Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,

Mark Crispin Miller: 'My exchange with Kerry'

My exchange with Kerry

Kerry's statement was not planned. He did not expect to see me. His
sister, Peggy Kerry, purposely invited me to that fundraiser so that I
could hand the senator a copy of my book. (She too understands the
urgency of getting the top Democrats to push the issue of electoral

So I spoke briefly with him just as he arrived, and handed him the
book, saying, "You were robbed, Senator." He said, "I know!" with a
clear gesture of extreme frustration, and then said that he can't get
any of his colleagues on the Hill to face the issue. Said that he had
lately had an argument about it with Chris Dodd, who didn't want to
hear about it. Kerry tried to tell him about all the problems with the
electronic touch-screen machines, but Dodd refused to listen, saying
that he had looked into it, and that "there's nothing there." (In
bringing the subject up with Dodd, Kerry was not influenced by the GAO
report, which he didn't even know about until I mentioned it to
him. Indeed, he seemed mightily impressed that the GAO had come out
with a strong report.)

I urged him to spearhead a major senatorial investigation into what
went down last year, in the spirit of his best work in that chamber,
when he led inquiries into Iran/contra and BCCI. He said that, given
his position, he doubts that he can be the one to go out front about
the issue, because of the "sour grapes" factor. I appreciate his
dilemma, but still think that he must embrace the issue of electoral
reform, for the country's sake. (I also think that it would be the
only way in which he might redeem himself for his deplorable
concession just a year ago.)

Believe me, I understand, and share, your feelings of impatience at
the senator's long silence (which, again, he certainly would not have
broken if I hadn't happened to bump into him). But if he'll champion
the issue of electoral reform, we stand to gain much more than we can
get from merely cursing him for his timidity. I therefore would advise
you all to shower him with strong encouragement ASAP.


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