Last night I watched the new movie Recount, which premieres Sunday night on HBO. I think the plot might best be described this way:
Once upon a time there was an election. A very good man won the election, but it was really, really close, and a very bad man claimed that he had won the election. And a group of brave, strong people tried to recount the votes to prove that the very good man had won the election, but they were so high-minded and good that they just wouldn’t fight dirty, while a group of cruel, mean people would do anything to stop the counting so that the very bad man could win. When the counting got under way, the very bad man’s lead got smaller and smaller, and the very good man was about to win until a group of very, very, very bad people in Washington DC stopped it all, and the very bad man won. The end.
A few minutes ago, I talked to Ben Ginsberg, who consulted with the moviemakers and whose character has a key role in the picture. “My take is that we won the recount, and they won the movie,” Ginsberg told me. “I think they actually did a very good job of capturing the tension and the pace of what we were going through, but it’s clearly from the Democrats’ perspective. This is a fairy tale that didn’t come true for them.”
“I think there were some key things that were left out,” Ginsberg continued. “For example, there’s no mention at all of the first U.S. Supreme Court case, which overturned the first Florida Supreme Court case, and then the Florida Supreme Court completely ignored the U.S. Supreme Court….They also made of big deal of ‘We don’t know who won,’ but they didn’t mention the media recount, which concluded that if you followed what the Gore camp wanted or what the Florida Supreme Court ordered, then Bush won….And the notion that they were a bunch of boy scouts and we were the cutthroats is just nonsense. They didn’t want to count all the votes, they only wanted to count Gore votes.”