Let me put the Republicans’ escalating attacks on ACORN in perspective for you:

In the last sixteen years, the Republicans have either lost or stolen the White House. There has not been a legitimate Republican president elected for twenty years.

For this reason, an entire generation of Republican politicians, campaign workers, operatives, and media proxies have grown up doing only two things: a) delegitimizing a Democratic president, b) stealing an election for George W. Bush. That’s all they’ve done, so that’s all they know how to do, so that’s what we’re up against.

Since Friday, the Republicans have shifted from trying to use Ayers to win the election, to trying to use ACORN to deligitimize the election. They have already given up on keeping the White House. McCain doesn’t even have a transition team in place.

Instead, they have retreated to the next position from which they will try to cripple a White House they no longer hold.

If this sounds crazy, paranoid, or merely partisan to you, consider the very close presidential elections of the last sixteen years. Republicans have plotted in advance to delegitimize results that didn’t favor them, executed those plans, or else they have stolen the election entirely:

In 1992, Bill Clinton was supposed to be a KGB agent.

Last week the poltergeists were back on center stage, as an increasingly desperate George Bush attacked Clinton for protesting the Vietnam War while a Rhodes scholar at Oxford in 1969 and for visiting Moscow in early 1970 during a school break. In terms that recalled the red-baiting tactics of the McCarthy era, Bush told CNN talk-show host Larry King that Clinton should “level with the American people on the draft, on whether he went to Moscow, how many demonstrations he led against his country from a foreign soil.”

Describing his Moscow trip and antiwar activities a day later, Clinton charged that the campaign had “sunk to a new level.” Clinton has never denied his opposition to the fighting in Vietnam. While in England, he said, he “helped to put together a teach-in at the University of London” and also joined a group of American antiwar protesters outside the U.S. embassy in London.

As for Clinton’s trip to Moscow, he said he paid his own way and “was mostly just a tourist.” Clinton had plenty of company: 40,000 Americans visited the Soviet Union in 1970 as detente was becoming a popular word.

Bush’s comments marked the crescendo of a well-orchestrated campaign of rumors, leaks and innuendos. They ranged from wild suggestions of KGB links, to reports that Clinton had held multiple passports under different names while at Oxford, to dark hints that the young Arkansan may even have been planning to renounce his citizenship to avoid the draft. If Bush did have evidence for such charges that Clinton could not explain away, the results could be devastating. But so far no shadow of proof was forthcoming.

Amid the furious swirl of rumors, State Department staffers suspected that someone may have tampered with Clinton’s passport records. They informed the FBI, which launched a hurried investigation of the file. Meanwhile, a Bush Administration official leaked word of the investigation to the press. The FBI investigators, however, ended the probe without finding anything amiss.

The red-baiting gambit had been launched by Robert Dornan, the flamboyant right-wing Congressman who is co-chairman of the Bush campaign in California. Dornan last month got hold of a 1989 front-page article in the Arkansas Gazette that discussed Clinton’s Moscow trip. He then began railing against Clinton in late-night House speeches, often delivered to an empty chamber, but nonetheless carried on C-SPAN. Besides suggesting that Clinton may have been a dupe of the KGB, Dornan heatedly attacked the Democrat’s draft record and antiwar views.

Few people were paying attention — except George Bush. In daily meetings with his top political advisers, the President pushed staffers to find ways to exploit Dornan’s charges. Most of his advisers, deterred by Dornan’s loose- cannon reputation and lack of proof, at first shied away from the allegations. But Bush just “wouldn’t let go,” says a top adviser, adding that the charges played on the President’s aversion to anything he considers unpatriotic — “like the flag-burning thing.”

Thus when Dornan and three other right-wing Congressmen called on Bush and Baker in the White House at 8 a.m. last Tuesday, they found a most attentive listener in the President. One of the Congressmen claimed the Moscow and antiwar issues could “kill Clinton.” The very next day Bush was on the King show demanding that his opponent come clean about his trip to the U.S.S.R. In a phrase heavy with innuendo, the President added, “I don’t want to tell you what I really think, because I don’t have the facts . . . but to go to Moscow one year after Russia crushed Czechoslovakia, not remember who you saw . . . I really think the answer is, level with the American people.”

Sharply criticized in the press, and even by some prominent Republicans, Bush promptly backed off his unsubstantiated criticisms of the Moscow trip. But he redoubled his attacks on the Democrat’s antiwar record. Coming on the eve of the crucial first debate, the apparent aim of the Bush strategy was to sow new doubts about Clinton’s trustworthiness and rattle the Democrat into making fresh gaffes. But the ploy, smacking as it does of dirty tricks, could well backfire. “This kind of attack makes Bush look more strident and less presidential,” says Ed Rollins, a former Republican strategist. “Unless Bush does something that suddenly convinces voters he would be a different President in his second term, Clinton could win with a landslide.”

Sound familiar? Same sneaky lies coming from people who don’t believe them. Same GOP, different year.


In 1996, Bill Clinton was supposed to have bought the election using Chinese money.

A Stolen Election


Some of us owe Bob Dole an apology. Here we’ve been holding the Kansan responsible for losing to President Clinton. But we now know the election was lost even before Mr. Dole had entered the first Republican primary.

This is what the Senate and media probes have taught us about fund raising in the 1996 campaign. We now know why Mr. Clinton was willing to risk breaking campaign laws in order to raise and spend so much money. He was paying for an unprecedented barrage of early TV attack ads that doomed Mr. Dole even before a single vote was cast.

Don’t take my word for this. The proof comes from Mr. Clinton himself as revealed by the latest batch of videotapes. “The fact that we’ve been able to finance this long-running constant television campaign,” he told well-heeled donors at a May 21, 1996, White House lunch, “has been central to the position I now enjoy in the polls.” To the extent those ads were financed with illegal money, Mr. Clinton stole the election.

Mr. Clinton’s words confirm the case already laid out by his own campaign Rasputin, Dick Morris, both in his candid book and in his Senate deposition. “In my opinion, the key to Clinton’s victory was his early television advertising,” writes Mr. Morris in Behind the Oval Office. “There has never been anything even remotely like it in the history of presidential elections.”

If you were wondering what you’ll be facing beginning November 5, study 1996 – 2000, including the impeachment. That’s what Republicans will do next.


In 2000, the Republicans staged riots and relied on the Republican infiltration of SCOTUS to throw an election, wholesale. Y’all know that story, so I won’t rehearse it. But that was peanuts compared to what Republicans planned to do if Gore had won the electoral college but lost the popular vote, instead of Bush.

In the days before the Nov. 7 election, Republicans feared that Vice President Al Gore might win the Electoral College while Texas Gov. George W. Bush could win the national popular vote.

The expectation then was that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader might siphon off millions of votes from Gore nationwide, but not enough in key states to keep them out of Gore’s column.

That could allow Gore to amass the 270 electoral votes needed for winning the presidency while blocking a Gore plurality in the popular vote.

To stop Gore under those circumstances, advisers to the Bush campaign weighed the possibility of challenging the legitimacy of a popular-vote loser gaining the White House.

“The one thing we don’t do is roll over — we fight,” said a Bush aide, according to an article by Michael Kramer in the New York Daily News on Nov. 1, a week before the election.

The article reported that “the core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course. In league with the campaign — which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College’s essential unfairness — a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged.

We’d have ads, too,” said a Bush aide, “and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted.”

The Bush strategy to challenge the Electoral College went even further. “Local business leaders will be urged to lobby their customers, the clergy will be asked to speak up for the popular will and Team Bush will enlist as many Democrats as possible to scream as loud as they can,” the article said.

“You think ‘Democrats for Democracy’ would be a catchy term for them?” asked a Bush adviser.

The Bush strategy also would target the members of the Electoral College, the 538 electors who are picked by the campaigns and state party organizations to go to Washington for what is normally a ceremonial function. Many of the electors are not legally bound to a specific candidate.

Coordinating business and religious leaders, an ad blitz, and even leaning on the Electors themselves – that is the measure of the Republicans’ will to power, and of their alienation from our Constitution.


In 2004, Republicans changed the rules in Ohio AFTER the election so that they could throw away thousands of ballots and steal the election for George Bush. Later, despite a court order, those ballots were destroyed.

In 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties, ballots and election records from 2004 have been “accidentally” destroyed, despite a federal order to preserve them — it was crucial evidence which would have revealed whether the election was stolen.


And now, in 2008, they’re pretending that if ACORN obeys federal law, they’re “stealing the election.” One rightwing talking point making the rounds is that 20% of all registered voters in the US are not legitimate.

Critics of ACORN wonder: why are fraudulent applications submitted in the first place? It’s the system; you pay people to turn in as many voter registration cards as possible, you invite people who want more money to submit false forms. Critics also wonder: why aren’t more people — read the media — covering this? After all, incidences of fraud are rampant, with official investigations launched in 12 states. Now — “rampant” might not be the best adjective. Voter registration cards aren’t the property of ACORN or any other group, and ACORN is required by law to turn in every completed form — even if they’re obviously fraudulent. ACORN insists it has procedures in place to flag these forms, but you can’t blame supervisors of elections from throwing up their hands when they come in.


The change in Republican tactics from Clinton to Obama is simple enough to explain: for the first time since 1988, this isn’t going to be close, and it isn’t going to be a Republican. So, their attack has to be not just on legitimacy, but on the scale of the Republican defeat itself.

On the issues, Republicans have long since prepared their faithful with a bizarre set of overlapping talking-points that blame the failure of more than a decade of Republican fraud on affirmative action. As with the ACORN attacks, this maneuver is not intended to hold on to power, it is merely a scorched-earth tactic. Rage will keep the Republicans’ cattle in the stable until The Party feels it’s in position to steal another election.

Since, on the issues, the United States of America is a “liberal” country, the Republicans can either reinvent their brand and accept certain elements of the social democracy that Americans want, or they can continue their methods of the last twenty years: a Latin-American style aristocratic insurgency that subverts democracy, by any means necessary, in order to protect the privileges of the elite.

Sometimes, Republicans don’t even wait for elections to plan to seize power:

Succession Plan

Cheney and his staffers, especially legal counsel David Addington, were obsessed with the possibility of a “decapitating attack on Washington”—that is, what would happen if the president were to die.

Page 154-155: David Addington carried the Constitution in his suit jacket as well as note cards with “all the executive orders and statutes on succession.”

Page 158: Addington didn’t like the idea that the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate are included in the order of succession. An unnamed Cheney admirer told Gellman that the vice president and his staff had “plans” for an alternate succession, “and their plans were going to be by fiat.”

Angler: The Cheney Vice-Presidency, by Barton Gellman

These people are not Americans, they merely seize power from time to time.

It is no coincidence that, as soon as we abandoned the genius of American democracy by seating George W. Bush, the nation’s interests and its Constitution began to suffer catastrophic damage. The people we’re up against do not care about our Constitution and they do not care what happens to this country. Their singleminded focus is on attaining power. As a consequence, they campaign well and govern poorly. Beyond a Will to Power, there is nothing there.

This is the thing that Markos says must be “crushed.” If you thought his language was a bit strong, I would hope you now know the context and understand his meaning. Victory must be massive because it isn’t an election we’re winning. We’re getting our goddamned Republic back.