Elections in Clintonville

Posted: Nov 13, 2000 12:00 AM
I have a sick, sinking feeling. It's impeachment all over again. But this time it's about the results of a presidential election. Like President Clinton, Al Gore is willing to precipitate a constitutional crisis to hold on to power. The world's most successful method for transferring power is about to become another O.J. slow-speed car chase.

I don't care about taxes, I don't care about abortion, I don't care about affirmative action -- I just want to be rid of these people.

Al Gore's end game is to delay confirmation of the Florida vote for as long as possible -- just like his role-model of a boss would do in these circumstances. Under the 12th Amendment, the president is to be chosen by "a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed." If Gore can prevent Florida from appointing its electors by the Dec. 18, when the electors meet, Florida's electors will be excluded. Gore will win with 260 electoral votes.

Gore has a number of stratagems for throwing roadblocks in the way of Florida's appointing electors, including time-consuming legal challenges. Nostalgic Stalinists from Brooklyn, N.Y., now transplanted to Florida in their dotage, have already trotted out lawsuits demanding a second chance to vote because they were confused by the ballot.

It doesn't matter that these legal machinations are precisely as meritorious as President's Clinton's "Secret Service privilege" claim. If enough lawsuits are filed, maybe Gore will win the lottery on one. In any event, pointless litigation will buy him more time.

The law schools are chock-full of droning professors who will attest to the legitimacy of the Democrats' phony legal claims. Having rested up from the impeachment and O.J., they're ready to tackle a presidential election. They've even dusted off the old impeachment catchphrases, condescendingly instructing the public not to make a "rush to judgment" and to "take a deep breath."

As with impeachment, the spin is having its ineluctable effect: We've gone from a Bush win -- subject to a single state's recount -- to "the next president, whomever that may be." We've gone from "this will be resolved by 5 p.m. tomorrow night" to "this could take weeks."

We've gone from rolling our eyes at some hapless old people claiming they slipped and voted for the wrong guy to Fox News' Morton Kondracke saying of the ballot, "Well, yeah, sure now it looks easy." We've gone from scoffing at the idea of lawsuits determining the next leader of the free world to New York Times lawyer Floyd Abrams saying that lawsuits are "part of the process."

Perhaps strangest of all, the networks and Democrats have taken the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" and have begun referring to the curse as merely a "saying," a "proverb" -- even a "blessing"!

We are being inured to the proposition that Bush has not won. Inured to the idea that any states and districts that Gore lost should be subject to a do-over. Inured to the idea that meaningless expressions of popular approval should prevail over constitutional mechanisms for selecting elected officials. Inured to the notion that the presidential election is not decided on Election Day or even the next day, but can sometimes be a months-long process.

Once we were all shocked by the suggestion that the president could be shown to have committed felonies and still continue in office. But after a while, we got used to that, too.

On Day Two of America Held Hostage, former President George Bush -- father of President-Elect Bush -- was on television commending his son for the dignity he had shown during this national emergency.

Yes, Al Gore, the rube, has demanded a recount in Florida, while Bush has decorously refrained from requesting recounts in Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico -- three states Bush lost by a sneeze. Bush's brother, the Florida governor, courteously removed himself from involvement in the Florida recount, but Florida's attorney general -- who happens to be Al Gore's campaign chairman -- boorishly did not. Al Gore goes around loutishly declaring himself the popular vote champion, while Bush genteelly refrains from any such boasts.

Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson is presiding over rioting in the streets. There is a movement afoot to call in Janet Reno. Maybe she could send in a SWAT team to gun down President-Elect George Bush. All we need now are chickens in the street and beggars with leprosy to complete the picture.

This is no time for dignity. President Bush had dignity. Sen. Bob Dole had dignity. They lost. In particular, they lost to the two blackguards in the White House now dragging the country into yet another constitutional crisis. It will never end until these people are gone. It's time for Bush to stop acting like a lockjaw Connecticut WASP and start being a Texan.