And it was nice that the vice president did not actually morph into his "Saturday Night Live" caricature by prattling on about how he won the popular vote. Of course, he didn't need to be a gauche blowhard since various Democratic mouthpieces were gauche blowhards for him.
In its lead editorial the day of Gore's better-five-weeks-late-than-never speech, The New York Times twice claimed Al Gore was the popular vote champion -- and also won a rhumba contest at the Hotel Montenegro once.
Most delusionally, the Newspaper of Record claimed Gore was the winner "probably in Florida as well." But alas, "ballots that could have brought a different outcome went uncounted in Florida."
Normally, I'd write this off as the partisan rant of a bizarre sectarian newspaper edited by wrathful demagogues -- which it is -- but some honest Democrats seem to believe the same thing. As one such rara avis helpfully explained the theory to me: "Democrats are stupider."
I ought to stop when I'm ahead, but for those Democrats who genuinely believe that Al Gore secretly beat George Bush in Florida -- there are competing arguments.
First, the well-belabored one: All the ballots were counted in Florida. And counted a second time. And then counted a third time in certain select Democrat bastions. The only ballots that weren't "counted" had already been counted three times without registering a vote. Al Gore was denied was yet a fourth try at bat for particular ballots that were, at best, cast improperly.
But whether or not you view the endless Florida recounts as a subterfuge for fraud, error and outright theft, that debate concerns only the Democrats' close calls -- not the Republicans' close calls. Republicans have their own separate and independent bones to pick with the Florida election unrelated to dimpled chads or stupid voters.
No one jawbones about them because Bush won. Losing a close election is like narrowly missing an airplane. You pace the airport thinking of all the things you could have done differently and made your flight. If only I hadn't hit the snooze button that last time, if I hadn't stopped for a doughnut, if the cabbie had taken a different route, if only I had won Tennessee ...
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