MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
BuzzFlash goes back a long way to its founding in May of 2000, so we were around for the full 2000 presidential campaign.
Looking through some article print outs from the 2000 election, we came across this one from the New York Daily News, "Bush Set To Fight An Electoral College Loss" (November 1, 2000):
They're not only thinking the unthinkable, they're planning for it.
Quietly, some of George W. Bush's advisers are preparing for the ultimate "what if" scenario: What happens if Bush wins the popular vote for President, but loses the White House because Al Gore's won the majority of electoral votes?…
So what if Gore wins such crucial battleground states as Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania and thus captures the magic 270 electoral votes while Bush wins the overall nationwide popular vote?
"The one thing we don't do is roll over," says a Bush aide. "We fight."
How? The core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course.
In league with the campaign - which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College's essential unfairness - a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged. "We'd have ads, too," says a Bush aide, "and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted."
Local business leaders will be urged to lobby their customers, the clergy will be asked to speak up for the popular will and Team Bush will enlist as many Democrats as possible to scream as loud as they can. "You think 'Democrats for Democracy' would be a catchy term for them?" asks a Bush adviser.
The irony, of course, is that Gore went on to win the popular vote in 2000 by more than a half a million votes (540,000). Bush only won the electoral vote – after massive voter suppression in Florida and voting hijinks – with the intervention of Antonin Scalia and United States Supreme Court, who appointed him president (after a highly questionable vote count that dwindled to just over 200 in the Sunshine State, despite Bush being assisted from various strategies to suppress the Democratic vote in Florida).
Fast forward to 2012. The scenario that the Bush campaign thought it was facing is exactly the one Romney confronts: he may win the popular vote, but the bets are that he will lose the electoral vote. (Of course, Obama may still win the popular vote, particularly given his incremental rise in the national polls this past week.)
So will Romney's campaign try to claim that the Electoral College system set up by the Constitution is "un-democratic," as the Bush 2000 campaign was planning to do? Probably not, given the precedent of Bush having the Supreme Court vote him in as president by allowing him to capture the Florida electoral vote, while he lost by hundreds of thousands of votes to Gore nationally.
But remember, Republicans don't let their own precedents get in the way of bullying their way into office. In any case, if Obama were to win electorally and lose the national vote, watch out for a Tea Party rebellion, because double standards are their claim to fame.
Meanwhile, George W. Bush – whose two terms in office brought America to economic ruin and instigated two failed wars – was recently off in the Cayman Islands speaking strictly off the record on offshore banking and investment.
According to Tom Robberson of the Dallas Morning News editorial department:
So why would George W. Bush, less than a week before the presidential election, go to the Caymans and give a top secret speech to selected audience members who, according to The Associated Press, were “forbidden” to discuss any of the contents of that discussion? Forbidden. Not, “we strongly discourage you from discussing this speech outside this room,” but “you are forbidden from discussing this.”
And what insights would Bush have about the Cayman Islands and secret offshore investing that he would garner so much attention from the likes of KPMG (the tax-shelter company that paid a $456 million penalty for criminal tax fraud during the Bush administration), Deutsche Bank (which this year paid $202.3 million in damages and penalties for falsely certifying loans to qualify for federal insurance) and billionaire Richard Branson (who hasn’t really done anything wrong, but maybe he’s thinking about it)? And why the need for so much secrecy that participants were not allowed even to say what the speech was about?
Whatever the answers, this Cayman Islands caper serves as a timely reminder from our last Republican president why Americans should be highly suspicious of the current Republican contender for president. Anyone who hides his money (Romney) — and/or his words (Bush) — behind a wall of secrecy in the Caribbean is up to something suspicious.
But maybe Bush, who has been exiled from Romney's campaign, will return to the United States in time to advise Mitt on how to get the lease to the White House even when losing the election (should that scenario occur).
(Photo: Mike Kidson)