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November 9, 2004

The Candidate May Have Ceded, But...

With a note to John Kerry of "kindly don't leave the country," Keith Olbermann, MSNBC blogger and host of Countdown, is pleased to announce that "no Presidential candidate’s concession speech is legally binding":

This is mentioned because there is a small but blood-curdling set of news stories that right now exists somewhere between the world of investigative journalism, and the world of the Reynolds Wrap Hat. And while the group's ultimate home remains unclear - so might our election of just a week ago.

Stories like these have filled the web since the tide turned against John Kerry late Tuesday night. But not until Friday did they begin to spill into the more conventional news media. That’s when the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that officials in Warren County, Ohio, had "locked down" its administration building to prevent anybody from observing the vote count there.

Blood-curdling! Olbermann's mission, now, is to spread the spill. It's all under the impetus of fairness and democracy, of course. As Sheila Lennon puts it:

Everybody should welcome whatever recounts emerge. Faith in the integrity of our voting system is at the core of our democratic system. If anybody messes with the results, it damages us all. It's not fair, and could make voting in America no more reliable than in a tinpot banana republic. And if the numbers come out roughly the same, half the country won't have to spend the next four years saying, "We wuz robbed."

Moderating Lennon's "won't have to" language some, does anybody really believe that recounts will preclude the "we wuz robbed" syndrome? Not I. Imagining the worst-case scenario (from my point of view), I don't think you could test the civic temper any more ultimately than to reverse the election's results now — particularly as a result of an MSM-fueled investigation.

On a more plausible level, it seems to me that Olbermann's efforts will go a long way toward ensuring that various insinuations and myths gain a foothold among the fluid ranks of the malcontent Left. He certainly doesn't seem concerned about minimizing that effect. Consider:

Interestingly, none of the complaining emailers took issue with the remarkable results out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 29 precincts there, the County's website shows, we had the most unexpected results in years: more votes than voters.

I'll repeat that: more votes than voters. 93,000 more votes than voters.

Oops.

What he neglects to mention is that Kerry won that county by 217,638 votes — 67% to 33%. Hey, maybe Kerry really won the county 78% to 22%.

Appearances to the contrary aside, if Olbermann would like to be objective in his investigation, he can pursue every curious decision and irregularity in the states that Kerry won by a similar margin of less than 150,000 votes. Every single one of them would be decisive if Ohio's 20 electoral college votes were to change hands. To help the MSM along, I'll even provide a list:

Delaware
Hawaii
Maine
Minnesota
New Hampshire
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Vermont
Wisconsin
Posted by Justin Katz at November 9, 2004 7:57 PM
News Media