Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 Problem #1: The First 10 Minutes 

I did not like the first ten minutes of the movie. Moore rehashes the 2000 Florida debacle, which seems intended to reminds us throughout the movie that the legitimacy of Bush's Presidency is in question. Moore blames, at least through innuendo, many people for Bush's 2000 "victory": Katherine Harris, James Baker, Al Gore himself (for not breaking Senate rules during the certification process), the entire U.S. Senate, Jeb Bush, George H.W. Bush, every conservative on the Supreme Court, Foxnews and more!

This all may be true; but there is a much more simple way to determine why it is that Bush was elected President in 2000. Let's look at the final, certified popular vote totals from Florida in 2000:

Bush: 2,912,790

Gore: 2,912,253

Nader: 97,488.

Now, I'm no expert in political analysis, but is there another possible reason - one not mentioned in Fahrenheit 9/11 - that Bush was somehow able to win in Florida? Could some other person in some small way have helped to change the outcome of the race?

Of course, we know Michael Moore himself is in no way to blame. He has just produced a documentary that argues, in essence, that George W. Bush is the worst man in the world. In fact, (and I'm surprised I haven't seen conservatives harping on this), he explicitly compares Bush to Osama Bin Laden. Therefore, we can assume that when he offered commentary on the 2000 Election, he encouraged voters in Florida to do what it took to defeat Bush. Oh, wait.

From a 2000 interview with Michael Moore:
Number one, Bush is not going to win. I truly believe that, because the people of this country are not that stupid. He's behind 52 to 38 (percent) right now and every week he goes lower and lower. He's going to continue to sink like a stone...

Secondly, Gore doesn't own these people. He has to earn their vote, and I personally believe that a vote for Gore is a vote for Bush. It might be a kinder, gentler version of it, but still it's a vote for one of the two people running who are sponsored by big business...

George W. Bush is not going to appoint justices who would overturn Roe vs. Wade. He hasn't done it in Texas, and that's the only track record we have to look at. He's appointed moderate justices who have upheld Texas abortion laws. He's not a right-wing ideologue, he's a politician, and he'll do whatever he has to do to get elected. He reads the poll numbers, and two-thirds of the American public is pro-choice. It is part of our American culture, it will never go away.
I guess my point is that it's easy enough to blame the Court, Foxnews and the like, but the simple fact is that the Republicans controlled Congress and the Supreme court and the election, literally, came down to around 100 votes. The Democrats weren't going to win. And the reason the election was this close was because people like Michael Moore and Guthrie were telling other people that there was no difference between Bush and Gore; that the only way to take our country back was to vote for Ralph Nader, consequences be damned. Of course, only one of those two people had a popular web site at the time. Only one of them was a respected figure in the progressive community. Only one of them likely had the ability to convince a few hundred people in Florida to vote for Ralph Nader.

Of course, Moore spends half of his movie arguing that the war in Iraq is an immoral sin. That's why I suspect that he will lend his support to the Presidential candidate who opposed the war. Oh, wait, no such candidate exists. Maybe he was right the first time...
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