Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Hitch Strikes Out

So greatly do I value the journalistic skills, integrity, and writing ability of the great Christopher Hitchens that I must admit getting a bit of a sinking feeling when I read that he had joined the chorus of those who smell a rat in Ohio's 2004 presidential election. Unable to resist any longer, but with a heavy heart, I put even more money into Graydon Carter's pockets and bought the new Vanity Fair today.

Rest easy - the mighty Hitch has whiffed this one. There's no meat on this bone - just the same strange 'coincidences', the odd undervoting patterns, the innuendos about Diebold and its Republican boss, the anecdotal evidence that falls apart when put to the test by the experts. The same warnings about the lack of a paper trail were being sounded by progressives way before Ohio (see this February 2004 article by the Austin Chronicle). This is not to say that there might not be merit to some of these stories, but no one is offering any proof of any sort whatsoever, other than sentences that begin with "Doesn't it seem strange..."

Despite scare headlines from some progressives, Hitchens doesn't argue that the election was stolen, in Ohio or elsewhere, but he does make a (pretty weak) case that it could have been. I expect more from the Hitch - but this time, I'm glad to be disappointed.

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