Why am I shocked that Al Gore's calculated effort to divide this nation along racial, ethnic, gender, social and economic lines for political gain has persisted beyond the election?
I realize it was naive, but I thought that there would be some limits on what Gore would be willing to do to fulfill his lifelong goal of becoming president of the United States.
For most of this week I have been beside myself with concern that Gore would end up tinkering with the system until the election results finally turned his way. The thought of four more years of lawlessness and demagoguery was quite depressing.
After everything that's happened this week, my fears have shifted from the alarming prospect of a Gore regime to the almost inevitable atmosphere of bitterness that will prevail in Washington regardless of whether Bush or Gore becomes president.
Let me be clear. I emphatically reject the conventional wisdom that close elections breed disharmony or even lead to gridlock. We have had close presidential elections many times with no resulting chaos. Competing political philosophies can be as healthy for the political system as free enterprise is to the economy.
It's not the closeness that is problematic, but the polarization that Gore and his camp have engendered throughout the campaign cycle.
And don't tell me that every politician is polarizing. That's intellectual laziness and dishonesty. George Bush isn't dividing people. It's not in his makeup; it's not part of his agenda.
Gore's class and race-warfare is only part of the problem. He is also polarizing the nation through his endless trail of deceit. At least half of the people have had their fill of it and are grievously alienated. Yet it continues, to wit:
On election night, as soon as the networks reversed their premature prediction that Gore would win Florida, the Democratic machine whipped into action. The Associated Press reported that the Democratic National Committee paid TeleQuest Teleservices, a telemarketing firm, to make thousands of calls on election night -- while polls were still open -- to scare Palm Beach voters into thinking they had voted incorrectly and to encourage them to return to the polls and complain. But Florida Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler, one of President Clinton's most obnoxious flacks during impeachment, ran to the press and pretended that he had received spontaneous calls from voters who were distraught over their confusing ballots.
Gore lawyer, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Tribe said that machine ballots are biased toward poor people. What a deplorable waste of a formidable IQ!
The sainted Joe Lieberman criticized the Bush campaign for going to court while Gore had not. Yet Gore's surrogates have filed eight separate lawsuits. Just how dense do they think we are?
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris announced that she would comply with the state statute requiring her to ignore ballots of any county that were not filed with her within the statutory deadline. The pertinent statute clearly affords her no discretion.
So what do Gore's venerable spokesmen say about Mrs. Harris' statement that she will honor the law? Warren Christopher denounced her as a partisan, saying her decision was arbitrary and unreasonable. Leave it to a former Clinton-Gore official to characterize obeying the law as unreasonable.
Gore press secretary Chris Lehane said that Harris "is trying to do an end run that would frustrate the will of the people. ... She (Harris) is acting in the finest tradition of a Soviet commissar." I can't comment on this remark without cursing.
Gore communications director Mark Fabiani called the Secretary of State "a crony of the Bush brothers" who is "trying to steal this election away."
If you want to talk about political cronyism, you need only consider the prospect of a manual recount in the four most Gore-favoring Florida counties. If that doesn't convince you, watch a replay of the banana-republic style actions of the Democratic-controlled vote commissioners as they used their election-Ouija boards to add votes to Gore's column during the manual recount.
I am not advocating that Gore concede the election before all the absentee ballots are received and tabulated. But I am saying that he ought to stop acting like a frustrated '60s radical who grew up and suddenly found himself in a position to do real harm to the nation and didn't say no. It's time to say no, Mr. Gore.