This is my return to columnizing after a three month hiatus. After writing a (mostly) weekly column for 18 years, I definitely needed a break. For the last few months, I have been mainly focused on my offline venture of starting up the Genesee Volley Tennis Club. (See http://www.geneseevolley.com).
That’s going very well, thank you, but since the outdoor tennis season is winding down (and the election is finally over) I thought I might venture back to blogging and see how it goes. No promises!
Of course I have had strong opinions about what has been going on in our long national nightmare, but I didn’t feel the need to add to the cacophony. Now that my ilk have been cast back into the political wilderness known as the Loyal Opposition, I feel the need to put in my two cents.
I was an early, constant and loyal supporter of John McCain. I felt he had the best chance of any Republican to win in what was obviously a very Democratic year, and also that he was the man I most trusted to guide our country through very treacherous international waters.
It was for that reason that I found myself on election day on the mean streets of Cleveland, Ohio serving as part of the Cuyahoga County Republican Committee legal team. Our job was to advise and support Republican observers in the polls. I was teamed with a local Ohio Attorney and we were given a list of about 15 polling places to monitor on the east side of the city.
The districts we were given were for the most part 99 per cent black, poor and Democratic. It soon became clear that we were hopelessly undermanned and out organized by the Obama team. While the Democrats had two or three official observers in every polling place we had none in about half of them.
From anecdotal evidence this was not because of a lack of people in Ohio willing to help. As a volunteer, it was way above my paygrade to know why the Republican organization was so incompetent. I’m sure there was ample blame between the local and national organizations to go around.
The bottom line, however, is that in a battleground state that was crucial to Mr. McCain’s strategy, we could not seem to get the people on the ground to properly protect Republican interests. This seemed especially troubling because of all the publicity about potential election fraud by ACORN and other groups, and in particular because of Cuyahoga County’s reputation for (at best) incompetent election administration.
As it happened, of course, Mr. Obama won the state of Ohio by about 200,000 votes. While I am quite certain that many people voted (once or more times) who shouldn’t have under the law, I am also sure that it was not enough to swing that big a margin. The point is, however, that it could have been a lot closer, and if it had been, there was absolutely nothing we could have done to stop the Democrats from stealing the election.
This should concern Americans of all political persuasions. Coming from a small town, with a strong two party system, it is hard to grasp how an area can operate under essentially a one party system. In one of the districts, one of our observers looked through the registration book and discovered that of 1,500 voters, there were only 2 registered Republicans!
I am not saying that blacks, or poor people, or Democrats are any more likely than any other group to try and steal an election. I’m sure that rich, white Republicans would be just as likely if they were left without anyone watching. That’s human nature. As Mr. Reagan said, “Trust, but verify!”