Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cry of the partisan banshee

One of my abiding memories of the aftermath of 2000 U.S. presidential election was the smugness on the face of election official Katherine Harris as she walked up to the podium and unofficially handed victory to Dubya, by declaring him the state winner by majority. I never quite forgot or forgave (and hell, I'm not even American). Anyway, following yesterday's U.S. Midterm elections, it now seems that Ms Harris's own ambitions to become a Senator have been shot down in flames, following a campaign marked by some of the most memorable career-suicide moments of recent memory. This Reuters report sums up the whole sorry affair pretty neatly, but this part makes for especially good reading:

Harris accused the media of doctoring photos of her to add more makeup and gave conflicting explanations about her dealings with a
corrupt defense contractor who made an illegal donation to her

She called the separation of church and state "a lie" and told Baptists, "If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."

Staffers deserted her campaign in droves, then portrayed her in newspaper interviews as prone to shrieking fits over minutia such as botched coffee orders.

Harris was the only Republican candidate running statewide who showed up when President Bush held a rally in Pensacola on Monday
but did not get a seat on the stage with him and his brother, Gov. Jeb

Meanwhile, shades of Janet Jackson's "nipplegate" hysteria at this next line:

Bloggers ridiculed her bosom-flaunting wardrobe and the Palm Beach Post called Harris' candidacy "one long-running freak show" that did
nothing to shake her image as "a partisan banshee."


There was something so calculating and ruthless about Harris that day in 2000, when it was plain to see that the Florida vote was being called due to intense pressure from the media and local government (run by Jeb, natch) rather than any willingness to actually get it right. I've never forgotten it, or her. It may be petty of me to be happy at her failure to capture the Senate seat, but her role in the hanging-chad fiasco combined with her rabidly anti-immigrant stance and zealous approach to combining church and state leave me with little alternative.


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