Since I'd already bought, read and enjoyed two other books by Bill Sammon, (former White House correspondent for the Washington Times, now with the Washington Examiner) I broke down and bought an earlier one he'd written. His first. By the third page I was hooked and when I finished did something I rarely do. I immediately started reading AT ANY COST (How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election) all over again right from the first page.
I bought AT ANY COST not long before the 2004 election. Of the four books Sammon's now written, I still think this one is the best. It begins:
I stopped at home en route to the airport and stuffed a change of clothes in my briefcase. My wife suggested I pack a proper bag, but I assured her: "It's a two-day story — tops." Then I headed out the door, unaware that I would remain in Florida for the next forty-six days.
When I got home after voting in 2004, the MSM was
reporting constantly that Kerry was way ahead in the exit polls. I understood why they were doing it. I'd read Sammon's book.
Later, I was fixing dinner listening to Sean Hannity blabber away, sounding downright panicky, saying that although it looked like Kerry'd already won, there was still time for Republicans to vote for Dubya!
Doesn't he know, I wondered, how screwed up exit polls are because of the way they're conducted, how the people doing them are hired, their background and the inherent liberal bias in the whole danged process.
I did. I'd read Sammon's book.
That night Hubby and I were watching the television coverage before all the polls nationwide had closed, and I knew why THEY were still yammering away about exit polls, like they supposedly meant something. I was also fully aware, this time, when the actual votes started being tallied of the massive discrepancy between how
the talking heads are calling states for Kerry or Dubya.
You guessed it. I'd read AT ANY COST.
Sammon's last three books (the last one very recently published) have labeled him as a Bush cheerleader. I'm not talking about them. Sammon's reporting on Bush in this one is background since his assignment for the Washington Times was covering the 2000 Election, including on several occasions traveling with the Gore campaign.
AT ANY COST doesn't really kick into high gear, though, until Sammon begins slicing and dicing the maneuvering done and shenanigans played by politicians, attorneys, judges, party hacks and the talking-heads hoping to ensure a Gore election starting on
What effect did the MSM's announcement that Gore had already won even before many voters had cast their ballot? Read it, not just in the studies Sammon cites but in the first-person story of a Florida Panhandle voter — a largely Republican area — who'd never NOT voted before. But on the way from work to his precinct, he headed home instead after the news reports coming through his truck's radio said Gore had already won. And it wasn't just Florida Once the announcements were made, the effect dominoed across the entire country.
When it comes to the media, Sammon is merciless. His description and analysis of the games they played on that election night is devastating. You will never
watch election night coverage the same way again.
The Florida Supreme Court's decision and the USSC's? Do you recall it only in a confused and confusing blur? Sammon lays it all out filing by filing, court by court and decision by decision, in a manner the MSM didn't and won't.
A step-by-step look at the desperate attempt to disenfranchise absentee ballots cast by military voters, again with a first-person effect: a Navy Lieutenant aboard the Tarawa
who learned while his ship was escorting the badly damaged USS Cole to safety, that his ballot had been disqualified simply because it didn't have a postmark.
Sammon dissects the complete chaos of the recounts (and recounts of recounts) in each of the Democrat counties Gore picked as his best bet for changing the results in Florida and winning the presidency, and how the canvassing boards jiggled and re-jiggled the standards repeatedly, sometimes on the span of only a few hours WHILE in the middle of counting.
Sammon's a darned good read, too, with an easy style. He also has an eye for the absurd (like the "Brooks Brothers uprising" that culminated in Democrat and Republican recount volunteers in the same room at the same time
, both frantically trying to toss out more of the opponent's ballots than the other side could of theirs) and loons, like Dan Rather and his nonsensical "Ratherisms."
With the 2006 election fast approaching, I'm not only telling you to read this book. I'm telling you to buy it. In hardcover. Then every two years just before an election, do what I'm doing right now: Pull it from the shelf and read it again.
Labels: Politics, Reviews