Democrats to LePore: Good riddance!

Plus: War breaks out over Bush's first 11 federal judicial nominations. Plus: McAuliffe says Bush "stole the election."

Published May 9, 2001 2:24PM (EDT)

Anger management

Democrats won't have Theresa LePore to kick around anymore, according to the Palm Beach Post. LePore, of course, is the lifelong Democratic Party loyalist whose life took a turn for the Shakespearean when she approved the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach last year. Many Democrats believe that ballot cost Al Gore the election. The Palm Beach County elections supervisor has handed in her partisan stripes, saying she has been "bruised by partisan fighting" and is disappointed that the Legislature refused to make her job nonpartisan.

It was unclear who, if anyone, would contest LePore for the job in 2004, but after last year's debacle in Palm Beach, she says, she was ready for a challenger in the Democratic primary. "I'm sure somebody probably would have [challenged] because there was so much anger ... that I did my job and didn't do it the way they [Democrats] wanted me to do it," LePore told the Post.

"I'm not surprised," county Republican chairwoman Mary McCarty said of LePore's decision. "She's never been a political animal. The only reason she ever picked a party was because she needed one to run for office."

The folks at had their "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" response at the ready. "Back in November, we all wondered how the butterfly ballot, which just seemed intentionally fixed to throw the race to the GOP, could have been designed by a Democrat! We were confused [and] a bit suspicious. Now the other shoe has dropped! Ballot designer Theresa LePore has come out of the closet and officially declared herself a Republican! She belonged to the party in the 70s, then switched to Independent, then to Dem in 1996 just when the GOP really started playing dirty. She says she switched back to the GOP because the Dems were mean to her. Well, Theresa, maybe it's because nobody likes a double agent!"

Actually, LePore changed her registration to "Decline to state."

And speaking of the ever-growing "stolen election" file: An editorial in the Wall Street Journal asserts that the Florida vote controversy pales in comparison to the Gore campaign's efforts to "hijack" the election in Missouri through a pair of lawsuits.

"At a rally with Al Gore the night before the election, Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay told a crowd in St. Louis that he would 'get a court order' the next day to keep the polls open," the editorial states. "Then the next afternoon, lawsuits were filed in Kansas City and St. Louis claiming the polls should stay open because minorities were having trouble voting that day. The Gore-Lieberman campaign was the only plaintiff to appear in both suits. Within minutes of the filing for a problem presumably just discovered that day, pre-recorded phone calls from Jesse Jackson poured into St. Louis telling people they could vote late.

"Better elections require reforms like Florida's decision last week to upgrade its voting machines. But comprehensive reform has to include efforts to weed out fraud and get to the bottom of efforts to manipulate the system such as the Gore-Lieberman lawsuits. Otherwise, valid voters will continue to be at risk of having their ballots canceled out by error or skullduggery. Every vote should count, but only if it's real."

Not surprisingly, Free Republic readers think the editorial doesn't go far enough. "No mention of the fact that this Democratic ploy probably caused Ashcroft to narrowly lose his seat to a dead man?" writes one.

"Missouri has long had the reputation of political corruption, with the dead being resurrected on election day to vote the Democrat ticket," charges another poster. "The Pendergast machine helped to make Truman vice president in 1944. Corruption occurred in 1960, supplying the narrow victory of JFK by the 'Show-Me' people. But in 1964, the Demos didn't need any help. LBJ swept Missouri, a state as fearful of the Goldwater image as probably Massachusetts and New York combined. And unfortunately, most Missouri conservatives seem afraid to speak up. Look how the left has defanged John Ashcroft, who didn't say a word about corruption in his state. And the other Missouri "John," John Danforth, is a national embarrassment of weakness and fear."

Of course, Democrats are still charging that it was the other guy who actually stole the election. "There is nothing we can do about the last election. We won that election, and they stole that election," said Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe at a Democratic gathering in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday. "President Bush tells us to get over it. Well, we're not getting over it."


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Andrew Sullivan: "Derbyshire on Acid" "Nationalizing the West ... Again" "> Linda Chavez: "Roughly 40,000 Feet Somewhere Over the USA"

Big buzz

Everyone's up in arms about judicial appointments. As President Bush names his first 11 nominees to the federal bench, an all-out war appears to have broken out in the U.S. Senate. And in the nation's opinion pages. And, of course, online.

Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot says the nominees are notable not for who they are but for who they aren't. Specifically, Gigot laments the exclusion of Californians Carolyn Kuhl and Rep. Christopher Cox and Maryland attorney Peter Keisler from Bush's list.

"Their withdrawal exposes the illusion of Beltway 'bipartisanship,' Gogot writes. "Senate Democrats are turning judicial selection into a brass-knuckled partisan street fight. That's especially outrageous in the case of Mr. Cox, the 48-year-old, seven-term House Republican leader who has a personal history of bipartisanship."

Folks at chimed in with choruses of "Amen." "Yup. That's Feinswine, all right," writes one poster, referring to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who opposed the Cox nomination. "Half the ethical integrity of a starving weasel in heat. She's an extreme leftist whose husband is deeply involved in communist Chinese business deals. She has her own concealed weapons permit, and wishes to disarm every law-abiding citizen in the nation. She's one of the queens of pork barrel spending and a staunch supporter of tax increases, more tax increases, and still more tax increases -- along with special loopholes for people like her husband, of course. She really and truly does represent the People's Republic of California."

Another poster in the thread was ready to wave the white flag. "Vicious leftists always trump gutless Republicans. We may not like it, but that's reality."

Meanwhile, Democrats are planning a little bit of payback for the Clinton judicial appointees who were held up by Senate Republicans, particularly Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch. Now that Hatch is calling for quick approval of Bush's appointees, liberals are ready for battle.

"Honest to god, I want to hit him," writes one Table Talker of the Judiciary Committee chairman. "I honestly don't know how Leahy, Kennedy and Daschle can handle it. The man inspires me to violence. I just can't stand that unctuous voice, the breath-taking hypocrisy, the cool-voiced, contemptuous lies spewing from that self-satisfied, smirking mouth!"

But not all of the 11 appointees named by Bush pass muster with the folks at Free Republic. "I am not satisfied with everyone," writes one poster. "Barrington Parker from the second circuit is a left wing judge, and is an extremely bad idea. Bush should not nominate him at any cost."

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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