The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, November 07, 2002  

But I’m a Little Rusty

Venturing far from my expertise, but eager to please readers, I have translated the Italian text of a previous post into English to the best of my limited abilities. Be kind. It’s been a while and Italian isn’t even my best language. Abbondanza! Mangia! Enjoy.

“Cruella Finds Her Place in the House”
The state official who certified Al Gore’s defeat in the presidential elections

They called her Cruella DeVille, the Republicans’ hatchet man, Jeb Bush’s lover.

The normally reserved New York Times criticized her generous use of make-up and television comedians mocked her passion for hairspray (“The hole in the ozone layer is all her fault.”).

But for at least two years they will have to call her “Congresswoman,” as she has been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 13th district of Florida.

This is the revenge of Katherine Harris, the Republican official who during the Florida electoral debacle of 2000 offered herself as the sacrificial lamb, certifying -- by her statutory authority -- the results of the state’s chaotic balloting.

“Everything is in order, the results are clear,” said Mrs. Harris, ignoring brawls at voting sites and a multitude of controversies including mis-punched ballots, hanging chads, and evidence that blacks were prevented from voting.

She may have lacked an appreciation for the absurdity of the moment, but she undoubtedly acted with perfect party discipline. [Note: I’m fairly sure I’m missing a colloquialism here.]

But the Republican Party leadership, with its devotion to “family values,” does not abandon its loyal sons -- and daughters -- and so rewarded her with the party’s nomination in a particularly safe district, the conservative Sarasota area. And now Cruella has become a congresswoman.

She was determined to pursue a judicial path and took her case to court, a case that ended shortly before Christmas when the Supreme Court, by a vote of five to four, brought the Florida recounts to a close and sent Bush to the White House. [Note: The translation of this paragraph and the next is “soft” due to my own shortcomings.]

During the campaign she had to deal with some steadfast/stubborn Democrats who brought renewed attention to the defective ballots and who waved billboards splashed with “5-4” (a reference to the Supreme Court decision in which the Republican judges outvoted their Democratic counterparts in favor of George Bush).

But she has won. And, as she learned -- Or taught? -- two years ago, in politics winning is the only thing that counts.

It’s better in the original. But then again, translators always say that.

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