In Pennsylvania, Stein shifts
from state to federal courts
TRICKY DICK AS STATESMAN
Bubba and the Oval Office BJ
By Alan Z. Forman
In the aftermath of the 1960 presidential election, when voting irregularities in Illinois and Texas threatened to overturn John Kennedy’s razor-thin victory over Richard Nixon, the losing Republican candidate reluctantly accepted the “will of the people” and refused to call for a recount.
“It’d tear the country to pieces,” the then-incumbent Vice President instructed his chief speechwriter and adviser, Bryce Harlow, who was pushing hard for a recount, and brushed aside all pleas to challenge the result.
“[We] can’t do that,” Nixon insisted.
Contesting the election by calling for a recount would place the legitimacy of Kennedy’s upcoming administration in question, Nixon said, and would be, among other things, “devastating to America’s foreign relations,” adding that, “What if I demanded a recount and it turned out that despite the voter fraud, Kennedy had still won?
“Charges of ‘sore loser’ would follow me through history and remove any possibility of a further political career.”
It may have been the future Watergate President’s finest hour; certainly it was Nixon at his most statesmanlike. No matter that his own dirty tricks in the 1960 campaign might well have come to light had he demanded a recount.
The likelihood that Nixon was as responsible for election irregularities that year is proved by the scandal that ultimately sunk his own presidency more than a decade later, when a team of inept burglars working in his behalf broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C. three days before the final presidential primary that spring.
Yet unlike Tricky Dick in 1960, Hillary Clinton in 2016 most likely has no “further political career” to be concerned about, and so, it might be argued, has little or nothing to lose by casting herself as a spoilsport, even if it’s to the detriment of the Office of the President and the country as a whole.
Nor has Green Party candidate Jill Stein — who won less than one percent of the vote and is calling for the controversial recounts — ever really had a national political future… other than as presidential spoiler of the Ralph Nader variety.
Nader’s vote in Florida in the 2000 election prevented then-Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, from winning that state’s decisive electoral votes and enabled Republican George W. Bush to win the first of two consecutive terms as President.
However spoilers don’t necessarily think in terms of what is good for the general population and/or the democratic system — and, as Nixon noted, the voting public tends not to forgive or forget their intransigence.
In Maryland, one has only to consider Ellen Sauerbrey’s refusal to accept the narrow gubernatorial victory of Parris Glendening in 1994 and the voter annoyance at her protracted challenge, which caused her to lose a rematch with Glendening by more than 10 percentage points four years later.
In the 2016 election, in one of the so-called battleground states, Wisconsin, Stein polled nearly 31,000 votes, as Donald Trump beat Clinton there by a margin of just over 27,000. Clinton won the nationwide popular vote by more than two million.
But apparently the fact that the Green Party nominee likely enabled that narrow victory for Trump has not been lost on Stein, who may well be attempting to “right the wrong” she caused in the Badger State, by fomenting the possible destabilization of the entire democratic electoral process nationwide.
A destabilization attempt disgracefully joined by Hillary Clinton and her campaign, despite the former First Lady’s pledge the day after the election to acknowledge the Trump victory and move forward.
Virtually every analyst, pundit and election official asserts that the nearly $7 million being spent by Stein on this ill-fated crusade — more than she raised for her entire presidential campaign — on proposed recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (the three battleground states where close margins gave Trump his unexpected victory) will not change the outcome. And even Clinton and her staff admit there appears to be no evidence of voter fraud anywhere on Trump’s behalf.
Yet that has not stopped these losing forces from joining with Stein in her ill-advised and potentially damaging ploy against democracy, hiding behind the feeble and unsupportable excuse that it is somehow good for the country to circumvent and/or upend the will of the people.
Even President Obama and his White House staff, who fervently — along with First Lady Michelle Obama — supported and campaigned for Clinton, defend the declared election results in those terms, describing the outcome as “the will of the American people.”
Of course, the President no longer has any reason to support Clinton, who it is said he intensely dislikes, now that the voters have prevented her from becoming the caretaker of his legacy as President.
The only hope he has of protecting his place in presidential history, beyond being the first African-American elected to the office, is to cozy up to Trump in the hope that the new President will not attempt, as promised repeatedly throughout the campaign, to dismantle as much of everything Obama has accomplished as possible.
And what happened to Clinton’s ridicule of Trump in the weeks before the election for saying he might question the outcome if it appeared there might have been voter fraud?
Even now, Hillary is quick to note that she is not the one asking for the recount — content to let the onus fall on Stein, much the same as she cast blame for her November 8th defeat on virtually everyone but herself.
If the recount doesn’t go well for her, let Stein take the blame for it, not Hillary… seems to be the Clinton Campaign’s thinking.
And forget about the prospect of millions of voters in the three contested states being totally disenfranchised if the recounts are not concluded and certified by the Electoral College deadline, which is December 13th. (The electors meet to cast their votes on December 19th, six days later.)
Stein’s request for a hand recount in Wisconsin — which has been denied and which she is now suing to require — can hardly be expected to meet the December 13th deadline, thereby calling into question her purpose in the hand-count demand, and Hillary Clinton’s purpose in supporting it as well.
Stein, after all, spent much of the campaign claiming that a Clinton victory in November would be even more dangerous than a win for Trump.
If Trump should fail to achieve a 270 electoral-vote majority, the House of Representatives would elect the next President, and the U.S. Senate would elect the VP.
But with Republican majorities in both houses, it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, for Clinton to prevail. However the result would serve to weaken — possibly even fatally — the incoming President.
TAKING THEIR PENNSYLVANIA RECOUNT EFFORT TO FEDERAL COURT
And now, this weekend, after being blocked in Pennsylvania by a ruling that the voters requesting the recount must pay a $1 million bond, Stein’s opposition forces are dropping their case in state courts there, which they claim are ill-equipped to “protect the civil and voting rights of all Americans,” and will seek help Monday by taking their Pennsylvania recount effort to federal court.
The state’s “outrageous demand that voters pay such an exorbitant figure,” Stein asserted in a statement, “is a shameful, unacceptable barrier to democratic participation…, yet another sign that Pennsylvania’s antiquated election law is stacked against voters.
“By demanding a $1 million bond from voters yesterday, the court made clear it has no interest in giving a fair hearing to these voters’ legitimate concerns over the accuracy, security and fairness of an election tainted by suspicion,” she declared.
In Michigan, the state Attorney General filed suit Friday to stop Stein’s ill-advised recount effort; and Trump supporters in Wisconsin are also attempting to halt the recount in progress there.
It hurts to have to note this, but there has been little-to-no statesmanship in this election on any side, from the get-go in the primaries, through the major party conventions, to the nasty general election campaign, and now into the all-too-unpleasant aftermath.
The only truly positive moments have been Trump’s middle-of-election-night victory speech — which was more than gracious and which NBC’s Chuck Todd described as “presidential!” — and Clinton’s morning-after concession, in which she told supporters that “we must accept this result and then look to the future,” but which she now appears to be backing away from.
SURPRISINGLY CORDIAL MEETING BETWEEN TRUMP AND PRESIDENT OBAMA
And of course Trump’s surprisingly cordial 90-minute meeting with President Obama at the White House two days following the election, an encounter that was scheduled to last for only 15 minutes.
Clinton’s campaign general counsel, Marc Elias, despite admitting that Hillary’s minions had found no evidence whatsoever of sabotage, attempted to justify supporting and assisting the Stein initiative as fulfillment of “an obligation” to those voters who had cast their ballots for Clinton, and that the former Secretary of State’s people “certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard” to elect her.
Similar thinking to that of the Yale University economics professor who coddled his distraught students that he said were “in shock over the election returns,” by granting their request not simply to postpone his class’s midterm exam but to allow any of them who were upset by Trump’s victory not to have to take the exam at all if they didn’t want to.
Maybe all the schoolchildren in the country who are upset by the election result should have been allowed to skip school for a few days if they felt the need to do so?
And employers should have been required to grant paid leaves of absence to everyone who was too distraught to work?
On the subject of “blame,” maybe everyone who supported Hillary should have been given a day off to vilify Bill Clinton, who, in Voice of Baltimore’s opinion, was far more responsible for her loss than even FBI Director James Comey, who Hillary flagrantly blamed outright just days after the election for costing her the presidency by calling attention, twice, to her email indiscretions.
When the video of Trump’s locker-room braggadocio in vulgar terms during a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush, then of the TV show “Access Hollywood,” as they arrived by bus to tape a segment of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” was released by the Washington Post in early October, it appeared that this was a final devastating blow the GOP nominee could not recover from.
Even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who will serve as White House Chief of Staff in the upcoming Trump Administration and is one of the President-Elect’s closest advisers, issued a statement then condemning Trump: “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” Priebus said.
Also Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, was reported to have been “beside himself” over the incident, and the VP-Elect’s wife was said to be “furious,” causing speculation that Trump might be forcibly removed from the ticket or required to remove himself voluntarily for the good of the party.
Yet recover he did, and may have even benefited from it, due to the Oval Office antics of Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky, plus the former President’s long history of womanizing behind his First Lady’s back, culminating in his present, ongoing 13-year affair with Julie Tauber McMahon, a woman dubbed “The Energizer” by his Secret Service detail because of her frequent visits to the Clinton mansion in Chappaqua — always when Hillary is out campaigning or isn’t otherwise around.
McMahon has been linked with the former President as far back as 2001, and is a neighbor of the Clintons in their Westchester County, Hudson Valley hamlet, approximately 30 miles north of New York City.
However she may not be “running” back so frequently now that Hillary has lost the election and won’t be away from home so much, plus neighborhood gossip has it that McMahon is putting her house up for sale, so it may not be so convenient going forward for her to “visit” the Clinton residence in Chappaqua at all.
Apparently a majority of voters viewed Clinton’s White House Oval Office womanizing as more egregious than Trump’s locker-room braggadocio, his barroom bravado; and considered the President-Elect’s apparently happy marriage to Melania to be far more favorable than Hillary’s marriage of political convenience to the 42nd President.
It’s hard to fathom what the American public will accept: John and Robert Kennedy having sex with Marilyn Monroe — and what it won’t: William Jefferson Clinton getting BJs from a love-struck intern in the White House.
Although in 1998 when he was impeached, the public was far more accepting of his shenanigans than today, even reelecting him handily, along with a large Democratic majority two years earlier when he was already under threat of being removed from office.
Sometimes presidents benefit from living long beyond their terms in office; other times they don’t.
At the conclusion of Mrs. Clinton’s day-after-election concession speech, the once-and-future First Gentleman grabbed her shoulders and attempted to give her a hug.
Whereupon the defeated Democratic nominee stiffened and pulled back, relegating him to giving her a quick peck on the cheek as she immediately moved toward daughter Chelsea for the hug.
Three days later she publicly blamed FBI Director Comey for her loss.
According to the New York Times, “Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the [FBI’s] inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument,” and that Comey’s letter “stopped our momentum.”
Despite the fact that the FBI Director’s second letter recommended against prosecution, as did the first in July, “her campaign said the seemingly positive outcome had only hurt it with voters who did not trust Mrs. Clinton and were receptive to Mr. Trump’s claims of a ‘rigged system,’” the Times declared, adding that “in particular, white suburban women who had been on the fence were reminded of the email imbroglio and broke decidedly in Mr. Trump’s favor, [Clinton] aides said.”
The Times went on to report that “Mrs. Clinton’s instinct to shun any personal responsibility angered some Democrats. Several donors on the call, while deeply bitter about Mr. Comey’s actions, said they believed that Mrs. Clinton and her campaign had suffered avoidable missteps that handed the election to an unacceptable opponent. They pointed to the campaign’s lack of a compelling message for white working-class voters and to decisions years ago by Mrs. Clinton to use a private email address at the State Department and to accept millions of dollars for speeches to Wall Street.”
The “Energizer Bunny” is an anthropomorphic pink rabbit that first appeared in 1989 as an outgrowth of the commercially successful and highly popular “Duracell Bunny,” which was created by a rival company in 1973 to advertise alkaline batteries that the manufacturer claimed would “keep on running… and running… and running….”
Duracell Inc. is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway; Energizer Holdings Inc. has its foundation in the Eveready Battery Company, which in 1980 changed the name of its alkaline power cell to Energizer. All are American companies.
In addition, the subtle reference to rabbits, especially females, having lots of sexual energy (cf, Playboy waitresses and the high-school description of promiscuous young women who “do it like a bunny”) was apparently not lost on the Secret Service detail that guards the former President.