- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 16, 2000

Readers give mixed reaction to Bush victory

President Clinton never received 49.7 percent of the popular vote as President-elect George W. Bush did in the recent election. Neither did Mr. Clinton have a Democratic majority in either chamber of Congress. Yet, throughout his two terms, the Democrats affirmed that Mr. Clinton had a mandate to liberalize the United States and to veto most conservative legislation.

Now that the Democrats are out of power, Mr. Bush is being told by these same poor losers that he shouldn't divide the country by representing the views of the people who put him in office.

So, in other words, it's OK to force your agenda on the country if you're supported by a clear minority of voters, but it's not OK if 50 percent of the people support you?

Republicans may be better sportsmen than Democrats, but we are not stupid. They lost. We did not.

AL ROSTKOWSKI

Yorktown, Va.

I cannot adequately express the degree of outrage, disillusionment and chagrin I feel following the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to stop the manual vote recount in Florida. This highly partisan decision has made a travesty of our democratic system and will only reinforce many Americans' belief that money and power, not the will of the people, determine the results of elections in this country.

It has become apparent that Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his fellow Republicans wanted to win at all cost, regardless of the people's choice.

That's not much of a surprise; after all, they are politicians. But how enormously disheartening and disillusioning it was to discover that justices of the Supreme Court are politicians, too.

ANN BERTA

Alexandria

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Bush vs. Gore, a senior adviser to Vice President Al Gore was reported to have said, "The court, along partisan and ideological lines, voted to run out the clock on the election."

This is not true. Two Republican-appointed justices joined the two liberal Clinton appointees in their dissent in the court's 5-4 ruling for Texas Gov. George W. Bush. One of them had even been appointed by President George Bush, which didn't stop him from delivering a stinging criticism of the appeal brought by his son.

As far as voting "to run out the clock," we must keep in mind that the Supreme Court was mindful of the fact that its rulings set legal precedents for future elections. The safe-harbor limitation, which required that all counting be completed no later than Dec. 12, was not a pre-emptive strike against Mr. Gore. Rather, it was an effort to set a sensible limit on any recount process. Though the limitation allows a reasonable amount of time, it was taken up by endless legal maneuvering.

Finally, to those who presume that the president-elect does not possess a popular mandate, we should remember that he carried far more voters, nationally, than his predecessor, President Clinton.

ROBERT SPERLAZZO

Carpentersville, Ill.

After a campaign in which he acted like a spoiled brat, Vice President Al Gore, in his speech to the nation, finally acted with the class and backbone I like to think is a common trait among all Tennesseans.

DARRYL L. FLOWERS

Columbia, Tenn.

In "Goodbye, Mr. Gore" (Editorials, Dec. 14), you stated that while "Mr. Gore said he 'strongly disagreed' with the Supreme Court's Tuesday night ruling, he also said he accepted its finality. It was what had to be said, and Mr. Gore rose to the occasion."

To his credit, Vice President Al Gore did utter the word "concession" and referred to Texas Gov. George W. Bush as "president elect." In the past eight years, however, it has become necessary to parse everything that Mr. Gore and President Clinton say in order to discover what they really mean.

Mr. Gore opened his speech last night by saying "I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States." Had he truly been as magnanimous as most commentators suggest, he would have chosen the word "elected" in his congratulations.

It is not the popular vote that elects our presidents, it is the Electoral College vote. If Mr. Gore did write his own speech, his use of "becoming" exposed his true belief that he has not lost the election.

LARRY M. COLLINS

Laguna Woods, Calif.

In the debates over the validity of the Electoral College, there is one crucial word that is seldom spoken republic.

We do not live in a democracy. We live in a democratic republic a subtle distinction but an important one.

The founders of this country diligently researched past governments and found that democracies always fail for one main reason. When a segment of the populace gets large enough to always outvote the other groups, the democracy degrades into the tyranny of the larger group, which is known as mob rule. In a republic, the people elect representatives who are supposed to have the wisdom to understand how to best implement the people's policy in society.

The popular vote is an example of pure democracy. The Electoral College, on the other hand, is representative government, and it worked admirably in the recent election.

A vote map of the counties in this country reveals that the majority of different areas in the country overwhelmingly voted for Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Vice President Al Gore's votes came mainly from high population centers and areas that have high incidences of public assistance. That is not an accurate picture of how the nation as a whole views Mr. Gore. Anyone can win an election if they concentrate on large population areas.

The Electoral College serves to keep the effect of large population centers to a minimum so the whole country is fairly represented in the election.

Of course, this is not to say that Mr. Bush was the better candidate that remains to be seen.

How dare we, as many have suggested, attempt to remove the Electoral College. Far better that we seek to understand the founders' wisdom in establishing it.

JIM PURVIS

Herndon

The U.S. Supreme Court's appointment, in effect, of Texas Gov. George W. Bush to the presidency has made the election of our nation's highest official a sham.

Given the closeness of the Florida election, a manual verification of the vote count was essential to accuracy and integrity. As the Florida votes were manually recounted, it became clear that Vice President Al Gore stood a good chance of winning the state and the presidency. Now we will never know the results of a complete count.

What would Americans think of a foreign democracy where a president was chosen before the election results were clear?

DOUG LONG

Downers Grove, Ill.

First, the Democrats did everything possible to steal the Florida vote, causing the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and affirm the rule of law. Now they are demanding that President-elect George W. Bush make major concessions to their party. They are backing up these demands with threats of congressional gridlock and failure to approve Mr. Bush's appointees, as well as showing a general lack of civility toward the new chief executive.

Furthermore, Jesse Jackson, America's antagonist-in-chief, continues to do what demagogues do best: fan the flames of discontent and convince people they are being abused by the system. Rep. Charles Rangel is urging Mr. Bush's electors to vote for Vice President Al Gore, an action that would cause further political upheaval in our country.

Is this the Democrats' idea of working together to heal the nation's wounds?

BOB WEIR

Flower Mound, Texas

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide