Memo to the media
Dear members of the press,
Today's New York Times highlights Hillary Clinton's claim of a lead in the "popular vote." The article discusses the controversy surrounding Florida and Michigan, but it barely mentions the two most intellectually dishonest aspects of Senator Clinton's tally:
* Her count totally and deliberately excludes the states of Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington, even though it is perfectly possible to include reasonable estimates of those states' popular-vote totals. Senator Clinton has chosen to ignore these states, and yet she has the audacity to claim that she is the one who wants to count every vote, in all 50 states. That claim is flatly untrue. Hers is not a 50-state count, but a 46-state count. In direct contradiction to her rhetoric -- "we cannot claim that we have a nominee based on 48 states," she said yesterday -- Senator Clinton is ignoring four whole states that held indisputably valid elections, simply because their inclusion would give Senator Obama a combined 110,000-vote boost and thus eliminate Senator Clinton's 26,000-vote "lead."
* Her count not only includes the unsanctioned primaries in Florida and Michigan, it makes no allowance for the fact that Senator Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan. Instead of counting Michigan as a 328,309 to 238,168 victory for Senator Clinton -- her margin over "Uncommitted" -- she is awarding herself a 328,309 to zero victory. This margin is reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's electoral "victories," and it obviously bears no relation whatsoever to the actual expressed will of the people of Michigan. Yet her national "lead" is completely dependent on this absurd perversion of the popular will. If "Uncommitted" is counted for Obama in Michigan, and if Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington are included in the tally, Senator Obama leads the national tally by more than 319,000 votes.
Through both of these indefensible vote-counting choices, Senator Clinton demonstrates that she is not interested in counting every vote, but only those votes which benefit her argument.
The Obama campaign is not aggressively countering these lies, presumably because it does not want to legitimize any aspect of Senator Clinton's "popular vote" argument. However, the press has a duty to report the truth, and even granting Senator Clinton all reasonable benefit of the doubt, her fraudulent tally bears no relation whatsoever to "truth." To claim that Senator Clinton has "received the most votes" is not merely a controversial statement, it is an outright lie, and the press must report it as such. To do otherwise is to actively participate in the disenfranchisement of all voters in Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington, and all non-Clinton-supporters in Michigan.
I am an independent blogger, unaffiliated with any campaign and personally undecided between Senators Obama and McCain. However, I am exasperated by Senator Clinton's use of a facially fraudulent vote tally, and by the press's willingness to play along with her risible spin. In particular, the exclusion of Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington gets barely a mention in the mainstream media, when in fact this is the most obviously indefensible aspect of Senator Clinton's vote-counting tactics. How can she claim to "count every vote," and lambaste Senator Obama for declaring victory "based on 48 states," when she herself is only counting, at most, 46 states?! This lie must be countered by the truth!
I have written letters to all of Senator Clinton's superdelegate endorsers in the four uncounted caucus states, urging them to insist that she stop ignoring their states' voters. As my letter notes, it is particularly ironic that Senator Clinton is refusing to count Iowa and Nevada, given that she signed a pledge to respect those states' early caucuses by refraining from any campaign activity in the unsanctioned Michigan and Florida primaries. "We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process," Clinton's campaign manager said at the time. Yet she is now arguing that Iowa and Nevada should not count, while Michigan and Florida should. This is hypocritical and intellectually dishonest to a degree that beggars belief.
If Senator Clinton wants to argue that Florida should count, and that Michigan should count with the "Uncommitted" votes going to Senator Obama, those are reasonable arguments, and can be fairly considered. But the inclusion of her Saddam Hussein-style, unanimous "victory" in Michigan, and the exclusion of Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington, completely undermines the intellectual underpinnings of her argument, and it is your duty as members of the press to point this out.
I urge all members of the media to provide honest, objective, and thorough analysis of this issue, rather than granting the Clinton camp's unrebutted spin a veneer of legitimacy that it plainly does not deserve.
"Irish Trojan in Tennessee"