Friday, June 02, 2006

Liberal Conspiracy Theories...

UPDATE - See below -

Evidently RFK Jr. is releasing an article for Rolling Stone that claims election fraud in Ohio in 2004.

Kennedy told The BRAD BLOG this morning that "the best evidence says the Republicans succeeded" in their plan. He writes in the 10-page long article, and confirmed to us today, that evidence shows Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was "certainly in on" the scheme, and there are indications that the effort went all the way up to the White House.

What is their evidence?

...the litany of concerns and now-documented evidence that new electronic voting machines are hackable through a number of means.

Did you get that? The machines are "hackable" which in turns represents the "questionable result" of the 2004 election (aka that George Bush won - how could he?)

Let's not forget that the only proven and prosecuted voter fraud in 2004 was perpetrated by Democrats. From slashing tires, to throwing bricks through windows, to all out fraud, the Democrats have been responsible for documented fraud and intimidation in the past.

This whole "stolen election" stuff from Ohio is just that - a crazy conspiracy theory. However, I am all for investigating it further. First, the Democrats may finally figure out why Americans don't vote for them, and second, the more they focus on 2004 the less they'll focus on 2006 (and 2008).


At the behest of one of our readers (and with the assistance of a link) I went ahead and read RFK Jr.'s article in Rolling Stone (before I didn't think it was available yet). What I found is just what I thought I would find - a crazy liberal conspiracy theory, including references to corrupt government officials, media outlets conspiring to keep the story quiet, references to the 2000 election as "stolen," and complicity in fraud from local officials all the way up the the RNC and the President. What RFK Jr. is proposing is that the most concerted, organized, and effective voter fraud event in the history of democratic elections occurred in Ohio in 2004, and no one is doing anything about it but him.

To begin, the article is painfully wrong, and would take a great deal of time to completely refute (time that I admittedly do not have). I began by checking some of his 208 citations, and found the ones I checked either were completely irrelevant to the point he made, or taken drastically out of context.

For example, footnote #14 refers to this statement:

In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots.

Footnote 14 is a link to a Democratic National Committee and Voting Rights Institute paper entitled ''Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio''. The paper clearly states :

Our investigation and analysis reveal that more than one quarter of all voters in Ohio reported some kind
of problem on Election Day, including long lines, problems with registration status and polling locations,
absentee ballots and provisional ballots and unlawful identification requirements at the polls.

While this statement is not good, it clearly makes no reference to one in four Ohio voters who were not registered to vote due to GOP actions.

Footnote 191 references this section of the article:

Immediately after the polls closed on Election Day, GOP officials -- citing the FBI -- declared that the county was facing a terrorist threat that ranked ten on a scale of one to ten. The county administration building was hastily locked down, allowing election officials to tabulate the results without any reporters present.

In fact, there was no terrorist threat. The FBI declared that it had issued no such warning, and an investigation by The Cincinnati Enquirer unearthed e-mails showing that the Republican plan to declare a terrorist alert had been in the works for eight days prior to the election. Officials had even refined the plot down to the language they used on signs notifying the public of a lockdown. (When ROLLING STONE requested copies of the same e-mails from the county, officials responded that the documents have been destroyed.) (191)

While admittedly strange, footnote 191 references a Cincinnati Enquirer article, ''No Changes in Final Warren Co. Vote Count; E-mails Released Monday Show Lockdown Pre-planned,'' that tells nothing of the "one to ten" terrorist threat, no GOP election officials overseeing the counting of ballots, and no "eight day" pre-planned lockdown. It seems that RFK Jr.'s statement is taken from his own remanufactured version of the "evidence" which does not correspond whatsoever to his source.

These two footnotes are examples of literally hundreds that are taken out of context, in addition to others which are clearly unrelated, or cite Democratic talking points or mouthpieces making unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud. If you have the time, I encourage you to read the whole article and it's corresponding footnotes to see for yourself the amazingly poor and biased research that supposedly took RFK Jr. four months to compile (he wouldn't make it long in my graduate program...)

Besides the allegations of misconduct by Republican officials in the state, and conspiracy theories about coordinated GOP attacks on voters and voting stations, RFK Jr.'s only real proof of voting fraud in Ohio is the fact that the exit polls did not match up to the final vote. Indeed, he ignores that fact that nation-wide exit polls were overwhelmingly poor in predicting how Americans voted in 2004 and goes on to claim that exit polls are universally excepted and accurate and the discrepancies (evidently only in Ohio) prove without a doubt that votes were manipulated.

He even goes after my theory, that conservatives (especially when in power) usually refuse to take part in pointless exercises such as exit polls, while liberals (especially when out of power) revel in the chance to declare who they voted for publicly. RFK Jr. refutes my theory by claiming:

...we can say conclusively that the theory is dead wrong. In fact it was Democrats, not Republicans, who were more disinclined to answer pollsters' questions on Election Day. In Bush strongholds, Freeman and the other researchers found that fifty-six percent of voters completed the exit survey -- compared to only fifty-three percent in Kerry strongholds.

We don't know what Bush and Kerry "strongholds" are, or whether the three percent difference is statistically important. What we do know is that if only 50% of voters respond to exit polls, regardless of political affiliation, doesn't that undermine their credibility? Also, considering that most conservatives I know refuse to participate in such polls (including me) I doubt that this theory is refuted.

Finally, in addition to manipulated and poor sources, general conspiracy theories, and a blind and unsubstantiated faith in exit polls, RFK Jr. goes on to simply make stuff up.

Ohio, like several other states, had an initiative on the ballot in 2004 to outlaw gay marriage. Statewide, the measure proved far more popular than Bush, besting the president by 470,000 votes. But in six of the twelve suspect counties -- as well as in six other small counties in central Ohio -- Bush outpolled the ban on same-sex unions by 16,132 votes. To trust the official tally, in other words, you must believe that thousands of rural Ohioans voted for both President Bush and gay marriage.

Actually, no. To trust the official tally means that thousands of Ohioans voted for President Bush only, and simply did not vote for or against the gay-marriage ban. Indeed, just because the numbers are higher for Bush doesn't mean that those individuals voted against the ban. This is one example of many in the article that fails to stand up to simple logic, but to someone already convinced of election fraud in Ohio it sounds like a good argument.

RFK Jr. and Rolling Stone: Continuing the legacy of conspiracy theory politics. Maybe the Ohio Secretary of State was the second shooter on the grassy knoll?


aaron said...

If you're all for an investigation, why can't you even read the article? If you did, then you could tell us what the evidence is. That would, in fact, give someone a reason to come to your blog.

Here's my Conservative Conspiracy Theory: George W. Bush, one of the greatest Republicans of all time, wins a second election, more than fairly, thanks to his amazing terrorist fighting abilities!

radar said...

The article isn't available yet - it's still coming out. If I can read it I will - when it comes out.

aaron said...