Thus far, George W. Bush has won: the election, the recount, the manual recount conducted in Democratic counties within the statutory seven-day deadline, the manual recount in Democratic counties conducted unlawfully beyond the statutory deadline, and the absentee ballots even with the Democrats laboring feverishly to exclude ballots from men risking their lives to defend the country.
Even Gore's adjunct staff in the mainstream media know Bush has won. They express their confidence in a Bush presidency by incessantly harping about the questionable legitimacy of the next president, "whoever that may be."
Clearly, this is no time for Republicans to think they smell victory.
To be sure, Gore will not stop suing until about the time George Bush is inaugurated ... to his second term. But it's hard to come up with a scenario under which Gore actually does steal the election that so many Republicans are champing at the bit to concede to him.
As luck would have it, the Constitution is loaded up with little devices to stave off corruption and tyranny. (And Bill Clinton and Al Gore have given the old parchment a workout like never before!) The 12th Amendment provides a pretty good bulwark to Gore's current shenanigans.
The problem with Gore's pitiful litigation strategy is that the 12th Amendment grants authority to the state legislatures to appoint presidential electors -- not, you will note, any kangaroo court Gore can get to sober up long enough to declare him president.
If Gore is still pursuing one of his ham-handed attempts to find some way of recounting the votes in Florida so that he finally wins, the Florida Legislature has authority under the Constitution to step in and appoint electors themselves.
In light of the fact that George Bush has already won five vote counts in Florida and that Al Gore is the only person in the universe who thinks this makes him the winner, it's a fair guess that the Florida Legislature will be appointing the Bush electors.
Unless the Florida legislators are cowed out of their constitutional duty by the threat of yet more Larry Flynt investigations, Gore won't be able to block Florida's electors by bringing lawsuits and whining on TV. (They might recall that Larry Flynt's vaunted investigation couldn't even turn up the tidbit about Newt Gingrich having a torrid affair with a staffer during impeachment.)
Try as they might, it's really hard to imagine a set of circumstances that would permit Republicans to practice being good losers this time.