Heads We Win, Tails You Lose


This is a six-month-old story, but I'm not sure why it didn't make more noise when it happened. Last June, Democrats in the Oregon legislature attempted a nutty little bit of political chicanery. After some anti-tax groups and Oregon Republicans began agitating to put recently passed tax increases to a popular vote, Democrats tried to sneak the following language into the bill:

"A measure referred to the people by referendum petition may not be adopted unless it receives an affirmative majority of the total votes cast on the measure rejecting the measure. For purposes of this subsection, a measure is considered adopted if it is rejected by the people."

Emphasis mine. Yep. You read that right. They attempted to pass a law defining yes as no, and no as yes. They pulled the language after local media got wind of the cunning plan.

(Via Walter Olson.)

NEXT: It Turns Out the First Amendment Prohibits Congress From Punishing People for Their Political Speech

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  1. Ah the old 2+2=5…

    1. Hilarious. For some reason, I doubt this was the first time this has happened and it probably is not going to be the last. Actually, I wonder if this has happened in the past and nobody caught it.
      Walt N. – Jupiter Real Estate

  2. I retract my previous statement. This is the punch-in-the-dick to counter all the good news.

    1. Nah, this one was retarded, but found out about and they pulled it. Radley’s stories tend to be about evils that actually happen.

  3. Whoever drafted/sponsored that should be tossed out of office.

    1. No, they should be hanging from a lamppost.

    2. Are you kidding? That kind of deviousness comes along once in a generation. Just because Werner von Braun was a Nazi doesn’t mean you don’t want him building spaceships for you.

      1. Cmon, Nazi spaceships would look cool as hell.

  4. Goddamn. That’s bold.

    I gotta give them some credit for that one. And some special level of hate.

  5. If anyone disagrees that I am the greatest H&R commenter ever, reply to this with the reason.

    Note: Any reply to this comment will be considered an affirmation of my greatestness.

    1. Agreed.
      1) FoI

      It’s a 4 way tie. IMHO

      1. Very well researched, brotherben. I’d agree except you left off Sockpuppet Neil.

        1. There are some things that are so hurtful, I can’t bring myself to use them for humour.

          1. Ah-HA! This is the American internets. Canadians/Brits (and other errant-u spellers) are exempt from voting (unless they vote the way I want them to).

            1. I was born in Alabama. I live in Alabama. Sometimes I spell like a cosmoratian metrosexual (nttawwt).

              I understand your need for some sort of vindication but suggesting that I am a canuck or a brittunculi was just mean.

  6. …the cunning plan.

    Way to channel Blackadder. You have good taste, Radley.

    1. It’s only because of Blackadder that I ever watched House. I ignored the show for years and years until one day, I looked at Hugh Laurie’s face during a House promo and said, “My God, that’s Hugh Laurie!” What was funny was that I had heard the name in reference to House before and had never made the connection.

      My kids just about lost it when I showed them Blackadder episodes with Laurie. “but, but, that’s House!” I hope the series ends with Fry and Atkinson taking Laurie away. Maybe with Queenie.

      1. Yeah, or Flashheart coming in and running off with both Cuddy and Cameron.

        1. Oh, that would so rule.

          1. It would rival the end of Bob Newhart’s last series, but I fear there aren’t enough Americans who’ve seen Blackadder to make it worthwhile.

            The hub didn’t know Laurie was a Brit till I showed him some Blackadder episodes and some Fry and Laurie clips on Youtube.

            I’ve never seen Jeeves and Wooster.

            1. Laurie has said in interviews that he hates his American accent so much, he refuses to watch the show.

              1. I like him more and more. I even read his detective novel, which I thought was quite good.

  7. “””They attempted to pass a law defining yes as no, and no as yes. “”

    They wanted to expand that to their dating rituals.

    1. …and then they proved black was white and got run over at the zebra crossing.

  8. This is alluded to in the title, but doesn’t that language also imply that no matter how people vote, the measure is adopted?

    1. yes, and no.

      1. I can’t stand the ambiguity!

        1. I can and I can’t. It depends.

  9. The electorate was not unresponsive.

  10. Redefining words away from common sense and well-understood meanings for cynical political purposes? Did joe finally get elected to political office?

    He is smarter than the Oxford English Dictionary, you know. His high school debate coach told him so.

  11. Of course, the courts would’ve struck down the whole business. Kind of a waste of time to do shit like this, not to mention it being evil.

    1. Not Oregon courts. They share the same kind of liberal wackiness Washington state’s courts do.

  12. Yes, I vaguely remember the wishes of the electorate being thwarted when a certain George W. Bush was elected president not by the people, but by a Supreme Court that, coincidentally surely, voted exactly along partisan/ideological lines. Thus, no became yes, Gore became Bush, and 2+2 really did seem to add up to 5 in the eight twilight-zone years that followed. Good times.

    1. Yeah, well this makes far less sense than even an electoral college. It’s just straight-up dishonest.

      Unless this comment is yet another “But, but Bush…” in which case, carry on.

      To be honest, I don’t remember the Supreme Court voting Bush into office, though.

    2. Yeah, that whole sneaky “Electoral College” thing that Bush/Cheney made up in 2000. Nobody’d ever heard of it before, which made it a scam, right?


    3. Oh, for the love of God. Ever read the opinion? Ever read the Florida Supreme Court opinion that really was purely politically motivated? The election had almost no evidence of alleged fraud, except by those who were trying to count ballots in ways contrary to state law. Those would be, of course, the Democratic supervisors of election.

      I’m sick and tired of the left’s delusions. The right’s are bad enough, but this crap is just loony.

      1. One of the reasons the opinion was so crappy was because the SCOTUS went out of its way to avoid calling the Florida court a bunch of hacks.

        It was an election that highlighted inherent flaws in our ability to precisely count ballots (within a certain standard deviation, errors in counting start to become more significant), but the reason the voting errors mattered rested in the hands of Democratic election supervisors. How that’s evidence of a GOP “theft” of the election is beyond me. Gore’s fellow travelers tried to change the results of the election based on nothing more than the fact that they lost a close one. But, of course, that means that Bush stole the election.

        For the record, Bush was a horrible president, and I never voted for him. Never crossed my mind.

        1. What’s done is done, but the illegitimacy of the Bush presidency, for me, always hung on the implausibility of thousands of elderly Florida Jews voting for Pat Buchanan on purpose.

          Not that I wanted St. Al to be president, of course.

          1. Yeah, the ability of some people to properly read the ballot was likely an issue. I did read something indicating that Buchanan is less of a stretch among crazy old people than most of us think, but I’m dubious about that.

            Still, plenty of people voted for Bush, and there’s no way you could recast the ballots without tainting the election.

            1. Actually, PL, I did read somewhere that Buchanan had historically done better in Palm Beach County than generally realized.

              And the canard that the overvoters were predominantly Jewish was something that came straight from a Democrat operative’s office.

          2. The interesting thing is that those elderly Floridians (it was actually not primarily Jews who did this) voted for Pat Buchanan* due to a poorly designed butterfly ballot in a county whose election supervisor was a Democrat.

            It’s also interesting that all the Florida counties that had election irregularities had Democratic Supervisors of Elections.

            *Actually they voted for Pat Buchanan in addition to Gore because they thought the hole for Buchanan was next to Lieberman’s name. The Supervisor who designed the ballot actully though it would help elderly voters.

            In Osceola County several hispanic voters voted for Harry Browne because they read Libertarian as Lieberman. I actually found that a little hard to believe but I have seen it repeated by several other sources.

            1. To be sure, it was in the interest of some people to rewrite history after the fact.

              1. Part of the problem was the focus on Katherine Harris. The story spread nationally completely ignored the fact that the actual responsibility for running the election rested with the sixt-seven County Supervisors of Elections, most of whom were Democrats.

                1. It actually took me a while to figure out why the left was spending so much capital demonizing Harris. Then I realized they thought her role in certifying the election results somehow had something to do with actually conducting the election.

                  It was absolutely Twilight Zone material watching the Democrats make their accusations about election fraud, all while this all happened in counties firmly under their control.

        2. The chief justice called them out for not reading the signs nor paying attention.

          He didn’t uses certain words like idiots, but that’s they way it came across when I read it.

          “””Thus, no became yes, Gore became Bush, and 2+2 really did seem to add up to 5 in the eight twilight-zone years that followed. Good times.””

          You obviously didn’t read the opinions. They came to the right conclusion. The people of Florida couldn’t follow directions, the methodology on the recount was not applied equally in every county, and so much time was spent in court, you can’t get another recount in time for the electorial college vote, so the current certified votes stand.

          The funny thing is that Gore would have had a recount by state law, if he didn’t tie it up in court and run out the clock.

          1. The funny thing is that Gore would have had a recount by state law, if he didn’t tie it up in court and run out the clock.

            The reason Palm beach and Broward could not complete their “recounts” is due to the fact that they didn’t want to actually count them, they wanted to figure out a way to turn unmarked or ambiguously marked ballots into votes for Gore without being called out on it.

            In Volusia County the supervising judge, a known partisan Democrat, got the manual recount of optical scan ballots completed by mobilizing every county emplyee to count around the clock till it was done.

            1. Wasn’t that the recount SCOTUS threw out?

              1. Probably a dead thread, but for what it’s worth.

                No completed counts were thrown out. The result that Katherine Harris certified were the totals of all the county results completed by the statutary deadline.

                If Palm Beach and Broward had completed recounts in time, instead of dicking around trying to find a way to count that would help Gore, those counts would have been included to.

                1. Of course, the previous poster was actually me.

  13. evil and despicable. I have to respect that.

  14. Can’t we get the names of the pols in question? Shouldn’t there be a website devoted to these things for reference purposes?

  15. The whole “Bush/Cheney the SCOTUS” stole the election thing falls apart, and ALWAYS ignores, the fact that every recount after the fact always came away with Bush winning. Under any metric. Recount the state – check. Recount only certain counties – check. Recount only Democrat leaning counties – still check.

    The NY Times looked at this a year or two after the election, and only under the most absolutely liberal of standards (like putting all of Buchanan’s votes for Gore) could they get to win. There is NO WAY a court was ever going to approve putting all of one candidates votes into another candidates pool on teh assumption that some might have been wrong.

  16. Yeah, I left out the fact that the recounts generally favored Bush, even with a thumb or two placed on the Gore side of the scales.

    One thing that really pissed me off and made me hate the Democrats a little more than the Republicans was the U.S. Civil Rights Commission giving its imprimatur to the totally bullshit allegations that there were some kind of racist and other tactics used to “steal” the election. No evidence, just vague innuendo. And that crap wasn’t repudiated by Gore and the party as it should’ve been.

    By any means necessary, right? The GOP sucks. But the Democrats suck just a little bit more.

  17. “””The GOP sucks. But the Democrats suck just a little bit more.”””

    And then came Schiavo.

    Both teams take turns in the #1 spot.

  18. Pretty sneaky, I must admit, but for some real political chicanery, read “the bill”. That is, if you can find it. Why do you think it’s a secret? If the public gets the chance to read it for themselves, we would have an instant revolution. It basically negates the entire Constitution and subjects citizens opposing the administration to arrest and imprisonment without due process. You disappear if you write a comment like this one. See you at “camp”.

  19. crap wasn’t repudiated by Gore and the party as it should’ve been.

  20. In a free and open society this is exactly the kind of prosecution that should not happen. And this selling out of our national values has not come cheap?the case has already eaten up years of government resources, including everything from Justice Department attorneys down to the $60 or so of taxpayer money used by a special FBI agent to purchase the films from Stagliano’s company.

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