- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2000

The always trenchant Mark R. Levin put it on the table: What do we do with a vice president whose lens on reality has become how to put it less than focused? Watching Mr. Gore chat his way through a media marathon, a viewer might wonder about the 25th Amendment, which, as Mr. Levin noted on National Review Online, provides for the orderly, if unceremonious, removal of a loose-gripped, dug-in president, but says nothing about what to do with a loopy No. 2.
Seriously, the votes, as they say in Texas, have been counted. The votes have been recounted. The absentee ballots have been tallied. The votes in selected Democratic counties have even been hand-counted, and hand-counted again. George W. Bush has won every count, dimples and all. So what does the vice president do? While his legal teams seek an obliging court to overturn the election (even The New York Times headlined the Gore push, "Florida Judge Is Asked to Declare Gore the Winner"), Mr. Gore goes on television to explain that, contrary to the results tabulated, unusually enough, before our very eyes, it is he, Albert A. Gore Jr., who won the state of Florida. The scary part is that he believes it.
And he doesn't just believe it, he knows it. According to the New York Times, "Advisers and associates of the vice president begin and end every discussion of Mr. Gore's state of mind with that declaration." Interesting that Mr. Gore's state of mind comes under so much discussion. There was an Associated Press report this week quoting an unnamed person close to the vice president who said Mr. Gore seemed like a "lost soul" lately. The New York Times quoted another such source who believes the vice president is, as they say, in denial. "He honestly believes he won," this person said. "He has worked hard, but he doesn't have the ability to come to closure, to leap ahead of today and to accept his loss."
You can say that again. Actually, you don't have to. When NBC's Claire Shipman asked Mr. Gore whether he had given any thought to what he might do if gag he doesn't achieve victory, Mr. Gore replied, "No, not really." No, not really?
But while Mr. Gore says he feels like a winner, he seems to sense that there's "considerable doubt" about that. Maybe that's why, on Monday, in an act of political theater that was downright weird, Mr. Gore sent his party's congressional leaders, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, all the way to Florida on a charter plane to set up a "supportive" conference call for the press to monitor.
"Hey, guys, how are you?" said Mr. Gore, breaking the ice in his inimitable way.
"Hey, Mr. Vice President, we're just fine," said Mr. Daschle. He and Mr. Gephardt then launched into a painfully self-conscious "report" to Mr. Gore and running mate Joe Lieberman ("Hello, leaders, I'm here, too") about the "overwhelming support" for Mr. Gore that exists on Capitol Hill which is, yes, somewhat closer to the vice president's residence than Tallahassee.
"Al and Joe, let me just add that Joe knows that we've been on many conference calls with the House Democrats," said Mr. Gephardt. "Right," said Mr. Lieberman.
"And they have been entirely supportive and continue to be entirely supportive of going ahead with this contest." This was all so very supportive that Mr. Gore was emboldened to veer (dangerously) off-message. "We hear statements on the other side quite frequently to the effect that we've had a count and a recount and recount," the vice president said. "But that's really beside the point."
"We appreciate very much your taking the time to go to Florida and be right there on the scene and report to us from the scene directly as you have," said Mr. Lieberman, wrapping up with the glib aplomb of a newscaster. But there was more. "Let's speak to the fact, which is that Governor Bush is picking up votes in these hand-counts as well," Mr. Lieberman added.
"Both are," said Mr. Daschle.
"But right, absolutely," said Mr. Lieberman. "Both are. So "
"Well, listen, to both of you, thank you for giving us a report from on the ground in Florida," said Mr. Gore, effectively gagging the Conscience of the Senate. What would Mr. Lieberman have said? Nothing, of course, to affect an election outcome not the famous one in Florida, and not a little known one in Oregon. There, the AP reports, Mr. Gore, as a write-in candidate, has been duly elected volunteer district director of the Marion Soil and Water Conservation Board.
Looks like he's a winner, after all.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide