Jewish World Review Dec. 20, 2000 / 23 Kislev, 5761
So it was with the Presidential election that seemed like it would not end, but finally did, more than five weeks after the nation voted on November 7th. Leave it to a liberal Democrat to sue to get elected to the Presidency. Thankfully, this time the plaintiff didn't walk away with the equivalent of lottery winnings but instead the rule of law triumphed, and Al Gore was forced to do what he should have done weeks ago - concede the election.
Now the question is - where to from here? So far, there are three major myths circulating in the guise of conventional wisdom that are supposed to answer that question:
MYTH #1 - "The result of all this election tumult will be a divided country, a terribly damaged Presidency for George W. Bush, and a big gain in Congress for the Democrats in two years."
REALTY: That's the Democrats' dream scenario, which they will work hard to implement, but it's unlikely. Remember the impeachment of President Clinton? The conventional wisdom, spouted by talking-heads and pollsters throughout that ordeal, was that Americans were disgusted with the Republican House of Representatives for impeaching the President, and that House Republicans "would pay" next election day.
Yet the Republican majority in the House, which virtually retained it's pre-election make-up, was the one result we were sure of on election night. Yes one House impeachment manager from a Democratic district did lose his seat. But there was no "impeachment backlash." (In fact it was the Republican-controlled Senate, which refused to convict President Clinton on impeachment charges, which all but lost its large majority to Democrats.)
Why no backlash? I happen to think a lot more people agreed with the merits of impeachment than our elites would like to admit, and so too it seems people were disgusted by Al Gore's behavior, not George Bush's, in the post-election debacle in Florida. But whatever the case, Americans are simply a people of good will. A people who want to think well of our national leaders. And as George Bush assumes the mantle of the Presidency in this difficult circumstance, most Americans will move on with him, giving him their trust and the benefit of any doubts -- though this will surely infuriate partisan Democrats.
MYTH #2 - "Just wait until those 'uncounted' ballots in Florida are counted by hand by private organizations through the Freedom of Information Act. They will show Al Gore to have won Florida and the Presidency, and that will deligitimize President Bush."
REALITY: That was just desperate spin from the Gore campaign. As we all know by now, those "uncounted" ballots were counted - twice. They just didn't come up with the numbers that Al Gore liked so he wanted them counted again in a subjective manner and in a way they were never meant to be counted in the first place. It's true that race-baiter extraordinaire Jesse Jackson, for one, has promised to get his hands on those 13,000 or so ballots and tally them -- in the process probably coming up with an additional 30,000 some votes for Gore. But about 50 other organizations will also count the ballots, meaning there will be 50 different results in the vote totals, many radically different. This will only reinforce the point that such a process is subjective, partisan, frought with error, and as the United States Supreme Court thankfully ruled 7-2, unconstitutional.
Myth #3 - "Al Gore has a chance to run for President again."
REALITY: Stick a fork in Gore. Even before Vice-President Gore started looking pathological in his post-election bid for the White House, top Democrats were furious with him for running a lousy campaign. Al Gore was bequeathed an awesome economy, peace in the world, and an opponent many considered a bumbler. Many thought Al Gore should have won this election by 10 points - instead, he lost even his home state in the process of losing the election. Plus, there are lots of folks waiting in the wings for their chance in four years, and one of them is named Hillary Rodham Clinton.
There's one more reality: in a way, Republicans can be very thankful for
this whole ugly process. For surely George W. Bush walks away from it having
learned at least one very crucial thing: The importance of appointing judges
to the Federal Bench who are committed to upholding America's
12/13/00: TV keeps giving us the bad dad