Judicial Watch: Bush wins (again)

Is Lucianne.com tilting left? Kinsley vs. O'Reilly continues.

Published March 23, 2001 8:58PM (EST)

Big buzz

Just what is going on at Lucianne.com? On more and more threads, it seems as though the conservative bastion is being infiltrated by -- gasp! -- liberals. Take today's thread on the continuing dust-up between Fox's Bill O'Reilly and Slate's Michael Kinsley.

For those of you who haven't been following it, the Kinsley vs. O'Reilly dust-up has been a multimedia affair. It began with a column Kinsley penned for the Washington Post, moved on to O'Reilly's television show on Fox News and has been a favorite of online chatterboxes ever since.

In a nutshell, the issue is whether O'Reilly fudged his past as part of a working-class Irish household and was looked down upon by Washington's liberal elite for his modest roots. Kinsley says O'Reilly's victim narrative is a load of hooey, and that O'Reilly's claim that he was snubbed at a Beltway dinner party because of his social class is a flat-out lie. O'Reilly retorts that Kinsley is a coward.

Let's let Kinsley take it from here. In his column for Slate Thursday, Kinsley writes, "O'Reilly had a cow." "He denounced me on his show as a liar and as a coward for not daring to come and repeat my aspersions on the air." Kinsley then goes on to tell of his investigation into the dinner party that has become O'Reillygate. "Close examination of the guest list reveals many other guests with backgrounds more humble than Bill O'Reilly's. Yes, even more humble than an accountant's son from Levittown. We can only hope that they didn't take offense when O'Reilly himself departed."

With that, the chat rooms were again abuzz. Threads on the Free Republic and Lucianne.com popped up immediately. The fire breathers were out in force. "Kinsley is a little liberal weasel and Bill O didn't let him slither his way out of the situation. And is it just me, or is Kinsley the most annoying person to watch on the tube? Even his demeanor oozes of liberal slime."

All to be expected. But what to make of this post from Lucianne.com denizen "Eelena"? "Kinsley made O'Reilly look like the fool that he is on the show and here he demonstrates what a liar Bill O is to boot. Hey Bill ... you'd better stick to lightweights. You're not ready for the Big Leagues. Perhaps O'Reilly just meant he had 'low-class' manners. That would be accurate."


Andrew Sullivan.com: "Does Bill Kristol Like the Taliban?"
Opinion Journal: "Is McCain Gearing Up to Run for President in 2004?"
Michael Kinsley: Kinsley vs. O'Reilly, Part 3 -- "The Mystery of the Departing Guests"
Modern Humorist: "After the Cliché Rush"
WorldNet Daily: "The Temple Mount Dilemma"
Kausfiles: "Will Sex Save Bill Clinton?"
BuzzFlash.com: "Bush Budget Will Leave Many Children Behind!"

Anger management

The Associated Press reports that Judicial Watch says it has completed its recount of the Florida ballots, and the results are in. "Judicial Watch President Thomas Fitton said the study of ballots picked large counties that accounted for 70 percent of the undercounted ballots where no vote was recorded by machines," the AP reports. "He said it showed Bush would have picked up at least 107 votes more than Gore in six counties, enough to maintain his lead despite Al Gore's gains in two Democratic leaning counties." But the Judicial Watch probe looked only at disputed ballots in eight of the state's 67 counties.

A release on the Judicial Watch Web site states: "Of primary importance is that, after analyzing 42,724 of the 62,605 ballots reported as undervotes in Florida, it is the stated view of the independent accounting firm that a statewide recount of the Florida undervotes would not have changed the outcome of the presidential election."

A liberal poster at Lucianne.com shows that no matter what the results of the subsequent recounts, the perception of who won the election will continue to break along partisan lines. "That he'll be president isn't in doubt since Uncle Tony appointed him. What is in doubt is if he actually got more votes than Gore in Florida. We already know that he didn't in the rest of the country. Judicial Watch, as always, is a laugh. We'll see what the impartial recounts disclose."

But the following post was more indicative of others in the thread: "Yes, be comforted by the fact that your hero Al Gore won more votes nationwide than Bush. Keep focusing on the past. Meanwhile, Bush is cleaning your party's clock on a regular basis. Check out those approval ratings. Not too shabby for an 'illegitimate' president, eh?"

The ongoing media recount, meanwhile, shows a pretty substantial Gore gain (see next page).

For more Red vs. Blue, click here.

Submit your own rant or direct us to a good political online discussion by e-mailing us at redvsblue@salon.com, or jump right into a Table Talk discussion.

The official, certified, Supreme Court-approved presidential Florida vote tally gave George W. Bush the state -- and the election -- by a mere 537 votes. But a number of newspapers have begun recounting those contested ballots, scrutinizing the overvotes (those with more than one punch per race) and undervotes (with all of their dimples and hanging chads), and coming up with their own totals. Some newspapers have formed consortiums (the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press are one; the Miami Herald, USA Today and Knight Ridder are the other) and will be releasing their findings within a month.

But early results are trickling in, bringing bittersweet good news for Al Gore. Though reaching one final number is difficult because different papers came up with different vote tallies in reviewing Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, one thing is clear: Gore would have gained anywhere from 7,658 to 7,800 votes in a statewide recount of overvotes and undervotes, more than enough to wipe out Bush's 537-vote advantage. Even using only undervotes, Gore would have picked up anywhere from 850 to 960 votes depending on which paper's numbers were used, still enough to carry Florida.

Here's a guide to the recounts, per county. The newspaper doing the recount is noted in parentheses:

Bradford County over- and undervotes: Gore +4 (Orlando Sentinel)
Charlotte County over- and undervotes: Gore +30 (OS)
Collier County undervotes: Bush +226 (Naples Daily News)
Franklin County over- and undervotes: Gore +3 (OS)
Gadsden County over- and undervotes: Gore +16 (OS)
Gulf County over- and undervotes: Gore +5 (OS)
Hamilton County over- and undervotes: Gore +2 (OS)
Hendry County over- and undervotes: Gore +4 (OS)
Hillsborough County undervotes (includes dimples): Gore +120 (Tampa Tribune)
Jackson County over- and undervotes: Gore +12 (OS)
Lafayette County over- and undervotes: Gore +1 (OS)
Lake County over- and undervotes: Gore +121 (OS)
Levy County over- and undervotes: Bush +2 (OS)
Miami-Dade County undervotes: Gore +49 (Miami Herald consortium)
Miami-Dade undervotes: Bush +6 (Palm Beach Post)
Okeechobee County over- and undervotes: Gore +25 (OS)
Orange County undervotes: Gore +203 (MH)
Osceola County undervotes: Gore +25 (OS)
Palm Beach overvotes: Gore +6,600 (PBP)
Palm Beach County undervotes (includes dimples): Gore +682 (PBP)
Palm Beach undervotes: Gore +784 (OS)
Seminole County undervotes: Gore +13 (OS)
Suwannee County over- and undervotes: Gore +5 (OS)
Taylor County over- and undervotes: Gore +9 (OS)

Ongoing totals, by newspaper, with revised running total in parentheses:
Naples Daily News (Collier County only): Bush +226 (Bush +763)
Tampa Times (Hillsborough County): Gore +120 (Bush +417)
Miami Herald (Miami-Dade County): Gore +49 (Bush +488)
Palm Beach Post under- and overvotes (Palm Beach County): Gore +7,288 (Gore +6,751)
Palm Beach Post undervotes only (Palm Beach County): Gore +682 (Gore +151)
Orlando Sentinel: 1,264 (Gore +727)

Submit your own rant or direct us to a good political online discussion by e-mailing us at redvsblue@salon.com, or jump right into a Table Talk discussion.

By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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