Scouting around through the right-wing blogosphere I came across this little gem. The article and accompanying video by Kris Zane of The Western Center for Journalism entitled “Did Obama Steal the Election With Hagel’s Help” is an oddly timed and silly conspiratorial attack against former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who recently has been picked by President Obama to be the next Secretary of Defense.
It is oddly timed because it mostly concerns accusations of wrong doing decades ago and yet only matters to right-wing nuts now. First off, the video complained about how Chuck Hagel wasn’t supportive of Israel’s war in Lebanon and how that, let’s be blunt, makes him antisemitic. The video also concludes that Hagel being on a German bank’s American advisory board means he was somehow involved in funneling billions to help Iran get a nuclear weapon.
However, the video’s biggest revelation is that Chuck Hagel, prior to running in 1996, was a CEO of a company that manufactured voting machines that would be used in his state’s elections. The video claims this resulted in him beating Ben Nelson by an impossible margin and later using the same tactics to help President Obama get reelected.
Although he was a virtually unknown candidate; although he ran against a former governor, Ben Nelson, who was hugely popular; and although all the polls prior to the election indicated Ben Nelson would win the election, oddly Hagel won by a landslide with 83% of the vote.
It later turned out that Hagel’s voting machines had been used in virtually all of the precincts.
When Hagel ran for reelection in 2006, his previous landslide of 83% was eclipsed by an even wider margin.
There are so many things wrong with this. First off, the main source for all this information is a article written by Thom Hartmann in 2003. Hartmann is a widely listened to liberal/progressive radio show host, whose article’s main theme seems to be more about corporate person-hood than just a Republican vote grab. Still no matter how much someone may like him, it is still preposterous to assume that a wide vote margin or former involvement in a company necessarily equals vote rigging.
Yet, at least Thom Hartmann got his facts straight. Hagel won his second election in 2002 with 83% of the vote. Notice how the quoted piece above states that Hagel beat Ben Nelson by 83% and then increased that margin his next election (10 years later) even more? Yeah, that isn’t correct at all. Chuck Hagel beat Ben Nelson 56% to 41% in 1996, and six years later, in 2002 not 2006, he beat Charlie A. Matulka 83% to 14%.
So far this article’s author, Kris Zane, can’t get his facts or his numbers right. He also hasn’t mentioned that his main source is a liberal complaining how Republicans, including Hagel who he never mentions, steal elections with voting machines. I’m willing to bet $5 that Kris Zane didn’t care about Mitt Romney’s son having some connection to voting machines in Ohio despite a similar level of evidence pointing to foul-play in both situations (specifically none).
The video and article peter out into how one woman in Greensboro, NC had trouble with a faulty voting machine once and how this automatically means the whole United States should have a recount of November’s election because Chuck Hagel must have helped Obama steal the election. Odd that this didn’t help Obama steal North Carolina as that state went to Romney.
In the end, Kris Zane’s thoughtless and biased statements are something that most people will never see yet alone believe. Sadly, this is just one brick in the wall of misinformation that surrounds millions of voters in this country. Can democracy work with so many living in echo chambers? We shall see.
P.S. Yes, there are groups of liberal voters that are just as misinformed, but aside from wackos who think 9/11 was an inside job, liberal closed-minds are more obsessed with exaggeration; Ignorance of racial issues means racist, support for the richest one percent equals global conspiracy instead of just lobbying and huge campaign donations. Meanwhile Conservative closed-minds scream at the top of their lungs that Obama is a cult leader bent on destroying Western Civilization and that one day SOON Iranian style Sharia law will sweep the country at the same time homosexuality will be forced on every child…