Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2000 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761
But I think the real stomach-turner is the piety. The vice president appeared before the cameras Monday to lecture us about what is at stake here: "And what is at stake here is more important than who wins the presidency. What is at stake here is the integrity of our democracy, making sure that the will of the people is expressed and accurately received. . . . Because there's something very special about our process that depends totally on the American people having a chance to express their will without any intervening interference. That's really what's at stake here. And so that's what I'm focused on. Not the contest, but our democracy."
Not since Bill Clinton stood up to the House impeachment managers--in order, as the president has several times noted, not to save his own skin but to save the Constitution--has a grateful nation seen such purity of purpose, such altruism, such self-sacrifice.
Let us recount, as it were, just what it is that Al, The Great Defender, has done in his fight (not to win but) to preserve the integrity of democracy. First, he lost the democratic vote in Florida and this, on top of his other losses, meant he lost the presidential election. He conceded this, but then, as it became clear that the closeness of the Florida vote meant a mandated recount, withdrew his concession. Then he told George W. Bush not to get snippy about it. Then, with the recount likely to confirm Bush the victor, he sent brigades of lawyers and political operators to Florida to look for loopholes. Then his man Daley warned that the Gore campaign would sue rather than accept the verdict of the recount.
Then, The Watchman of Our Integrity seized upon the results in Palm Beach County, where it appeared that a ballot confusing to people who did not understand directional arrows had led to perhaps as many as a few thousand votes miscast for Pat Buchanan and as many as 19,000 ballots voided for double-voting. And so was orchestrated a great cry that the great people of this great county had been robbed. For their sake--for democracy's sake--a new vote was demanded.
Never mind that there were no allegations of fraud in Palm Beach County; or that the ballot form had been designed by a Democratic elections official; or that a similar thing had occurred in 1996, when 14,000 votes were voided in this apparently endlessly confused county; or that this sort of thing in fact happens in every election, all over the country--this year, 120,523 improperly punched votes were voided in Cook County, Ill. The Guardian of Our Democracy did his duty.
Then it appeared that The Selfless One would lose the automatic recount. Then he realized that democracy would be even better protected if the 20,000 or so misdirected voters of Palm Beach County never did get their intended votes counted, because there was a better, easier way to get himself elected. In every election, counting machines miss ballots for mechanical reasons--holes not punched quite through, usually. Given the tightness of the race, The Keeper of the Founders' Faith could wiggle his way into the White House by cherry-picking a few thousand uncounted Democratic votes. This process would not rescue the miscast or voided Palm Beach votes, since a hand recount would simply confirm the votes for Buchanan and still reject the double-punched ballots.
So it was directed that Democratic officials in four heavily populated, heavily Democratic counties demand hand recounts, in search of machine errors. The nice thing about this, integrity-wise, is that a hand recount in any county is mathematically certain to produce more votes for the majority party. A hand recount enlarges the vote and enlarges it proportionately, so forcing hand recounts only in Democratic counties guarantees only Democratic gains.
The even nicer thing was the outmaneuvered Bush had missed deadlines to demand hand recounts in most Republican counties. The yet nicer thing was that this stunt would drive the Bush people into court, where they would likely lose, since everything The Man Who Put His Country First had done had been perfectly legal.
Not to mention
11/02/00: The Democrats' delusion