It used to be that the positions of candidates, their charm, their charisma, their connection to the people, their policy innovation and other substantive matters having real connection with the job function of public office won or lost major campaigns. Not so any longer.

Now it's all in catching the cheaters with their hands in the cookie jars.

It has been repeatedly stated loudly from 2000 onward, and more particularly after the theft of the 2004 Presidential election that the whole game is in how the votes are counted- or not.

Notwithstanding this glaringly obvious truth, all major campaigns and the DNC are still running themselves like nineteenth century popularity contests, as if voting technology had not yet been invented.

Instead, they should be expending huge amounts of resources and energy in engaging software engineers to examine and study all the various voting technologies and create fool proof security measures to meet the challenges of the new technology in preventing wireless hacking, remote breaking and entering of reverse engineered machinery and the like.

It baffles the mind to hear passing references to the fact that in Harold Ford's race, for example, five voting memory cards or devices which log votes in machines were "stolen" without full blown hue and cry from every corner of the state all the way to Washington. Why does this get just a passing ho-hum reference? Because people don't realize that this fact alone could flip the race completely. When this sort of material is stolen, it not only has the capacity to impact five machines but the technology can be easily replicated and reproduced and used to flip massive numbers of counts in all similar machines throughout the State.

The head-scratchers after this election will wonder in amazement how on earth the Republicans retained the houses and surmise that the Democrats should go the way of the wigs if they couldn't recapture power after all that Bush has done and the obvious revolt in the country.

They have but themselves to blame for not approaching this electronic voting security issue with the vigilance of fighting church burners. This is the 21th century version of church burning. The electronic thieves are burning the Houses down, one vote at a time.