnny Q on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 12:44:56 PM PDT

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      •  there was no state law (6+ / 0-)

        allowing for a statewide recount. Florida election law at the time was poorly written (it has since been changed).

        The law is a technical thing. Judges are technical people, and they make decisions based on technicalities. Juries are another thing--but this was not a jury trial. Good lawyers are conservative, not necessarily politically, but in the sense that they generally seek arguments that have solid foundation in existing law and precedent, rather than trying to stake out novel ground on principle.

        The fact that a statewide recount was the right thing to do doesn't mean that the judges would have approved it. SCOFL doesn't rule on federal law, only Florida law. "States' rights" is not a thing a state court has any jurisdiction over.

        The Gore team might have argued to SCOFL that a state recount was justified on broader grounds of electoral fairness not explicitly guaranteed in Florida law, but it might have been struck down by SCOFL as being overbroad and without any basis in Florida law, and then valuable time would have been lost.

        The date of inauguration of a new president is fixed by the  Constitution, so they only had a limited time to act. It was a completely unprecedented situation, and they did what seemed best to them at the time. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but they had no benefit of hindsight. Not even we can say in hindsight that the judges would have ruled in Gore's favor if they had presented an argument based on fairness to the voters. We cannot read minds.

        As for the idea that Gore should have abused his office as president of the Senate (constitutionally limited to breaking ties) to help make himself president, that would have been simply throwing fuel on the fire and worsening the breach in the rule of law created by Bush v. Gore.

        SCOTUS had already shown itself to be totally corrupt, should he have done them one worse and used the power of his office to put the glittering crown on his own head? That would have been a conflict of interest that dwarfed SCOTUS'.

        He would have had to go before Congress and the whole world  and say "Fuck SCOTUS, fuck their bullshit verdict and the fuckin' horse it rode in on, make me king, not that shithead over there." Had he succeeded in getting his way--doubtful, given the Republican-controlled House which would have chosen the president had the electoral vote proven flawed or indecisive--he could not have possibly governed as a democratic leader, only ruled as a dictator. You can't convince people you will faithfully uphold the laws Congress passes if you shit all over SCOTUS to become president in the first place. Bush was OK with being a tyrant, as it turned out. But Gore isn't.

        No, Gore did the right thing. Not one politician in a million, in his place--with the most powerful office in the world a fingernail's breadth away--would have done as he did. Most of them are just in it to be king shit and they'll do whatever it takes to sit on the gilded throne and wear the tin crown, they'd trample their own mothers into the mud to do it, let alone the Constitution. What's that to them? Just a "goddamned piece of paper", as Bush said. But Gore put the country above his own personal gain.

        He always had the makings of an excellent president, but that act showed he had it in him to be a great one.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 01:22:48 PM PDT

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        •  Your first sentence misses the point. (10+ / 0-)

          States have near-absolute authority under the Tenth Amendment to conduct elections as they see fit.  Consequently, challenging a statewide election only in certain counties was an excellent way to have one's case rejected on the grounds of states' rights.

          As for the idea that Gore should have abused his office as president of the Senate (constitutionally limited to breaking ties) to help make himself president,
          Nobody was asking for that.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 01:31:59 PM PDT

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          •  FL Supremes issued 12/08/00 ruling on state law (11+ / 0-)

            I chuckled as a I read opinion, as they clearly made it (presumably) bulletproof from review on federal issues.  About 24 hours later, 5 Supremes issued a stay that utterly stood all logic on its head.   That stay (which, IIRC, was issued w/o briefing by Gore's attys) operated as a de facto decision on the merits.

            I really don't have the time or energy to reopen a gaping wound that never really healed.  I will say that I worked w/ 1 of the 3 election judges who cut and ran during the Brooks Bros. Riot.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:02:54 PM PDT

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          •  It doesn't miss the point. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            limpidglass

            When you challenge a state election under state law you do it as the statutes specify.

            "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

            by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:46:37 PM PDT

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            •  Yes, you do. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Johnny Q

              But you challenge the whole state, or else you open yourself up to a charge of civil rights violation -- which is federally determined.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:55:57 PM PDT

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          •  Florida election law explicitly provided (0+ / 0-)

            for electoral recounts in individual counties, by petitioning the individual county canvassing boards. The Gore team was completely obeying Florida law by calling for limited rather than statewide recounts. That's a powerful support, having the law on one's side.

            You said states had the constitutional power to conduct elections as they see fit. The Florida legislature passed and their governor signed the goofy law that allowed candidates in statewide elections to selectively contest election results in individual counties. They chose to run their elections that way, under the power granted them by the Constitution.

            If there's a legal issue in all this (and I'll grant there could be), it can't be one of violating states' rights--because everything Gore's team did was in accordance with state law. Nothing they did trampled on the power of the state to set its own election law.

            That the state law might have violated federal law is a different issue, and one that the Gore team could not have reasonably been expected to consider. Proceeding according to state law is usually protection enough. No one had made a federal case out of that law before, so as far as they knew, it was good law.

            Trying to preempt that totally hypothetical challenge from happening by requesting an alternative that has no basis whatsoever in state law (which might well be denied) is just too much to ask. Should they have ignored perfectly legal (under state law) means of victory that were available to them, on the possibility that some federal judge might find it amiss?

            Nobody was asking for that.
            In that case, what were you asking for, that he should have done? Congress sets its own rules of procedure, Gore followed them. If he'd acted outside that, it would have been a violation of separation of powers worse than what SCOTUS committed.

            And as I said, even if he had gotten the Senate to overturn the electoral vote, A) he would have further destroyed the constitutional order by defying SCOTUS and demanding Congress do the same, and B) the Republican-controlled House would have almost surely voted for Bush. Hell, there were probably a ton of gutless Democrats who would have voted to install Bush. And the SCOTUS verdict would have given them perfect cover to do so. "Gore's an outlaw, look at him giving the middle finger to SCOTUS, I'm just standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law here," they would've smirked. And the people would have backed them.

            There were two and only two choices available to Gore after agreeing to be bound by SCOTUS: either go along with it, or shred the Constitution further by trying an end run around SCOTUS. There was no middle ground, no third way, no ifs, ands, or buts.

            It was as clear a choice as any presented to a politician; indeed, few politicians are offered such a clear-cut choice between the right and the wrong, and he took the right.

            "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

            by limpidglass on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 03:25:32 PM PDT

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        •  I'm afraid I'm with RFKLives on this one (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, lunachickie

          Comment below reflects my understanding of issue.

          There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:41:56 PM PDT

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      •  IMO, at the time it was reasonable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb

        to believe that preserving the legitimacy of the electoral process by not engaging in extraordinary approaches was more important than winning the election itself.

        I really don't think that anyone at the time could have predicted just how completely and absolutely toxic and malevolent the Cheney cabal ended up being.

        •  Actually, all of us who lived under the Bush reign (8+ / 0-)

          as governor of Texas and who knew the history of Cheney, especially the way he inserted himself as VP, knew exactly what the Bush presidency would be like.

          People like me were trying to warn others throughout the country by emailing friends and trying to spread the word.

          But no.... Bush/Cheney ended up being appointed president by an utterly corrupt Supreme Court. How anyone could rule that votes should not be counted and determine the actual winner is far beyond me.

          We knew about Bush/Cheney.

          What we didn't know was how corrupt the US Supreme Court had become.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:14:22 PM PDT

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          •  Or how useless the US Senate had become. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Q, YucatanMan, PeterHug

            I'd like to think, had they only known, Boxer and Wellstone and a few others would have stood up in 2000.

            I know in '04, before her filibuster of the '04 electoral results, Boxer cried and said she should have filibustered in 2000. Woulda coulda shoulda, though I do have some sympathy for anybody trying to fight the good fight in the garbage chute.

            There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:43:51 PM PDT

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            •  It was a surprise to me that Senate Democrats (3+ / 0-)

              were such enormous enablers of the Bush agenda. THAT was a surprise. You would have thought that intelligent people like HRC would not be buffaloed by the Bush push to war.

              Or you would have thought that Senate Democrats would have blocked ultra conservative justices on the US Supreme Court, especially after 2000's horrendous decision appointing Bush president of the USA.

              But no. Senate Democrats were enablers of conservative policies over and over.

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 05:42:22 PM PDT

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        •  So they (0+ / 0-)

          subverted the electoral process in order to preserve it.

          "Nobody Could Have Foreseen" indeed.  

          You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

          by Johnny Q on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 04:48:02 PM PDT

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      •  Florida state law specified challenges by county. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        markthshark

        The Gore legal team followed the process specified by statute.

        "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers

        by Kentucky DeanDemocrat on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:44:18 PM PDT

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        •  Yes, it was the SCOTUS that didn't follow... (0+ / 0-)

          the process. Instead, they made up their own.

          "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

          by markthshark on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 02:50:44 PM PDT

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    •  it was because he was never part (25+ / 0-)

      of that Groupthink that the election was stolen from him.

      He was raised on old-fashioned notions of noblesse oblige and the importance of public service. He was raised to believe in the American system.

      It's not just a punchline for him, like it is for the rest of those pols. When most politicians say "I believe in America" they are really saying "I have my eye on the main chance, and I will say or do whatever it takes to please my audience, even if it means eating a dead rat." When Gore says "I believe in America" he is saying "I believe in America."

      The economist Warren Mosler, the prime exponent of modern monetary theory, recounts various encounters he had with senior figures in the Clinton Administration, during which he explained his idea that government deficits increase savings for the rest of us. Lawrence Summers admitted ignorance of basic accounting, and then was sort of convinced. Bob Rubin disagreed and remained unconvinced. Gore, who was then running for president, listened, went through the details thoroughly, agreed that Mosler's ideas made sense, but said the political realities prevented him from discussing it.

      The system doesn't want people who can actually think for themselves, even if they're willing to hide what they think for political reasons. They don't want people who will give a fair and respectful hearing to someone else's ideas and judge for themselves whether it makes sense.

      They want people like Rubin and Summers who have joined the Borg, who can't think any other way but according to their received ideas, whose minds are dogmatically closed and who don't exercise independent judgment.

      The system can't abide an honest politician, much less one intelligent, dedicated, and capable of operating at the highest level. That's why they gave Gore the boot. As they usually do to genuine statesmen and women, unless there's a crisis on and they need actual leadership and vision rather than a hustler who looks good on the 10 o'clock news.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 12:24:02 PM PDT

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