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November 09, 2004

On A Short Count

November 9, 2004

Right now, a whole lotta people are taking a good hard look at the numbers from the recent Presidential election. They don’t think it was a fair count, and they’re right, and they don’t think the numbers add up, and they’re right.

But – surprise – there’s a historical reason why I don’t care.

Back in 1960 we had a similar neck-and-necker, and John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon by a sneeze. It was thought that one state, my home state of Illinois, was stolen because a whole lot of dead people in my beloved Chicago found their way to the polls and, coincidentally, voted Democratic. To a corpse.

Republicans loudly demanded a recount, a canvas, a re-do, or something that would flip the results. But Dick Nixon waived them off saying internal peace was for the good of the country. He went down as a classy loser.

Well, as Lily Von Schtup once said, bullshit. Nixon knew something his buddies didn’t. He knew Richard J. Daley wasn’t bluffing.

Richard J. Daley, head of the city of Chicago for so long an entire generation of youth were raised believing Daley’s first name was “Mayor,” said he was in favor of a recount. He would be happy to cooperate – as long as the recount was statewide. What Daley knew, and Nixon understood, was that more votes were stolen for the Republicans “downstate” (which, in Illinois politics, means “every place outside of Cook County”) then were swiped for Kennedy in the city of broad shoulders.

Politics is like sausage – you don’t want to look too closely at the ingredients. It has always been the dirtiest of businesses, and always will be. There’s one simple reason – too much money is at stake. There are more complex reasons having to do with ego and, certainly this year, religion, but when it comes to the firmament of the political process, money dwarfs ‘em all.

People want to change that, and while I’ve seen good plans that would make our Alpine playing field slightly more level, those plans do nothing to change the fundamental financial imperative. You can’t run a country without a ton of bucks, and the guy who’s hand is on the driver’s wheel has his other hand in the till.

– with a tip of the hat (the first of a great many) to Mike Royko

Posted by Mike Gold at November 9, 2004 06:28 PM

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