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Jewish World Review Nov. 20, 2000/ 22 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports


The devil -- or is it really
Nurse Ratchet? -- in Mr. Gore

http://www.jewishworldreview.com --
FORGET THE EMPEROR. The devil is buck naked, and no innocents remain to call his b(l)uff.

So it is in the wake of Al Gore's latest incarnation as The Statesman-Reconciler and the American public as the steadfastly dupe-able parade-gazers. With nothing to lose, Gore is suddenly the high-road man, the reasonable chap, the conciliatory captain so needed at America's helm, while his opponent is made to seem the stubborn antagonist.

One is hard-pressed to find fault with Gore's public-relations strategy -- it's working -- but his naked ambition remains stunning. A cunning champion of double-speak, he's the political twin of Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, speaking through smiles in dulcet tones while tidily eviscerating his opponent.

The man may be brilliant, after all, but he's not the benevolent leader he pretends to be, nor is he honest. If you had hooked Al "Ratchet" Gore to a lie-detector test during Wednesday's white-flag spiel, he would have failed. Unless, like his boss, he has learned to believe his own syntactical inventions.

For it is insincere (dishonest?) to proffer solutions one knows in advance won't be accepted. Gore is being insincere, for instance, when he says he's willing to endorse a manual count of all ballots in Florida's 67 counties, if that's what George Bush wants.

His invitation is the equivalent of a dinner invitation extended to people certain to decline. Of course Bush isn't going to accept Gore's proposal, which is only an invitation to lose. Furthermore, the manual counting of ballots is fraught with potential problems the Gore camp seems unwilling to acknowledge.

The opportunity for intentional fraud -- or human error by the least-partisan guesser -- can't be exaggerated. It isn't the voter who counts, after all; it's who counts the vote, as George W. Bush knows and the always-witty Joseph Stalin once said.

Next, Gore says, let's meet and raise the level of discourse. A lovely gesture from a decent man, except Gore's minions are the dirtiest, scorched-earth fighters on the field. One's natural response is: You go first. Which, of course, Gore has done in a strategic coup that implicitly underscores Bush's unwillingness to cooperate. Rhetorically, it's the old trap: "So when did you stop beating your wife?"

As evidence of dirty dealing, one need look no further than the Democrats' ad hominem attacks on Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Dream-Team lawyer Alan Dershowitz called her a "crook." (I'll try not to get distracted by the Gore campaign's apparent need to construct a dream team that can only foster recollection of another dubious victory.) Other Gore spokes-czars referred to Harris as a "Soviet commissar" and a "political hack."

For what?

The woman is an elected official trying to enforce state rules according to the presumed discretion accorded her by the people's vote -- the same people Gore loves to trust. So she's a Republican; so she was a delegate to the Republican convention; so she was a Bush campaigner. So what?

We don't assume that all those Democrats counting ballots down there in Palm Beach County can't be relied upon simply because they're Democrats.

Or do we?

Americans of a certain age grew up knowing that it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Recent events make the first part seem hopelessly na´ve -- clearly it matters who wins a presidential race -- but the second part seems more true than ever. Notwithstanding his latest performance, the aptly named vice president plays dirtiest even when he's being nicest.


JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Up

I11/16/00:n the end, the winner may be loser
11/13/00: Eliminate popular vote -- at least in Palm Beach County
11/07/00: Lesser of 2 evils? It's more like the lesser of 2 lies
11/02/00: Latest Jones' saga exposes a big irony
10/31/00: Hate-crime legislation and anti-Bush ad are flawed
10/26/00: Taking it to the streets
10/23/00: Headlines blur fiasco of family
10/13/00: Forget polls: Bush passes turtle test
10/06/00: Feminism: A cup that's half full?
10/04/00: Election-year reality check: Abortion is here to stay
09/29/00: For Gore and Hollywood, the mirror has two faces
09/26/00: Oprahfication of presidential political: It's all about feelings
09/19/00: It's not subliminal: Hypocrisy of moral outrage is obvious
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08/31/00: Dudettes that don't
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08/21/00: Dems manufacture emotions at convention
08/17/00: Hollywood divine? AlGore is miscast
08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
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07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
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06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
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03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
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03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
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03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
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12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
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11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
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10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
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09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
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07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
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06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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