Hang in there, Al!

Posted: Dec 11, 2000 12:00 AM
Just because the door is closing, every legitimate legal process available to you has been shut down, Warren Christopher has returned to his formaldehyde jar, David Boies is getting hives, and even Alan Dershowitz has finally admitted that your cause is hopeless, this is no time to quit if you care about your country -- as I think you do, Al.

You and your mentor Bill Clinton have done more damage to the Democratic Party than Newt Gingrich could have done in a lifetime. But in the past month you have really outdone yourself. Once merely comedic, you have now entered delusional nutcase territory.

Though the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision vacating the Florida kangaroo court's extension of the clear legislative deadline was a severe setback, it turns out the Florida justices were not merely power-mad lunatics but actually stupid. They leaped at the real Supreme Court's invitation to be slapped down less obliquely next time by ordering a manual recount in violation of the legislative deadline.

The kangaroo court might even decide to throw out thousands of ballots in Seminole County. Its ruling could last a full day or two before being summarily reversed by either the real Supreme Court or the Florida Legislature. You will have single-handedly discredited as many Democrats in two months' time as it took Bill Clinton to discredit in eight years!

I say: The more Democrats Gore can take down with him, the better. It's a fine line between the typical Democrat lies and demonstrably psychotic behavior. In the past week, many Democrats have shown themselves willing to bound across that line. The longer this lasts the better.

Not only that, but Gore's month-long insanity has legitimized George W. Bush's presidency before Bush even took office.

If Gore had stuck to his election-night concession, Bush would have assumed the presidency amid doubts. The election was close, and Gore has a razor's-edge advantage in the (nongermane) popular vote. Bush would have begun as a weak president having to prove himself. In a stroke of luck, Gore instead decided to drag the country though this endless election nightmare.

Even more than the rest of us -- if that is possible -- Bush has had to suffer through the Gore Loser's desperate attempts to turn a close loss into a close win. Bush never had a victory speech. The Clinton administration denied him transition funds. He had to endure 4 billion vote "recounts," 5 billion court rulings, and 6 billion slick high-priced lawyers treating a presidential election as if it were a hostile takeover.

And like the rest of us, Bush could never be sure that a country that did not remove a man like Clinton from office would prevent a close presidential election from being openly stolen.

In fact, the country isn't nuts. Even most Democrats aren't nuts -- these days you mostly hear Democrats demanding a chance to vote again, on the grounds that if they had known what a jerk Gore would be, they would have voted for Bush. (Those aren't the ones you see on TV.)

Instead of being weak and conciliatory, Bush is authoritative and maybe a little annoyed -- a positive in any Republican. As with Clarence Thomas, it's always nice to give Republicans one last little reminder of what Democrats are like before the Republican assumes power. Instead of being resentful, Democrats are embarrassed. Instead of being lukewarm about Bush, Republicans are wildly enthusiastic.

This is no time to throw in the towel. You go, girl!

Admittedly, the twilight of your litigation strategy has the ghostly feel of a death row prisoner's final appeal for clemency. The lawyers dash from court to court trying to postpone the inevitable, but the sense of foreboding is palpable.

Still, like I say, this is no time to be a quitter.

If three recounts and a coup de grace from the real Supreme Court weren't enough to stop you, why stop now? Not the Electoral College, not even Bush's inauguration should knock the wind out of your sails. Indeed, it's time to start planning a Shadow Inauguration for yourself. Perhaps one of the Florida Supreme Court justices will be available to swear you in.

What the Democratic Party could really use now is for you to announce a presidency in exile. Move to Canada, issue presidential proclamations, and under no circumstances relent in your demand that Tipper call you "Mr. President."

Alan Dershowitz -- indeed, any number of Harvard law professors -- would leap at the chance to be your attorney general in exile. Or better -- with just a little flexibility in the location of your vagabond presidency and close attention to his sailing schedule -- you might be able to line up Geraldo Rivera.

You have done more to discredit the Democrats and validate Bush's presidency than anyone ever could have imagined. Don't stop now!