Tom Greene is a god

Pure genius covering US politics

Not everyone hates The Register's US election coverage, though we have to confess that only a minority here are bona fide Yanks. Funny that.... [updated 25 Novenber]

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Register total scorched-earth election coverage

I am pleased to see the Register return to its charter: Unbiased reporting of both sides of an issue. While I am a Bush supporter, I cannot help but find that BOTH candidates have strayed far from the path of candor and virtue in this mess of an election. Unfortunately, the press has shown a bias in favor of Mr. Gore and your coverage, here-to-fore, has been in the same pot. I am quite pleased to see some honest, equal-opportunity bashing of two pathetic louts who honestly deserve it.

Rich Parker

P.S. Having bashed YOU in the past, I felt I ought to take the time to give you praise for a good piece.


[Reading 'Tom Greene is Satan']
Jesus, some of those flames are pretty harsh, eh? I enjoy your commentary and I enjoy The Register. It seems that you guys have enough shit slinging that goes on, so I'll just keep this brief.

Thank you all for The Register and thanks to you [Tom] for having the nuts to stand up to those flaming gits.


Mr. Greene:

This is a very well written commentary. Your points are balanced and lucid.

The rather severe threat of Mr. Baker to overturn Florida's Supreme Court state is dangerous. Although an admitted Democrat, and therefore biased in my opinion, these tactics go far beyond what would be reasonable. It looks like the Republicans will be saved from further embarrassment by the refussal of Dade County to contnue counting votes. It appeards we will have a new President, Mr. Bush by Sunday. Maybe it is best, for the Republicans want this so desperately; it may be best to let them have their way in the best interest of the Country. But the history books will not be kind to the Bush Administration.

Best wishes,
Ron Meier

Just to counterbalance the flames, thanks for covering the US Election. Who gets in will make a big difference to IT - Bush is in an ongoing onanism with Microsoft, will slash spending to Internet too and other initiatives etc, so it's useful to know who's getting in.

Nick Mailer

I just read the indignant letters about The Reg's biased angle, and totally disagree with the calls for unbiased reporting from The Reg.

In my opinion (worthless as it may be), The Reg did a great job. The Reg has rarely been unbiased in its reporting: it has always been ready to give its opinions on issues, and unafraid to satirise. That's what makes The Reg so entertaining and different.

If I need more unbiased reporting on the Bush/Gore saga, I'll just visit the regular (a.k.a. boring) news websites, thank you. Now, I'm not a Yank, so maybe that's why my opinions are biased the other way. I only wonder if those letter writers would be as vocal if The Reg's articles were "biased" against Gore instead, hmmm?



I have been reading your pieces on the election. They are as well informed as, and in some cases better than, those of professional political writers and commentators [um, I thought I was a proffessional political writer....] There is a clear slant against Dubya, but that too is preferable to the pretence of objectivity preceding "objective" comment from largely biased hacks. Good for you.

P.S. what's all this got to do with IT? ;-)

Geoff Thompson

I've been reading BBC and miscellaneous stuff pointed to by for news about the US Presidential election. Of course I always read The Register for tech stuff. Ironically, The Reg has the best political coverage.

You've consistently provided clear summaries of the slimery in Florida (I just made that word up, don't check Oxford). Just as with tech news, The Reg combines contemporaneous political commentary with relevant history to provide context. While other journalists' pens flail in the Florida madness, The Register's Thomas C. Greene writes believable non-partisan (he dislikes everyone, again a Register tradition) analyses of each day's events.

I have lamented that journalism is nowhere to be found in the intellectual wasteland of the USA. The Register, combined with Mr. Greene, have proven me wrong. It is unfortunate that The Register is a journalistic island, surrounded by crap in the US media cesspool--but until someone flushes and new media refills the bowl, The Reg with Mr. Greene will remain the best source for US Election 2000 news.

-Paul Komarek

Hope you're "enjoying" what must be bucketfuls of hate-mail from the zealots you are offending! Thanks for the laughs.

Ian MacTavish

Hi Thomas,

As you're the man covering US politics for The Register, I thought you might be interested in the following cartoon. I think it sums up the situation fairly succintly....

BTW, your political writing is excellent - we'll see you on the NY Times soon ;-).


Hi Thomas,

I've been enjoying your coverage of the US Presidential non-election from where I live in Australia. I have been catching a lot of the coverage on the Today show which starts about 1a.m. here. Your coverage has been funny and succinct.

I just saw the usual republican / democrat pair being interviewed on Today and the Republican dude's response on whether Bush should meet with Gore was priceless: "There'd have to be some hidden trap" he was saying.

My God ... it's all some kind of a goddam conspiracy -- we need a Texan in the Whitehouse right away!

Keep 'em coming,

Regards from Melbourne (No not Melbourne, Fla)

RE: Bush and Gore exchange personalities

Perhaps this amazing process is explained by another article in today's Register headlined "Monkey brain signals used to work robots" <grin>. The more I see of Dubya on the UK TV coverage the more he looks like a member of the chimps tea-party to me.

Carry on the good work. Your enjoyable coverage of the US election is required reading in our household.

John Dickson

RE: Bush and Gore exchange personalities:

Your story with the above title was very funny... "...the rude masses in the US tend to dine early, and often do so with the evening news droning in the background (assuming they're not actually lined up facing the TV, hunched over individual Formica-topped 'snack tables')."

How did you know how we eat? We call them 'TV-trays' though, and we just upgraded to some really snazzy maple ones.

"...a timid, frightened Dubya took to the airwaves to reject Gore's proposal 'officially'. "

He was just trying to look 'presidential.'

"Incredibly -- and we should not have believed it had we not witnessed it -- the 'easygoing Dubya' and the 'wooden Veep' had exchanged personas as if by means of some 1950's science-fiction-movie experiment in molecular transportation gone horribly wrong."

I thought Gore looked wooden, too, but he always looks wooden anyway so I don't notice it as much. Bush looked like he had been drugged or something. Neither one looks like our next president. <shudder> <shake> Can we have your Tony Blair in exchange for a slightly-used Bill Clinton?

not signed

Mr. Greene,

Are you a brit suffering in DC, or just an American with an especially wry sense of humor(humour)?

I must admit to relishing your coverage of George Dubya, or Shrub as we like to call him down here in Texas.

Keep up the good work.


Mr. Green:

Keep it up. I have yet to see or hear anything approaching your thoughtfulness in this media circus.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

Wis Macomson

This is great stuff! It's virtually impossible to get this kind of info from the US media. Care to divulge sources? What I would like to know is precisely how ballots are being counted. Are they just being

verified by hand and then counted by machine? If hand counted, how is it done?

As for relation to IT this whole election mess is clearly a case of GIGO. So get to work. :-)

joe "yes, I'm a Yank" piazza

I appreciate your candid view. I recognize that I am not a British citizen and so may not be accustomed to such a strong slant in an article. Perhaps it would be better for our journalists to be more honest in their writing.


I can see who ever gets this mess standing at the podium and talking about a mandate from the people.......

Have a lovely week end. Stay the hell out of politics, get laid, get drunk and enjoy....


thanks very much!

Rishi Ganti

Well why don't you just tell me how you REALLY feel :)

I hear you, brother. But when faced with the choice between a slut and a socialist, least I know he's on my side of the 2nd Amendment.

Let me apologize for my flaming, however. I do get so bent out of shape at the coverage that the Democratic party gets, and on my initial impression, I thought that was what you meant to do.

"slutty Republican-party sock puppet" ...classic.

Slim Whitman

*Chuckle*, Well okay. I'll step off the pulpit to watch you guys stir up the water. However, as a side, the Republicans aren't half as useless as you make them out to be... if nothing else than for providing a check to the opposition party's corruption. Of course I mean that to apply to both parties.


Dear Mr. Greene

Don't you guys on the other side of the pond wish you could have fun elections like this? I guess it's adequate compensation, though, all the spitting and growling entertainment of your office hours, which I've always envied.

As far as 'Kommissar Harris' delivering the White House to Baby Bush, there ought to be a plum posting for the ambassador-in-waiting, perhaps even to the Queen's own realm. But anyway, if you can't carry a state with your brother as Governor, one of your campaign managers as Secretary of State and election supervisor, and the top and only clear entry line on the Palm Beach County ballot, you may have to get a vintage Daley on your team.

Also, do the London papers carry this on the news, theatre, or comic pages?

Fred Yontz

Speaking as a Canuck and hence a member of a former colony, permit me to express my amusement at the hate mail you have received for your lovely article. Indeed, since I read The Register for material on topics other than {shudder} American politics, I had cast but a glance at your headlines, which appeared at first blush to be little more than parroting the squawking on similar sites (CNN, NY Times, et al.).

But then, oh wonder of wonders, I fell across your mailbag contents, and I was smitten! In feverish haste, I sought out the source material. And then collapsed in gales of laughter.

Oh, irreverent one, please do not let the lashing out of the rude masses dissuade you from your task or somehow dull the sharp edge of your journalistic blade!

And, more seriously, I followed the thread back of your articles, and was pleased to see the numerous citations of the relevant legislation, whether in Florida (currently being analyzed by the courts), or in Texas, where Dubya had passed that amendment favouring manual recounts. This is objective material, generally unavailable on US news sites. The efforts made by the Republican gang members to subvert the steps being taken to ensure fairness in the election results is frightening indeed.

In fact, it is rather odd, because I would have thought the Republicans, with their more conservative bent, would be more inclined to ensure election results would be fair. Is it not the Democrats who have a more miserable history of playing fast and loose with elections, as in the notorious Democratic 'machine' in Chicago in years past?

Be that as it may, you are certainly on the money with the very different images Gore and Dubya are projecting in the crunch. Indeed, Dubya's low wattage is becoming of increasing concern to me, in the event he ends up at the helm. At least Clinton had great cojones internationally, if not for his considerable intellect, at least for his promiscuous prowess.

Would you happen to have access to the percentages of eligible voters who in fact voted??? It strikes me that the total count seems to be a few tens of millions of people short, no?

In Quebec, when we had our last Referendum, voter turnout was well over 95%.

That alone is worth an article. We had a similar scandal with the election results, because in districts that are predominantly 'anglophone' (inhabited by English-speaking people), thousands of ballots were disqualified by the 'francophone' (French-speaking) supervisors. The Referendum failed (on the issue of Quebec seceding from Canada, in a muddily-phrased 'question'), but the court battle on the spoiled ballots continued for some time.

Criminal charges were brought against those who disqualified the ballots, which were NOT in fact spoiled, but perhaps sloppily filled in (for example, you must make an 'X' in the box next to your answer, to reflect a 'yes' or 'no' answer, but if the 'X' was sideways, or messy, or looked almost like a 'Y', the ballot would be disqualified, which was evidently ridiculous, since no ambiguity was created). Of course, nothing effective ever happened, the few charged were acquitted of electoral fraud (claiming they were acting under instructions of superiors!), and the Chief Electoral Officer brushed the whole mess under the rug.

Here is an extract from a recent article in the Montreal Gazette (September 06):

Over-all, 5,426 ballots in Mulcair's riding were rejected by over-zealous scrutineers, some of whom were later charged under the province's electoral laws. After several acquittals, Quebec's chief electoral officer dropped charges against all 31 people charged after the vote, saying there was little chance of getting convictions.

In the referendum, three ridings in particular - Marguerite Bourgeoys, Chomedey and Laurier-Dorion - had unusually high rates of rejection, ranging from 3.5 per cent to 11 per cent. Over-all, a total of 86,501 ballots - or 1.82 per cent of those cast - were rejected. The federalist side won by 54,288 votes or 1.16 per cent.

Photocopies of the ballots, submitted as evidence at the trial of one Yes-side scrutineer, Mathieu Lefebvre, who was acquitted of electoral fraud, have been put on display by Alliance Quebec at various locations this summer.

So, if the Americans think they have it bad, imagine what we could have faced: the 86,501 spoiled ballots could have turned the Referendum results, and we could have faced a constitutional crisis of gargantuan proportions, as our country would have been torn asunder.

To the extent that any of us by into the inherent fallacy of a democracy (which is no more or less logical than the inherent fallacy of a tyranny), then it behooves us all to ensure that an educated populace actually turns up to vote, votes once, on ballots which are simple to read, and that all those ballots are carefully and honestly counted.

Thanks again for your efforts to poke fun at the imbeciles at the helm!

Anne-France Goldwater

Mr. Greene:

Nice take on the election madness in your Register article. There's a somewhat subtle issue that has got me tickled that I haven't seen addressed, though.

In arguing against selective counties doing manual recounts, a lawyer for the Bush campaign claimed, "It just isn't right for some citizen's votes to count more than others."

If that's so, and Gore has more popular votes than Bush, and its only the peculiarities of the electoral college system that weighs some states more heavily than others that gives Bush the presidency...

Ooooops. Scratch one sound bite.

On another note, it was a bit scary to see that the Republican
observer in florida bears a striking resemblance to former Arizona governor Evan Mecham, the first (and only, so far) American governor to face, simultaneously, a recall drive, impeachment by the senate and house, and criminal indictment. To give you an idea of the brilliance of the man, when he was cleared of the criminal charges he gave a brief statement on the court steps. His most cogent comment was, "This just goes to prove that the system doesn't work!" Hope you found this amusing.

Carl Nelson

Sure, we laugh, but whatever happens now, come January there'll be an inscrupulous, grinning toad in dire need of morale-boosting long range missile targets. Pity the people of [random medium-to- small-sized, politically isolated, mostly harmless and totally defenceless country] when that shit comes down.


Sigh. Please forgive the mouth-breathing, monosynaptic, shite-for-brains who send flames such as the one quoted in your story of 17/11/2000. You see, thanks to the ubiquity of the Internet, people that at one time were confined to watching wrestling on TV, swilling Budweiser, and bonking their cousins are now able, through the wonders of modern technology, to broadcast their ignorance thousands of miles in an instant.

Most of the shaven apes who actually walk upright in this pathetic country wouldn't recognise a liberal if one bit them in the ass. The political spectrum here ranges from "moderate" conservative to full-blown right-wing wacko conservative. There are, I would estimate, about 358 actual "leftists" in the US we have de-evolved to the point (assuming we had ever moved beyond the point to begin with) where there is no concept of the "loyal opposition". You're either you're a true red blooded 'merkin (i.e., brainless idiot) who would put a drunk, spoiled, lying cokehead in command of the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet or you're a "cock sucking democrat".

Either way, I'm so disgusted and ashamed to be breathing the same polluted air as these boneheads. This whole election business just makes me feel dirty. At least I live in a county in Oregon that said an overwhelming "NO, DUMBASS!" to dubya and still gave Mr. Nader his five per cent, but overall helped the veep carry the state. At least a lying democrat will pretend to give a rat's ass about those at the bottom of the scale, where as the dim bulb geo. Dubya and his cronies in the RichWhitePeoplesParty surely cannot be bothered with such trifling matters. At least boring ol' Al may have SOME CLUE about foreign policy matters, about not trashing the global economy, about taking some care of the environment. Dubya can't be bothered with those tree-huggers and their annoying whines about "breathable air" and "clean water" and such nonsense - there are political favours to repay! Yee haw! Frat boys running the economy. Good lord. I suppose after 225 years of independence we've finally reached puberty. You folks on the other side of the pond must find this all terribly amusing - and absolutely horrifying. I wish I could assure you that it's better than portrayed in the American press.

I'm so excited about the "information age." after 18 years in this stupid computer industry, it's clear that we've been wasting a lot of time and effort trying to make better machines. We need to spend some time attempting to make better humans. Alas, it's a losing battle.

On behalf of the 0.000001384% of the population here who may actually be paying attention to the serious and deep implications of the mess we're in (of which this election nonsense and the flame emails are but symptoms), I apologize that we're pretty powerless to do much about it. So we await the inevitable result from Florida, and quietly go about our days, seething in contempt, but trying, very hard, to stay sane.

Surrounded by fuckwits,
A cynical idealist

Hello Mr. Greene,

I have enjoyed your articles on the American Election, so I dug up something that you and your readers might find interesting. The attachment is a 125 K .jpg -please view. If used, please keep references in the .jpg intact.

Thank you,
Doc Toe

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