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Election 2004 Weblog


Steve Lutz (02:11 AM):

I was just using this brief respite in the political process as an opportunity to read through previous entries from this weblog. And I noticed that, way down at the bottom, in a post entitled “Whores for Democracy”, Phil makes reference to Scarry Thought No.1 and Scarry Thought No.2.

Which leads me to wonder… Did Phil pull these from Richard Scarry’s Best Thought Book Ever?

Yeah, it’s getting late on the West Coast. What’s your point?

Take That, TiVo!

Steve Lutz (01:08 AM):

It took some doing, but I have managed to restore the balance of power between myself and my seditious TiVo. Calling upon a hitherto unknown cache of stealth, I painstakingly eased the TiVo remote from beneath my sleeping wife. Upon regaining control, I immediately banished the Fab Five to the nether regions, where, I have no doubt, they will be quite comfortable.

…only to discover that the Fox pundits had, in the interim, crawled back into their coffins to await another day. In their place is a typical talking headette, discussing the new horrors that tomorrow will bring. Is it true? Have the news networks already given up on a one-day election?

All I know is that this twelve pack has at least another couple of hours in it. It, and I, shall tarry for a while to see what transpires.


David Burkhart (12:42 AM):

I finally figured out what station is CBS here in Los Olivos. By the way, I saw an oddly large number of Bush signs on my way here from San Diego.

Anyway, making fun of Dan Rather is almost too easy, and I hate to take away from Jason’s fun:

“You know what they say, it takes a lot of votes just to get beat with.”

“Miss Simmons, my old high school principal used to say, boy the numbers just aren’’t there.”

(after listening, with an irritated expression, to Ed Bradley explain how hard it would be for Kerry to win Ohio):

“Ed Bradley, who does not have a degree in mathematics…”

Ed: “I used to teach mathematics years ago!”

“I did not know that!”

“Just because a chicken has wings doesn’t mean he can fly…”

Re: Dan Rather Poetry

Steve Lutz (12:38 AM):

It’s so elegant. Simplistic, yet lyrical. Almost like haiku.

I propose that, from this day forward, 10-3-6-5 shall be referred to as Danku. Who’s with me?


Jason Snell (12:25 AM):

A Dan Rather poem:

When you get an election this tick-tight
You don’t know
Whether to check your watch
Or howl at the moon.


A TiVo Election Crisis

Steve Lutz (12:17 AM):

Oh, crap. While I was in the den typing up my last blog entry, the unattended TiVo decided that it had had enough. Completely on its own recognizance, TiVo wrested control of my television from the grim, grinning ghosts at Fox News, and handed it over to Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. From the Drab Five to the Fab Five, if you will. You won’t? Oh.

The major problem with this minor mutiny: the beloved TiVo peanut remote is tucked snugly under the right buttcheek of my sleeping wife; a woman I have learned never, under any circumstances, to awaken.

Could this be the end of your intrepid reporter’s foray into bad election journalism? Stay tuned, dear reader, to find out.

When Will They Stop?

Jason Snell (12:15 AM):

Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and the rest are basically hanging on despite the fact that it’s becoming clear that this story is going to continue tomorrow. When are they going to go to bed? With Ohio and Iowa in dispute and delayed, there’s no way anyone will be going to 270 electoral votes tonight.

So let’s all get some rest. Election 2004 will continue. But hopefully for not too much longer.

Just Kill Us Now

Steve Lutz (11:57 PM):

The round table of talking corpses at Fox News is looking more and more desperate about the lack of news in the remaining too-close-to-call states. Shockingly, they even seem to have run out of minutiae to bloviate on. Breaks are coming fast and furious, but the members of this crack team have clearly run out of last legs, and are rapidly whittling their last hips and pelvises down to bloody nubs.

A few minutes ago, Brit Hume — who was already getting punchy by 8 o’clock Eastern — called upon Michael Barone for assistance, imploring him with eyes both pleading and intense for any tiny spark of hope that an end to his suffering might be near. Barone, explaining his reasoning in typical excrutiating detail, refused to give an inch. Brit looked like he might cry, and Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes shifted uncomfortably in their seats, seats that must by now be feeling like upholstered iron maidens, as Fox quickly cut to another break.

Like Jason, I can’t help but think that the cable news networks’ pain is our gain. Finally, some indication that something was learned from the embarrassment of 2000. If cooler heads can prevail in the breathless domain of Fox News, maybe it’s still possible for the rest of this country to eventually return to reasoned discourse.

We shall see…


Jason Snell (11:56 PM):

Dan Rather: “Lawyers are swarming over Ohio like locusts. And there are going to be more of ‘em there tomorrow, and more of ‘em the day after…. [Bush’s people are] absolutely tee-totally, me-mortally convinced they’re going to carry Ohio.”

Call Your Psychiatrist

Jason Snell (11:44 PM):

Dan Rather: “Now, you know, if this thing gets any closer, someone’s gonna have to call 911, call the police, call a nurse, call somebody.”

It Could Be Worse

Steve Lutz (11:08 PM):

I’ve been cursing myself all night for basing my beer choice for the evening on the fact that Pete Coors was running in Colorado. I can only thank the whole of the Heavenly Host that I didn’t notice earlier that the Republicans are also running somebody named Ballantine.

Green State!

Jason Snell (10:53 PM):

CNN really, really learned its lesson from 2000. They have just declared Ohio a “green state,” that it is too close too call based on exit poll data, existing results, and the rest, and that it’s essentially not going to be figured out for a while, so they’ve taken it off the board.

I think that’s pretty cool. And probably right — while it looks like Bush will win it, we just may not know for sure for a week.

Bonus Rather

Jason Snell (10:49 PM):

Dan Rather: “Karl Rove came down from what he calls his batcave in the White House — I covered the White House for 10 years, Bob Schieffer covered it for 5 or 6, Leslie Stahl for about 8, never heard of a batcave.”

If you’re counting at home, that’s my second batcave reference tonight. Where’s Joe Lockhart? Is he at the Hall of Justice?

Dan also referred to the “yellow flag,” as in NASCAR racing, and suggested there was a yellow flag over the calling of Ohio.

Dan uses a prominent yellow No. 2 pencil to point at his flat screen showing electoral possibilities. Very low tech. Contrast that to John Roberts of CBS, who stands at the most technically impressive display of the night, a touchscreen with a series of sliding thumnbnails that zoom into full view when pressed. Take that, No. 2 pencil!

Who Else?

Steve Lutz (10:31 PM):

Dan Rather: “Do you hear that knocking? President Bush’s re-election is at the door. Knock, knock, knock.”

Do you hear that swishing, Dan? Grim Retirement, at long last, has come for you. Swish, swish, swish.


Another Falls

Steve Lutz (10:10 PM):

Now MSNBC has made the leap in Ohio. CNN still holds out hope.

A Classic Moment in Half-assed Journalism

Steve Lutz (10:04 PM):

Our local Fox affiliate is carrying election coverage by pretty-boy Shepard Smith instead of the national Fox feed. This is great because while we’re still getting theoretically fair and balanced coverage, we’re safely avoiding the coma-inducing commentary of dueling bromides Brit Hume and Michael Barone.

Anyway, a few moments ago, the electoral votes being where they are, Shepard looked into the camera and said, with just the proper amount of gravitas, “This could, theoretically… turn out… to be…….. a tie.”

At which time some producer finally dozed off at his console, his drooping brow coming to rest squarely on the button labelled, “DRAMATIC FANFARE.”

Shepard barely missed a beat as he stated, “That… that was an accident.”

God bless you, inexperienced producer, wherever you are. And wherever you end up working on Wednesday.

Who’s There?

Jason Snell (10:04 PM):

Dan Rather: “Do you hear that knocking? President Bush’s re-election is at the door. Knock, knock, knock.”

Carville Calls It

Jason Snell (09:56 PM):

Well, James Carville says it’s over and that Bush has won. (“There’s no point in spinning at one in the morning,” he says.)


The recriminations are sure going to be something. Will the Democratic party self-combust?

I suspect that they already did… when they nominated John Kerry.

They are seconds away from using Whoopi Goldberg as a marital aid

Lisa Schmeiser (09:56 PM):

We’re sticking with the ABC coverage, because Peter Jennings is weirdly sophorific, but my little bubble of calm keeps getting punctuated by the frequent NYPD Blue commercials.

Because, really, Jimmy Smits and Dennis Franz look like they’re seconds away from putting on the Righteous Brothers and making sweet, sweet pottery together. Why were there no ballot measures preventing this?


Steve Lutz (09:48 PM):

Fox News has called Ohio for Bush. MSNBC still hasn’t made the leap. Are we looking at another potential slap in the face for the antsy projectors at Fox? And will it actually make a bit of difference this time?

Bet the Double-Wide

Jason Snell (09:39 PM):

Dan Rather: “This race has been crackling like a hickory fire for the last two hours… If you had to bet the double-wide, you’d have to bet that [Bush] would win… We keep talking about Ohio, if you’ve been tuning in and out or put the baby to bed or you went to pop the cap on an adult or otherwise beverage, because… there’s no way realistically Kerry can win unless he carries Ohio.”

Take a stand!

Monty Ashley (09:21 PM):

CNN is being really, really tentative about calling states for Bush or Kerry. CBS declared Washington to be blue after the polls had been closed eight seconds; almost an hour and a half later, CNN still has it white. In fact, there are several states that CBS thinks are settled that CNN hasn’t decided on yet.

What’s weird is that CNN has no problem with Florida being red. Frankly, as long as the Recount Madness is in a different state this time out, I’m happy.

Also, I think I’m finally starting to remember which candidate is red and which is blue.

Vote or Die in a Hideous Gang Shooting

Jason Snell (09:15 PM):

P. Diddy is in Democracy Plaza!

You know, Puffy is more coherent than I expected. But he’s also standing by an ice-skating rink with gigantic state shapes projected onto it. By which, I mean to say, perhaps he looks like a reasonable fellow only in comparison to his ridiculous surroundings.

Tom Brokaw has actually said “P. Diddy” on the air. Now you can retire, Tom. You’ve done the Diddy.

“We’ll be back from Democracy Plaza,” says Tom. I suddenly have a vision of Tom Brokaw in a red cape, jumping into his invisible plane and flying out of Democracy Plaza to fight injustice in undemocratic lands. How to find Democracy Plaza? Just make a right at the Hall of Justice and hang a left at the Batcave.

Kent Brockman Was Right — Democracy Simply Doesn’t Work

Philip Michaels (08:48 PM):

I am watching the election coverage against my better judgment, in part because my wife needs to watch it so that she can comment on it for the Canadian press but mostly because the baseball season ended a week ago. How long before pitchers and catchers report again?

I am sick of this election. I was sick of this election back in August when I was stuck on a cross-country plane flight in front of a guy who explained loudly and in great detail to his seatmates that he was voting for George W. Bush because that ensured the president could not run again in 2008 and that would clear the path for a Hillary Clinton candidacy. Now there are many reasons you could vote for George W. Bush — you’re heavily invested in Halliburton, you haven’t cracked open a newspaper since 1999, you’ve suffered a recent brain injury — but the idea that four more years would prepare the path for a second Clinton administration ain’t one of them. Hey, loud, stupid passenger who flew on American Airlines Flight 75 from Dulles to LAX back in August: if you’re so opposed to a Bush presidency that you want to make sure he can’t serve past January 2009, why not vote against him this year, so that he can’t serve past January 2005? Then you only have to grit your teeth for another couple of months instead of four more years. Not to cast asperions upon your iron-clad logic.

Anyhow, that incident soured me on the constant campaign gas-baggery from people who don’t know what they’re talking about, me included. And a second L.A.-to-D.C. flight last weekend pushed me further over the edge.

We were flying on JetBlue, which thoughtfully provides you with individual television sets so you don’t have to listen to morons behind you talking about how the path to a Hillary Clinton presidency runs through a second term for Bush. The woman next to me spent the entire five-hour flight watching the Fox News Channel. She also drank enough vodka-flavored cocktails so that by the end of the flight, she had actually passed out and had to be roused by flight attendants so that I could exit the plane.

In her defense, if I had to listen to Bill O’Reilly for five hours, I would drink heavily too.

Anyhow, that flight was really my first prolonged exposure to the Fox News Channel. And I’m not sure I like what I saw.

Setting aside the question of political leanings — you know, I think they’re a little bit predisposed toward the Bush campaign over there — most of the programs appear to be guests of dubious credentials talking over each other. Not to ape Jon Stewart here, but how does that do anything to serve the electorate, other than reinforce whatever dopey notions you already had?

And it’s not stopping after tonight. No matter who winds up winning — assuming that even will be settled by the time I’m showering tomorrow — the losing side is going to spend the next several weeks blaming its defeat on all sorts of hobgobblins, seen and unseen. Voter intimidation! Hanging chads! Outright fraud! When the fact of the matter is, which ever side loses should place the blame squarely on the shoulders of their candidate, whether it’s Republicans, who nominated an incumbent who failed by every objective measure, or Democrats, who nominated a guy unable to best an incumbent who failed by every objective measure.

Sen. Kerry, Check Your Shirt-Tail

Jason Snell (08:46 PM):

Mark it down: at 8:42 PST, “the noose has tightened around John Kerry.” In other words, CBS has called Florida for George W. Bush.

Over-under on the recall of that prediction?

Rather has carted out one of his classics, at this point: “His back is to the wall, his shirt tail’s on fire, and the bill collector’s at the door.”


Monty Ashley (08:22 PM):

The race in Florida is “hotter than a Times Square Rolex”, apparently. Aren’t there legitimate jewelry stores near there? I wonder how they feel about that analogy.

Tea Leaves

Jason Snell (08:19 PM):

Dan Rather: “Well, as that old saying, if you try to read the tea leaves before the cup is done, you can get yourself burned. And having been burned once in Florida, you better believe that of all places if we’re gonna get singed anywhere, we don’t want it to be Florida. And I wouldn’t kid anybody about that.”

It’s Like a Bountiful Banquet of Horrible, Horrible Flavor!

Steve Lutz (08:19 PM):

Well, it took me two hours to drive 25 miles, but I’m finally home. The traffic was far more insane than usual tonight. Apparently the undecideds have waited until the last possible moment to get to the polls. Some of the other things they’re undecided on: which lane of the freeway to be in at any given moment (if in doubt, pick two!), whether turn signals are really all that effective, and the difference between the two little foot pedals.

For the many of you who are no doubt hanging breathlessly on the results of my beer selection, I ended up going with Coors, if only because Hugh Hewitt was announcing that Pete Coors had pulled into a narrow lead as I was pulling into the narrow loading zone in front of the liquor store.

The liquor store was an experience in itself. First the 2.5” television that is a fixture of scary liquor stores everywhere was tuned not to the traditional Argentinian soccer coverage on Telemundo, but to election coverage, though the guy manning the counter claimed to be neither a voter nor somebody who gives a crap. Then, as I stood there proudly paying for my Banquet Beer, in walked a very gangsta looking young Latino, head cleanly shaven and tube socks pulled up well into his colon. He glanced quickly up at the electoral vote totals, turned to me and announced, “All right! Fuck John Kerry!” directing his knuckles toward me in an apparent gesture of solidarity. Which I returned, along with the sentiment.

Anyway, nice to see the young folk getting charged up about politics.

Oh, I also bought a 20 oz. can of Busch for good measure. I’m calling it my “Big Ol’ Can O’ Whoop-Ass,” and I plan to open it when the election is decided one way or another. If my memory of what Busch actually tastes like serves, I don’t mind if this thing drags on for a while.

And A Ghost Only Sipowicz Can See…

Philip Michaels (08:02 PM):

Forget about who takes Ohio. The most revolting development for me tonight has been the NYPD Blue promo in which we learn that the ghost of Jimmy Smits returns to advise Dennis Franz in his hour of need.

I’m hoping that the ghost of John Spencer will be sticking around on The West Wing and forming an other-worldly kitchen cabinet with Mrs. Van Landingham’s specter, so that The West Wing will maintain its apparition lead on NYPD Blue.

Back to coverage!

Monty Ashley (08:02 PM):

With the Daily Show over, I have returned to CBS News, just in time for the Shocking News that California and Washington are going Democrat.

The election coverage is keeping me from watching Gilmore Girls, which means this is the third consecutive week I’ve missed (because I was watching baseball). I hear that show’s still pretty good, though.

It would be a better career choice than “Surviving Christmas”

Lisa Schmeiser (07:54 PM):

I’ll leave the nuanced critique of the network coverage to the man sitting to my immediate right on the sofa. My complaint about the talky-talky coverage is much more direct:

This campaign has been silly with celebrities lobbying for the candidate of their choice. Bruce Springsteen, the cast of The O.C. (with the exception of the creepy-looking Misha Barton, who may well have been asked by either party to stay away lest she scare off voters), Brad Pitt, um … the list goes on. I don’t dare because I might begin confusing actual celebrity endorsements with Team America puppets.

In any event, I can’t go a week without picking up some glossy and seeing Ben Affleck humping John Kerry’s leg. Maybe it’s a desperate attempt to fill the void where Matt Damon once stood. Maybe it’s genuine engagement in the political process.

Whatever it is … the fact remains that the J Lo-free Ben Affleck is all in our face with this political thing. The network coverage is D-U-L-L, dull. Why have we not booted whatever dull wonk is busy blah-blah-blahing with footage of Ben Affleck and the Dixie Chicks attempting to cover the campaign? It would be entertaining, at least. And it would also serve these people right. You want the public platform when it comes to talking politics. Fine — you get it, all the way to the bitter end. Now entertain me!

Jennings to McCain: Bush Played You for a Sucker

Philip Michaels (07:34 PM):

Peter Jennings has just signed off an interview with Arizona Senator John McCain with the following soliloquy:

“As he points out, a good friend of John Kerry’s and… well, maybe a good friend of the President’s would be stretching it. He didn’t say it, perhaps I shouldn’t say it. But you will recall that in a previous year, 2000, John McCain got gone over by the Bush campaign in ways that were stunning to the senator. And he has been one of the leading lights campaigning for the President in this campaign today, for which the President is undoubtedly grateful.”

Peter, if you want to call the distinguished senator from Arizona George W. Bush’s bee-yatch, go ahead and do so.

Colbert on Louisiana

Monty Ashley (07:34 PM):

Stephen Colbert: “There are no surprises there. The winner in Louisiana is generally the one who shows the voters their boobs. And I have to say, Bush has a pretty sweet pair.”

Tim Russert Plays Pictionary

Philip Michaels (07:26 PM):

I was all set to post about Tim Russert breaking down the electoral college for me with what looks to be a high-tech etch-a-sketch, but Jason beat me to it.

Nevertheless, I am sticking with NBC’s coverage so that later tonight, I can be the first to comment on Russert use a Lite-Bright to explain potential Supreme Court challenges or a Sit-N-Spin to examine which party will control the Senate.

Rather? Russert!

Jason Snell (07:17 PM):

Tim Russert has improved in four years. Instead of 2000’s dry-erase board, he now has a Tablet PC that can be both shot directly by a camera or projected onto NBC’s big screen behind him. But he’s still scribbling items on the board, rather than using a more dramatic, graphical way of presenting information. It’s kooky. He’s sitting in NBC News’s outdoor electrodrome (sorry, it’s Democracy Plaza!) in Rockefeller Center, amid the giant projected electoral map on ice, and he’s writing on a 21st Century Etch-a-Sketch.

But Russert gets the Rather Prize for being the first person I noticed to liken electoral mechanics to Mexican food. “California is the big enchilada,” he said. Please, Tim. We’re more like a bowl of nachos.

First Ratherism

Jason Snell (07:11 PM):

“Ed Bradley, wouldn’t you say that if John Kerry doesn’t carry Pennsylvania, that that would be Death Valley for him?”

Why yes, Dan. For Kerry shall rend William Penn’s tree-filled land into a deserted waste, populated only by scrub trees and roving packs of wild coyotes…

Nobody Loves Michael

Jason Snell (07:00 PM):

A quick flip to the Fox News Channel brought me face to face with Michael Barone, a bespectacled fellow who has decided to cover the partial results from Florida by reading raw electoral numbers out loud.

Never mind that graphics are probably better for that sort of thing. Apparently Fox has time to fill, and so Michael (Raymond and Robert’s cousin?) is droning on with results. “This one’s from a Navy base near Miami, uh, Jacksonville,” he tells us, making a several-hundred-mile mistake. Then he shouts out some numbers that make no sense and moves on to another county.

I’d rather see Chris Wallace do a soft-shoe routine, honestly. It would be more informative.

This is boring!

Monty Ashley (07:00 PM):

They’re being too tentative. I was hoping for, I don’t know, more action or something.

So I’m flipping over to the Daily Show. I’ll be refreshing CNN’s website, though, so I don’t think I’ll miss any actual information.

Bad News, Election Fans

Jason Snell (06:40 PM):

It appears that someone at CBS has slipped a mood-stabilizer of some sort into Dan Rather’s grape soda. He seems calm, cool, and collected.

Come on, Dan! Do something crazy! Liken Florida to a tasty Cuban pressed sandwich! Suggest that Wisconsin is a soft fermenting cheese! Explain that the race is as close as two sweaty convicts tumbling on each other in the rollover crash of a prison transport van. Something!


Monty Ashley (06:11 PM):

Dan Rather hasn’t said anything crazy while I’ve been watching, although he has said “Insufficient Data” roughly ten trillion times. I sure am glad we live in the 21st Century, where I can get No News faster than ever before!

The Oldsters Went to Seattle

Monty Ashley (05:53 PM):

The people at my polling place (which encompassed five precincts or so) were uniformly old and white-haired. I’d suspect them of doddering, but it’s hard to tell when they stay seated. I can attest that the woman who handed me my ballot was losing her sight, because she mentioned it several times.

She wasn’t very fast, but I blame the person ahead of me in line; after he found his proper precinct and got his ballot, he tried to pick up his girlfriend’s too. No, she wasn’t there. No, she wasn’t registered. It didn’t work out very well for him.

Where did all the oldsters go?

Lisa Schmeiser (05:29 PM):

I’ve been voting for a while, and the one constant in all of the precincts in which I’ve voted has been the antique status of the poll workers. God bless the elderly of America for continuing to fulfill a civic duty to the community, but it is a little disconcerting to check in, wait for fifteen minutes while the poll worker tries to remember whether or not the Nineteenth Amendment was actually ratified, then get to the booth.

So I wandered into the polling place today, fully prepared for the usual routine: whip out the ID because nobody ever knows how to spell “Schmeiser” without it, wait the requisite period, debate the merits of holding a mirror under the immobile poll worker’s nose to see if it fogs up, eventually gain admittance to a voter’s booth.

However, there were actual people my age working the tables. I was in and out of the polls in ten minutes.

I have no idea whether or not my cohort’s embraced the radical concept of community volunteerism, or if people wanted to work at the polls in the hopes of catching their ideological opposites commiting acts of electoral fraud. And I have no idea whether this effect will last beyond this election. The idealist in me would like to think so. However, I’m already preparing myself for the inevitability of spelling out my name to the stalwart aged pollworkers who will, I hope, still be there the next time around.

Decisions, Decisions…

Steve Lutz (04:59 PM):

I stand at a crossroads. I am presented with the most critical decision that I will face during this election. Its repercussions will carry a huge personal impact, in both the short term — tonight — and the long term — until mid-afternoon tomorrow.

And that decision is…

What beer do I pick up on the way home to drink while I watch the results come in?

Do I pick up Coors, the original Banquet Beer, in support of Pete Coors’ Colorado Senate race? Or do I register an eponymous endorsement of the President by picking up a twelver of Busch?

Do I select a watery light beer, safe in the knowledge that the unpleasantness will all be over tomorrow? Or do I buy a full-caloried regular beer, risking the possiblity that the extra girth on my gut will hang around until mid-December?

Or do I reject horrible American pee pee beer altogether and go with a more flavorful import? Dare I submit my booze selection to the dreaded global test?

Samuel Adams would seem like a reasonable compromise, but as it’s a product of the Boston Beer Company, I have rejected it out of hand.

Which way will my undecided liver swing in this critical battleground race? I’ll let you know what the exit polls say as soon as I walk out of Ralph’s.

Pre-Election Spectacular

Jason Snell (03:31 PM):

So I guess Al Qaeda’s “pre-election spectacular” attack on the U.S. was a videotape of Osama bin Laden telling us that it doesn’t matter whether we vote for Kerry or Bush?

I hate to say it, but that really makes me think that our “war on terror” has been more effective than we generally suspect. If the best Al Qaeda can muster is grainy videotapes…

Electile Dysfunction

Steve Lutz (02:27 PM):

For the first time we’re voting with optical scan ballots instead of punch cards in my district, and while I’m happy that there seems to be much less chance for error with this system, I found the experience terribly unsatisfying. After enduring weeks of building election tension, the act of voting usually feels like a final, orgasmic release. Using the punch card machines has always brought that point home. So to speak.

Ramming that hard metal pointer through the yielding cardstock flesh of the virgin ballot. Feeling the first chad give way beneath the insistent thrust of my rigid stylus. Then, plunging that glistening tool of suffrage in again and again until, at last, my voice cries out in the electric thrall of political climax as I spew forth my votes into the dark recesses of the ballot box! Yes! Oh, yes!

And, finally, smacking that little blue “I Voted” sticker onto my chest like an affectionate parting slap on democracy’s ass before withdrawing from the polling place.

Oh yeah, I rocked your vote, bitch. Rocked it good.

By contrast, filling in the little optical scan circles felt sadly impotent. Sort of like I’m not man enough to reach the back, so I had to compensate by banging the hell out of the sides. I still got the job done, make no mistake of that. I just have a feeling San Diego County won’t be calling her girlfriends Orange and Los Angeles tomorrow to gossip about what a great voter I am.

Leaving the polling place, I glanced down at the little blue pill-shaped sticker in my hand. It looked like a subliminal ad for Viagra. Dejected, I rubbed the pathetic little thing gently onto my shirt. My nipple didn’t even perk up.

I’m acutely aware that impotency is an all-too-familiar feeling for conservative voters in California. After all, more utterly meaningless Presidential votes are cast here than in any other state. I just wish the new ballots didn’t seem to be pointing at my flaccid political muscle and laughing.

I suppose I can at least be happy that we didn’t use the paper-trailless touch screen systems. It’s bad enough to know you have no chance of impregnating the motherland with your electoral seed. It’s much worse if you can’t even tell whether any came out.

Whores for Democracy

Philip Michaels (12:12 PM):

Near my apartment, there is a billboard featuring a trio of vacant-eyed pop stars urging me to vote. Their message would probably have a greater impact upon me if I had any idea who these people were — which I’m taking to be a sign that I am not only hopelessly out of touch but likely to pass away within the next few months due to old age.

Actually, it’s not exactly true that I don’t recognize all the people on the billboard. I do recognize one — Paris Hilton. The star of Fox’s Adventures of Skanky and Skankier is wearing a t-shirt that reads “Vote or Die.”

Scarry Thought No. 1: Is Paris Hilton threatening me?

Scarry Thought No. 2: Wait a minute… Paris Hilton is eligible to vote?

I’m not sure which idea is more terrifying.

I take it back

Monty Ashley (11:48 AM):

Apparently Slate is posting exit poll numbers, which they believe represents a blow for responsible journalism and I’m sure isn’t a shameless grab for viewership at all.

I Voted; Get Off My Back

Monty Ashley (10:38 AM):

I was the 307th person to vote at my polling place, according to the handy LCD display on the front of the scantron machine that accepted my ballot. Because I saw it increment by one, I know that at least my ballot registered. Whether my votes are properly registered is another matter, but at least I can be reasonably sure that I filled out the ovals properly. And people say that standardized testing has no use outside of school!

I live on a street called “Republican”, and it was no surprise to see that politically-minded hoodlums had covered up the street signs so that they said “Democrat” this morning. Or they tried to, anyway; the rains of Seattle quickly punish those who think that regular paper is a good vehicle for their political statements.

Four years ago, Slate made a big deal about how they wanted to release exit poll numbers early. They were of the opinion that it wasn’t fair that the news media knew ahead of time who was going to win. They seem to have changed their tune somewhat this time. I guess that’s probably because last time, it actually took quite some time to hammer out a winner.

Spiny Terrorists Attempt to Disrupt Election!

Greg Knauss (09:49 AM):

As I waited in line to vote today, I managed to lean back into a cactus that the owner of the polling place had helpfully stood where people would be most likely to lean back into it. Quills stabbed through my coat, through my shirt and into my unhappy, pink flesh. I found a bathroom and spent ten minutes helplessly windmilling my arms, trying to dislodge dozens of small daggers unexpectedly planted in my back.

And if there’s a better metaphor for an election, I don’t know what it is.

It’s the TeeVee Election Blog!

Jason Snell (09:21 AM):

Once again our randomly-updated Station Break weblog takes center stage, ready to go on a posting binge to cover Election Day 2004.

I’m sure the posts will start appearing shortly. In the meantime, please enjoy our 2000 election blog and pray that Dan Rather does something crazy again this year. We hope that two of our esteemed contributors, Ben Boychuk and David Burkhart, will post on TeeVee as well as in their alter egos as the primates of Infinite Monkeys.


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