Saturday, July 17, 2004

George W. Bush: The Real Flip-Flopper

George W. Bush: Presidential or Pathological?

by Arianna Huffington

That is the highly provocative question being asked in “Bush on the Couch,”
a new book in which psychoanalyst and George Washington University
professor Dr. Justin Frank uses the president’s public pronouncements
and behavior, along with biographical data, to craft a comprehensive
psychological profile of Bush 43.

It’s not a pretty picture,
but it goes a long way in explaining how exactly our country got itself
into the mess we are in: an intractable war, the loss of allies and
international goodwill, a half-trillion-dollar deficit.

Poking around in the presidential psyche, Frank uncovers a man suffering from megalomania, paranoia, a false sense of omnipotence, an inability to manage his emotions, a lifelong need to defy authority, an unresolved love-hate relationship with his father, and the repercussions of a history of untreated alcohol abuse.

Other than that, George Bush is the picture of psychological health.

One of the more compelling sections of the book is Frank’s dissection of what he calls Bush’s “almost pathological aversion to owning up to his infractions” — a mindset common to individuals Freud termed “the Exceptions,” those who feel “entitled to live outside the limitations that apply to ordinary people.”

Limitations like, for instance, not driving while drunk. Or the limitation of having to report for required Air National Guard duty. Or the limitation of having to adhere
to international law.

And it doesn’t help one outgrow this sense of entitlement when Daddy and his pals are always there to rescue you when you get in trouble — whether it’s keeping you out of Vietnam by bumping you to the top of the National Guard waiting list or bailing
you out of lousy business deals with cushy seats on corporate boards or making sure the votes in Florida (just another limitation) aren’t properly counted.

But you don’t make it as far as W. has without some psychological defenses of your own — especially when it comes to insulating yourself against your own fears and insecurities.

Raised in a family steeped in privilege and secrecy, and prone to the intense aversion to introspection and denial of responsibility that are the hallmarks of a so-called dry drunk — one who has kicked the bottle without dealing with the root causes of the addiction — Bush has become a master of the psychological jiu-jitsu known as Freudian Projection.

For those of you who bailed on Psych 101, Freudian Projection is, according
to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a defense mechanism in which “the individual deals with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by falsely attributing to another his or her own unacceptable feelings, impulses or thoughts.”

In layman’s terms, it’s the soot-stained pot calling the kettle “black.”

On the 2004 campaign trail, it’s the pathologically inconsistent Bush attempting to portray John Kerry as a two-faced flip-flopper.

It’s become the Bush-Cheney campaign mantra. GOP talking points 1 through 100. The president’s go-to laugh and applause line:

“Senator Kerry has been in Washington long enough to take both sides on just about every issue,” chided Bush at a spring fundraiser. “My opponent clearly has strong beliefs, they just don’t last very long.” Ba-da-bum! (Incidentally, how is this consistent with Bush’s other contention, that Kerry is a rock-ribbed liberal?)

Or as Dick “Not Peaches and Cream” Cheney ominously put it at a Republican fundraiser: “These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another the next.”

I couldn’t f---ing agree more, Mr. Cheney. But it’s your man George W. who can’t seem to pick a position and stick to it. He’s reversed course more times than Capt. Kirk battling Khan in the midst of the Mutara Nebula. Gone back on his word more times than Tony Blundetto. Flip-flopped more frequently than a blind gymnast with an inner-ear infection.

The list of Bush major policy U-turns is as audacious as it is long. Among the whiplash-inducing lowlights:

In September 2001, Bush said capturing bin Laden was “our number one priority.” By March 2002, he was claiming, “I don’t know where he is. I have no idea and I really don’t care. It’s not that important.”

In October 2001, he was dead-set against the need for a Department of Homeland Security. Seven months later, he thought it was a great idea.

In May 2002, he opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission. Four months later, he supported it.

During the 2000 campaign, he said that gay marriage was a states’ rights issue: “The states can do what they want to do.” During the 2004 campaign, he called for a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Dizzy yet? No? OK:

Bush supported CO2 caps, then opposed them. He opposed trade tarriffs, then he didn’t. Then he did again. He was against nation building, then he was OK with it. We’d found WMD, then we hadn’t.

Saddam was linked to Osama, then he wasn’t. Then he was … sorta.

Chalabi was in, then he was out.

Way out.

In fact, Bush’s entire Iraq misadventure has been one big costly, deadly flip-flop:

We didn’t need more troops, then we did. We didn’t need more money, then we did. Preemption was a great idea — on to Syria, Iran and North Korea! Then it wasn’t — hello, diplomacy! Baathists were the bad guys, then Baathists were our buds. We didn’t need the U.N., then we did.

And all this from a man who, once upon a time, made “credibility” a key to his appeal.

Now, God knows, I have no problem with changing your mind — so long as you admit that you have and can explain why. But Bush steadfastly — almost comically — refuses to admit that there’s been a change, even when the entire world can plainly see otherwise. He’s got his story and he’s sticking to it. But that darn Kerry, he keeps shifting his positions!

At the end of his analysis, Dr. Frank offers the following prescription: “Having seen the depth and range of President Bush’s psychological flaws … our sole treatment option — for his benefit and for ours — is to remove President Bush from office.”

You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to heartily second that opinion.


Friday, July 16, 2004

Bush's Not-So-Big Tent

July 16, 2004


Just as George W. Bush is on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs, he is now the first president since Hoover to fail to meet with the N.A.A.C.P. during his entire term in office.

Mr. Bush and the leadership of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization get along about as well as the Hatfields and the McCoys. The president was invited to the group's convention in Philadelphia this week, but he declined.

That Mr. Bush thumbed his nose at N.A.A.C.P. officials is not the significant part of this story. The Julian Bonds and Kweisi Mfumes of the world can take care of themselves at least as well as Mr. Bush in the legalized gang fight called politics.

What is troubling is Mr. Bush's relationship with black Americans in general. He's very good at using blacks as political props. And the props are too often part of an exceedingly cynical production.

Four years ago, on the first night of the Republican convention, a parade of blacks was hauled before the television cameras (and the nearly all-white audience in the convention hall) to sing, to dance, to preach and to praise a party that has been relentlessly hostile to the interests of blacks for half a century.

I wrote at the time that "you couldn't tell whether you were at the Republican National Convention or the Motown Review."

That exercise in modern-day minstrelsy was supposed to show that Mr. Bush was a new kind of Republican, a big-tent guy who would welcome a more diverse crowd into the G.O.P. That was fiction. It wasn't long before black voters would find themselves mugged in Florida, and soon after that Mr. Bush was steering the presidency into a hard-right turn.

Among the most important props of that 2000 campaign were black children. Mr. Bush could be seen hugging them at endless photo-ops. He said a Bush administration would do great things for them. He promised to transform public education in America. He hijacked the trademarked slogan of the Children's Defense Fund, "Leave No Child Behind," and refashioned it for his own purposes. He pasted the new version, "No Child Left Behind," onto one of the signature initiatives of his presidency, a supposedly historic education reform act.

The only problem is that, to date, the act has been underfunded by $26 billion. A lot of those kids the president hugged have been left behind.

And why not? They can't do much for him. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" captured a telling presidential witticism. Mr. Bush, appearing before a well-heeled gathering in New York, says: "This is an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base."

It wasn't really his base. But the comment spoke volumes.

Mr. Bush said he was a different kind of Republican, but what black voters see are tax cuts for the very wealthy and underfunded public schools. What they see is an economy that sizzles for the haves and the have-mores, but a harrowing employment crisis for struggling blacks, especially black men. (When the Community Service Society looked at the proportion of the working-age population with jobs in New York City it found that nearly half of all black men between the ages of 16 and 64 were not working last year. That's a Depression-era statistic.)

In Florida, where the president's brother is governor, and Texas, where the president once was the governor, state officials have been pulling the plug on health coverage for low-income children. The president could use his considerable clout to put a stop to that sort of thing, but he hasn't.

And now we know that Florida was gearing up for a reprise of the election shenanigans of 2000. It took a court order to get the state to release a list of 48,000 suspected felons that was to be used to purge people from the voting rolls. It turned out that the list contained thousands of names of black people, who tend to vote Democratic, and hardly any names of Hispanics, who in Florida tend to vote Republican.

Once their "mistake" was caught, the officials scrapped the list.

Mr. Bush plans to address the Urban League convention in Detroit next week. That would be an excellent time for him to explain to an understandably skeptical audience why he campaigned one way — as a big-tent compassionate conservative — and governed another.


A Pause for Hindsight

July 16, 2004

Over the last few months, this page has repeatedly demanded that President Bush acknowledge the mistakes his administration made when it came to the war in Iraq, particularly its role in misleading the American people about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and links with Al Qaeda. If we want Mr. Bush to be candid about his mistakes, we should be equally open about our own.

During the run-up to the war, The Times ran dozens of editorials on Iraq, and our insistence that any invasion be backed by "broad international support" became a kind of mantra. It was the administration's failure to get that kind of consensus that ultimately led us to oppose the war.

But we agreed with the president on one critical point: that Saddam Hussein was concealing a large weapons program that could pose a threat to the United States or its allies. We repeatedly urged the United Nations Security Council to join with Mr. Bush and force Iraq to disarm.

As we've noted in several editorials since the fall of Baghdad, we were wrong about the weapons. And we should have been more aggressive in helping our readers understand that there was always a possibility that no large stockpiles existed.

At the time, we believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding large quantities of chemical and biological weapons because we assumed that he would have behaved differently if he wasn't. If there were no weapons, we thought, Iraq would surely have cooperated fully with weapons inspectors to avoid the pain of years under an international embargo and, in the end, a war that it was certain to lose.

That was a reasonable theory, one almost universally accepted in Washington and widely credited by diplomats all around the world. But it was only a theory. American intelligence had not received any on-the-ground reports from Iraq since the Clinton administration resorted to punitive airstrikes in 1998 and the U.N. weapons inspectors were withdrawn. The weapons inspectors who returned in 2002 found Iraq's records far from transparent, and their job was never made easy. But they did not find any evidence of new weapons programs or stocks of prohibited old ones. When American intelligence agencies began providing them tips on where to look, they came up empty.

It may be that Saddam Hussein destroyed his stockpiles of banned weapons under the assumption that he could restart his program at a later date. His cat-and-mouse game with the weapons inspectors may have been the result of paranoia, or an attempt to flaunt his toughness before the Iraqi people. But we're not blaming ourselves for failing to understand the thought process of an unpredictable dictator. Even if we had been aware before the war of the total bankruptcy of the American intelligence estimates on Iraq, we could not have argued with any certainty that there were no chemical and biological weapons.

But we do fault ourselves for failing to deconstruct the W.M.D. issue with the kind of thoroughness we directed at the question of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, or even tax cuts in time of war. We did not listen carefully to the people who disagreed with us. Our certainty flowed from the fact that such an overwhelming majority of government officials, past and present, top intelligence officials and other experts were sure that the weapons were there. We had a groupthink of our own.

By the time the nation was on the brink of war, we did conclude that whatever the risk of Iraq's weaponry, it was outweighed by the damage that could be done by a pre-emptive strike against a Middle Eastern nation that was carried out in the face of wide international opposition. If we had known that there were probably no unconventional weapons, we would have argued earlier and harder that invading Iraq made no sense.

Saddam Hussein was indisputably a violent and vicious tyrant, but an unprovoked attack that antagonized the Muslim world and fractured the international community of peaceful nations was not the solution. There were, and are, equally brutal and potentially more dangerous dictators in power elsewhere. Saddam Hussein and his rotting army were not a threat even to the region, never mind to the United States.

Now that we are in Iraq, we must do everything possible to see that the country is stabilized before American forces are withdrawn. But that commitment should be based on honesty. Just as we cannot undo the invasion, we cannot pretend that it was a good idea — even if it had been well carried out.

Congress would never have given President Bush a blank check for military action if it had known that there was no real evidence that Iraq was likely to provide aid to terrorists or was capable of inflicting grave damage on our country or our allies. Many politicians who voted to authorize the war still refuse to admit that they made a mistake. But they did. And even though this page came down against the invasion, we regret now that we didn't do more to challenge the president's assumptions.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

More Proof They Knew

This morning's Los Angeles Times uncovers an explosive document
( buried at the end of the recent Senate Intelligence report. It shows that before Colin Powell's now-discredited U.N. speech justifying war in Iraq, State Department analysts told Powell and top administration officials about "dozens of factual problems" (,1,7897981.story?coll=la-home-headlines)
in the address (which was written by Vice President Cheney's staff (


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Which issue is most important to you in this presidential election?

From the July 14, 2004 Lou Dobbs Tonight program:

Which issue is most important to you in this presidential election?

Here are the results:

Jobs 39%

Health care 30%

Illegal immigration 17%

War on terror 14%


Release the Bush Records

Washington, DC - Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill today sent the following letter to Bush Cheney ’04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman in response to a letter Mehlman sent yesterday:

July 13, 2004
Ken Mehlman
Campaign Manager

Dear Ken:

Over the past several months, allies of the President have questioned John Kerry’s patriotism while your staff has criticized his service in Vietnam. Republicans and their allies have gone so far as to launch attacks against his wife and your campaign has run $80 million in negative ads that have been called baseless, misleading and unfair by several independent observers.

Considering that the President has failed to even come close to keeping his promise to change the tone in Washington, we find your outrage over and paparazzi-like obsession with a fund-raising event to be misplaced. The fact is that the nation has a greater interest in seeing several documents made public relating to the President’s performance in office and personal veracity that the White House has steadfastly refused to release. As such, we will not consider your request until the Bush campaign and White House make public the documents/materials listed below:

● Military records: Any copies of the President’s military records that would actually prove he fulfilled the terms of his military service. For that matter, it would be comforting to the American people if the campaign or the White House could produce more than just a single person to verify that the President was in Alabama when said he was there. Many Americans find it odd that only one person out of an entire squadron can recall seeing Mr. Bush.

● Halliburton: All correspondence between the Defense Department and the White House regarding the no-bid contracts that have gone to the Vice-President’s former company. Some material has already been made public. Why not take a campaign issue off the table by making all of these materials public so the voters can see how Halliburton has benefited from Mr. Cheney serving as Vice-President?

● The Cheney Energy Task Force: For an Administration that claims to hate lawsuits, it’s ironic that the Bush White House is taking up the Courts’ time to keep the fact that Ken Lay and Enron wrote its energy policy in secret behind closed doors. Please release the documents so that the country can learn what lobbyists and special interests wrote the White House energy policy.

● Medicare Bill: Please release all White House correspondence between the pharmaceutical industry and the Administration regarding the Medicare Bill, which gave billions to some of the President’s biggest donors. In addition, please provide all written materials that directed the Medicare actuary to withhold information from Congress about the actual cost of the bill.

● Prison Abuse Documents: A few weeks ago, the White House released a selected number of documents regarding the White House’s involvement in laying the legal foundation for the interrogation methods that were used in Iraq. Please release the remaining documents.

We also wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. As we are sure you and the attorneys representing the President, Vice-President and other White House officials are aware, today marks one year since Administration sources leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent to Bob Novak in an effort to retaliate against a critic of the Administration.

In light of the fact that the Administration began gutting the laws protecting the nation’s forests yesterday, we hope you will accept the paper on which this letter is written as an anniversary gift. (The one year anniversary is known as the “paper anniversary.”)


Mary Beth Cahill

Campaign Manager


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Real Reason for Iraq War:
A Global Show of American Power and Democracy

From ABC News April 25, 2004

To build its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but some officials now privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war -- a global show of American power and democracy.

Complete article at:


Poll: Edwards would make a better president than Cheney

According to a Time magazine poll:

"When asked directly which of the 2 vice presidential candidates would make a better president, 47% pick Edwards and 38% say Cheney. Independent voters, by a 53% to 34% margin, favor Edwards over Cheney."


Senate Iraq Report Censored... With a Scanner?

From Technology Review

Senate Iraq Report Censored... With a Scanner?
posted by Simson Garfinkel @ 7/10/2004 12:02:56 PM

Over the past few years there have been numerous cases in which classified information has leaked to the public domain because it was censored using Adobe Acrobat’s "black box" feature.

Well, you won’t be able to find text-under-the-image on the version of the report handed out by the Senate intelligence committee ( That’s because the report on their home page was scanned and the scan was put up for download!

This is one way to make sure that nobody can recover the underlying material. Unfortunately, it also produces a report that’s 23.4MB in length --- probably 10x longer than it needs to be. And, even worse, the report isn’t searchable.

As a public service, I have OCR’ed the report and put up two versions for download. is a copy of the scan but with OCR applied, with the text underneath the original images. It has all the fidelity of the original report but you can search it. No clue why this version of the report is half the size of the original. is just the OCR’ed text. It’s 4.3MB in length. There are many random OCR errors, including occasional bold text that should be something else, but it’s pretty reasonable, easy to search. and quick to download.


Monday, July 12, 2004

We're Not Ready for A New 9/11

By Stanley I. Greenspan
Washington Post
Monday, July 12, 2004; Page A17

As a psychiatrist who works with both children and adults, I continue to see evidence -- three years after the attacks of Sept. 11 -- that many of us are ignoring the very real dangers posed by terrorists.

Perhaps the most compelling evidence that this is so is the answer to this simple question: Would the average person really know what to do if there were a nuclear, biological or chemical attack in his or her neighborhood? Do people know a great deal more now about what to do than they did before Sept. 11?

The answer is no.

Almost as compelling is a logical follow-up question: Are there fully developed, organized plans between the federal, state and local governments to handle any type of nuclear, biological or chemical attack? If these plans are organized, in place and well-rehearsed, does the general public know about them?

The answer is no.

Have we fully solved the pre-Sept. 11 challenge of agency coordination and response to terrorist threats? It's been three years. Are we treating this challenge as a true emergency and harnessing our best efforts? Have we used every bit of skill, leadership and leverage available to fully engage the international community in preventing terrorism?

It was heartening to hear in Sept. 11 commission testimony that if a rogue airplane flew toward a major U.S. city today, we would be able to respond much more efficiently than we did before Sept. 11. But that information does little to prevent or deal with the consequences of the next attack, unless, of course, we really expect the next one to be an exact replica.

The rationalization that's bandied about is that the government doesn't want to scare anyone by making specific recommendations -- for example, designating schools as places to obtain medical care and issuing instructions on whether to stay put or to exit cities via selected routes. If there's too much open preparation for a nuclear, biological or chemical event, the reasoning goes, panic will ensue. Another rationalization is that too much explicit focus on contingency plans would sap the economic recovery: People would be too worried to shop.

But even if these rationalizations were true, would that be a reason to expose the public to risk? Shouldn't government's first concern be the safety of its citizens?

In all likelihood, a policy of collective ignorance will actually fuel a major economic catastrophe if a terrorist attack occurs, as happened after Sept. 11. In Israel, where there's a hardened acceptance of the reality of terrorist attacks, life goes on. Economic progress continues, and there's very little panic. Panic and economic disruption occur when there is a lack of preparation and a patronizing government policy.

Is there a deeper reason (other than simply the government's desire to pretend the sky isn't falling and the public's wish to hide its head in the sand) for the current policy? Americans may have a very low tolerance for feeling helpless. To our credit, we've been able to use our distaste for helplessness to mobilize through two world wars, a long Cold War and numerous other challenges. But the nature of the terrorist threat is different: Some degree of tolerance for feeling helpless is a part of the new reality. Unless this reality is dealt with, it leads to denial. Denial, in turn, undermines preparation and effective action.

The current denial is broad-based. Most Americans are not clamoring for more guidance on what to do if . . . . The media are more focused on what we are doing than what we are not doing. But when the issue is survival, the news is in what's not being done. Our government is working hard to prevent terrorist attacks, but it has not yet organized a multifaceted, comprehensive plan to protect its citizens.

In order to deal with our denial, the public, the media and the government need to ask tough questions every day, not just periodically. A TV special or news report or this or that government commission won't solve the problem. What's needed is an ongoing focus on the questions raised above. We need to ask the very toughest questions, even at the risk of alarming us all.

Recall that the Sept. 11 commission reported that the original terrorist plan was for 10 airplanes, not just four. Could the next attack involve multiple weapons of mass destruction, for example, nuclear and biological in multiple cities at the same time? Do we have contingency plans for this type of emergency?

We monitor the stock market and weather daily. So far, however, we haven't been monitoring our readiness to survive. It's time to ask why not.

The writer is a professor at the George Washington University Medical Center and co-author, with Stuart Shanker, of "The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved From Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans."


Republicans want to reschedule Presidential Election!

The presidential election of 1812 took place in the midst of the war with the British.

Despite the Civil War, voting for Congress and governorships went ahead in 1862.

The 1864 presidential election also went forward.

Why, then, is the White House and the Office of Homeland Security looking for ways to delay the election (as reported everywhere today)? Is it because they think they are going to lose? How many other ways do they want to violate the constitution (beyond the ways they already have)?


Ron Reagan to Address Democrat Delegates

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Democrats have snagged a high-profile speaker — and a measure of political one-upmanship — for this month's convention: Ron Reagan. The younger son of the late President Reagan will address the Democratic National Convention in Boston about stem cell research.


Florida drops felon-voter list

Florida election officials are scrapping a widely contested plan that could have banned thousands of voters from the polls in November, after the state admitted it made a huge error.

Miami Herald
July 11, 2004

State drops felon-voter list

TALLAHASSEE - Florida election officials conceded an enormous mistake Saturday and abandoned the controversial list the state was using to remove convicted felons from the voter rolls.

After defending the list against mounting criticism as late as Friday evening, the state made an about-face. The reason: a flaw in a database that failed to capture most felons who classified themselves as Hispanic.

Secretary of State Glenda Hood announced at 1 p.m. Saturday that an ''unintentional and unforeseen discrepancy . . . related to Hispanic classification'' had forced the agency to eliminate the entire list from further consideration this year.

The announcement was an embarrassment for top state officials from Gov. Jeb Bush down, and it was enthusiastically lauded by voting rights advocates -- and those on the list.

The Division of Elections had created the list of registered voters with possible felony convictions. It then directed local elections supervisors across Florida to identify convicted felons whose voting rights had not been restored and remove them from the rolls.

Yet of the nearly 48,000 names, just 61 were classified as Hispanics, in a state where Hispanics comprise 8 percent of the population.

''We are deeply concerned and disappointed that this has occurred,'' Hood said in the statement. `` . . . We will be reviewing the issue to determine how it could have occurred and why it was not recognized until now.''

The result of the flaw: The state will now allow individual county election supervisors to create their own system of removing ineligible voters. The Florida Constitution requires that ex-felons be prohibited from voting unless the right is restored.

Gov. Bush, in Miami at an event honoring military personnel, said the failure to list Hispanics in the screening process ``was an oversight and a mistake and that's why we're pulling it back.''

''This will give us the proper amount of time to make sure that the database for screening felons will be a useful tool for supervisors,'' he said.


Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way Foundation, who was co-counsel in a lawsuit challenging an earlier 2000 purge list, said: ``This smells to high heaven. It strains credulity to think that Hispanics were somehow left off the list, while African Americans remained on the list.''

Hispanics in Florida register Republican more often than Democratic. By contrast, more than 90 percent of the nearly one million black voters in Florida are Democrats.

The state's sudden decision surprised some civil rights advocates, who last week called the list ``infirm.''

In a letter written just Friday to the Florida Justice Institute and obtained by The Herald, an attorney for the state wrote: 'If your request to withdraw the `entire list' was implemented, the Division of Elections would be in violation of Florida law.' ''

Yet, a day later, the state changed course.

''It's unfortunate it took this long to come to the realization that the list was just fraught with errors and it wasn't meant to be,'' said Randall Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice Institute. ``But it's a good thing that they realized the error of their ways.''

This is the third time in recent weeks the state has been confronted with major flaws in the list.

Last week, The Herald reported that more than 2,100 Florida voters -- many of them black Democrats -- were on the list even though their civil rights had been formally restored by the state. The paper then reported that 1,600 of those cases involved felons who won clemency after they registered to vote.


At the time, Hood called The Herald account ''factually incorrect,'' saying many names were appropriately on the list because state law requires felons to re-register after being granted clemency.

On Wednesday, under fire from local elections officials burdened by the bureaucratic paperwork, the Division of Elections said the 1,600 voters would be taken off the list, along with hundreds of others.

The state also acknowledged that clemency records for former felons did not include some individuals whose rights were restored prior to 1977. The New York-based Brennan Center for Justice had raised that question last month, only to be initially rebuffed by the state.

''We just found one problem after another with the list,'' said Jessie Allen, associate counsel at the Brennan Center.

Of the 47,763 potentially ineligible voters, a Herald analysis found that 59 percent were Democrats, 19 percent were Republicans and 22 percent were listed as ``other.''

Gov. Bush's administration has repeatedly denied there was any partisan motive in the way the list was developed. Critics, however, say there was no room for error in a state that delivered the White House to Bush's brother George by just 537 votes in the 2000 presidential election.


The state countered that the method was laid out in a 2002 settlement between the state and the ACLU, NAACP and People For the American Way.

The civil-rights groups had filed a class-action lawsuit against the state and seven counties alleging that the 2000 election disfrancised minority voters because of errors in the state's voter database.

The settlement was meant to ensure that only truly ineligible voters would be taken off the rolls. It requires the state to match law enforcement records with lists of registered voters.

But the database of felons supplied by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not list Hispanics as an ethnic group, ''believe it or not,'' said Nicole DeLara, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. ``We have not been able to determine why this wasn't caught.''

Floridians whose names appear on the list say they're pleased that the state changed its mind but that the mistake will make them suspicious of any future attempts to purge the rolls.

''They were trying to sneak this thing by us until someone pulled the cover off it,'' said 53-year-old Walter Gibbons of Miami Gardens, a Vietnam veteran and ordained minister who has voted repeatedly since he received clemency nearly 30 years ago for a drug conviction.

Democratic state Rep. Chris Smith, whose overwhelmingly black Fort Lauderdale district was among those hit hardest by the list, was considering suing the state next week to keep supervisors from purging anyone from the voter rolls.

''I'm extremely excited the state of Florida decided to do the right thing,'' he said. ``That saves me some legal time.''

But Smith, the incoming Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, will continue to pursue a constitutional change to make it easier for felons to register to vote once they've finished their sentences.

''This will give me a lot more momentum to file legislation to finally get rid of this antiquated process,'' he said.


Florida is one of just six states that continue to ban felons from voting even after they've served their time, unless those felons regain their voting rights.

Florida's push to scrub the voting rolls of felons has repeatedly failed.

The Legislature ordered the first purge in 1998, but lists of potentially ineligible voters were riddled with errors and most election supervisors ignored them.

The state distributed new lists in the months before the 2000 presidential election, but again there were errors.

Now, with the state's decision to abandon the present list, local election officials were breathing easier.

''We had reservations about the accuracy of the list,'' said Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore, working Saturday. ``The timing just wasn't good.''

In Broward, which had more names on the list than any Florida county, Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said the decision will allow her to shift staff to other duties.

''There are a whole lot of pieces in preparing for an election, and this is a piece now that we won't have to delegate time and resources to,'' said Snipes, also working Saturday.

Herald staff writers Gary Fineout and Karl Ross contributed to this report.


9/11 Report Is Said to Dismiss Iraq-Qaeda Alliance


9/11 Report Is Said to Dismiss Iraq-Qaeda Alliance

Published: July 12, 2004

WASHINGTON, July 11 - The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is nearing completion of a final, probably unanimous report that will stand by the conclusions of the panel's staff and largely dismiss White House theories both about a close working relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda and about possible Iraqi involvement in Sept. 11, commission officials said.

The report, which is expected to be made public several days before the panel's mandated deadline of July 26, will also probably be unwelcome at the White House because it will document management failures at senior levels of the Bush administration that kept the government from acting aggressively on intelligence warnings in the spring and summer of 2001 of an imminent, catastrophic terrorist attack, the officials said.

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Social Conservatives Want More of Their Own to Speak at the G.O.P. Convention

July 12, 2004

Social Conservatives Want More of Their Own to Speak at the G.O.P. Convention

Some prominent conservatives say they are upset at the apparent exclusion of the champions of their favorite issues from the limelight of the Republican convention in favor of more moderate members of the party.

Conservatives said they were surprised to see former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Senator John McCain of Arizona - all moderate Republicans who oppose the proposed constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage - given high-profile roles at the convention, with few conservative Republicans on the list.

"I hate to say it, but the conservatives, for the most part, are not excited about re-electing the president," warned Paul Weyrich, the longtime Christian conservative organizer, in an e-mail newsletter on Friday. "If the president is embarrassed to be seen with conservatives at the convention, maybe conservatives will be embarrassed to be seen with the president on Election Day."

Pleasing both moderates and conservatives at the convention has been a challenge for the Republican Party in recent elections. In 1992, after a bruising primary battle over social conservative issues, the party gave the outspoken traditionalists like Patrick J. Buchanan a major share of convention airtime. Many strategists later argued that their battle cries of a culture war over abortion, gay rights and feminism contributed to the defeat of the first President George Bush by driving away moderate voters.

Seizing on that lesson, George W. Bush was nominated in 2000 at a strikingly different convention dominated by images of inclusion and his calls for "compassionate conservatism," with little discussion of abortion or other priorities of social conservatives.

Prime airtime is particularly precious this year because the networks have said that they plan to limit their hours of coverage of the conventions. And at the Republican event in New York City - Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 - the Bush campaign appears to be following the template used in 2000.

The speakers' roster makes room for many moderate Republicans, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki of New York, as well as Education Secretary Rod Paige, Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney. But conservatives have noted with alarm that so far, aside from Mr. Bush, the only like-minded social conservative with a featured speaking role is Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia.

"When the only Reagan Republican to enjoy a prominent supporting role at the party's convention is a Democrat, the G.O.P. has a serious identity problem," Kate O'Beirne, the Washington editor of the conservative National Review, wrote in a column posted on its Web site last Wednesday. The list, she wrote, "is not the mark of a self-confident party establishment," adding, "if the lineup is intended to make an overwhelmingly conservative party attractive to swing voters, it does so by pretending to be something it's not."

Yesterday, Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said: "The Republican Party is a national party, and the convention lineup will reflect the broad national appeal of the Republican Party. When the speaker lineup is complete, it will reflect that."

This year, Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, has emphasized the importance of turning out conservative churchgoers whose votes fell four million short of his projections in 2000. Bush campaign pollsters have concluded that frequent churchgoers are likely to vote disproportionately Republican and made them a major target of voter registration efforts.

And as the Democratic campaign of Senator John Kerry has tried to reclaim "values" rhetoric over the last week, Mr. Bush has turned up his own talk of opposition to abortion and especially same-sex marriage. He devoted his radio address on Saturday to supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment, which is scheduled for a vote in the Senate this week.

"We had been assured months ago that as this vote happened the president would take an active role - both publicly and on Capitol Hill," said Gary L. Bauer, a social conservative candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and the founder of the organization American Values. "So they are keeping their word and my hat goes off to them for that."

But Mr. Bauer added, "If they are going to win the values debate - and it looks like there is going to be one - it is important for the president's words to be reinforced by other major personalities at the convention." He said social conservatives were continuing to push for greater representation at the convention, as well as for Mr. Bush to take up abortion, same-sex marriage and similar issues prominently in his own address at the convention.

Some Christian conservatives were already feeling sensitive to perceived slights from the Bush campaign, in part because of how hard it is pushing for their help in turning out voters. Some had already reacted badly to reports of the Bush campaign's efforts to recruit churchgoers to help turn out their fellow worshipers, including by sending the campaign their church registries and by speaking about the election to church groups.

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, issued a statement saying, "I'm appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way."

He added, "I am fearful that it may provoke a backlash in which pastors will tell their churches that because of this intrusion the church is not going to do any voter registration or voter education."

The Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, said that many conservative Christians felt the Bush campaign had made mistakes, including its outreach to churches and the omission of more social conservatives from the convention so far. "This campaign has done some dumb things," he said. "They have alienated people who they desperately need, big time."

Mr. Schmidt, the spokesman for the Bush campaign, said that polls show that support for Mr. Bush among the Republican base is at record levels, comparable to support for President Ronald Reagan.

On Friday, as the Senate began debating the amendment on same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, placed an advertisement in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call listing Governor Schwarzenegger, Governor Pataki, Senator McCain and Mr. Giuliani. "Want to get a prime time spot at the Republican National Convention?" the advertisement asked. "Oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment."

Hoping to turn the same advertisement into a message to the convention planners, Tony Perkins, president of the Christian conservative Family Research Council, sent flowers to Cheryl Jacques, the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, with a note that said, "Dear Cheryl, per your ad in Roll Call - thank you."