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Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2000 / 2 Kislev, 5761

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly
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Consumer Reports

BURN THAT VILLAGE! -- FOR THE FIRST TIME in the Republic's history, the party in power in the White House, having lost a presidential election, seeks to overturn that election in the courts. The government of the party in power is refusing to cooperate in the orderly transfer of power to the winner of the national election.

A majority of the public now says, in surveys, that it wishes this stopped; some 60 percent to 70 percent--including, in one poll, a third of Al Gore's own supporters--say Gore should concede. Instead, Gore promises to wage a fight in the courts that can only cause immense harm to democracy, to the presidency and to the country. He must do this, he says, for the good of democracy, the presidency and the country. He must burn the village to save it. In virtual lockstep, the leaders and elders of the party in power stand behind their defeated candidate's unprecedented defiance of democracy's national edict.

There is one thing you can say about the Clinton-Gore crowd: With them, there is always some fresh hell and there never is a bottom. No one could have imagined that they could have topped their most spectacular first--first elected president to be impeached--or that they could have created a crisis that would wreak more destruction than that episode. But with these men of fathomless selfishness, there is always more damage to be done. There is always another institution, another principle, another person that must be destroyed--for the greater good of their greater power.

Mr. Gore, the Selfless One, appeared before "Monday Night Football," before the nation to wag his finger and deliver what ranks with Nixon's Checkers apology as the most revolting speech in political history and certainly among the most dishonest.

"This is America," preached Gore. "When votes are cast, we count them." And: "That is all we have asked since Election Day, a complete count of all the votes cast in Florida." And: "If the people do not in the end choose me, so be it." And: "This would be over long since, except for those efforts [of Republicans] to block the process at every turn."

Astonishing. Actually, this would have been over long ago except that Al Gore refused to accept the results of a fair and full recount that confirmed his loss, and demanded hand recounts only in selected Democratic counties; successfully sued to have the seven-day deadline for recounting extended in a rewriting of Florida election law by a Democrat-dominated state Supreme Court; successfully lobbied for a change in Broward County's ballot-judging standards to his benefit; and still lost--a third time--to Bush.

Of the manual recount, Gore had promised: "I will abide by the result. I will take no legal action to contest the result." Of course he was lying and he did not abide by the result; of course he took the legal action no presidential loser has ever dared employ.

It's worth taking a look at the counting in Broward County, because this is the reality of Gore's democracy in action. Under pressure from Gore, Broward County's canvassing board changed its standards to allow the consideration of ballots where no clear hole is punched next to a presidential candidate's name. There are three members of the Broward board: Robert W. Lee, a Democrat and its chairman; Suzanne N. Gunzburger, another Democrat; and Robert Rosenberg, a Republican. When these three had finished counting the dubious ballots, Gore had netted 567 votes.

The New York Times described how it worked. "Time and again," reported the Times, the Democrat Gunzburger "saw a Gore vote" where the Republican Rosenberg "saw none. And time, after time, Judge Lee, a Democrat, cast the deciding vote--often in Mr. Gore's favor." So there it is--two Democratic officials steadfastly outvoting one Republican to allot questionable ballots overwhelmingly to the Democratic candidate. This is the process Gore depicts as a disinterested effort to count every vote, and may the best man win. Does it strike you that way?

The worst thing Gore said Monday night was this: "If we ignore the votes of thousands in Florida in this election, how can you or any American have confidence that your vote will not be ignored in a future election?" Yes, if the courts do not give Gore what he wants, then not only is this election suspect, so are all future elections.

Democrats accuse Republicans of seeking to delegitimize a Gore presidency. Gore seeks more; if he doesn't get his way he threatens to delegitimize democracy itself. Got to burn that village down.

Michael Kelly is the editor of National Journal. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


11/15/00: The Great Defender
11/02/00: The Democrats' delusion
10/26/00: Phony Truce
10/19/00: The Talking Cure
10/12/00: Doves' Day of Reckoning
10/05/00: Conan the veep
09/28/00: Dumb vs. Dishonest
09/21/00: Flapping furiously
09/14/00: Down AlGore's Memory Hole
08/24/00: AlGore's Flex-O-Joe
08/17/00: The Joyful Clinton Nation
08/09/00: A Calculated Risk
08/03/00: New Hope for Nice Guys
07/27/00: But What About Dad?
07/20/00: U.S. Handiwork In Sierra Leone
07/13/00: President With a Porpoise
07/06/00: The Importance of Being Earnest
06/29/00: A Press Obsession With the Death Penalty
06/21/00: Gore and the Goodies
06/15/00: Network Snooze
06/01/00: Sunshine on My Shoulders
05/24/00: Last Chance for a Hardened Prevaricator
05/17/00: Cuomo's Thought Police
05/10/00: Hammering DeLay
05/04/00: Some Closing Thoughts
04/28/00: Endangering Elian
04/19/00: Imitation Activism
04/12/00: Why they hate Bubba
04/05/00: Census and nonesense
03/29/00: The Stiffs and Their Statuettes
03/15/00: Anarchy in Kosovo
03/08/00: Reform joke
03/01/00:The Pinhead Factor
03/01/00: The Christian Right: Past Its Prime . . .
02/24/00: McCain's Majority
02/16/00: Sharpton's Supplicants
02/09/00: The GOP Pilgrims' Sad Tale
02/02/00: Fodder For the GOP
01/26/00: Million-Dollar Mediocrity
01/19/00: Campaign Reform: Let's Pretend
01/12/00: Never Again? Oh, Never Mind
01/05/00: Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In
12/22/99: Gore's TV Gambit
12/15/99: Campaigns Do Clarify
12/08/99: Kosovo's Killers
12/01/99: Not Ready for Prime Time?
11/24/99: The Company He Keeps
11/17/99: Republican Illusion
11/10/99: The Know-Nothing Media
11/03/99: Necessary Partisanship
10/27/99: Buchanan's Gift to George W. Bush
10/21/99: Who are the real friends of the poor?
10/14/99: Gore's 'courage'!?
10/08/99: Republican Stunts
09/23/99: Buchanan's folly
09/16/99: Beatty and Buchanan: That's Entertainment!
09/09/99: Puerto Rico Surprise (Cont'd)
09/02/99: Puerto Rico Surprise
08/12/99:The Age of No Class
08/05/99: Assessing Welfare Reform
07/29/99: On the Wrong Side
07/21/99: Mass Sentimentality
07/15/99: Blame Hillary
07/08/99: Guide to the Arts: For Your Summer Reading . . .
06/30/99: A Perfectly Clintonian Doctrine
06/25/99:Smorgasbord by the Sea
06/16/99: A National Calamity
06/09/99: Stumbling Forward
06/02/99: Commencement '90s-Style
05/26/99: Will we ever learn? Clintochio is a lying ...
05/19/99: Comforting Milosevic
05/13/99: Short-Order Strategists
05/06/99: Four Revolting Spectacles

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