But when you arrive just in time for a flight, you never muse about the various ways you could have been at the airport even earlier. It doesn't matter. You made your flight. Similarly, Bush won Florida. It doesn't matter if he can concoct some post-election stratagem for being credited with another 1,000 votes here or there.
Still, granting Gore his 9,000 indecipherable votes -- lock, stock and dimple -- Bush has his own recriminations about the Florida election.
First and most strikingly: The networks called Florida for Gore before the polls had closed. No one really talks about this since Bush caught his plane, but an early call is roundly acknowledged as a great way to suppress the vote for the purported loser.
Of the 379,000 votes that were cast in the (very Republican) western panhandle region of Florida affected by the incorrect call, 65 percent went for Bush. Comparing voting patterns throughout the state in the last four presidential elections, economist John Lott determined that the Republican voting rate in the panhandle this year was suppressed by about 4 percent compared to the Democrat voting rate.
That alone adds up to another 10,000 votes for George Bush.
Another doughnut that slowed down Bush was the high rate of felons voting illegally in the Sunshine State this year. In a review of half a million ballots cast in 12 counties, The Miami Herald turned up 445 Florida felons who voted illegally, including 62 robbers, 56 drug dealers, 45 killers, 16 rapists, seven kidnappers, and at least two voters whose mugs grace the state's online registry of sexual offenders.
Seventy-five percent of the voter/felons unearthed were registered Democrats(!). If that sample is representative -- and 8 percent of all Florida voters is a lot more representative than the average Gallup poll -- about 5,000 felons voted illegally in Florida's election this year. Had those votes been excluded in a post-election contest -- which is, incidentally, the purpose of a post-election contest -- Bush would have netted another 2,500-vote advantage.
Exclude all the crooks from the Florida election, and Bush won by 13,430 votes -- more than all the dimpled chads in the Florida Supreme Court's fantasies.