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Jewish World Review Nov.14, 2000 /16 Mar-Cheshvan 5761

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas
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A house divided --
IF ABRAHAM LINCOLN could quote Scripture that "a house divided cannot stand'' when he spoke of the Civil War, what would he make of our political, ideological, racial, ethnic, class, intellectual and moral divisions?

Democrats have done their job well, pitting us against each other and creating the myth of entitlement and victimhood, which the slothful, greedy, envious and self-centered are eager to accept because it gives them an excuse for their lack of initiative, commitment, character development and honor.

The election night map tells a story. Much of the heartland of America -- that portion the Hollywood elites call "fly-over country'' -- went for George W. Bush. Many of the East and West coast states, the home of much of academia, the media elites and other "pointy-headed liberals,'' as George Wallace used to call them -- went for Al Gore. No better picture could be drawn of where our divisions lie.

Already the post-election drums are beating from the usual suspects. Some want to declare the election illegitimate because some voters couldn't comprehend the ballots in Palm Beach County, Fla. Yet those very ballots were approved in advance by Republicans and Democrats and mailed to every voter prior to the election. If stupidity were a valid reason for re-staging an election, we'd be voting every day.

Allegations involving voter fraud by Democrat partisans never seem to get the same attention as allegations affecting Republicans. Republicans allege a Democratic National Committee official flew from New York to Milwaukee to hand out cigarettes to the homeless prior to the election in hopes of getting them to vote for Gore. In St. Louis, a Democratic judge kept polls open after they were supposed to close before an appeals judge intervened and overruled the decision. How many "extra'' votes were cast in this predominately Democrat area? Black clergy repeatedly violated their churches' tax-exempt status by endorsing Gore and inviting candidates to speak from their pulpits.

Some Gore supporters are asking whether Gov. Bush could "govern effectively'' after such a tight finish. Funny how they never ask whether Gore could govern effectively, since the same divisions would exist if he becomes president. Some even want to continue the fight beyond Florida.

Cries of vote fraud are coming from people who are experts on the subject. The NAACP has sent a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno questioning the Florida vote. Reno is the last person on the planet who can be trusted to seriously and fairly investigate anything associated with the Clinton-Gore administration. Reno says Florida law should determine the outcome but the federal government has ways around that if the political end justifies any means. Such behavior is not unknown in the current administration.

Vice President Gore can take the advice of some of his advisers who want to continue the fight, or he can follow the example of Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) and graciously concede, saving himself for another day. By conceding, Gore would cloak himself in honor, the way Ashcroft has, and even Richard Nixon did in 1960 by not contesting clear voter fraud in Cook County, IL that contributed to John Kennedy's election.

By delivering the concession speech he was set to give before the Florida controversy erupted, Gore would position himself to run again in 2004 when he might be able to attract a large sympathy vote. Gore would have the further pleasure of derailing the presidential aspirations of Hillary Clinton.

A Bush White House will be no walk in the park. Congressional Democrats will do all they can to make Bush's life miserable and keep him from accomplishing anything so they can declare his a "failed presidency.''

They'll also try to advance their own agenda by claiming any resistance from Bush and the slim Republican congressional majority harms the country. They are good at this game. Bush and the Republicans had better come up with a strategy for dealing with it. So far, they've failed to do so.

The temptation for Bush, should he be declared the victor, will be to demonstrate his "bi-partisanship'' by extending his hand to Democrats. He should resist that temptation. His father tried extending his hand and the Democrats cut it off. The Gore campaign will try to use Gov. Bush's honor against him, claiming he's the one dividing the country.

How foreign Lincoln's words appear in today's slash-and-burn politics. Today, it's with malice for all who don't agree, with charity for none and let us continue to inflict wounds on the nation so that our political goals and lust for power might be achieved in these divided states of America.

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