The Five Worst Republican Outrages

Remembering How a President Who Promised to Unify a Nation Fixed an Election

A mix of just this sort of obfuscation, filibustering delays, and back-of-the-hand dismissals of the Gore and court offers of a full state undervote recount established just how resistant Bush was to any attempt to ferret out a real final count.

Bush's willingness to champion both sides of any argument started with his campaign's pre-election attempts to delegitimize a Gore electoral college win, a position discarded when Gore won the popular vote by over 300,000. It was sounded again in the absentee ballot battle when Bush insisted on excusing almost any military voter error even while resisting any effort to count votes—disproportionately cast by the elderly and the poor—marred by punch-card-connected voter error.

5. Antonin Scalia, with two sons on the GOP tab and a chief judgeship in sight, and Clarence Thomas, the GOP's "Invisible Man," whose wife was a Bush headhunter, set the tone for a court that stopped the recount clock a few minutes after a heavily Republican Atlanta Appeals Court refused to by an 8 to 4 vote.

As often as Baker and the rest of the Double-speak Team charged Gore with muddying the waters by trying to overturn an election in court, it was Bush who brought the first case, asking the Atlanta Court of Appeals to block manual recounts. Bush called them unconstitutional, even though they are routine in Florida, Texas, and dozens of other states. No court on this long trail—not even the Scalia Gang—agreed with Bush's core claim.

The Scalia Gang blamed the Florida court for delays in a count that the Gang had brought to a screeching halt itself—for fear that the undervote would put the Wrong Man ahead. Its purported concern for the equal protection of all voters was used to justify the disenfranchising of thousands whose intent was yet to be determined. A deadline in state law became more sacrosanct than the Constitution's most fundamental guarantee.


Research: Rebecca Center, Rob Chaplick, Jennifer Fagan, and Rob Morlino

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