Thomas Sowell

What is the point of all the frenzied activity in the courts and in the media? First and foremost is the hope that somehow some way will be found to have Al Gore declared president.

The stakes are huge, not just for Gore himself but for the whole liberal-left agenda, so dear to the hearts of all sorts of movements, interest groups and ideologues. As a distinguished scholar once said: "The first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie."

The Supreme Court alone is enough of a prize to cause a political holy war -- or unholy war, given the orchestrated character assassinations launched to try to stop some nominees from being confirmed. Now many of the same shrill voices raised in these past jihads are raised once again in a desperate attempt to prevent the power to appoint Supreme Court justices from slipping from liberal hands.

If those who seek to overturn the election results through hysteria and political spin cannot succeed in that effort, then they can at least undermine the new administration that will take office next January by smearing it in advance as illegitimate. To the extent that the public buys this charge, the new president will be unable to mobilize the kind of public opinion that any president needs to get his policies and programs approved by Congress.

There was a time when people understood that the interest of the country is ultimately far more important than all these individual political interests. Even a man who was as much of a political operator as Richard Nixon understood that in 1960, when he refused to ask for a recount of a very close presidential election in which there were widespread reports of fraud against him. Are we no longer capable of coming up to this level?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate