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September 27, 2004

The Despicable Jimmy Carter Attacks American Elections

I usually don't write posts just to "vent", but the latest outrage from Jimmy Carter seems to call for an exception. Mere weeks after certifiying a fraudulent election in Columbia, our national champion in the category of self-righteous hypocrisy (a highly competitive category, including, remember, buffoons such as Dan Rather), says that Florida's elections are fraudulent. There can be no doubt that the word "anti-American" applies to Carter. Not only did he accept a Nobel Prize which was publicly stated to be a criticism of U.S. policy; he says that the U.S. government, unlike that of the many dictatorships he has cuddled up to over the years, is illegitimate.

If I were in Congress, I would make a motion to censure the ex-President. Even though he is private life now, he still has a duty not to embarass his country. Here is what he says in the Washington Post

Still Seeking a Fair Florida Vote

So Florida's vote was not fair? That is a pretty serious charge. You were president some 30 years ago, and governor of a state neighboring Florida. Why weren't you making these charges then, when procedures were the same but before there was a dispute involving your candidate?

By Jimmy Carter

Monday, September 27, 2004; Page A19

After the debacle in Florida four years ago, former president Gerald Ford and I were asked to lead a blue-ribbon commission to recommend changes in the American electoral process. After months of concerted effort by a dedicated and bipartisan group of experts, we presented unanimous recommendations to the president and Congress. The government responded with the Help America Vote Act of October 2002. Unfortunately, however, many of the act's key provisions have not been implemented because of inadequate funding or political disputes.

What debacle? If you went into details, your readers would discover that any problems were due to Democrat judges making partisan interventions, illegal voting by Democrats, and, perhaps, ballot design and technology choices by Democrats that ended up costing their own party votes. The big question of 2000 is: How can we keep activist judges from trying to rig elections?

The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely, even as many other nations are conducting elections that are internationally certified to be transparent, honest and fair.

Nations such as Venezuala, whose rigged elections you just certified as fair because a leftist won them. It takes a lot of gall for you to write an op-ed on this subject weeks after it was shown that Chavez fooled you into sampling only selected voting machines (though it might be that Chavez just gave you the political cover you needed to help him certify his election, and you knew full well it was rigged.)

The Carter Center has monitored more than 50 elections, all of them held under contentious, troubled or dangerous conditions. When I describe these activities, either in the United States or in foreign forums, the almost inevitable questions are: "Why don't you observe the election in Florida?" and "How do you explain the serious problems with elections there?"

Yes. I'm sure you especially get asked those questions in places such as Syria, Egypt, and China. Don't you see that those question are rhetorical, meant to imply that American elections are meaningless and thus Americans should not promote democracy elsewhere?

The answer to the first question is that we can monitor only about five elections each year, and meeting crucial needs in other nations is our top priority. (Our most recent ones were in Venezuela and Indonesia, and the next will be in Mozambique.) A partial answer to the other question is that some basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida.

Here you say it: America's government is illegitimate. I hope you realize this applies to your own Presidency too. Aren't you ashamed of taking office after what you say was an unfair election?

The most significant of these requirements are:

A nonpartisan electoral commission or a trusted and nonpartisan official who will be responsible for organizing and conducting the electoral process before, during and after the actual voting takes place. Although rarely perfect in their objectivity, such top administrators are at least subject to public scrutiny and responsible for the integrity of their decisions. Florida voting officials have proved to be highly partisan, brazenly violating a basic need for an unbiased and universally trusted authority to manage all elements of the electoral process.

"Nonpartisan electoral commission" anbd" unbiased and universally trusted authority" mean "Let liberal lawyers decide, and make sure the voters have no recourse against them". Here Carter shows his distaste for democracy. He doesn't want elected officials determining policy-- he wants some sort of unelected officials as in the EU or in dictatorships. Voting is good-- but not if it might affect who wins the elections.

Uniformity in voting procedures, so that all citizens, regardless of their social or financial status, have equal assurance that their votes are cast in the same way and will be tabulated with equal accuracy. Modern technology is already in use that makes electronic voting possible, with accurate and almost immediate tabulation and with paper ballot printouts so all voters can have confidence in the integrity of the process. There is no reason these proven techniques, used overseas and in some U.S. states, could not be used in Florida.

This is an attack on federalism. He doesn't like Florida's policy of letting each county choose its own voting machines. Indeed, he doesn't even like Florida getting to choose its own procedures, as opposed to Congress doing it, or perhaps the Carter Center.

Also, despite the studies that show that electronic voting results in more voter error, not less (those computers are tricky to use), and that they do not eliminate fraud and may well make it easier (think Venezuala again-- or just think about which is easier to rig, computers or pieces of paper) he is still pushing it.

It was obvious that in 2000 these basic standards were not met in Florida, and there are disturbing signs that once again, as we prepare for a presidential election, some of the state's leading officials hold strong political biases that prevent necessary reforms.

I.e., Carter doesn't like Republicans, whom those pesky Floridians keep electing to office.

Four years ago, the top election official, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney state campaign committee. The same strong bias has become evident in her successor, Glenda Hood, who was a highly partisan elector for George W. Bush in 2000. Several thousand ballots of African Americans were thrown out on technicalities in 2000, and a fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons.

Don't look at affiliations, look at deeds. Carter is here using a common trick: say that elected officials are partisan, and then replace them with equally partisan unelected officials such as the members of the Florida Supreme Court. But don't look at whether the officials are actually changing rules midsteram to help their candidates-- then the judges come out looking a lot worse.

Rather wild accusations. As I recall, Florida law says felons can't vote, but the Republicans gave up enforcing the law because of attacks from people like Carter. Carter doesn't mind voting laws being broken so long as Democrats are helped.

This was a background issue in the 2000 elections in Florida too-- felons and people registered in more than one state were improperly voting.

The top election official has also played a leading role in qualifying Ralph Nader as a candidate, knowing that two-thirds of his votes in the previous election came at the expense of Al Gore. She ordered Nader's name be included on absentee ballots even before the state Supreme Court ruled on the controversial issue.

Now Carter gets a bit obvious: it's anti-democratic to allow a third party candidate onto the ballot.

Florida's governor, Jeb Bush, naturally a strong supporter of his brother, has taken no steps to correct these departures from principles of fair and equal treatment or to prevent them in the future.

It is unconscionable to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation. It is especially objectionable among us Americans, who have prided ourselves on setting a global example for pure democracy. With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida.

In conclusion, Carter says that American elections are "unconscionable" and "fraudulent or biased". If he says that, I don't know how he expects anybody elsewhere in the world to listen to him as an election advisor, except as an expert on how to win using fraud. Has he repented of his own participation in those unconscionable, fraudulent, biased elections? Has he been "born-again", and sworn off his old election fraud? Has he shown this by giving up the Presidential pension he obtained through fraud?

Posted by erasmuse at September 27, 2004 10:04 AM

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I often wonder why no one remembers or comments on the debacle that Jimmy caused when during his presidency he promulgated an executive order that required posting one-third of a product's purchase price in cash (all purchases were included, whether by credit card, loan, etc.) As a result of this ill-considered act the entire American economy was brought to its knees in a space of three months.

How can anyone even contemplate JC as anything but a dolt after that act?

Posted by: Patrios at September 27, 2004 10:46 AM

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