HBO’s Recount and the Florida Primary

Tue, May 27, 2008

Presidential Campaigns


I constantly toy with whether we should get rid of HBO as part of our cable service. We really don’t watch that much TV here at Chez PunditMom, and when we do, it’s usually those hotbeds of liberalism MSNBC and CNN!

But that damn HBO keeps coming up with really good programming! Even though I have come to the diagnosis that I am in complete depression with the way our electoral process works, I still tuned in to Recount on Sunday night. The ultimate take-away came at the end of the movie when Kevin Spacey, playing the role of Ron Klain, laments that perhaps Al Gore would have won Florida if they had decided to recount ALL the votes in the Sunshine State instead of just some of them.

Counting all the votes in Florida. What a novel concept.

I’m hoping that Howard Dean and the DNC committee members were watching. I know, I know, there’s the whole ‘Florida broke the rules and didn’t play the game the way it was supposed to’ argument. That might work well on the playground, but it’s not really the way our process is supposed to play out.

I can feel John Adams turning over in his grave right about now.

I remember those days at the end of 2000 all too well — not because of the political junkie that I am, but because we were just weeks away from traveling to China to bring home PunditGirl. I was on leave from my job to get ready for the big trip, so as I was packing and organizing, I was glued to the recount efforts in a way I would not have had the time for if I was still in the office 60+ hours a week.

I knew in my gut that things would not turn out well for Al Gore in 2000. It was tough to watch it all over again even with Kevin Spacey. While the movie is a docu-drama and not a documentary, the sense of what happened was well-portrayed — that while both George W. Bush and Al Gore wanted to win, for the Bush supporters it was more about winning at any cost, regardless of how the people of Florida had actually voted.

While the outcome of the the current Democratic primaries seems set on a track to award Barack Obama the nomination, I can’t shake the sense that there’s been a piece of that sort of antipathy toward Florida voters in the Obama camp, as well.

In my book, any candidate who opposed a recount of some sort is just as guilty of gaming the system as so many have accused Hillary Clinton of. What would be the possible justification be for ignoring the voters of such a large state other than the desire to win regardless of what the voters have said?

Sure, rules are rules, but I try to teach my eight-year-old that even when there are rules, it’s important to use your judgment in a given situation in case it’s really better to make an exception to the rule. Rote application of procedural guidelines doesn’t seem very democratic to me.

I didn’t like the Florida story in 2000 and I don’t like it now. I can’t help it, but I feel a very unhappy ending in Florida happening again.

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8 Responses to “HBO’s Recount and the Florida Primary”

  1. impromptublogger Says:

    I’m very unhappy with the way things are going too and while Hillary didn’t mean what some MSM thought she meant – it was still pretty stupid of her to even mention the assassination of RFK! Why not just say both her husband and RFK were still actively campaigning in June?

    While we were definitely “robbed” in 2000 it turned out to be a blessing for Al Gore. When I see him now he seems so relaxed, happy in his own skin and doing what I think he was “destined” to do. Maybe there’s a chance for him in the future but he does sound like he was in politics only because his father was and now he is doing what he wants.

  2. Caroline Says:

    As a democratic voter living in Florida, having my vote NOT count felt horrible. I still went out and voted. I still rocked my “I voted” sticker all day, although wondered how many people muttered “why?” to me as I passed. But a ton of other democrats voted too that day, maybe to make a point. How COULD anyone take away someone’s right to vote? How could they???

    I saw an interview with Kevin Spacey about this movie. I do want to see it but hearing more about what really went down kind of makes my skin crawl. So I guess I am in no huge rush to see just how bad we got ripped off.

  3. anniegirl1138 Says:

    I agree that Gore seems to have found himself as a result of the loss but can’t help wondering what that cost our country.

    Clinton’s gaffe was a bit worse than the Obama “gun-toting bitter people” thing but it shouldn’t be overanalyzed. These are two people engaged in a heart-felt contest whose every moment and word is on display. They are human beings and they are bound to say or do things that they wouldn’t have normally.

  4. Theresa Says:

    Great article!

    Some rules are made to be broken. This is a unjust rule!

    What would this country belike today if As Gore got the election. It irks me to think that all that is happening today could have been avoided for the most part. Except for that day in 2001 nobody could have known.

    I think what Obama and his supporters did to stop the revote is not justified. It is very anti-democratic, even to make Hillary drop out of the race.

    What is the rush to get the primary’s over for. There is a long time between now and Nov. In the General Election there are no caucuses, so when people go into that voting booth it is anyone’s game!

    The whole thing is Anti-Democratic.

  5. Adorable Girlfriend Says:

    The whole 2000 outcoming makes me mad. Not as mad as how dumb Americans were in 2004.

    I remind people of this when I hear the issue of 2008 as “I don’t like any of them.”

    Grr.

  6. Elaine Says:

    I was heartbroken that Gore lost back in 2000 and mystified that the system was set up so that the loser of the popular vote still won the election. But, as my husband pointed out to me, there have been four other presidents who had this happen: Harrison, Hayes, Jackson – even John Quincy Adams.

    My point? If the system is broken, it’s been broken for a while and no one seems to care enough to change it.

  7. Vivian M Says:

    I think they need to revamp the whole electoral process. And that the people should actually vote for their President, not the delegates or Superdelegates.
    As a former Floridian, I can attest to the whole recount fiasco. Furthermore, and to my astonishment, myself and 20 other colleagues that I know of had problems voting. You see, the electric ballot machines would place a vote for Bush even though we voted for the Democratic nominee. I personally had to change machines three times before it properly displayed my candidate of choice in the end. And we all voted in different places.
    Our protests were sent to the Democratic Party. The rest is history.
    The system is outdated, broken, and unfair. Maybe it’s time for change- changing the way we elect our leader.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The election of 2000 was eight years agao, people…it’s time to move on. I shudder to think of an Al Gore administration, post 9/11. In any case, the results of the Florida 2000 election have been certified, audited and recertified by both the state of Florida and several private “studies”. Ok, I understand that YOU don’t like the results of the election — I felt the same way in 1992. But let’s drop the attempt to rewrite history…it never helps.

    Fast forward to 2007. The Florida democrats gambled with the votes, hoping to have undue influence over other states primaries by front-loading the calendar. What was at stake was the voice of Floridians. Florida move up the primary, with both democrats and republicans in full support knowing that the votes wouldn’t count. So here we are. The dems are trying to change the rules yet again. All I can say is, if you cannot run a primary, how on earth can you run a super power?


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