Say what you will about whether the Republicans stole Ohio in 2004 -- and if recent history is any guide, people will say a lot -- the question has just reached a much bigger stage. In his New York Times column today, Bob Herbert says that John Kerry "almost certainly would have won Ohio if all of his votes had been counted, and if all of the eligible voters who tried to vote for him had been allowed to cast their ballots."
Herbert's column spins out of Robert F. Kennedy's Rolling Stone piece, which Herbert says "leaves no doubt that the democratic process was trampled and left for dead in the Buckeye State."
Is that the same thing as saying that the election was stolen? Almost, but not quite, at least in Herbert's view. The columnist says that Kennedy and Mark Crispin Miller have documented "aggressive and frequently unconscionable efforts by GOP stalwarts to disenfranchise Democrats in Ohio, especially those in urban and heavily black areas," but then he says that their evidence is still something less than proof that a theft occurred.
"No one has been able to prove that the election in Ohio was hijacked," Herbert writes. "But whenever it is closely scrutinized, the range of problems and dirty tricks that come to light is shocking. What's not shocking, of course, is that every glitch and every foul-up in Ohio, every arbitrary new rule and regulation, somehow favored Mr. Bush."