- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 2, 2000

Nobles: The Republican "Gucci mob" in Florida for taking the fullest advantage of their right to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances in Florida.

Republicans across the country believe that Al Gore's legions of lawyers and rampaging political hit men will do almost anything to keep Democratic ownership of the White House. As a consequence, many have gone to Florida, waving their Bloomingdale's bags, shaking their martini makers and tearing up the Palm Beach countryside in their Armani golf shoes.

They gathered from across the nation because Democrat-controlled counting boards were sniping at military ballots, discovering treasured votes on castaway chads, and divining Gore votes on dimpled ballots. An eyewitness in Palm Beach reported, "As in Broward (County), the crowd was filled with children and families. A little old lady was there in a wheelchair on oxygen holding a sign in support of Mr. Bush. A mother held her baby on her right hip and her sign in support of Mr. Bush in her left." Seniors, engineers, students and veterans of all colors and ages have joined the protests, passionately proclaiming their faith in the constitutional process and their anger that the rule of law is being thwarted by the rule of lawyers.

Knaves: The Democrats who have accused the Republican protestors of everything from voter intimidation to outright criminality.

In one of his many recent prime-time pronouncements of political platitudes, Vice President Al Gore alleged that Republican protestors blocked efforts to count what rightfully belonged to him. "In one county," he said, "election officials brought the count to a premature end in the face of organized intimidation." His running mate, Joseph Lieberman, claimed that the protests were "designed to intimidate," and Ron Klain, one of Mr. Gore's numerous campaign attorneys said that the pro-Bush protestors were a "rent-a-mob."

Yet Republicans are amateurs compared to their Democratic counterparts, who, as '60s era students set off confrontations with law-enforcement officials that ended in tear gas in Chicago and bullets at Kent State. Perhaps Mr. Klain was just upset that, according to a recent story in the New York Times, "Since the recounting began, Republicans have dominated the rallies on the streets, with their placards and slogans." Besides, Democratic activists like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have organized demonstrations of their own in Florida, and Democratic organizer Bob (bombs-away) Beckel has talked openly of "persuading" Republican electors to vote for Mr. Gore.

It is ironic that the political party which routinely defends as free expression the most vile, offensive art exhibits and college curricula should be so determined to gag the most basic form of political protests, no matter how unthreatening they may be. But such hypocrisy may not be a surprise in the end. After all, there is little difference between selecting the right people to receive a tax cut, selecting the right ballots to be counted and selecting the right protestors to be silenced.

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