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Tony & Tacky
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November 5, 2004



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. We call it Tony and Tacky, our choices for the best and worst of the week. This week, Dorothy was upset by this story about American voters and the American voting process being inspected and commented on by election observers from Europe as if we were still some fledgling democracy.

Dorothy, I assume this is a tacky.

DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: Yes. Well you know, a lot of Europeans have lapped up the notion that Americans are in danger of losing their rights in voting. And that's what brought this group from Vienna over to, as they said, be election observers. As one of them put it with, I thought, insufferable Old World condescension, "We are here to see if a partisan administration can conduct a non-partisan election."

Well, every state that they let them in -- except Colorado, which doubtless decided that the oldest and sturdiest democracy did not for a presidential election require inspectors from abroad. Well, we now learned the report will be available in a month. I have a very strong feeling that people are not going to be out trampling over one another waiting to get a copy.

PAUL GIGOT: Dorothy, I have a suggestion. I think our European friends should close their consulates in the big cities and move them to Sheboygan and Orlando, where they might help understand the country better. Thank you, Dorothy.


PAUL GIGOT: Dan Henninger has another tacky, prompted by the early part of election day when misleading exit polls led to false hopes and fears. And to a plunge in the stock market.

DAN HENNINGER: Yeah, a real tacky to the exit poll snafu. Do you remember that day? On election day, by noon, this country was ready to snap with anticipation. Around three o'clock the exit polls come out and they show this big upsurge for John Kerry. I was getting calls from Republicans. They were heading to the window ledges. Democrats were off on this unsustainable cloud of euphoria. And the stock market went over the cliff.

Now, we only can guess at what happened. Maybe angry Kerry voters showed up early and boosted it. Maybe there was some fraud. There might have been. But I think we've got to learn a few lessons from this, and that's what we can trust and what we can't trust. The average person will get on the telephone and talk to their friend and dispute every single thing that comes out of the friend's mouth. But they'll watch that screen and believe it as though it were tablets being handed down from the mountain.

PAUL GIGOT: You know, this is a shame, though, Dan, because I always thought that the exit polls were very good indicators of voter behavior, and they were valuable. It's too bad if they will go by the wayside. Thanks, Dan.

And finally, Susan Lee was struck this week by this observation by NBC news anchorman Tom Brokaw, who was doing his last election night coverage.

TOM BROKAW: At the end of a night like this, what I'm really struck by is that for all the emotion in the Kerry campaign, there are no troops in the streets in Boston, no tanks rumbling by his hotel no one is going to go to jail as a result of what's going on in this contest in Ohio. We'll work it out. And for me, having done this for 42 years, I find it nothing less than awe inspiring.

PAUL GIGOT: Susan, I guess you like this one.

SUSAN LEE:  This is -- I'm giving Tom Brokaw a  Tony, and it's kind of a mushy Tony. But you have to consider that for months now this man has been immersed in the minutiae of the presidential campaign. The data, the facts, the figures. And it was even worse on election night. I mean, just incredible. Yet, he was able to rise above all these facts and figures and this minutiae, and he was able to lift out that Aristotelian virtue that's known as American democracy, and point out that there's an orderly transfer of power from one group to another group. And he was able to do all this and still look good after 12 hours of being on air.

PAUL GIGOT: Let it be recorded. Praise for the mainstream media. Thanks, Susan.

That's it for this edition of The Journal Editorial Report. Thank you from all of us. We hope you'll join us again, next time.