- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2000

A fast $3 million

"Lobbyists were being hit up late [Wednesday] by Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign for contributions that will help bankroll the army of 50 lawyers that has descended upon Florida to raise questions about election results in the Sunshine State," Ed Henry writes in his "Heard on the Hill" column in Roll Call.

"One source said the calls from the Gore campaign were part of an effort to raise a fast $3 million by [tomorrow] in order to investigate any potential shenanigans that could help shift the state's 25 electoral votes into the Democratic column and throw the election to the veep," Mr. Henry said.

A lobbyist told the columnist: "They're going all out."

Clintonitis

A Bush victory is "the direct result of two ideological adversaries: Ralph Nader, without whose candidacy Mr. Bush couldn't have won Florida and perhaps other states, and Bill Clinton," Wall Street Journal columnist Albert R. Hunt writes.

"As much as people revel in the substantive successes of the past eight years, voters wanted the long national trauma of Clintonitis over. There was an audible 'enough already' in this fall's message and it hurt Al Gore."

Clinton poisoning

"The 2000 election devolved to Aaron Spelling melodrama because it had Clinton poisoning. Everyone was obsessed with Bill Clinton, and when that happens, mayhem ensues," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd writes.

"W. ran to avenge his father's loss to the louche Clinton. Al spent the entire campaign running away from the louche Clinton. Hillary was catapulted into the Senate race by the betrayal of the louche Clinton," Miss Dowd said.

"And all these psychodramas boiled over on Election Night.

"Bill, watching returns in a suite at the Hyatt as he waited to go downstairs with Hillary, was furious all over again at Al for not deploying him better and bragging on their record more. Al, in Nashville, was just as mad at Bill, because exit polls confirmed that the president was a big drag on the Democratic ticket.

"Hillary was sore at Bill for some reason, or all reasons, and made no attempt to hide her chilliness Tuesday. Which must have made Bill sore at her, given all that great advice he gave her that helped her get, at long last, a perch of her own."

A telling contrast

"No matter who emerges as the winner, the presidential election of 2000 will be remembered as a powerful civics lesson in which Americans once again were instructed in the importance of voting and the primacy of the Constitution," syndicated columnist James Pinkerton writes.

"For his part, Al Gore has provided instruction in what not to do. For a man who prides himself on taking the long view of things, Gore was too much influenced by the ephemera of TV news in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The networks, displaying their lamentable exit-polled dash to create rather than just report the news, first declared Gore and then George W. Bush to be the winner in Florida. The vice president called the Texas governor to concede and then, when the networks pulled back their pro-Bush projection, he called back an hour later and unconceded.

"Whoa. Doesn't a fellow have the right to change his mind? Sure, but would-be presidents of the United States should weigh their words and deeds carefully. The whole world, friend and foe alike, is watching for any sign of indecisiveness in a future commander in chief.

"For his part, Bush stayed calm. Early in the evening, when the networks said he had lost those precious 25 electoral votes, he simply said he didn't accept the numbers and finished his family dinner. A few hours later, the tubesters changed their minds and said Bush had won Florida and the country. Although the declaration proved temporary, the Texan was able to project the image of a confident winner, while Gore looked like a contentious whiner."

Activist pleads guilty

A columnist who infiltrated the presidential campaign of Republican Gary Bauer during the Iowa caucus has avoided jail by pleading guilty to voter fraud.

Dan Savage, 36, had been charged with two counts of voter fraud for casting a ballot using a Des Moines hotel address. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraudulently voting in a caucus, a misdemeanor.

By pleading guilty, Mr. Savage was spared a trial on a felony voter fraud count. He could have faced up to six years in prison. He was sentenced instead to a year's probation, 50 hours' community service and a $750 fine, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Savage, who is a homosexual, wrote an article for the on-line magazine Salon.com recounting how he had infiltrated Mr. Bauer's campaign to protest the candidate's anti-homosexual platform.

Mr. Savage said one of his goals had been to reveal the vulnerability of the caucus process, used as an early test of a candidate's strength. "The process is so open to abuse," he said.

In the article, he also said he had licked door knobs at campaign headquarters, hoping to give Mr. Bauer a bout of the flu. But in a February interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Savage denied the account, saying he used the virus-spreading theme as a metaphor for Mr. Bauer's stance on homosexuals.

Dancing a jig?

"Early in the evening Tuesday, just after the networks had prematurely awarded Florida to Al Gore, [California] Gov. Gray Davis sat in his downtown L.A. hotel suite and expressed relief," Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton writes.

"Relief because this meant that Gore he and most everyone thought was going to be elected president. And aside from all the power and perks associated with a fellow Democrat occupying the White House, it relieved a lot of personal pressure. Or so it seemed," Mr. Skelton said.

"Now, he would not even have to think about whether to seize the moment in 2004 and run for president as a sitting California governor assuming, as virtually everybody does, that Davis is re-elected in 2002. Nor would he be pestered about it by reporters.

" 'Absolutely, it makes my life a lot simpler,' he said, eyes glued on the TV. 'My goal has always been to be governor, and I want to do the best job possible.'

"This stated delight, of course, contrasts sharply with the common perception of politicos. As one longtime Davis ally quipped later downstairs at the Democratic victory party, when suddenly George W. Bush looked like the winner: 'I'm sure Gray Davis went immediately into the privacy of his bedroom and danced a little jig.' "

Hand in hand

The Justice Department dispatched an FBI agent to work with the NAACP on Election Day to make sure there were no roadblocks to a huge black turnout for Democrat Al Gore, according to USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham.

The supposedly nonpartisan National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is led by former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Maryland Democrat.

"The NAACP's [election] command center used scores of paid staffers and volunteers to manage computer, telephone banks and a satellite TV link that made it possible for Mfume to appear on more than a dozen news shows across the country," Mr. Wickham writes.

"A FBI agent was on stand-by in the room to serve as a liaison between the civil rights organization and the Justice Department if reports of voting irregularities occurred."

Unfavorite son

Al Gore not only lost his home state of Tennessee, he "failed to carry most of the counties that made up his old congressional district, stretching from the Nashville suburbs to the Alabama border," the New York Times reports. However, Mr. Gore did carry Smith County, where he owns a house that remains his legal residence.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide