The amazing thing isn't how close it was. The amazing thing is that Al Gore didn't win in a landslide. He's an incumbent with a booming economy during peacetime. On the basis of all historical precedent, Al Gore should have won without breaking a sweat. It should have been a cakewalk.
Instead, he's busily whining about a close election he lost, refusing to concede, and insisting on a recount. The sore loser seems to think he can steal a national election by turning it into an impeachment-level media shout-fest.
It's over. Gore lost, and Bush won. Once we get the final tally of the absentee ballots, Bush will only have increased his margin both in Florida and across the nation. And that's despite the media depressing the vote for Bush by putting Florida in Gore's camp early in the night.
Just what the hell are they "counting" anyway? Ballots are cast and counted mainly by computers these days. Apart from exposing random Democrat fraud and unfurling the absentee ballots -- which always favor Republicans (for among other reasons, you have to be able to read to cast an absentee ballot) -- the vote count in Florida isn't going to change.
I love these jackasses claiming they meant to vote for Gore but -- whoops! -- slipped and pulled the lever for Buchanan instead! Oh really. Let's pretend that's true. Sorry, but that's one of the disabilities of being a political party that preys on the stupid. Sometimes your "base" forgets it's Election Day, too. Live by demagoguing to the feeble-minded, die by demagoguing to the feeble-minded.
Gore's petulant refusal to concede is a nice little reminder of the administration that made this election a historic first. (Why, oh, why, can't Janet Reno save him this time?) These people will not go quietly into the night.
But forget the whining sore loser who is dragging the country through his conniving machinations to steal a presidential election. This election was a historic first because the incumbent in a good economy during peacetime didn't win in a landslide. (In fact he lost.)
Gore was supposed to win. Since the Dow Jones industrial average was invented in 1897 by Al Gore -- whoops! I mean Charles H. Dow -- it has predicted the outcome of every presidential election but three. If the Dow goes up from July 31 to the end of October, the incumbent president or vice president wins. If it goes down, the incumbent loses.
This year, the Dow went up more than 300 points between July 31 and Oct. 31. Gore should have won handily. Not only Barbra Streisand, but economists and political scientists are stunned by Gore's poor showing.
This isn't like hemlines or baseball. There is an organic connection between the Dow and how people think the country is going -- and consequently what they think of the incumbent. Maybe not all people, but certainly enough to sway 22 out of the last 25 presidential elections. There has never been a poll invented with a track record like that.
The only three exceptions to the Dow's predictive power all involved powerful and unique variables -- depression, war, and The Washington Post endorsing a Republican.
The only incumbent ever to defy a dip in the Dow and win was Dwight D. Eisenhower, a wildly popular president, so popular that The Washington Post endorsed him, marking the last time the Post did endorse a Republican.
Until last Tuesday, only two incumbents had ever lost after an uptick in the Dow during the crucial three months before an election: Herbert Hoover, in 1932, and Hubert H. Humphrey, in 1968. Hoover had the Great Depression, and Humphrey had the Vietnam War -- to say nothing of a bitter and divided Democratic Party, and a serious third-party challenge in George C. Wallace. (Wallace received a stunning 13.53 percent of the vote, more than Nader's measly 3 percent.)
Still, the Dow almost pushed Humphrey over the top: He lost to Richard Nixon by a razor-thin 43.42 percent to 42.72 percent.
Gore is creepy, but not enough to throw off a powerful predictive engine like the Dow Jones. So what is the noose around Gore's neck equivalent to the Great Depression or the Vietnam War? We have a pretty good idea what Gore thought it was. As Jay Leno said, this is how you scare Al Gore on Halloween: "Put on a Clinton mask and start telling voters what good friends you are." Despite the Dow, the only hope Gore ever had in this election was somehow to associate George Bush with Monica Lewinsky.
Evidently, the political scientists are going to have to start adding a "pervert president" factor to their econometric models. Of course, since Gore demanded his sour grapes recount by refusing to concede, it may be Clinton who's embarrassed to be seen with Gore.