Jewish World ReviewDec. 4, 2000 / 7 Kislev, 5761
Six reasons Gore should quit
UNDER OUR SYSTEM of government, it's really hard to settle arguments if people
won't acknowledge facts. For example, Al Gore's endlessly repeated statement
that 10,000 ballots in Miami-Dade were never counted is absolutely false. Every
ballot was counted at least twice, and each of these ballots was found to have
no vote for president.
Gore wants Democrats to examine each of these ballots
and try to interpret an intent to vote for him, even if the voter did not actually
vote for him. There are at least six reasons this foolishness should stop now
and Al Gore should concede the election.
The machine counts turned out to be highly accurate. Democrats started
believing their own spin about antiquated, unreliable machines. So they
cheered the Florida Supreme Court decision and assumed that a hand count
would net thousands of new votes for Gore. It didn't. That's why Gore loyalists
moved on to Plan B, looking for new votes among ballots without a presidential
selection and claiming that "dimpled chads" are really Gore votes
This is America, as the vice president likes to say, and that means
people do the voting and election officials do the counting. This should
be obvious, but somehow the chaos surrounding this close election has convinced
some people that election officials should be promoted from their usual
jobs as counters to new positions as interpreters of our desires. (Memo
to the various canvassing officials: If you have to stare at the ballot
from various angles with a magnifying glass, it's not a vote.) Now, even
if you really, really want Al Gore to be president, ask yourself whether
in the next election you want your state to count your vote or an election
official's interpretation of what you intended to do in the voting booth.
Which brings up another issue: If voter intent as opposed to an actual
vote is to be included in the tabulation, then why shouldn't we now
accept votes from people who intended for months to go to the polls but
were late picking up the kids from soccer practice on Nov. 7 and just couldn't
find the time?
This was the year of the undecided voter. We can say conclusively
that on Election Day, more than 50 million people in the United States did
not particularly care for Al Gore. With similar precision, we can say that
more than 50 million people didn't think much of George W. Bush. So why
is it so hard to believe that roughly 1.5% of Miami-Dade voters didn't like
either of these guys and did not select a presidential candidate? Could
someone have put the stylus up to a chad and pulled back after deciding
that Bush was inexperienced or Gore was untruthful? Of course. In fact,
I think it's highly likely after watching the campaign coverage. Every night
the networks fed us a steady diet of Wolf Blitzer and Frank Luntz talking
to roomfuls of people who couldn't make up their minds.
The ballots will be corrupted. Whether or not Democratic canvassing
officials intend to steal votes for Gore, recounts will over time degrade
the quality of the ballots. There's a reason police restrict access to a
crime scene: The handling of evidence changes the evidence. Does anyone
believe that passing thousands of ballots which are designed to be
read by machines, not people through several pairs of hands will
not send at least a few more chads tumbling to the floor? This raises another
question: If we embark on an exhaustive hand recount, how will we know that
that count is more accurate than the count of Nov. 7, or the one on Nov.
14, or the certified total on Nov. 26? And since Bush has won several rounds
of counting, how many does Gore have to win to become president? Are we
talking about a best-of-nine series?
The law is the law. Florida has rules, and under those rules, George
W. Bush won the election. Moreover, the vicious personal attack on Katherine
Harris has obscured the fact that the people of Florida, expressing their
will, chose her to be the secretary of state. Exercising their judgment
about her political views, her character, her make-up and whatever else
they wanted to consider, they picked her to do a job. And she did the job.
Al Gore's grandson. We need a good argument to persuade Al Gore
to quit, and it might be hard to find one. In fact, Gore is a perfect example
of why career politicians are bad for our country whether or not
he wishes to serve the country, he needs this job. Gore will have great
difficulty putting the country above himself, because he's now a man with
everything to gain from a legal battle and nothing to lose. Looking at the
upside, he could sue his way to the presidency and become the most powerful
man in the world. On the downside, his career is over and he's without options
if Bush's victory stands. After a lackluster campaign, a post-election legal
circus and with Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings for 2004, Gore knows
he's done, and it's a bitter pill for a guy who's still pretty young. Politics
is all he knows, and it's the only career he's ever had since a brief stint
as a local newspaper reporter 25 years ago. With Bush, it's obvious he could
accept resuming his life in Texas and spending lots of time at the ranch.
In fact he might even prefer it. But Gore really needs this gig, so we need
a killer argument to get him to change his mind.
Here goes: Mr. Gore, think of your grandson, who with luck and God's help could
live in this great country for another 80, 90, maybe even 100 years or more.
Do you want him to live in a land where Election Day is simply the first phase
of a trial, the starting point for litigation? Do you want him to live in a
country where un-elected lawyers and judges pick our presidents? Do you want
him to grow up in an America that stands as a symbol of dysfunctional democracy
for the entire world?
Mr. Vice President, your country needs your help. Please
Comment on JWR contributor James Freeman by clicking here. And check out his weekly TechnoPolitics report at Forbes.com
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