Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has turned his attention from the environment to the 2004 election, with predictable results. In this Rolling Stone article, Kennedy argues that Republicans used dirty tricks to steal the 2004 presidential election. The article cites a wide variety of sources, but Kennedy's claim ultimately rests on the discrepancy between exit polls and the reported results — and that is a thin reed upon which to base his claim.
Election law experts are not convinced by Kennedy's account. Ohio State's Dan Tokaji is sympathetic to some of Kennedy's arguments, and believes the 2004 election offers many important lessons for election reform, but finds the argument that Kerry won "strains credulity." Salon's Farhad Manjoo is far less generous, finding Kennedy's "argument is filled with distortions and blatant omissions." Bob Bauer concurs, concluding Kennedy's "case does not stand up to even casual scrutiny," and may even set back the case for "progressive election reform."
While Kennedy is focusing on a new issue, it appears his penchant for overstatement and exaggeration remains. As I've documented time and again (and again, again, again, and again), Kennedy's attacks on the Bush Administration's environmental record were error-filled and overwrought. This is not a defense of Bush's environmental policies, for it is a record worth criticizing on many fronts. But any critique should be based on factually accurate accounts — and Kennedy's were not. Kennedy may be aiming at a new target, but his accuracy remains poor.