In her article Another Rigged Election? Maureen Farrell at BuzzFlash.com reminds us that
"Bush was to supposed to have watched the election from Crawford but was spirited back to Ohio today [election day] by his jittery advisors. Now he's in Washington. "(Why?!)" -- Max Blum, Nov. 2, 2004
On election night, Peter Jennings looked measurably surprised when he learned that President Bush had provided a tape of himself, sitting in the White House, commenting on his impending victory. It was an unprecedented move. No sitting president had ever addressed the nation while polls were still open. It was just not done. But there was George, exuding confidence, offering an election day reminder of our leader's legitimacy.
It was all so perfectly Rovian, too. And why not? The Bush family filmed a similar made-for-TV moment in 2000, you might recall, when they assured America that Florida belonged to George. "There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying, and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida," Hunter S. Thompson wrote, two weeks before the Supreme Court's fateful decision." Of course Bush would win Florida. Losing was out of the question. Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV."
Election night 2004, however, was not punctuated by any such hooting. It was the end of a long and grueling journey for the President of the United States and his supporters. Tales of voter intimidation, computer glitches and "partisan mischief," were reported during early voting in Florida, but somehow those things usually worked in the President's favor. (Would anyone have complained, do you suppose, if John Kerry's brother had been running the show?).
And luckily for Mr. Bush, he had friends in high places in the Buckeye State, too. After all, Walden "Wally" O'Dell," head of the voting machine company Diebold, had already expressed a commitment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President" and Ohio Secretary of State Ken "Paper Weight" Blackwell appeared to have Bush's back, as well.
Good thing, too. As early as March, 2004, Ohio had been crowned the #1 potential election day hotspot. "Ohio could become as decisive this year as Florida was four years ago, " Mother Jones reported. "Which is why the state's plan to use paperless touch-screen voting machines has so many up in arms."
In late October, a letter written by former deputy director of Ohio's Auglaize County Board of Elections Ken Nuss revealed why electronic voting machine concerns were well founded. It seems that "against election protocol," former Election Systems and Software (ES&S) employee Joe McGinnis had been "on the main computer that is used to create the ballot and compile election results." < Insert your own fox, hen house and/or "stinking to high heaven" cliche here>.
Why do you suppose Bush's "jittery" advisors whisked him away to Ohio on election day and then back to the White House that night? Why did he appear on TV to assure Americans that victory was his? And why did the federal government advise Ohio's Warren County to prevent the media from watching the vote count? Did it have anything to do with the fact that the Warren results were among the last tallies to help Bush "win"? These questions are as much of a mystery as the bump on Bush's back during the debates.
But the unraveling saga of election 2000-style fraud, suppression and disenfranchisement is becoming clearer by the day.