I truly hope I'm wrong about this, but I have come to conclude that Gore's perpetual post-election tantrum is just a prelude to the next four years. Democrats, I'm afraid, are just getting warmed up for their Four Years War.
Yes, they are trying to change the outcome of the election, even though they know it's a long shot. But their tactics in furtherance of that end also square nicely with their aim to delegitimize Bush's presidency in the event their contest fails. So, from this perspective, what do they have to lose?
In seeking to win they have ignored mandatory deadlines, filed false affidavits, misrepresented case law both to the Florida Supreme Court and to the state circuit court, ignored the clear mandates of the federal Constitution, overtly changed rules in the middle of the stream, euphemistically characterized improperly cast votes (non-votes) as "undervotes," contacted electors to intimidate them into switching their pledged Bush votes to Gore, and defamed Secretary of State Katherine Harris for performing her legal duties.
Now, in anticipation of their inevitable defeat, look at some of the arguments they are making and actions they are planning:
They "know" that Gore received more votes than Bush in Florida. How do they know? Some brilliant Ivy League professor told them so, using a statistical model that was resoundingly discredited by Bush attorney Phil Beck. But James Carville and other Democrats are promising to conduct manual recounts even after Bush's inauguration under ballots obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Their goal? To undermine Bush's moral authority as president.
Gore, they say, won the national popular vote, and is "leading" the electoral vote. Under our system, the winner of the popular vote is legally irrelevant. Clinton never received a majority of the popular vote. And, Gore is not leading anything -- that implies that the election is still underway. It's over, the properly cast votes have been counted, and Gore lost.
They contend Bush has no mandate because the election was so close. Yet, nothing in our Constitution says that you have to win by a wide margin in order to acquire full executive authority.
Congressional Democrats are elated over Maria Cantwell's victory over Senator Slade Gorton in the state of Washington, which will make the Senate evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. The Washington Post reports that this development "has touched off a full-bore Democratic push for 'power sharing' in the next Congress." In an unprecedented and audacious power play, Democratic senators are demanding a coalition government -- parity in committee assignments, staffing and funding. They are threatening to rule by filibuster if they don't get their way. This, notwithstanding the fact that the Republicans will have an effective majority through the tie vote of Vice President Dick Cheney as the Senate's presiding officer.
The New York Times reports that "an array of liberal groups have begun organizing for what could be a succession of quick, brutal battles on nominations, tax cuts, the budget and other issues." These groups are said to be "energized and ready to fight." A far cry from the usual liberal cries for bipartisanship, no?
The media is already beating the drums for Bush to make concessions by appointing Democrats to cabinet posts and diluting his agenda -- as if Bush has done something wrong for which he must seek atonement.
I remind you that Clinton, despite being elected by only 43 percent of the popular vote, did not scale back his programs one smidgen. He attempted to take over a seventh of the economy through nationalized Hillary-Care, and did pass the largest tax increase in American history -- with Al Gore casting the tie vote. I further remind you that we heard not a peep of protest from Clinton's media cohorts.
Al Gore's enormously selfish act of putting the nation through the trauma of his election challenges has severely strained our economy and stock market. This makes the implementation of Bush's pro-growth tax-cut agenda that much more imperative.
Bush, as the lawfully elected president, will likely assume the presidency in a war not of his making. While he should still reach out to Democrats in an effort to work with them, he should be prepared to govern over their planned obstruction and must not retreat from his programs.