Why invite outsiders to come observe election?

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 2004

Commentary by Michael Reagan

For some insane reason the State Department has caved in to the outrageous demands of 13 House Democrats that foreign observers be invited to monitor the fall presidential election. It will be the first time such a team of outsiders has been present for a U.S. presidential election.

The 13 Democratic members of the House of Representatives wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July, and asked him to send observers.

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Has the Bush administration lost its moorings? What in the world could they have been thinking when they allowed the State Department to invite a bunch of foreign busybodies at the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor the 2004 presidential election?

Did it not occur to the administration that by asking outsiders to come here to make sure that the election will be on the up-and-up they are tacitly admitting that the administration can’t be trusted to run an election and must have foreign observers to make sure they don’t engage in electoral hanky-panky?

That, after all, was the real motive behind the demand of the 13 House Democrats that the U.N. be asked to monitor the election. They made it quite clear that they believe that the 2000 election results in Florida were rigged in Bush’s favor and that the election was stolen from Al Gore. Thus outsiders had to be imported to keep us honest.

When Kofi Annan turned them down on the grounds that the request had to come from the administration, and House Republicans amended a foreign aid bill to bar any use of federal funds for the United Nations to monitor U.S. elections, the 13 asked Secretary of State Colin Powell to invite the U.N. to send observers, and the State Department came to the Democrats’ rescue.

In a July 30 letter Assistant Secretary of State Paul Kelly told the Democrats the OSCE, not the U.N., had been invited.

The Democrats were jubilant. And they should have been. The administration had all but told them that they were right about the 2000 election being stolen.

Crowed Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, “I am pleased that Secretary Powell is as committed as I am to a fair and democratic process. The presence of monitors will assure Americans that America cares about their votes and it cares about its standing in the world.”

An equally ecstatic California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee chirped, “This represents a step in the right direction toward ensuring that this year’s elections are fair and transparent. I am pleased that the State Department responded by acting on this need for international monitors. We sincerely hope that the presence of the monitors will make certain that every person’s voice is heard, every person’s vote is counted.”

In other words, that’s not what happened in 2000. Every person’s voice was not heard, and every person’s vote was not counted.

Just what’s going on here? Did the president approve of this knot-headed idea? What the administration has done, in effect is to give credence to the Democrats’ false charge that the Bush campaign stole the election from Al Gore.

The OSCE’s job is to look at Third World countries and banana republics and monitor their elections. The United States is neither a Third World country nor a banana republic, and we can run our own elections, thank you.

We have the freest and fairest elections in the world, and what Washington has now done is to tell the world that we have done something terribly wrong and must be watched.

But that’s not all. The president should realize that whoever got this outrageous idea has put his re-election at risk. He is wrong in thinking that conservatives, who are always being asked to carry the weight no matter what he does, will continue to back him no matter how much he seeks to make the Democrats happy by buying into their stupidity.

At what point does the last brick crumble and bring the administration’s house tumbling down? At what point will conservatives simply stay home on Election Day, not vote and help John Kerry win?

Sacrificing the sovereignty of this nation to placate a handful of 13 far-out Democrat liberals comes close to that point.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of the late President Ronald Reagan. Send comments to mereagan@hotmail.com

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(c)2004 Mike Reagan.

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