Republicans peevishly await Bush coronation

Re-counts are a Democrat dirty trick

As the manual re-count proceeds in several Florida counties carefully chosen by the Gore people to boost his chances, and its various parties square off in quest of vindication by the courts, Republicans have turned to their favourite tactic of alleging deliberate malfeasance and perfidious intent among their opponents.

Feeling the heat of a possible Gore win, or Electoral College stalemate, Republicans are now actively accusing the Miami-Dade County canvassing board of 'manufacturing' votes for Gore.

"Miami-Dade has become ground zero for producing a manufactured vote," US Representative John Sweeney (Republican, New York) said, and characterised the election officials cooperating with this madness as "pit bosses".

Sweeney is not alone. "This thing is rigged," US Representative David Hobson (Republican, Ohio) declared. "It is a joke on our democracy."

The accusations are typical of the Republican political art-form: they are at once serious, poorly documented, and sometimes comical.

We've heard of Bush ballots being sneakily added to the Gore pile. This happened once, and was undoubtedly an honest mistake by an exhausted worker.

We've heard of chads being taped onto ballot cards, obviously to cover up Bush wins, the Republicans say. Actually, no such case has been confirmed in any of the counting rooms. Tape was found on at least one absentee ballot, but as they are not punched, it's likely it was done by the voter or an official to keep it from falling apart.

We've heard of chads piling up on the floors of the counting rooms, further proof that 'the people', to whom Bush sang syrupy arias of 'trust' during his campaign, can't be trusted to handle ballot cards without destroying them. That's confirmed to have happened a grand total of once.

And we've heard of chads actually being eaten, as in some Checkpoint-Charley swallow-the-microfilms moment. Not likely, a Republican supervisor and judge said, observing with a sly smile that he "didn't think they would taste very good."

Capitol Hill is clearly gearing up to take the smarm-baton from Florida Republicans if Dubya fails to achieve his coronation. House Majority whip Tom DeLay (Republican, Texas) distributed a memo reminding other Republicans that the US Constitution empowers Congress to reject a state's electoral votes if majorities in both chambers determine that the local election was corrupt.

We look foward to further 'evidence' of election scandals, due to appear daily until the Electoral College convenes. ®

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