Rove's Replacement Brags About "Brooks Brother Riot" That Shut Down 2000 Recount

  • Bob Fertik's picture
    Bob Fertik
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Do you remember the Republican riot that shut down the Miami-Dade recount in 2000?

Several of the rioters ended up with top White House jobs, including Matt Schlapp (#6), the White House political director, and Gary Malphrus (#2), deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Today another rioter, Joel Kaplan, was given one of Karl Rove's jobs (Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy), a promotion from his current job as White House deputy budget director. Kaplan has never expressed any regrets; in fact he bragged about his role.

Kaplan described his role in a lecture at the Harvard University Institute of Politics, calling the demonstration the ''Brooks Brothers Protest,'' a reference to the way the demonstrators were dressed.

How outrageous was the riot? Robert Parry described it best:

On Nov. 22, 2000, after learning that the Miami canvassing board was starting an examination of 10,750 disputed ballots that had previously not been counted, Rep. John Sweeney, a New York Republican, called on Republican troops to “shut it down,” according to Down and Dirty. Brendan Quinn, executive director of the New York GOP, told about two dozen Republican operatives to storm the room on the 19th floor where the canvassing board was meeting, Tapper reported.

“Emotional and angry, they immediately make their way outside the larger room in which the tabulating room is contained,” Tapper wrote. “The mass of ‘angry voters’ on the 19th floor swells to maybe 80 people,” including many of the Republican activists from outside Florida.

News cameras captured the chaotic scene outside the canvassing board's offices. The protesters shouted slogans and banged on the doors and walls. The unruly protest prevented official observers and members of the press from reaching the room. Miami-Dade county spokesman Mayco Villafana was pushed and shoved. Security officials feared the confrontation was spinning out of control.

The canvassing board suddenly reversed its decision and canceled the recount. “Until the demonstration stops, nobody can do anything,” said David Leahy, Miami’s supervisor of elections, although the canvassing board members would later insist that they were not intimidated into stopping the recount. [Down and Dirty]

A Sample Ballot

While the siege of the canvassing board office was underway, county Democratic chairman Joe Geller stopped at another office seeking a sample ballot. He wanted to demonstrate his theory that some voters had intended to vote for Gore but instead marked an adjoining number that represented no candidate.

As Geller took the ballot marked “sample,” one of the Republican activists began shouting, “This guy’s got a ballot!”

In Down and Dirty, Tapper writes: “The masses swarm around him, yelling, getting in his face, pushing him, grabbing him. ‘Arrest him!’ they cry. ‘Arrest him!’ With the help of a diminutive DNC aide, Luis Rosero, and the political director of the Miami Gore campaign, Joe Fraga, Geller manages to wrench himself into the elevator.

“Rosero, who stays back to talk to the press, gets kicked, punched. A woman pushes him into a much larger guy, seemingly trying to instigate a fight. In the lobby of the building, a group of 50 or so Republicans are crushed around Geller, surrounding him. …

“The cops escort Geller back to the 19th floor, so the elections officials can see what’s going on, investigate the charges. Of course, it turns out that all Geller had was a sample ballot. The crowd is pulling at the cops, pulling at Geller. It’s insanity! Some even get in the face of 73-year-old Rep. Carrie Meek. Democratic operatives decide to pull out of the area altogether.” [Tapper’s Down and Dirty]

Despite the use of intimidation to influence actions by election officials, Bush and his top aides remained publicly silent about these disruptive tactics. The Washington Post reported that "even as the Bush campaign and the Republicans portray themselves as above the fray," national Republicans actually had joined in and helped finance the raucous protests. [Washington Post, Nov. 27, 2000]

The Wall Street Journal added more details, including the fact that Bush offered personal words of encouragement to the rioters in a conference call to a Bush campaign-sponsored celebration on the night of Thanksgiving Day, one day after the canvassing board assault.

"The night's highlight was a conference call from Mr. Bush and running mate Dick Cheney, which included joking reference by both running mates to the incident in Miami, two [Republican] staffers in attendance say," according to the Journal. [Nov. 27, 2000]

And what role did it play in Stolen Election 2000? Again, Robert Parry:

The Brooks Brothers Riot – carried live on CNN and other networks – marked a turning point in the recount battle. At the time, Bush clung to a lead that had dwindled to several hundred votes and Gore was pressing for recounts. The riot in Miami and the prospects of spreading violence were among the arguments later cited by defenders of the 5-to-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dec. 12, 2000, that stopped a statewide Florida recount and handed Bush the presidency.

Backed by the $13.8 million war chest, the Bush operation made clear in Miami and in other protests that it was ready to kick up plenty of political dust if it didn’t get its way.

A later unofficial recount by news organizations found that if all legally cast ballots in Florida had been counted – regardless of which kinds of chads were accepted, whether punched-through, hanging or dimpled – Gore would have won Florida and thus the presidency. Gore also won the national popular vote, defeating Bush by more than a half million votes, making Bush the first popular-vote loser in more than a century to be installed in the White House. ['s "So Bush Did Steal the White House"]

Why were the rioters never prosecuted? Because George Bush appointed Ralph Reed's tool John Ashcroft as Attorney General.

But now that a rioter has risen to the ranks of Deputy Chief of Staff, isn't it high time for Joe Lieberman or Henry Waxman to demand an investigation?


A disgrace

  • nomoretexans's picture
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That was the most disgraceful scene I've ever witnessed. Everyone knew DeLay was behind that, and, still, the people in charge of the recount rolled over and gave into this bunch of rich bullies. I remember seeing that MORON Bolton Bush sent to the U.N. being part of it, too. That man is a NUTCASE!


  • xristim's picture
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A person could suffer an episode of snow blindness from all that white!

A more astute stage director would surely have thrown in one or two people of color, just to give the illusion of reality.

Oh...I lost my mind for the briefest of seconds. What would people of color be doing at Brooks Brothers?

There is absolutely no level at which this display is not offensive.

Exactly what I was thinking...

  • truthseeker's picture
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when I saw that on TV in 2000. My my, look at all those WHITE people! Poor White guys, they never get a break so they have to shut down the vote counting. I'm so sick of the lies and the fake photos and fake riots from these despicable pieces of rotting fungus.

Alexander Hamilton Knew

  • Chip's picture
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"Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants."

Federalist Papers No. 1

Lieberman? Are you kidding?

  • brazenlyliberal's picture
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The day that DINO takes a stand against Bush, I'll do hand washables for Laura.


  • Gonzowerke's picture
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LIE-berman? Are you high?!?! Mr. No-mentum is way too busy making use of his official elephant logo kneepads to actually do his job.
He is firmly entrenched with the enemy. Waxman? I like him, but he's impotent. Everytime he gets up on the soapbox about something,or has a hearing, you hear about it for a few days and then never again.
What we need to do is vote for ANYONE running against repugs and incumbent dems to clean house. Except Feingold, the ONLY one who voted against the Stalinist "Patriot" act...........

Todays dems make me sick! Bunch of spineless cowards stealing our money and sitting on their asses. And don't get me started on that pack of wimpy repug enablers, the DNC!

Gonzo, you don't mean the DNC, you mean the...

DLC. They are our enemies. That is where all the DINOs live and think they are prospering.

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

The greatest degrangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

Louis Pasteur

Nice to see yet another

Nice to see yet another "Independent" throwing stones from the outside. If you're going to criticize the Democratic Party on a Democratic blog, please at least try to educate yourself on the facts before spouting nonsense.

As Grinch pointed out, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the ONLY Democratic organization with Party representatives elected by the rank-and-file. and its members fully support Gov. Dean and the DNC. Howard Dean and the DNC are fighting hard to retake the Democratic Party from the self-appointed DINO "leaders" of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

Having said that, could you explain to us here at exactly what it is that "Independents" stand for? Do "Independents" have a Party platform, or even a Party for that matter? Or, is an "Independent" just someone who can't quite make up their minds about much of anything, and would rather criticize everyone else?

We eagerly await your answers to these puzzling questions.

Political Disturbaces are common these days.

  • Bryan Diesel's picture
    Bryan Diesel
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These types of political disturbances are common these days. Not only in White House Domestic Policy Council, but also this kind of violence and political disorder are seen through out the world. There are lots of political parties. Public views, notions and thinking are totally different from one political party to another.

I agree to the post of Louis Pasteur who posted the view of Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623.
”A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.”

Its feels great to see another "Independent" throwing pebbles from outside the boundary line. If we need to criticize the Democratic Party on a democratic blogs, at least try to educate ourself on the facts before spouting nonsense. We should not forget this fact.