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Nancy Smith

The Recount: Which Party Is the Voter Suppressor Now?

November 18, 2012 - 6:00pm

You have to hand it to the Democrats and their pals in the mainstream media. Nobody touches these guys for sheer hypocrisy.

They work their tails off before the election to convince Floridians the manipulative, Constitution-trashing Republicans are suppressing the minority vote.

Now, after the election, they're full of moral outrage because a Republican candidate wants all votes to count in a district where obviously, on Election Night, they didn't.

Their hypocritical message is this: You can't disenfranchise us, but we can disenfranchise you.

What's conspicuously absent here is the Golden Rule. Apparently the Dems don't believe "do unto others" applies to Republican Congressman Allen West, whom they fear and despise for his blunt political style, his vast store of campaign cash and his fiercely loyal supporters.

So the Democrat machine doesn't like West. I get it. The former Army officer isn't everybody's cup of tea. But admit it, the CD 18 race was ultra close and it was a tangle of irregularities in the supervisor of elections offices in two counties.

True, a recount wasnt required by state law because Democrat Patrick Murphys margin was larger than 0.5 percent. (It was 0.58 percent on Election Night.) But St. Lucie County elections officials acknowledged problems with the way electronic memory cartridges of early votes were uploaded on Nov. 6.

State Rep. Gayle Harrell, who monitored elections in Iraq in 2012, probably knows more than anyone in the Florida Legislature about how elections should be run. Listening to Harrell, you have to ask yourself, why wouldn't Allen West want a recount, and frankly, why wouldn't he deserve one?

There were votes that weren't counted," said Harrell, "there were votes that were doubly counted, there were machine failures, there was just chaos ... It got to the point where I thought it was absolutely necessary to have an investigation.

The Tampa Bay Times named West its Loser of the Week because he won't go away, he keeps on trucking, demanding a recount. But, the paper says, he's bound to lose in the end.

Well, I disagree with the Times, though not about West's fate. I think ultimately he will lose and concede, too. But I disagree that Allen West is the week's biggest loser.

I think the biggest loser is political new boy Patrick Murphy who comes over as sulky and brattish. He deserved better advice from his party's leaders.

At every opportunity Murphy denigrates West, painting him as a sore loser and himself as an impoverished victim. On Nov. 8, he sent out a panhandling email to Democrats around the state:

"Not sure if you have heard, but even before Election Day ended, Allen West has been making false accusations about the electoral process. He is refusing to concede and claims the result is illegitimate. West has over $2 million in the bank, has hired teams of lawyers, and has filed two lawsuits. ...We would not be asking for more funds if it was not so urgent. We threw everything we had at winning in the last few days. We can't let West try to take away our voices just because he has millions in the bank."

I'm sorry that from a Democratic perspective, a letter like this seems like such a good idea. If Murphy, a former Republican who crossed over, wants to show he understands compromise and statesmanship, he has a way to go. He has already made enemies he's never met.

True, in Election 2012 Dems and their media cheerleaders needed all the Obama votes they could get. So it was in their interest to whip up anger and outrage over voter roll purges in South Florida minority and Hispanic communities. These voters flocked to the polls "to preserve democracy" in unbelievable numbers.

It was a brilliant political strategy that made Karl Rove look like an amateur.

But when you win because you convinced voters you're higher-minded and more principled than your opponent -- and that's what the talking heads in Washington are saying -- you'd better be smart enough to walk the walk when the situation is reversed.

If Murphy was as confident of victory as he claims, would it have killed him to take the gracious road? Couldn't he have acknowledged that the citizens in CD 18 deserve to be sure their vote counted?

Had he issued a simple statement agreeing that all voters should know for sure that their vote counted, it would have won him a ton of respect from those on the red team as well as the blues. Instead, he fanned the flames.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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