WASHINGTON -- When the Framers of our Constitution were working out how to select our presidents, they should have included an expiration date. This year's election has taken so long to decide, it has thrown off my entire Christmas shopping schedule. As my family and I were celebrating Thanksgiving, it occurred to me that unless the counts, re-counts and court cases regarding this election end very soon, I'm going to have to find a way to blame the Grinch for not having any presents for some very special people on Christmas morn.
Like most people, I try to get something appropriate for everyone on my Christmas list -- something that the recipient needs and will use. But this year, the interminable delays in deciphering who won, who lost and which court has jurisdiction, has made gift-selecting very difficult.
Think of it. What to give Al Gore. Do we give him a new rug for the Oval Office or a year's supply of Prozac? If we knew Al won, the carpet would be easy, because after what his intern-seducing predecessor did in there, it has to be replaced. But what if he doesn't make it? After all, Prince Albert told Newsweek that he'll "do anything" to win the White House. So what do you give someone who loses everything he's worked and lied for all his life?
Then there's Gore-campaign chairman, Bill Daley. I can't give him what he deserves, because there are laws against it. But he might appreciate a "GET OUT OF JAIL FREE" card. It could come in handy when people realize the full extent of what he did to steal this election for Al Gore.
And how about the TV news anchors who called this election so wrong, so early and so often? What's more appropriate, Ouija boards or crystal balls?
And what to give Joe Lieberman? I probably ought to give Joe an apology for Christmas. Having criticized him for not giving up his Senate seat when he was named as Prince Albert's running mate, it appears he made the right decision after all. But, since he aspired to the office of vice president, an obscure and meaningless job, perhaps he would appreciate the most obscure and meaningless job the Senate has to offer -- vice chairman of the Small Business Committee.
Perhaps the most difficult people to shop for this year are Al Gore's Hollywood celebrity supporters. Barbra Streisand, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon all promised to flee the country if George Bush won the election. Now, thanks to all of Al Gore's Florida lawsuits, these nice people don't know what to do. Should I send them a free subscription to AAA's travel guide magazine VIA? Would they appreciate some of us coming by to help them pack? Do any moving companies offer gift certificates?
Thankfully, despite the delay in determining who won the election, some people will get what they deserve, regardless of the outcome. For Paul Begala, my co-host of MSNBC's "Equal Time," I've already ordered his present from Amazon.com: No, its not his own book, "Is our Children Learning?" but a copy of Dale Carnegie's best seller, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
The mean-spirited, Democrat-operative Bob Beckel, who has been investigating the "backgrounds" of Republican electors, deserves a present from his apparent mentor. I'm going to try to get him a subscription to Hustler from Larry Flynt.
And for all the other Gore-Daley attack dogs who cut their teeth on Ken Starr and who have perfected the lowly art of ridiculing, demeaning and destroying political opponents, I have the perfect gift: a visit from the IRS.
I know just what to get Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who has had to brave the slings and arrows of the Democrat attack machine. I'm sending her some of my patented body armor so she can continue to do what's right without getting stabbed in the back.
And to Don Evans, Joe Albaugh, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, who ran a disciplined, focused campaign, who put their candidate first, and who sought to win fair and square -- I have a special gift from this old infantryman's book collection. I'm giving them each a copy of Sun Tzus' "The Art of War" by Stephen Kaufman. It will help them if they ever again have to face an opponent like Al Gore who will "do anything" to win.
Finally, I've got just the right gift for George W. Bush: the keys to the Oval Office. He deserves them, he earned them, and this election is his, even if Al Gore can't see that.
Now, all I need is the time to do a little shopping. If the Gore-Daley machine lawyers will stop litigating long enough, I'll get busy trying to track down these presents and drop them in the mail. Hopefully the recipients won't open them until Christmas Day -- or until we have a new president -- whichever comes first.