Sunday :: Jul 11, 2004

"...We Doan' NEED No Stinkin' Election!"

by pessimist


George W. Bush claims that the United States is at war - and may just use that as the justification to 'postpone' the election in November.

According to Newsweek, Tom Ridge is looking into what it takes to stop the election.

American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.
Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."

Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call.

Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously�along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.

This is a bunch of crap. Abraham Lincoln was the first President to face an election in wartime. He insisted that the election take place as schedules, for to do otherwise would make a mockery of our claims to democracy. An active civil war practically outside the front door of the White House trumps the 'war on terra' any day.

Lincoln's 1864 Decision

Although he was worried about his ebbing political fortunes [like Bush?], Lincoln gave no thought to canceling or postponing the election. Holding a general election in wartime entails considerable risk, but Lincoln believed that to postpone the election would be to lose republican government itself.

"We cannot have free government without elections," he explained, "and if the rebellion could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us."

Franklin Roosevelt also faced holding an election during wartime, and following Lincoln's example, he also insisted that the election be held as scheduled. He had to deal with several million absentee ballots from overseas and Nazi submarines prowling our Eastern coasts - much more of a threat than al Qaeda.

The Last Refuge

In 1944, millions of Americans were engaged in desperate battles across the world. Nonetheless, a normal presidential election was held, and the opposition didn't pull its punches: Thomas Dewey, the Republican candidate, campaigned on the theme that Franklin Roosevelt was a "tired old man." As far as I've been able to ascertain, the Roosevelt administration didn't accuse Dewey of hurting morale by questioning the president's competence. After all, democracy � including the right to criticize � was what we were fighting for. It's not a slur on the courage of our troops, or a belittling of the risks they face, to say that our current war is a mere skirmish by comparison. Yet self-styled patriots are trying to impose constraints on political speech never contemplated during World War II, accusing anyone who criticizes the president of undermining the war effort.

If Bush isn't man enough to win the election on his merits, then it looks like the scenarios we all feared might come true are actually being planned. We can no longer be sure that they won't stage an attack in order to have an excuse to halt the election. Scalia wouldn't dare stop it again, so other means must be found.

If such an event is in the planning stage, it would explain why Jebbie gave in so easily on the felon's list.

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pessimist :: 2:54 PM :: Comments (39) :: Digg It!