By now, large swaths of the progressive blogosphere are convinced beyond counterpersuasion that "Ohio was stolen," and John Kerry was actually elected President in 2004.
While objective, politically progressive outlets and thinkers without books to sell have countered these notions with hard facts, the "Ohio was stolen" crowd continues to exhibit confirmational bias by sticking to their beliefs.
I, like Mother Jones, Salon, The Nation, Jimmy Carter, and others who think that the problems in Ohio and other states don"t prove or shift the numbers to prove the election was stolen are not going to change your mind. That's not why I am here today. Instead, I want to talk to you present another perspective on all this "Ohio was stolen" talk and what it could mean for the 2006 campaign.
Consider if you will, the wise words of Tom Hayden. A progressive who has worked in successful opposition to, as well as within the electoral political system, Tom has more than 40 years of experience to guide him when he writes:
"And to the bloggers, I say stick to standards of evidence that will convince the mainstream voters. Sometimes we stray from what we know, and what can be proven to the public, into the world of, well, conjecture. We cannot fight against a faith-based crusade with one that sometimes appears to be fantasy-based. We cannot fight the conservative model with a conspiracy model. The facts are staggering enough to cause deep public questioning and, in time, a radical public awakening. We should see ourselves as the questioning conscience of the nation, the prod to deeper digging by the media, the force that pushes politicians to address all the "inconvenient truths", every last one of them."
What Tom is saying is, when you take your "fantasy-based," "Ohio was stolen" opinions to the public square, and demonize anyone who asks for confirmational clarity, you run the risk that millions of voters who we all need to come down on our side this time will tune you out. Why? Because, frankly, the most shrill of you who are absolutely convinced that Ohio was stolen sound like sore losers, pundits with agendas, wack jobs, or some sort of combination of all of the above.
I know some of you have attacked Salon, Mother Jones, The Nation's David Corn, and even Jimmy Carter- who has monitored dozens of elections around the world and knows from stolen ones (like 2000).
Now I dare any of you to attack Tom Hayden and his motivations.
There are two other reasons that you "Ohio was stolen" folks should consider the impact of your bloviations.
First, all this "Ohio was stolen" blather is a petri dish for even more politically bioresistant strains of cynicism. In an election season climate where the likes of Rev. Dobson are attempting to register even greater numbers of loyal Republican end-timers, we need every progressive who doesn't vote to join our side.
But given this obsession with Ohio, Diebold, Ken Blackwell, and other objectionable types, those who have not voted in the past and who we progressives really need this cycle will go "what's the use."
And even some progressives who do vote will be unmotivated because they will assume their votes don't matter.
We can't allow this to happen. The stakes are too high.