Carter's latest victims
An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal concludes that the Carter Center was 'Conned in Caracas'. They point out some of the statistical analysis I mentioned the other day, but also point the finger directly at the observers for being too trusting and unwilling to press for necessary access:
None of this would matter if the auditing process had been open to scrutiny by the Carter observers. But as the economists point out: "After an arduous negotiation, the Electoral Council allowed the OAS [Organization of American States] and the Carter Center to observe all aspects of the election process except for the central computer hub, a place where they also prohibited the presence of any witnesses from the opposition. At the time, this appeared to be an insignificant detail. Now it looks much more meaningful."This is what really drives me up the wall. Carter refused to press Chavez to obtain the conditions for a fair election. He was more concerned with appearances, and wanted to have a hand in the process. The Eurpoeans had already refused to participate due to the unfair conditions Chavez had imposed. If Carter was prepared to walk away as well, the truth of the corruption of Chavez's regime would be common knowledge. Instead, he leant legitimacy to tyranny, and the Bush administration had no choice but to accept the results of the referendum. Well, that's pretty typical for Carter.
Carter's whole career is based on 'conflict avoidance'. In his enlightened view, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' side of a conflict, and everything can be worked out through negotiations. In practice, this has usually meant giving in when the other side digs in its heels, or secret bribery to get a public (usually symbolic) victory. The people who pay the price for this grandstanding are the people who didn't get a seat at the table -- in Venezuela's case: the citizens of a once free nation.