The (misleading) Story of the 2000 Presidential Election
Reviewed 5/28/2008 by yesnut
Recount is biased and misleading. While I am impressed that it
captured many nuances of the events in Florida, the movie is a sympathetic restatement of Gore's
quest. It elevates the faulty Gore effort as a noble journey towards justice.
Meanwhile, it presents the Bush side as merely a mechanical exercise of
Republican power, having no merit at all.
The movie opens showing feeble senior citizens trying to work around an
ultra-distorted version of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County. An old
lady helplessly votes for Buchanan (Notice the woman is wearing the Star of
David. Could a Jew actually vote for Pat Buchanan? We are supposed to believe
this is impossible.) One can only imagine the film makers working hard to make
the ballot look confusing. "Cut! Pull the ballot down more so that the arrows
don't line up! We can do better than that!"
The biggest shame of this movie is its treatment of Katherine Harris (Florida's Secretary
of State). Bloggers and pundits have long enjoyed mocking her, but this film
takes the trashing to a new low. It presents her as completely idiotic, as
someone who can barely walk, let alone make important legal decisions. Its
characterization is so radical it discredits the entire movie. Why should we
believe anything in this film if it mocks a person simply
because, apparently, it makes the creators feel good to do it? Not only do the scenes of
Katherine Harris fail because of their demeaning characterization, they ignore
her legal decisions all together (which by the way, upheld Florida election
law.) It presents her simply as a mindless puppet of the
Republican Party, nothing more.
At one very dramatic point in the movie we are to believe that Katherine Harris
falsely labeled 20,000 citizens as felons, thus blocking them from voting in
the election. This was a very ominous scene, eerily casting Harris as the
evil-doer of Republican politics. The goal of this scene was to elevate Gore's quest for dimples into a triumphant
and heroic battle between good versus evil.
But the scene was bogus.
The issue of the so-called "felony purge" never surfaced during Gore's
disruption. It had nothing to do with Gore's desire to count dimples. Rather, it became widely known in 2001, well after the dispute
ended. Yet the film
can't help from saying that 20,000 people were turned away from the polls, which
is a lie. In reality, probably a few people were turned away (a
bureaucratic tragedy, yes, but nothing
to do with Gore's effort). The film further ignores that the "purge" took place
in 1998, two years prior to the election, and that everyone on the list was
notified they would not be able to vote. This scene was just another attempt at
hurting Katherine Harris and elevating Gore.
The end of the movie shows Kevin Spacey (playing Ron Klain) reacting to various
courtroom arguments. His reactions tell us what we are supposed to believe, that
counting dimples is the only way to correct an unjust election. He was on
the "good" side. Reason and justice was being trampled upon.
These Spacey scenes culminate in two cinematic embarrassments. First, the film
makes a desperate effort to say that Gore ran out of time simply because the Supreme
Court of the United States "stepped in", interfering with the manual recounting
in Florida. We are supposed to forget that 7 of the 9 Justices found the
recounting process to be unconstitutional! In other words, if only the court
would have allowed the unconstitutional recounting process to continue, Gore
would have had enough time to get it done!
The film then makes another presentation regarding a single sentence in the
Supreme Court ruling. The sentence says the ruling should be applied only to the
case at hand, that its findings are relevant to the uniqueness of this
particular case. The film makers, acting much like Democrats scaring citizens in
Palm Beach County, imply that the ruling is a sham and that the Justices
were covering their tracks as they secured a victory for Bush. Weak. Very weak.
Perhaps by liberal instinct, the film stereotypes Republicans as robotic
religious "hicks". People supporting Bush can be seen with blank cultish faces,
like they just arrived from the movie set of Invasion of The Body Snatchers. Notice they tapped the sufferable Bob Balaban - one of my favorite actors - to
play Ben Ginzberg, who fought against the Gore team. In contrast you will find
more debonair actors playing the sensible, likeable, and caring Democrats (of
The film does little to show that the Florida fiasco was nothing more than the
losing candidate disrupting and twisting election laws in an effort to find
Using a five-dimple rating system, I give this film just one dimple. Awful.