- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 16, 2005

It seems Teresa Heinz Kerry is rubbing off on her husband. And on Sen. Hillary Clinton. For the Republican Party, this is very good.

You’ll recall that last month, Mrs. Heinz Kerry put on her shiniest tinfoil hat and blamed the Democrats’ loss in November on rigged voting machines. As reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mrs. Heinz Kerry openly questioned the election results and fixated on areas where optical scanners recorded votes. “Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States,” Mrs. Heinz Kerry intoned, and it is “very easy to hack into the mother machines.”

Cue the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” soundtrack. And keep the mashed potatoes away from Mrs. Heinz Kerry.

Asked for evidence of her “mother machine”-hacking theory, the ketchup heiress refused further comment. Glitches happen. And no technology is fool-proof. But unhinged Democrats have obsessed that leading vote machine manufacturer Diebold’s chief executive is a Bush supporter to turn inevitable errors into a nefarious Vote-Swallowing Grand Master Plan.

The mother machine theorists also cite the discrepancies between exit polls and vote tallies to bolster their suspicions. But as liberal journalist David Corn noted: “Screwy exit polls do raise questions, but they are not proof of sabotage. And left-of-center accusers have promoted contradictory theories.”

On one hand, they say Diebold and other vendors “put in the fix via the paperless touch-screen machines.” On the other hand, they claim Florida conspirators rigged “optical-scan voting, not electronic touch-screen voting.” Or is it both?

A Unified Mother and Father Machine Convergence Conspiracy?

Back on planet Earth, Mr. Corn notes scholars at Cornell, Harvard and Stanford dismissed the Florida fraud allegations as “baseless.” And the Voting Technology Project, a cooperative effort between the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found “no particular patterns” relating to voting systems and final results.

Immediately after the election, Sen. John Kerry avoided the deepest fever swamps of the crackpot left. But Teresa’s kooky pillow-talk has apparently taken effect. On Sunday, Mr. Kerry dredged up allegations of Republican trickery and voter scare tactics in a speech before the League of Women Voters: “Last year, too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated.”

Kerry activists made much hay about long lines and voting machine shortages in swing districts. But their Ohio lawsuit based on those claims was dismissed. And as Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch told ABC’s “Nightline,” “if you talk to the election officials here in Franklin County, they’ll tell you, the main problem was there just weren’t enough machines overall, that even Republican-leaning precincts had long lines.”

Not a peep, by the way, from Mr. Kerry about the far loonier intimidation tactics of Democrats Gone Wild — from the drive-by shootings targeting Republican headquarters across the country, to the union mobs who stormed the offices of Bush/Cheney volunteers, to the anti-Bush thugs who burned swastikas onto Republican homeowners’ lawns, to the paid Democratic staffers charged with slashing the tires of 20 Republican get-out-the-vote vans on Election Day.

Singing from the same hysteria-promoting hymn book in Minnesota this week, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York further stoked Democratic madness. Sarcastically praising elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mrs. Clinton pounced: “I believe that the right to vote and the obligation to count all the votes should be promoted not just in the Middle East, but in the Middle West. And in the Northeast. And in the Southeast. And in every …corner … of … the … United … States … of … America.”

The crowd went wild. Mrs. Clinton said too many minorities and college students have been “denied an equal right” to vote, she exclaimed. (Her “moderate” solution? An election reform bill to allow illegal aliens. And felons. And people without IDs to vote.

The Democrats now seem to believe the road to the White House is paved with paranoia. Well, let them keep babbling about “mother machines” and stolen votes. The evil genius Karl Rove himself couldn’t have come up with a better plan.

Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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