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Was the 2004 election stolen? No, says Farhad Manjoo in Salon

June 7, 2006

The challenge to Kennedy’s recent Rolling Stone article on the 2004 election, from Salon

Was the 2004 election stolen? No.

In Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues that new evidence proves that Bush stole the election. But the evidence he cites isn’t new and his argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions.

By Farhad Manjoo

Jun. 03, 2006 | “After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declares in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. And so, 19 months after the election, let us head once again into this breach.

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To summarize: as is often the case with Salon, Manjoo basically opines that if someone said it before it somehow isn’t true or relevant. You can hear this instantly in his exasperated tone. “And so, 19 months after the election, let us head once again into this breach.”

Does Manjoo think that given the approaching 06 elections, given his acknowledgement that little to nothing has been done to fix the problems even of 2000, we should ignore any discussions that don’t offer a new stat? Apparently. But Kennedy does start with a forthcoming book by a Penn statistician… as a peg.

What isn’t new is Manjoo’s easy dismissal of all the mounds of evidence–like the mainstream media his word choice at every turn implies whacky conspiracy theories that need not be examined: “there are the legions of activists, academics, bloggers and others who’ve devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives to unearthing every morsel of data that might suggest the vote was rigged; their theories, factoids, and mountains of purportedly conclusive data likely take up several buildings’ worth of hard-drive space in Google’s server farms.”

What about the Congressmen, authors, experts and insiders? This is exactly what/who Kennedy represents, given both his lineage and his use of the new book coming out from the Penn statistician.

But the big question is why this has never been a story, a story taken seriously, in major newspapers or on TV? Isn’t a non-event with regard to the very fabric of our democracy, as voting would seem to be, worthy of repetition, of pondering and re-examining? Congress’s bipartisan report on the problems with voting machines alone ought to have warranted a more ample media response–not to mention the Conyers Report. As Mark Crispin Miller told me, it was all but buried. But maybe Manjoo sees checks and balances as old news too.

Some see someone like Christopher Hitchens as less biased in his dissection of the election last spring in Vanity Fair, since he is pro-Bush (these days) and pro-war, to be a little reductive…

Vanity Fair

March 2005

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

OHIO’S ODD NUMBERS

No conspiracy theorist, and no fan of John Kerry’s, the author nevertheless

found the Ohio polling results impossible to swallow: Given what happened

in that key state on Election Day 2004, both democracy and common sense cry

out for a court-ordered inspection of its new voting machines

If it were not for Kenyon College, I might have missed, or skipped, the

whole controversy. The place is a visiting lecturer’s dream, or the ideal

of a campus-movie director in search of a setting. It is situated in wooded

Ohio hills, in the small town of Gambier, about an hour’s drive from

Columbus. its literary magazine, The Kenyon Review, was founded by John

Crowe Ransom in 1939. Its alumni include Paul Newman, E. L. Doctorow,

Jonathan Winters; Robert Lowell, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and

President Rutherford B. Hayes. The college’s origins are Episcopalian, its

students well mannered and well off and predominantly white, but it is by

no means Bush-Cheney territory. Arriving to speak there a few days after

the presidential election, I found that the place was still buzzing. Here’s

what happened in Gambier, Ohio, on decision day 2004.

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