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Howard Dean replays the 2000 election's legal fight

Even as Democratic leaders sat down in a Washington hotel this morning to try to resolve their dispute over primaries in Michigan and Florida, the head of the party took a swipe at the resolution of another fight over counting votes -- the one that decided the 2000 general election.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, in remarks opening the much-anticipated rules committee meeting, invoked the name of Al Gore, the party's nominee eight years ago. And in doing so, heDemocratic National Chairman Howard Dean spoke at the party's rules committee meeting trying to resolve the dispute over the Florida and Michigan primaries asserted that the presidency had been "snatched from" Gore by "five intellectually bankrupt justices."

So much for the recent recommendation from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- one of those who was part of the 5-4 ruling that led to George W. Bush becoming president -- that folks "get over" what happened and that the debate about it is "so old now."

Dean brought up Gore's name in telling an anecdote about his own disillusionment, as a presidential candidate in 2004, with the party he now hopes will unite after dealing with the Florida/Michigan mess and, at some point, settling on a nominee for this year.

Dean told of angrily pacing in a hotel room one night in Wisconsin -- where an impending primary loss would extinguish what had once been his front-running candidacy -- and talking with Gore on the telephone. For undisclosed reasons, he was venting, wondering why he should stay a Democrat and asking what the party had done for him.

Gore, according to Dean, finally cooled him down by saying, "This is not about you, it's about your country."

Who knows, more stories like this one -- and continued squabbling ...

... between the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps -- might give new life to that long-since-abandoned "Draft Al Gore" movement.

Dean, in wrapping up his comments, left little doubt that he believed that Florida and Michigan should end up with something less than full delegations at the party's convention in Denver this summer.

He urged the rules panel to reach a decision that respected voters in the two states -- including those who did not cast primary ballots because they had been told the contests would not count. And he called on the committee to respect the 48 states that did not violate party rules in scheduling their nominating contests.

-- Don Frederick

Photo: Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

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Dean has been a most fair DNC chairman and deserves kudos. Yes, respect the voters of the other 48 states whose state parties followed the rules! Surely the FL and MI contests were farces, beauty contests that did not measure the true intentions of voters who stayed home knowing that the elections would not count and in the case of MI, did not even have the choice of voting for Mr. Obama. FL and MI should not be rewarded for breaking the rules. Count every vote indeed....FL demonstrated in 2000 they don't even know how to conduct a valid election.

SOME people are not going to "get their way". Should it be the people who followed the rules, or the people who decided NOT to follow the rules, but who want their way anyway.
This decision is going to either reinforce the long-running spineless of the Democratic party, or be a first step to a stronger overall party that is learning how to make decisions and stand firmly behind them even when some in the party wine about it.

Democrats can't even follow their own rules, how can they be trusted to run the country? Obama wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and many voters stayed home because they were told their votes wouldn't count, yet Clinton's hypocritical double-standard is still being given serious consideration. Disgusting. This is why I'm an Independent.

Howard Dean has not been fair. That is preposterous. Having this session live for ALL to see the truth clearly shows that it was Dean that stripped all the delegates and then Obama stopped the only fair way to undo the damage.

This IS about our country. We will stop this election fraud even if it means voting for McCain. We have to stand up against this corruption.

Dean is just doing his job. James should grow up. The Florida resolution is fair. The Michigan solution is making the best of a bad situation. Hillary did not win 73 delegates because there were no delegates to be given from the flawed farce of an election held in Jan. That they gave her some more than a 50-50 split is a conciliatory gesture. The election was no better than a Politburo election in the 70s. You can't call it a real election if you had one serious candidate and a handful of token opposition candidates that had no chance.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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