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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, March 28, 2011

All that's missing is a Brooks Brothers Riot*

by folkbum

This whole thing about the law being published/ not being published to me has a real Florida 2000 feel to it.

I am not about to replay that whole thing for you and open up the question of who should have/ did/ might have/ could have won the state's electoral votes, because it's over and we just don't have time to re-litigate a decade-old question.

However, there is no question that Bush, his team, and the other Republicans proceeded with a uniform message, which was that Bush won, the election was over, and the recounts were not merely a waste of time but an infringement upon Bush's due process rights. Florida Secretary of State (and Bush campaign chair) Katherine Harris certified results that she knew (or should have known) were incomplete, declaring Bush the winner, and from then on any attempt to sort out what may have happened--including actions taken by courts in Florida--constituted "irreparable harm" to Bush (i.e., he might be declared the loser after all). The "irreparable harm" argument won the day in convincing 5 justices of the US Supreme Court to halt the recounts ordered by the Florida Supreme Court, in fact.

Gore and his team tried to let the legal system work, missed the horse entirely, and looked like fools left behind in the dust.

Which is all I have been thinking about all weekend: While one can debate the legality (and legal consequence) of the action taken by the Elder Fitzgerald in pushing the Legislative Reference Bureau to "publish" the law, and of the further action taken the Walker administration to begin implementing the law, there is no doubt that the playbook for this was written November and December 2000. Step one, take advantage of an ambiguous and rapidly-changing situation to declare victory; step two, act out the steps that would follow the victory; step three, insist that any attempt to walk back the actions in step two would constitute some massive irreparable harm and insist that it cannot be undone.

The question is whether the Democrats learned the lessons of that earlier fight. Patience and platitudes, as much as any votes cast, lost Gore the election in Florida in 2000. Will it cost workers their rights in Wisconsin in 2011?

* cf. 1, 2

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