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Talk About A Conspiracy Theory! 
Republicans Put On Their Tin-Foil Hats
To Discuss Ohio's Election Irregularities
My comments
Notable statements

Rep. Tubbs-Jones stands to object to certifying Ohio's electoral votes.

On Thursday, January 6th, 2005, Congress convened to certify the electoral votes of the 50 states as they do every 4 years.  The routine process was proceeding normally until they reached the state of Ohio, when for the second time since 1877, Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones objected to the counting of the state’s electoral votes on the ground that they were not “regularly given,”.   While some were surprised by the objection, the irregularities Tubbs-Jones was referring to were part of a nationwide trend experienced on Nov. 2nd, with Ohio being one of the states that received the most complaints from voters.  So the House and the Senate recessed in order to convene separately and discuss the irregularities that took place on Nov. 2nd.

Mrs. Tubbs-Jones soon began what was expected to be a constructive discussion and debate about the irregularities, but what followed was an unexpected outrage by Republicans bringing a verbal storm of accusations even defenses that had little or nothing to with solving the problems with the electoral process.  It was as if they had met behind closed doors and come up with their own “conspiracy theory” about how the Democrats weren’t simply responding to the tens of thousands of complaints they received from their constituents and trying take the necessary steps to ensure that they don’t occur in the next election, but that they, themselves, were actually trying to steal the election by getting George Bush thrown out of the White House!  See for yourself: (selected quotes from the House debate):

Columbus, Ohio
Lines were over two hours long.....in the rain.

Mr. Speaker, I, STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES, and BARBARA BOXER, a Senator from California, have objected to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given.

   I am duty bound to follow the law and apply the law to the facts as I find them, and it is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value our democratic process and the right to vote that I put forth this objection today. If they are willing to stand at polls for countless hours in the rain, as many did in Ohio, then I should surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress.

   This objection does not have at its root the hope or even the hint of overturning the victory of the President; but it is a necessary, timely, and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process in our democracy. I raise this objection neither to put the Nation in the turmoil of a proposed overturned election nor to provide cannon fodder or partisan demagoguery for my fellow Members of Congress.

She went on to cite some of the specific, unexplained irregularities documented in Ohio on Nov. 2.  But when she finished, her fellow congresswoman from Ohio set the Republican tone for the debate with her wild accusations, which are apparently an important part of the Republican agenda for the new term.


Ohio Secretary of State
Kenneth Blackwell

Ms. PRYCE Ohio-R


 Mr. Speaker, on the other side of the aisle, a handful of Members will step forward and claim that they are here to contest an election of this Nation. Their intentions in this whole process are merely to sow doubts and undermine public confidence in the electoral system itself. Their challenges to the legitimacy of this election are no more than another exercise in their party's primary strategy, to obstruct, to divide, and to destroy.


But apparently some Democrats only want to gripe about counts, recounts, and recounts of recounts. So eager are they to abandon their job as public servants, they have cast themselves in the role of Michael Moore, concocting wild conspiracy theories to distract the American public. Such aspiring fantasy authors should note the facts before they let the ink dry on this tall tale.


And, Mr. Speaker, every single major editorial board of every newspaper in Ohio has called this effort a sham.


Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that these Democrats have resorted to such baseless and meritless tactics to begin the 109th Congress.


Hold on Ms. Price! Michael Moore? Obstuct, divide and destroy? Wild conspiracy theories? Baseless and meritless? Did I miss something? Mrs. Tubbs-Jones mentioned some of the many unexplained concerns expressed to her by an unusual number of voters who are citizens in your state.  But wait, apparently she is lying.  If what you say is true, that every single major editorial board at every newspaper in Ohio has called this a sham, then the things she brought up would be “baseless and meritless”.  So being the inquisitive person that I am, I took a look at some of the Ohio newspaper editorials:


An editorial in the Toledo Blade, titled “When Recounts Count”, began by saying;
One of these days the mightiest democracy in the world may have to go back to school to learn how to conduct elections. In a closely divided electorate, flaws in the process that once could have been shrugged off no longer can be.”


Another: The Marion Star Ohio's election laws need fixed


Ms. Price also ought to take a look at this Toledo Blade editorial: Republicans are no help to Ohio


Another Ohio Representative from Ohio, Mr. Hobson, had similar remarks:


Columbus, Ohio
Lines over three hours long



Mr. Speaker, I rise with a heavy heart today on this issue. I think this is, in all the years I have been in politics, one of the most outrageous acts to take place.

   All of the major newspapers in Ohio have editorialized against this despicable action taken by the minority.

Newspaper editorials?  As you will soon see, apparently the Republicans in Congress now plan to base their opinions and legislative actions on editorials in their local papers.

Apparently Mr. Hobson doesn’t read all major Ohio editorials:

WCPO in Cincinnati

Voting Irregularities May Not Show Up In Ohio Re-Count


Perhaps instead of reading editorials, Mr. Hobson should have a look at something more official:

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science
Washington D.C., May 22, 2001
Douglas W. Jones 
Chair, Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems
Member, Iowa Election Reform Task Force

Problems with Voting Systems and the Applicable Standards

Obviously, this testimony was completely ignored.

Canton, Ohio
Minimum of two hour wait throughout the day


Members of the House, we're here today not we are as partisans for one Presidential candidate or another, but because we want to do our duty under the Constitution to protect our democracy. We are here because of the inner-city voter in Franklin County who waited 10 hours in the pouring rain while suburban voters in the same county had no wait because election officials decided to reallocate voting machines from Columbus to the suburbs. We are here because of the Hispanic voter in Hamilton County who also stood in line for hours, but was directed to the wrong voting table and had his ballot thrown out because of a decision by the Secretary of State of Ohio to throw out ballots cast at the right polling place but the wrong precinct.

Most of all we are here because not a single election official in Ohio has given us any explanation for the massive and widespread irregularity in the State. No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush. No explanation of improper purging in Cuyahoga County. No explanation for the lockdown in Warren County. No explanation for the 99 percent turnout in Miami County. No explanation for machine tampering in Hocking County.


The debate we have today will not change the outcome of November's election. We know that. But out of today's debate, I hope this Congress will respond to our challenge:

   The thing we should never fear in Congress is a debate, and the thing we should never fear in a democracy is the voters. I hope that today we have a fair debate and 4 years from now, we have an election all our citizens can be proud of.

Did he say “conspiracy”?  I don’t think so.  Mr. Sanders will also explain the reason for the debate as simply as possible:



 I agree with John Kerry. I think George W. Bush won Ohio. But I agree with millions of American citizens that no American should have to wait 4 hours to cast a vote. I agree with tens of millions of Americans who are very worried that when they cast a ballot on an electronic voting machine that there is no paper trail to record that vote in the event of a recount.

   What today is about is to demand that the Federal Government begin to move forward, to guarantee that every voter in America feels secure and confident that all of the votes cast in this country are counted accurately and that all of our voters are treated with respect and dignity. That is what democracy is about and that is what we are fighting for.




We also were all elected under the same rules and regulations that we are discussing today.  Since when?


   People do have to have, as I believe the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) said, confidence that the process works in a proper way. They do not need to believe that it is absolutely perfect because, after all, it is the greatest democracy in the history of the world and it is run by people who step forward and make a system work in ways that nobody would believe until they see it to produce the result of what people want to have happen on Election Day.

   This was not a closely decided election. The President's margin is significant. No President elected since 1988 has had a majority of the vote, let alone a 3 percentage point majority of the vote with a direction clearly to move the country forward.

   We need to get on with our job. We need to honor the election process by working in the proper time and the proper way at the proper place to make it better, but not to suggest that because there were problems that somehow those problems affected a result in ways that every one of us knows is not the case.

Okay, let me get this straight;

“People do have to have confidence that the process works in a proper way.”

“They do not need to believe that it is absolutely perfect”

“We also need to understand that every time we attack the process, we cast that doubt on that fabric of democracy that is so important”

“We need to get on with our job.”

Rep. Tubbs-Jones and Rev. Jesse Jackson


Mr. Speaker, there is a wise saying we have used in Florida over the past 4 years that the other side would be wise to learn: ``Get over it.''

Well pardon us Mr. Keller.  By the way, how is your party doing in the state of Washington?

   Is it not ironic that the very people who refuse to move on are the people from Moveon.org and their hero Michael Moore?

   My colleagues across the aisle have two sides to choose from, the JOHN KERRY side that acknowledges the election is over and President Bush has won. Or the Michael Moore side that defines ``democracy'' as Democrats going to the polls, and ``conspiracy'' as Republicans going to the polls.

Why are we here wasting time on silly Hollywood inspired conspiracy theories?

   Well, since Hollywood likes conspiracies so much, here's a real one. On June 23, 2004, the Michael Moore movie ``Fahrenheit 911'' premiered in Washington, DC. According to U.S. News and World Report, New York Times, and National Journal, one of the few Senators who attended this premier was Senator BARBARA BOXER. In this movie, Mr. Moore said it was shameful that not one U.S. Senator objected to the electoral vote count in Florida. Two days ago, on January 4, 2005, the same Michael Moore published a news letter to Senator BOXER and other Senators reminding them that they didn't object to the electoral vote count 4 years ago, and requested that they rise and object to the vote count from Ohio today. Today, in fact, Senator BARBARA BOXER just objected to the Ohio vote count.

I believe these newspapers the Republicans keep referring to also ran several stories about Iraq having WMDs……

   Is this all merely a coincidence? Is this pandering to the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party? Is it worth wasting 2 hours of Congress' time? The only bigger waste of 2 hours would be to go see ``Fahrenheit 911.''

Because then the American people would know the TRUTH and the TRUTH is forbidden!!

   Do the people in the Michael Moore wing of the Democrat Party really think that the American people and their congressional representatives, are so stupid that they could be tricked into objecting to these electoral results? Well, the answer is ``yes.''

   Michael Moore told a British newspaper ``Americans are possibly the dumbest people on the planet ..... We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don't know about anything that's happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing.''

Could you show me evidence of the contrary please Mr. Keller?

Why allow the conspiracy theorists to undermine the public confidence in the electoral system itself? Let us vote down the objection, certify the electoral college results, and prepare to celebrate the happy day of January 20, 2005 when President George W. Bush is once again sworn in as the President of the United States.


Did I miss something again?  I’m pretty sure that, because the publics’ confidence in the electoral system has already been undermined, is why this debate was called for?


 Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more basic to democracy than assuring that everyone who wants to vote is provided that opportunity and that each person's vote is counted in the result.

   For me this is not about whether George Bush won or lost the last election. I am planning to vote to certify. I will tell the Members that. But there is nothing more basic than the right to vote, and if we pretend that this is frivolous, then we are not going to move forward and do anything in response to what is going on.

   Two days ago we took an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution, that at least three amendments in the Constitution which guarantee equal access to the ballot, and yet we are saying that people who did not get an opportunity to vote, who did not have equal access to the vote, are raising frivolous issues? Come on, give me a break. We should not be about denying or abridging that right, and I stand here in full support of it. We have got to improve the Help America Vote Act. We took the first step 2 years ago. We have got to take additional steps to make sure that every single person who seeks the right to vote is given that right.


   The representatives of the American people in this House are standing up for three fundamental American beliefs: that the right to vote is sacred; that a Representative has a duty to represent his or her constituents; and that the rule of law is the hallmark of our Nation. 

   Today's electoral challenge is not intended to overturn the results of the election. It is instead to discuss the real problems with our electoral system and the failings of the process in Ohio and elsewhere. It is about election reform, not about the election result.

   The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. A discussion of that foundation, again, should not be considered frivolous.

   I know that this issue is not just about counting votes, but what happens in all three phases, before, during and after the election; and in all three phases, there were problems in this election in Ohio and elsewhere.

   Before the election, there were complaints about absentee ballots that were requested, but did not arrive. There were reports of registration problems and of improper purging of the voting rolls. The Ohio Secretary of State made decisions about provisional ballots, partisan poll watchers and paper requirements for registration forms that some found questionable, leading to widespread confusion and possible disenfranchisement.

   During the election we know that there were not enough voting machines in poorer and minority areas. This is a fact. Yet there were sufficient machines in wealthier areas. This led to appallingly long waiting times of up to 10 hours in certain places. You can deny it all you want, but it is a matter of public record that this is a fact, and this is wrong.

   There were credible reports of voter suppression on election day through intimidation and misinformation and the patchwork use of provisional ballots led to unequal treatment under the law; unequal treatment under the law, undermining the principles of one person-one vote and equal protection.

   So, Mr. Speaker, I say to my colleagues, please do not talk about this as a ``conspiracy theory.'' It is not about that. It is not about conspiracy; it is about the Constitution of the United States. George Bush and Dick Cheney are the elected President and Vice President of the United States, and I think the objection will be overruled today in that regard. It has never been about that. It has always been about the fundamental principle of the legitimacy of our electoral process. 


   Mr. Speaker, President Bush won more votes than any candidate in America's history. His opponent conceded that victory long ago. The Ohio results have been certified, and one of that State's newspapers, the Dayton Daily News, reported last month that those advancing the wild-eyed conspiracy theories surrounding Ohio's electorate votes are ``speaking nonsense.''

Well then I guess we’re “speaking nonsense” then, Mr. Reynolds!

Mr. BROWN Ohio-D

I do not question the outcome of this election. However, I do know that I stood in line for hours with voters trying to cast ballots, and since election day I have heard from dozens of voters, Democrats and Republicans, who lost their right to vote on November 2 in my State of Ohio.

I visited four precincts in Oberlin, Ohio, outside of my district where I stood in line with voters, some of whom waited up to 6 hours to vote. I visited Hispanic and white working-class precincts, and I saw long lines everywhere I went. I received panicked calls throughout the day from voters whose polling places had broken machines and were being denied the right to vote.   

  Ohio voters should never again be forced to wait 3, 5, sometimes even 10 hours to cast a vote. Ohioans should never again, as too many people did this November, lose their right to vote.

   But it is not just about Ohio; it is not just about who won and who did not. It is about our system of democracy. Mr. Speaker, I am saddened that no Republicans in this body are joining us today in acknowledging problems in Ohio and in working with us to fix those problems because, Mr. Speaker, defending the right to vote should be a concern for Republicans and Democrats alike.


   The Ohio Secretary of State tried to force county boards of elections to buy equipment that his own reports showed to be flawed. Federal dollars that this Congress appropriated to help modernize elections became stuck in Ohio between the Secretary of State's office and local boards of elections who were often in deep disagreement as to which machine standards were trustworthy.

   Just prior to election, Secretary Blackwell continued to frustrate the enfranchisement of Ohioans with actions ranging from specifying paper weight standards for voter registration forms that even his own office could not meet, and then fighting the availability of provisional ballots right up until 3 p.m. on Election Day. In fact, people who had requested absentee ballots and had not received them were denied provisional ballots until a Federal court ruling that was issued at 3 p.m. on Election Day, after who knows how many Ohioans were denied ballots that they were prepared to cast for the candidates of their choice.


Let us not denigrate factual concerns about the Ohio election by dismissing them as simply partisan. This is not about Democrat or Republican votes. It is not about red or blue States or black or white. It is about wrong or right. It is not about winners or losers. It is about protecting voting rights in our democracy against corruption.

   The outcome of the election will remain unchanged, but what must change is a system which denied citizens of a great State their opportunity to change the outcome. Election reform is our solemn duty. Our statements today show whether we intend to do that duty.

Mrs. Miller decides to take their “conspiracy theory” to the next level:

Mrs. MILLER Michigan-R

The American people must be watching this debate and literally shaking their heads.

   In the spirit of bipartisanship they say that somehow Karl Rove was manipulating votes from a secret computer in the White House and that somehow these secret computers were changing the votes on punch cards and optical scan sheets that record actual votes. This language is in their challenge.

   How interesting, however, that their challenge as it talks about conspiracies in the State of Ohio, making allegations that have no basis of fact……

What are you talking about Mrs. Miller?  If you were listening to Mrs. Tubbs-Jones when she explained why she was objecting, you would see that she spoke only of factual occurrences and said nothing about Karl Rove controlling the election from the Oval Office.  Talk about a “conspiracy theory”!

   We are all committed to free and fair elections. We all want to make sure that every single vote is counted, that no different voter is disenfranchised.

Okay, you did hear Mrs. Tubbs-Jones.  I’m glad we can discuss that now.

   I do remember clearly, however, how distressed I was in my former capacity to have to threaten the Detroit City Clerk, a Democrat, with court action if she did not comply with our State election law to make sure that every vote is counted, particularly minority votes. And yet today we hear outrage based on fantasies and conspiracies.



   Mr. Speaker, we are asking people in Afghanistan and Iraq to risk their lives to vote, and today we hear complaints about the time it took to vote in free elections in the greatest democracy in the world.

   My hometown newspaper in Dayton, Ohio said, ``What's not in order is the suggestion of some great fraud where there is none. Some people will take advantage of the inevitable flaws of elections to confuse other people ..... Those people do harm, not good.''


Mr. Speaker, today this is not about overturning election results but reforming a broken election system.

as I listen to my friends from the other side I become quite upset when I hear them say things like, we are trying to break down the election system, taking away from the credibility of our election system. Nothing could be further from the truth.


   The vote in Ohio has already been recounted. There is no doubt President Bush won the election. He won with historic margins, and millions of first-time voters in Ohio were participating. JOHN KERRY has accepted this fact. Even those foreign officials who many of our colleagues invited to the United States as election observers have come to the conclusion that George Bush won the election.  

And that is why I think that this exercise which we are going through today clearly emboldens those who would, in fact, want to undermine the prospect of democracy because there is no evidence whatsoever, no evidence whatsoever that the claims that are being made are valid.

Well the claims being made are very well documented, but after saying something like that, I assume you have some evidence to the contrary, right?

   I am not an expert on the newspapers in the State of Ohio, but I have been told by more than a few people that the Dayton Daily News, which is sometimes named something else, actually endorsed JOHN KERRY and on December 3 they said the following: ``Some people will take advantage of the inevitable flaws of elections to confuse other people, to sow doubts. Those people do harm, not good. They undermine the legitimacy of every close election outcome.''

Okay, let me get this straight; somebody told you that the Dayton Daily News, or maybe something else, predicted your “conspiracy theory” about the Democrats trying to steal the election?  Well, now you’re definitely right.

   The fact is the system worked pretty well. People should know that.



   So I ask my colleagues who prefer to dwell on the past rather than fight for the future; who would rather level accusations than legislate; who would rather waste Congress's time and taxpayer dollars than work on providing health care, education and a strong military for America--I ask these colleagues, if reform is needed in Ohio, to work with their State legislature to create the best system possible and to join Senator KERRY in accepting the will of the American people.

Did you just say that the DEMOCRATS would rather waste taxpayer money than work on providing health care, education and a strong military for America?  Now the Republican “conspiracy theory” is just getting a bit out of control!  Sorry to bother the Republican majority Mrs. Drake, we must be just weeks away from having health care then, correct?  NO?  You’re going to CUT the Social Security benefits of the American people???


   Mr. Speaker, I have got several remarks from several different editorial pages from the State of Ohio that say that we should not be having this discussion, that say that the votes were counted in Ohio.

This is getting a bit ridiculous:

An interesting one from your state Mr. Jindal!:

12/26 Politics Quickly Kills Jindal, Blanco Good Will   

12/29 With safe seats in Congress, Ohio GOP members spread cash



   No election is ever perfect. They never are. But there is absolutely no credible basis to question the outcome of the election.

   I also read in the challenge lots of irresponsible conspiracy theories about what happened in Ohio. I was there. It did not happen. I also heard today from the other side of the aisle that no one has answered any of these questions. That is wrong.

   One of the concerns that has been raised time and time again, most commonly raised, is that in Warren County, a district that I represent and a city that I represent, that somehow there was not a fair election because people were locked out.

   This is not the time, ladies and gentlemen, to obstruct the will of the American people. It is time to get our work done. It is time to govern, not to object.  Every objective observer agrees. In fact, every newspaper in the State of Ohio agrees. Every editorial page agrees.

 Mrs. JONES Ohio-D

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for this opportunity to debate this very important issue. In Ohio there is a bipartisan system at the county level. However, every board of election member serves at the behest or discretion of the Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who, in fact, was the co-chair of the Bush campaign.

   I want to go on to say that, for example, Secretary Blackwell issued a directive to local boards of election mandating rejection of voter registration forms on 80-weight paper. He issued a directive which ultimately was reversed which resulted in confusion and chaos among counties with regard to provisional ballots.

Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all the Members of the House who have stayed here with us, who have participated in the debate, who have shared their views, as different as many of them are, because this is the way we work.

   This debate, I think we all know, will not change the outcome of the November election. But we do know that out of today's debate, the Congress will respond to the challenge that has been raised here in connection with a better system of voting, not just for Ohio but for everywhere. A challenge has been raised here this afternoon to hold true bipartisan hearings to get to the bottom of not just what went wrong in Ohio but around the Nation on Election Day. This day, the first time in our history, that since 1877 this law has been used in which the Senate and the House have come together to say that an objection has enough merit to keep us here in this discussion.

   Join us. Enact real election reform and give the citizens the right to an operative provisional ballot and give all voters a verifiable paper trail. We should never fear this debate in the Congress, and I hope that today we have a fair debate and that 4 years from now, Mr. Speaker, we have an election that all our citizens can be proud of.

And now for the grand finale ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tom DeLay, former exterminator and proudly the most unethical man in congress:


Mr. Speaker, what is happening here today is amazing but not surprising. Mr. Speaker, what we are witnessing here today is a shame. A shame. The issues at stake in this petition are gravely, gravely serious. This is not just having a debate.

Oh, you noticed too, that unless if you do, not one Republican many any attempt to address any of the issues that were cited by Mrs. Tubbs-Jones?

   It is a warning to Democrats across the country, now in the midst of soul searching after their historic losses in November, not to moderate their party's message.

   It is just the second day of the 109th Congress and the first chance of the Democrat congressional leadership to show the American people what they have learned since President Bush's historic reelection, and they can show that, but they have turned to what might be called the ``X-Files Wing'' of the Democrat Party to make their first impression.

   Rather than substantive debate, Democrat leaders are still adhering to a failed strategy of spite, obstruction, and conspiracy theories. They accuse the President, who we are told is apparently a closet computer nerd, of personally overseeing the development of vote-stealing software.

   We are told, without any evidence, that unknown Republican agents stole the Ohio election and that its electoral votes should be awarded to the winner of an exit poll instead.

   Many observers will discard today's petition as a partisan waste of time, but it is much worse than that. It is an assault against the institutions of our representative democracy. It is a threat to the very ideals it ostensibly defends. No one is served by this petition, not in the long run. And in the short term, its only beneficiaries are its proponents themselves.

   Democrats around the country have asked since Election Day, and will no doubt ask again today, how it came to this. The Democrat Party, the party that was once an idealistic, forward-looking, policy colossus. The New Deal, the Marshall Plan, the Great Society, the space program, civil rights. And yet today one is hard pressed to find a single positive substantive idea coming from the left.

   Instead, the Democrats have replaced statecraft with stagecraft, substance with style, and not a very fashionable style at that. The petitioners claim that they act on behalf of disenfranchised voters, but no such voter disenfranchisement occurred in this election of 2004 and for that matter the election of 2000.

       Everybody knows it. The voters know it, the candidates know it, the courts know it, and the evidence proves it.

   We are not here to debate evidence, but to act our roles in some scripted, insincere morality play.

   Now, just remember: pre-election memos revealed that Democrat campaign operatives around the country were encouraged by their high command in Washington to charge voter fraud and intimidation regardless of whether any of it occurred. Remember, neither of the Democrat candidates supposedly robbed in Ohio endorse this petition. It is a crime against the dignity of American democracy, and that crime is not victimless.

   The Democrat leadership came down to the floor and said this is a good debate; we ought to be having a debate on this issue.  This is not a normal debate. This is a direct attack to undermine our democracy by using a procedure to undermine the constitutional election that was just held.

   If, as now appears likely, Democrats cry fraud and corruption every election regardless of the evidence, what will happen when one day voters are routinely intimidated, rights are denied, or, God forbid, an election is robbed? What will happen? What will happen when, God forbid, this quadrennial crying wolf so poisons our democratic processes that a similarly frivolous petition in a close election in the future is actually successful, and the American people are denied their constitutional right to choose their own President?

   Mr. Speaker, Democrats must find a way to rise above this self-destructive and, yes, plain destructive theory of politics for its own sake. A dangerous precedent is being set here today, and it needs to be curbed, because Democrat leaders are not just hurting themselves. By their irresponsible tactics, they hurt the House, they hurt the Nation, and they hurt rank-and-file Democrats at kitchen tables all around this country.

   The American people, and their ancestors who invented our miraculous system of government, deserve better than this. This petition is beneath us, Mr. Speaker; but, more importantly, it is beneath the men and women that we serve.

   Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, to do the right thing. Vote ``no,'' and let us get back to the real work that the American people hired us to do.

Did Tom Delay really just lecture the Democrats on their need to change their party's behavior?  Talk about frivilous!

Recently on the Hill:

The House approved a Republican proposal to limit the ability of the ethics committee to open investigations into charges of misconduct. Passage of the measure, which allows ethics charges to be dismissed if the committee reaches a deadlock, came after Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas was admonished three times last fall by the panel.

The vote yesterday makes the ethics rules ``stronger,'' DeLay said to reporters. ``Now there has to be an affirmative move by the committee to move forward.''

The ethics panel rebuked DeLay three times in October and November. He was admonished for contacting the Federal Aviation Administration for political purposes, holding a golf fundraiser for energy executives that gave the appearance they could influence legislation, and offering to endorse the candidacy of a lawmaker's son in exchange for his vote in favor of Medicare legislation.






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