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This page is for reviews of and commentary on some Web pages that are written by admirers of Dubya. Email and newsgroup mismasterpieces are elsewhere. The goal of this page is simple: To try and understand why anyone in their right mind would support someone like Dubya. As you can tell from that brief introduction, it's going to be a tough project for me to approach in an even-handed way, but we'll see what can be done...

Let me note that I don't expect this page to persuade anyone of anything. People believe almost exactly what they want to believe. Sometimes they run into facts and reasoning that don't agree with what they want to believe, but changing their minds is just about the LEAST likely result. The most common reactions are rejecting the unpleasant facts or making up new rationalizations to continue believing.

If I wanted to change opinions, all the research says that reason is the wrong tool to use. The trick is to subtly appeal to emotions without rubbing noses in smelly problems. But I'm a rationalist, an admirer of science, and I try to see and deal with the actual facts. I think that's the way the best science works. I suppose the punchline is that most scientists aren't the best, and all of them are human.

As it applies here, I am deliberately wording things rather strongly, even harshly, but I hope that anything I state as a fact is true, and if you think it's wrong, I'd be glad to examine your evidence. The analysis part is difficult, but I hope my reasoning itself is very difficult to challenge.

Pages reviewed:
A religious single-issue (abortion) page.
Campaign brochure focused on education.
Bush's resume copied from somewhere.
An actual grass roots page.
A Katherine Harris page.
An anti-Gore page.
An anti-Clinton page.

This is really pretty weird. Let me start with a description of my first idea how to do this. I'd just get a search engine like Google, put in "bush george" and jump down a few screens of results to get to the pages by regular folks. Then I'd just start picking a few pro-Dubya pages. He had almost half the votes, so there should be about the same number of home pages on each side, right? Wrong. At least on the Internet via Google, the tide is incredibly anti-Bush. Except for Bush's own campaign Web pages, and a site that collected links to newspaper articles, it was hard to find anything positive. Even when I picked pages that seemed to be pro-Bush, they turned out to be critical parodies.

In a later search within Tripod I was much more successful, coming up with a number of genuine pro-Dubya pages right away. Not sure exactly what that means. I think the most likely possibility is that it reflects something about the way Google evaluates their hits, but they are pretty secretive about it, so it would be hard to figure out why their system would apparently rank anti-Bush pages so much higher than pro-Bush pages. It might be a reflection of which hits people have been choosing after the searches? Not sure if Google tracks that, though some search engines definitely do. Another possibility is that it reflects something about the way the links in the pro- and anti-Dubya pages are done. Or maybe even a senior programmer with a grudge against Dubya? I keep remembering that hilarious "dumb m..." search.

I'm including the dates as an approximate reflection of when I looked at the pages, mostly since Web pages are so unstable. However, maybe I'll invest the disk space to keep archival copies of the pages, too. No intention of violating copyrights, but just in case there are future questions... If I publicly wrote some of these things, I'd consider it quite likely that I'd like to recant or deny them.


2001/4/22

After a bunch of searching in Google, I finally found a pro-Dubya page called My Beliefs and Convictions. I do not think this is a parody, but it ought to be. Her deep beliefs and convictions are contained in four brief paragraphs. Okay, that's not a fair criticism, since this was apparently just a quickie page she whipped out the day before the election of 2000. There are two paragraphs about religion, and two about politics. She wrote a header for "Other", but didn't add any content. The religion paragraphs say how lucky she is to be a King James Version Baptist.

The first political paragraph explains that she is a one-issue voter, and abortion is the issue. Abortion is absolutely wrong, no ifs, ands, or buts. "Whichever political candidate shares the same view gets my vote..." In the final paragraph she endorses Bush, and calls Gore a liar. She doesn't give any example of what lie she thinks Gore has told--but I'd still bet Bush has at least 20 weird statements (apparently pronounced 'big lies' or 'stupid mistakes' by supporters of the other candidate) for every one by Gore. Actually, I might be willing to put my money on a number more like 1,000. She next admits that Bush has "failings" but she admires him for voluntarily admitting to them. Pretty amazing, given Bush's staunch refusal to answer any questions about his 'young and irresponsible' days. Even more amazing is that this was written just after Bush's DWI conviction had just been exposed to the public. No willing confession there. Yet somehow Bush is now an amazing "real man of integrity." Unfortunately, confessing to his failings didn't work for Clinton, who she briefly criticizes in closing. Well, actually she doesn't really criticize Clinton, but says that he makes her too ill to write about. Her context makes it very clear that she disapproves, even without saying why.

Technically speaking, the page looks nice enough, but that may simply be a reflection of whatever software made it. Or her years of experience? At the bottom of the page is a fancy little table with the copyright notice for 1998 to 2000, showing that she's been making home pages for several years. However, here is another weird point, since she uses the actual character for the © symbol, rather than the proper © for that special character (confusing my Japanese browser, since there are no language or character set metas). The page has two large linked icons, one for a Bush campaign site, and another for a site about Roe V. Wade, which must be an anti-abortion site. The source has no Generator tag, but appears to be fairly naked HTML. There is an external style sheet, which seems unusual for handcoded pages. Overall, she seems to have the technical knowledge and experience to write something less trivial--unless it is just a sincere reflection of the shallowness of her beliefs.

Her page seemed so much like a parody that I wanted to check its authenticity. I looked at some of the parent pages, including some with pictures, and my conclusion is that it looks like a legitimate personal Web site. I even checked to see if it was created as a target for links, perhaps as some kind of bogus testimonial page, but both Google and AltaVista denied that any outside pages were pointing at it--apparently this page will be the first.

I'd like to offer some kind of reasoned response, but there doesn't seem to be much room for that in her remarkably tidy little world. The only thing I can think of is to ask what she'd do if she had to choose between two candidates who had the same position on her issue. Would she toss a coin? I didn't make any special effort to find it, but here we apparently have an archetypal example of a severely religious single-issue voter voting for Bush in a basically mindless way. Didn't find a 'right minded' supporter this time around.

However, my intention was to offer reasoned responses to whatever I found, so I guess I have to try harder... I'm going to say that her basis for voting for Bush is wrong for the following two reasons:

  1. Abortion is not a significant part of the president's job.
  2. The issue of abortion is very complicated.

The first one is pretty obvious. Directing the executive branch of the government is a big job. There are departments for defense and state and treasury and this and that. Abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, and there is no large department or office in charge of abortion, though it is something that several minor offices are involved with. Even in the specific matter of federal judges that are appointed by the president, they will make rulings on very few cases related to abortion but make large numbers of rulings in other areas. Insofar as abortion is a legal issue and affected by laws, the congress is also involved, and the president can't even be responsible for all the members of his own party, let alone the opposition.

The second reason is much more complicated, but it's easy to start with extreme cases in response to her extreme statement: "I'm totally against abortion for any reason." I don't think there is anyone who advocates abortion as a trivial matter, but there are definitely reasons that can make it the most appropriate medical procedure. The only question is where you draw the line.

In a few cases it is known that the mother will die unless an abortion is performed. When there is no chance of saving the fetus, there doesn't seem to be any reasonable choice involved. Modern medicine has improved to the point where such judgments can be very reliable, and it's continuing to become more accurate. I think it's very hard to say this situation is not a valid reason for abortion, regardless of how the pregnancy occurred.

In a significant number of cases, it can be determined at an early stage that the fetus has a serious genetic disorder. Taysack's is the most famous example. A child could be born, but only with a guarantee of a short life and an unpleasant death. In some extreme cases, the child will never have anything resembling a human life. I think this is another clear reason justifying an abortion, again regardless of the cause of the pregnancy.

Incest is an interesting case. This is one where the Bible, even the King James Version says that something is very wrong. My own focus would be on the genetic problems, but again I think it acceptable reason for an abortion.

Rape is the first case where the cause of the pregnancy is an issue. My especial concern would be with men who become skilled in the techniques of rape--one certainly doesn't want to use the term "good" in such a context. Sometimes they catch one of these monsters. There was one in Japan who had drugged and raped many non-Japanese women, and he was nailed after one died in the process. It isn't clear to me if the mass rapist is deliberately trying to reproduce in this perverse fashion, or just has a serious glandular problem, but I'm certainly in favor of anything that thwarts his intentions, including abortions if necessary. I think those are genes the gene pool certainly does not need.

Now we're getting into the fuzzier cases closer to MY line, where things are not so clear. What about a skilled seducer? His effect may be to spread his semen as widely as any rapist, though he never needs to resort to physical force or dangerous drugs. Many of his victims may not want to bear his children, but should they be allowed to get abortions instead? I tend to think not, that this has crossed my line and that in most cases they should be held accountable for their mistakes, but... There are some very innocent and foolish women and some very guilty and experienced seducers running around. You can argue in favor of putting the resulting children up for adoption, or you can argue that these are more genes the gene pool won't miss--maybe on both sides.

What about cases where a woman commits suicide because she can't get an abortion? What about the increasing number of cases of women who abandon or even kill their own unwanted babies? Might have been better if such a woman had been encouraged to go to an abortion clinic, if you ask me--but maybe the religious picketers scared her away. Sometimes it's a complicated and ugly world, and I'm not going to pretend to understand all of it. But obviously some people think the Bible or some other religious tract gives them the right to make those decisions for other people. I don't. In fact, I suspect the real point of the Bible is about giving humans the freedom to choose between good and evil, and I think it's wrong to try to take away other people's freedoms, even knowing that they may sometimes choose what looks like evil to me.

There are actually lots more cases and reasons that could be considered, but I think that's enough to show the waters are too muddy to be cleared with a simple declaration of "I believe it is a sin against God and an abomination." Sorry to have to tell you, honey, but the Bible doesn't have a word to say on the specific topic of abortion. Unless it's your pregnancy, the important thing to remember is that it isn't YOUR body to be making absolute decisions about. You don't have to live with the consequences. Modern medicine creates lots of complicated ethical problems, and I suppose there are quite a number of doctors who wish things could be so simple.

So much for the single-issue religious 'justification' for Bush.


2001/4/26

Next we have a pair of pages from Tripod, George W. Bush for President and About W. Both pages have a gray background with a little picture of an eagle tiling the screen.

Not really much on the first page, which is also the default top page of the site. It says the page was written in June '99, two years before the election as an unofficial campaign page, and that Clinton was a nightmare and Bush will restore the "HONOR, DIGNITY, HONESTY. and RESPECT" that Bush the elder is supposed to have had. He feels he can't "stand proud[ly]" if his country has a president he doesn't like. Can't really say there's much to argue with there--I guess that's where his self-respect comes from, such as it is. Not a word about the actual opposition candidate, Al Gore.

Artistically, there's a picture of a Bush button at the top, and two large link icons at the bottom, one for a Bush campaign site and another for the RNC, probably the Republican National Committee. It uses a Microsoft <marquee> tag and an applet that apparently doesn't work now. There's a counter, but it's apparently broken, too. The email link points at AOL, which may explain the general lack of sophistication. There doesn't appear to be any direct link to the other page.

The second page is a little more substantial, and was updated about a month before the election. The email graphic is fancier, and points to Yahoo this time. Stylistically the page is about the same, though no links on this one. There's a small face shot of Dubya at the top and a photo of father and son on the father's boat.

The body of the page is actually eight brief paragraphs that were copied straight off of a campaign Web site, according to an apparent citation at the bottom. A Web search for an exact text match of a sample sentence came up with 40 apparent matches. Very vanilla advertising copy stuff, and written in much better style than the stuff on the other page of the pair. Just for the flavor, it says stuff like "a compassionate conservative who shapes policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control." The rest of it is in exactly the same style, sounding just like a campaign brochure.

Apart from the 3-1/2 paragraphs of biographical stuff, there seem to be two main points here, but first I'll summarize the lesser items. One paragraph is about his work as governor outside of education, and the first paragraph is the 'deep philosophical' introduction which was excerpted above. The main pragmatic point concerns electability, which has 1-1/2 paragraphs. The main constructive point is education, which rates an entire paragraph, and which is my main concern. This reordering is just so my response will wrap up with the most important item, though it really doesn't make sense to respond in such detail--this is not a grass roots page representing the creative thought of a real Bush supporter, but a cut and paste of the work of some nameless PR hack. Spin doctor is the current pejorative job title, and some of this stuff is spinning plenty fast.

Starting with the biographical stuff, I'm going to have to basically belittle it, but I suppose everyone knows how easy that is for George II. The most important biographical item is not mentioned--that his family is very rich and influential. The rest of his personal stuff is not impressive in context. It mentions his businesses, but not that he basically ran them into the ground. The Rangers are mentioned, but nothing about the lawsuit, nothing about how he left the city holding the bag and paying the bill while he walked with $15 million, and nothing about the state-business-as-paybacks to his business buddies after he became governor. It mentions his prestigious universities, but not that he got in because of nepotism. It even mentions his very safe military service, but not that it was his daddy's influence that got him in nor that he blew off the last year or so of his commitment. Bush's military records remain sealed, but I guess we're supposed to dismiss it as another 'young and irresponsible' learning experience. Due to my own military experience, I particularly resent that last one.

The governor stuff ought to be his best claim to qualifications for something, but there's nothing there about the unusual political dynamics of Texas, where the Governor has minimal responsibilities and powers--but at least the job allowed Bush to have lots of free time to organize fund raisers for the presidential campaign. Also doesn't mention how his tax cuts have apparently left Texas in deep financial hurt--but not the first time George has left the taxpayers holding the bag.

I don't want to say the philosophy stuff is basically meaningless, but it's just the updated equivalent of mom and apple pie. Hard to criticize glowing principles--have to look at actions. The 'limited government' principle apparently means he should provoke various military confrontations around the world, which would seem to require a stronger government. 'Local control?' You mean like how the Bushies used the U.S. Supreme Kangaroo Court to seize the White House? 'Strong families' mostly reminds me of his standard campaign speech about how his daughters didn't want him to run for president and his excuse about hiding his DWI conviction for the sake of his daughters. Something doesn't mesh there. But 'personal responsibility' is especially opposed to his actions, and if apologies didn't work for Clinton I just don't see why they should suddenly start working for Dubya. Or is pragmatic hypocrisy his real guiding principle?

Electability is apparently the most important point, focusing heavily on his two successful elections in Texas and emphasizing his 'bipartisan' and 'minority' appeal. Not sure what to say on that when the Black vote in the actual election was around 90% against him. I suppose the Texas figures are true, but there must be pretty serious disorder in the Democratic Party in that neck of the woods. Or maybe it was an omen that Bush's own advocate compares Bush's Texas election success to Nixon's? Not exactly the standard I'd want to be compared to. However, I just have trouble seeing this as a real qualification, though apparently the most important factor for many Republican donors was that Bush could campaign aggressively. Kind of a political Catch 22 argument--his other qualifications (if he had any) won't matter if he can't win the election to get the job in the first place. Yet the main focus of REAL recruiting is to weed out the game players who don't actually know how to do the work. I won't say that Bush has never done any real work--but I will say he's never actually had to.

Now for the big one: Education--and education vouchers. Not even certain if Bush supports the use of such vouchers, but certain that many of his supporters want them. The polite theory is that vouchers will allow parents to shop around for the best schools for their children. This idea is an old monster that I firmly believe would destroy public education, and I firmly believe good public schools were very important for making America strong. Bush doesn't have a clue on this topic, both because he always attended elite private schools and because he is a walking proof-by-counterexample that even reputable schools sometimes fail to produce well-educated graduates--three strikes [Andover, Yale, and Harvard] and he ought to be out.

The main problem is that best is very subjective, and very many parents define it quite narrowly in terms of what will best insure that their children are most like themselves, especially in sensitive areas like religion. For example, a bad school that agrees on the religious question will be selected by many parents and receive the government money over a school which is superior in every other way. Making sure the government basically stayed out of the religion business was one of the best ideas of the Founders, but school vouchers will strongly subvert it.

The other problem is the fundamental flaw of the notion of 'shop around' as it applies to education. Education is NOT a regular business, but an uncertain investment in a constantly changing future. Education is about change, change in the students as they grow, and preparing them to grow with the changes in society. There's no fixed scale to measure, no clear profits and losses. Various scales are used anyway, but the real success is what kind of people come out of the schools, and that's basically always been a matter of opinion. I feel like Stephen J. Gould's The Mismeasure of Man is probably the best explanation I've read of why measuring people is fundamentally bogus, but that's what you have to do to create a 'market' for education--even if the customers (parents) don't ignore the measurements. And of course, the funny part is that even if the public schools have enough money, nothing is guaranteed--look at already mentioned example of Dubya, a graduate of schools with plenty of cash. However, there's also plenty of evidence that too little money can be a guarantee of failure.

Education in Texas may have improved while Bush was governor, though it is much too soon to assess that. Of course, the GOP-Sophistic approach would be to give the credit to his predecessors, the way Bush's supporters claimed that the economic prosperity of the Clinton years was somehow an invisible legacy of the previous GOP period, and it was just some kind of miracle that Clinton didn't mess it up. It would be extremely easy to make this argument in Texas, because all of the recent governors have been pushing for education improvements, and because educational reform is much more sluggish than the bouncing economic indicators. As far as I know, only Mark White (a Democrat) paid the big price of being thrown out of office for the no-pass-no-play education reform law some years back. But I've been out of the State for some years and can't really speculate how many of the recent improvements were built on those foundations. Can't even be sure they ARE improvements yet.

In the Bush period in Texas they seem to have done two (voucherless) things: focus on short-term test-measured accountability, and bring in a lot of fresh teaching meat. I've already said how difficult it is to measure educational results, and some of the evidence says that a lot of the success was achieved by setting conveniently reachable goals. However, even that form of success may be important in producing long-term attitudinal changes. And yet, the long-term utility of focused test preparation is not clear--basic education has a 12 year span, and Bush was only there for half of that time. Interestingly, Bush is apparently on record as opposing national tests of the kind that Texas adopted on a statewide basis during his tenure. I guess local autonomy is more convenient for this topic.

Regarding new teachers, there were a lot of them, and there even seem to have been some cases of massive staff turnover. I read of one extreme case where a school was basically taken over by the state, and all the employees had to resign and competitively reapply for their jobs--if they really wanted them. A big chunk of the staff was replaced, and the school seemed improved. But at what cost? Remember that new teachers are always enthusiastic and perhaps extra effective because of the novelty factor. When I was teaching I mostly saw and took advantage of those effects on days when I covered for someone as a substitute. On top of that, I felt my own teaching technique also benefited from those extra classes--extra teaching experience, meeting different kinds of students, and a chance to try some of those experimental games. However, very high turnover would seem to count against the long-term career prospects and make it hard to attract and retain good people, even ignoring the problems of teacher burnout. And I happen to believe those old veteran teachers are important assets, too. Maybe Bush's policies threw a lot of babies out with the bathwater? [Anyway, I think I was a pretty good teacher, and I know I worked very hard at it, but I eventually chose to leave the profession... But anyway, that was not in Texas.]

Bush says he wants to improve education, but it's pretty hard to know what he thinks that means, and ALL the politicians say that. A few things are clear, however. One is that he didn't get much out of his own education. I think that simply shows he was 'educated' beyond his real capacities. Education systems normally operate to prevent the advancement of those students who don't learn much, but that didn't apply very well in Dubya's case. For example, if he'd been a year or two later he probably wouldn't have gotten into Yale... His father and all of his uncles got in under nepotistic admission rules, but Yale moved more to merit-based admission just as Dubya arrived, and none of his younger brothers got in--and the evidence is that Jeb is the smartest one.

However, the big thing is that the proponents of school vouchers are all a twitter and clearly believe they can finally hatch their dragon egg. They certainly seem to think they can count on Bush and the GOP to deliver the ugly baby.

Finally, an amusing footnote about the boat mentioned above. I actually recognize the boat's name as the one that was manufactured by someone who was supposed to be a rather shady character, mostly producing very fast boats that drug runners liked. The rumor was that his friendship with the elder Bush, linked to this very boat, helped him land a contract to supply similar boats to the coast guard to chase the drug runners. Not sure what to make of any of this, but pretty sure the shady character died mysteriously and the boat itself was destroyed in a fire. Really very peripheral, but an example of the strange and questionable data you can run into on the Web.

I've actually written a lot more than was on the page, but based on my wide reading, I think they've done about as much fluffing as can be done with the material of Bush's life. That really is a professional's best shot at trying to make lightweight Dubya sound like he isn't a lightweight.


2001/4/29

This one is another brochure clipping reposted on Tripod, but really shallow and with no attribution. The top page for the site suggests it was prepared about six months before the election. The page is called Gov. George W. Bush and looks like a one-page resume for a minor job. Dynamic entries like "Religion: Methodist". There is only one comment at the top that was apparently composed by the actual creator of the home page. It says: "Our Predictions (sic.) for George W. Bush: 1st Place". Not a real deep prediction, but probably limited to a primary mentioned on the top page. That's it. Basically the same information as the longer page just reviewed, but with several interesting details. It says Dubya's birthplace was Connecticut, which ought not to be a muddled issue, but is--many sources claim Texas. It mentioned an unsuccessful political race in '78. It dates his MBA as seven years after his BA, which is a pretty hefty gap since he was apparently not doing much of anything else during those years. Just mostly busy being 'young and irresponsible'? It also lists the dates of his military service as spanning five years--for a six-year commitment. Just a mistaken bit of honesty?

Graphically speaking, not much to say. A little picture of Bush's face appears on each side at the top, and there's a text link to a Bush (campaign?) site at the bottom, just below the snail mail information for a campaign office. The background is tiled with a pale elephant in pink and blue. The source says it was created with Tripod's Freeform Editor.

As a resume, not very impressive, and I doubt it would pass the first screening for an actual interview.


Finally, an actual grass roots page called Elect George W. Bush that someone actually thought about. At least a little bit. This is another free page on Tripod.

This brief page was written in March, and the main point is that Dubya had just won on "Super Tuesday". The author is very encouraged and thinks the Republicans are going to win the White House.

The actual substance of the page is pretty purely negative. It says Clinton is bad and Gore could continue that badness. Probably not a reference to economic prosperity, but who knows? The author speculates that Gore must have gotten bad habits from eight years of working with Clinton. No details on anything, but it closes by saying "we should elect a clean man" with reference to Dubya.

Again, it's hard to figure out what to say in response to something this thin. I know that a lot of anti-Clinton people said he was involved in all sorts of terrible scandals, but they spent years and millions of dollars looking for something--anything--, and the only semi-substantial thing they ever came up with was the bit of nookie on the side. Clinton repented for his sin, just like Bush repented for his DWI conviction and various other infractions (probably including all the ones he won't talk about), but apparently that only works for Republicans. I tend to think Gore is the 'cleanest' and most strongly moral of the three--which may explain how he got cheated out of the presidency...

Technically speaking, no background, a Microsoft <marquee> tag, no metas in the source, and one large link icon to the Bush campaign site. Not sure why, but the date is also linked to that site. At the bottom is a rather amusing but confusing disclaimer. Something about not making illegal donations and not representing Tripod, but hoping Tripod does agree with his views. Pretty hard to guess who or what Tripod is supposed to be or where a $1,000 donation could have come from, but I guess it's supposed to show that Bush is supported by honest little donors. To the tune of $3 billion? Right.

I guess the author seems sort of right minded, but not very persuasive.


2001/8/26

Don't remember how I stumbled across this very grass roots Katherine Harris page, but it really is precious and really deserves to be widely propagated and studied. It made quite an impression, and months later I easily found it again by searching the Tripod pages. Guess not many people have gone to the trouble of mentioning Harris.

Easiest to start with the technical side of the site, since there's not much there. Page opens with the annoying Tripod popup ad. The author probably doesn't know about the top-of-page ad option. The page seems to have been made with the default editor on Tripod. Dark blue background with white text. Unhappy with less than about 800 pixels, and basically in two columns. The tables seem to use proper percent widths, but perhaps the width constraint comes from the images. This is actually a secondary page on the site, but nothing about the author's identity, just an email address.

Peripheral, but I looked at the top page for orientation information. The top page has no link to this Harris page, so perhaps it's a forgotten orphan page. The stuff on the top page makes it clear that the author is a heavy-duty evangelical Christian of some sort, which explains the general perspective. Still nameless, though there is some stuff that suggests the author might be a middle-aged woman in Dallas. So now for the hard part, classifying the main content of the pro-Harris page.

The fairly narrow (30%) left column starts with her name and job title, then a state map of the election results colored for each party, her picture, and a two-word biography, "HARVARD Grad", contact information, some stuff about the election, some strange references to threats and rumors. Certain words are picked for emphasis by writing them in capital letters. Not really much pattern there. Maybe the author just talks like that. The page does seem kind of excited, and things do seem pretty much scattered around. In one part she seems to be talking about the Palm Beach ballots, but mostly you have to guess.

The right side feels quite a bit more religious, though there are some references on the left side, too. A couple of animated GIFs of flying doves, more American flags, pictures of Dubya and Harris, and a big shot of a pen, which is probably a closeup of Harris certifying the election results. Perhaps the main message is "The FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUDGES ARE ALL ANARCHISTS!" Actually, now that I think about it, that does seem like a pretty limp criticism, but it is one of the longest capitalized stretches on the page, and it even gets an exclamation point. The targets jump around a lot. CNN gets hit, and though I dislike it, too, I doubt it "belongs to satan". There's a big section of weird quotes and thoughts, but most of them are without sources or obvious context. Maybe from her pastor? Next is a big imperative but fuzzy heading to introduce the links, which are a kind of weird set. The most clear one is explained as a reference to Florida possibly getting nuked in divine judgment if Gore wins. Not sure what to make of that, though the end of the world stuff is big for the evangelicals.

Now to try to explain what it means and start critiquing it. That's actually pretty hard, because there is no clear structure or organization anywhere here. Even the upper case stress remains random all the way into the links and in their descriptions. Basically, the author is saying that Harris followed the letter of the law, and any judge or "DEMONcrat" who says or thinks otherwise is evil. That's about it, content-wise. Nothing about possible conflicts of interest or partisan use of political office. The author does say in many places that Harris is being criticized, but not a hint as to why anyone would do such a thing. Must just be because they are so demonish.

Okay, time for the obvious criticism. Harris speaks with forked tongue. She wore two hats. One is a public hat that she was paid to wear. That's the Secretary of State hat, and she was supposed to impartially uphold the laws, even including the election laws. The other hat was as campaign chair for Dubya. It is very clear which job she worked hardest and most successfully at, and it is equally clear that she was not an impartial executor of the laws. If the Florida laws were so clear and concrete for the post-election controversy, then all she had to do was to recuse herself and let her assistant execute the laws and the outcome would have been the same. In fact, the laws were quite fuzzy, and Harris did everything she could do to twist them in her favor, and many people disapprove. So much for her oath of office. Secretary of State was the only thing mentioned on the Web page. The author of the Web page probably knows some of these other things, but offered no defense. Frankly, given the obvious and very political conflict of interest and her option to recuse herself, I'm pressed to suggest a defense.

The bottom line on her performance as Secretary of State is that she botched it. Apparently everyone from both parties agrees that the voting system in Florida did not work very well, and Harris failed in her sworn responsibility to guide preparations for an impartial and accurate election. "Will of the voters". Remember? The Republican-controlled legislature immediately responded with extensive voting reform legislation. If she had competently executed the duties of her oath of office, Dubya would have lost properly, and everyone knows that, too. And as incredible as it might seem, given the negative publicity and the imminent elimination of her office, she is reportedly still interfering with the post-election voting reforms the legislature has already passed. Sorry that it will come out sounding ad hominem, but Occam's Razor time. Harris inherited so much money that she just doesn't care what the poor scummy people think. The Web page didn't mention that, either.