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Jewish World Review Dec. 1, 2000 / 4 Kislev, 5761

James Lileks

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Consumer Reports -- FOR THOSE who missed Al Gore's Monday speech, here's the basic message:

We need to count every vote - twice, if necessary. We need to realize that Al Gore is doing this not for himself - oh, my, no - but for the Constitution, and all the imaginary rights we can find there if we just hold it up to the light and squint. ("Look! This dimpled Amendment actually prohibits gun ownership AND dissolves the Boy Scouts!") We need, more than anything, to submit to the Giant Throbbing Brain of Albert Arnold Gore Junior, because he knows best.

One can't say it was classic Gore, since there hasn't emerged a standardized Gore persona. But this was Breezy Al, the People's Friend. It says: Just because he's smarter and better than you, it doesn't mean he doesn't like you - at least as a theoretical demographic construct. He loves you! It's your car, your lifestyle, your culture, and your blithering idiocy he hates. But we can work on that. Anyway: He thanked us all for watching, then dug deep into his magic sack of half-truths and fibs.

"This would be over long since," he said, "except for those efforts to block the process at every turn." Translation: The process came up with a Bush victory several times. The process has never come up with a Gore victory. Nevertheless, it is the obligation of the winner to concede. At least he ought to get out of the way when the loser wants to elbow to the head of the line.

"A vote is not just a piece of paper, a vote is a human voice, a statement of human principle, and we must not let those voices be silenced." Let this be a stern rebuke to those who thought a vote was a canine voice, or a statement of dolphin principle. And let us not forget that soldiers can vote, but felons who sold lung-frying coke-rocks to children can't. The entire Felon-American community has been disenfranchised, but Republican-voting soldiers' votes count? The hard left would call this "criminal," but that word has too many positive connotations.

"In one county," Gore intoned, "election officials brought the count to a premature end in the face of organized intimidation."

Translation: the Bush Putsch is underway! Strutting pimple-necked ruffians singing the Horst Wessel song in eight different keys have stopped a lawful recount! But did this "organized intimidation" affect the county's decision to end the count "prematurely?" No. The board members said so themselves. Doesn't matter. Gore-bots everywhere are insisting that there's a whiff of "fascism" in the air, because Republicans are - brace yourselves - conducting organized protests.

Republican protests usually consist of canceling the paper. Republican protests usually take the form of sitting on hold for 47 minutes on a talk radio show so he can agree with the host for the benefit of the audience, which agrees with both of them. Republicans associate protests with the smelly shouters who are eternally infuriated about fur coats, hamburgers, disposable diapers, and corn that's been engineered to reject destructive weevils.

No more. After ceding the streets to the chanters and marchers for the better part of the 20th century, Republicans are waking up to the joys of direct action. But they still need to learn a few tricks. They need, for example, to learn the standard chant formats. "Hey Hey, Ho Ho / Chad-Pal Al has Got to Go!" Take it from there, boys. Note to neophyte protesters: avoid piling your entire argument into the chant. "Hey Hey, Ho Ho / Challenges to the Rule of Law and its Commensurate Assurances that Statutory Absolutes are Not Subject to the Arbitrary Whims of Partisan Machinations Have Got to Go!" makes the point, but it's not catchy.

"No Justice, No Peas!" is another favorite. We don't know exactly what it means, but in the professional protesters' parlance, "justice" usually means a large cash settlement.

The GOP should also take a page from the WTO protesters: When all else fails, trash a McDonald's. In fact, make sure you trash a McDonald's. "America's Favorite Fries," it says on their packages. Really? Says who? Did everyone vote? Did ketchup make some chads adhere to the ballot? Were people on potato-free diets allowed to weigh in?

Don't worry: Gore will solve this one, too. It's on his things-to-do list. Right after campaign-finance reform and revoking the gas tax.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2000, James Lileks