The donkey that refused to kick

John Kerry, like Al Gore before him, does not deserve the presidency of the United States.

This is not because they are incompetent politicians. This is not because they lost their elections. No. It’s because despite winning, Gore and Kerry refused to claim what was rightfully theirs.

Yesterday, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), along with a dozen other House members, formally objected to the choice of Ohio’s electors. There is ample evidence that this election was just as crooked as the 2000 election, and Bush has once again stolen the presidency.

Let me repeat: there is evidence.

This is not a conspiracy theory; there are concrete, cold, hard facts that Republicans have stolen massive numbers of votes in another contested election. And once again, Democrats have rolled over and let them do it.

Who could forget that scene in "Fahrenheit 9/11" when lame-duck vice president and official president of the Senate Al Gore watched all the representatives contesting the election stolen from him, and not a single senator would join the call for an investigation? Why didn’t Gore call out into the halls of Congress, "I am the rightful winner! Come on, Democrats, let’s take this country back!"

Because he’s a wimp, that’s why.

Enter John Kerry (D-Mass. – get it? D-Mass?), one of those same senators from four years ago and a member of this year’s senate. He could have reserved a place for himself in the pages of history by standing up and thundering, "Yes, Ms. Jones, I will join you in your call! I won that election and, by God, I will take that office!"

That is the kind of president we need.

What we do not need is a man who won’t even show up when others claim his election for him.

In a mass e-mail to his supporters, he agreed that there were huge irregularities in the Ohio voting. He acknowledged that many voters (Democrats) were disenfranchised. He recognized "questionable practices by some election officials" (Republican zealot, chair of Ohio’s Bush for President Campaign, and Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, the man Ohioans look to for free and fair elections). He even noted that lawful voters were denied the right to vote. But, despite this destruction of democracy, he declined to join in yesterday’s objection.

That’s right – the challenger recognized that there was undeniable fraud in this election, but "not enough." Instead of fighting for democracy against its most blatant threat, he spent the day somewhere in the Middle East, congratulating our troops on their invasion and occupation, leaving others to fight for democracy at home.

"I can’t for the life of me understand why Kerry isn’t fighting harder for this," said Cliff Arnebeck, an attorney for the Alliance for Democracy in Massachusetts. "Maybe it’s some secret Skull and Bones tradition, where you’re not supposed to show up the other guy," he said, referring to the Yale secret society of which Bush and Kerry were both members. Arnebeck filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of 40 voters to decertify Mr. Bush’s electors and certify the electors for Democrat John Kerry. The court did not respond.

Neither, ironically, did John Kerry. He has offered no assistance for the lawsuit; he is not fighting for the election that he most likely won. "While the existence of anomalies could possibly be explained by human error or technical malfunctions, the fact that, in every case in Ohio known to the contesters, the error favored the Bush-Cheney ticket, strongly indicates manipulation or fraud," the lawsuit said.

"This was an election where you have some glitches but none of these glitches were of a conspiratorial nature, and none of them would overturn or change the election results," Blackwell admitted on Monday, announcing his certification of Ohio’s results.

So the question, then, is not "Was there fraud?" because there was. Now everyone is asking, "Is there enough fraud to change the outcome?"

There is not an acceptable amount of electoral fraud allowed by the Constitution. We need a fair election, and if we didn’t get one then we need a new one.

But first, we need a candidate.

The only member of Congress who has actually contested Bush’s victory is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif), who signed on to Rep. Jones’ objection, making it valid. Rep. Jones, and all other Democrats speaking in favor of the objections, all said that while they, like Sen. Kerry, believed there was disenfranchisement, they did not believe that Bush’s re-election is in doubt.

So, in the end, the Democrats have not changed anything. The Republican-dominated House and Senate both voted to overrule the objection to Ohio’s electors, and all the wimpy Democrats accomplished was forcing two hours of debate over the issue.

This would have been different, had the debate been spurred and sanctioned by Senator Kerry.

Had Kerry called for a new election, his huge base would have followed him. We saw in the Ukraine this year that when the "official" election tally by the incumbent’s government is vastly different than exit polls, the challenger can cry foul, and get a new election, and claim victory. How utterly democratic.

The democratic nominee for president of the United States never seems capable of this righteous chutzpah.

It’s too bad there’s not a donkey around who can kick anymore.

Chaelan MacTavish can be reached at [email protected].