- The Washington Times - Monday, November 20, 2000

Sign of the times

A gentleman riding the Washington Metro subway to work Friday morning took the "I Voted" sticker he received after voting in the presidential election and re-affixed it to his lapel, albeit with one alteration.
He crossed out "I Voted," and wrote over it "I Sued."

Crowning a king

Highest Democratic turnout in the presidential election? Right here in Washington, with 39 percent of registered Democrats showing up at the polls.

Highest Republican turnout was in Wyoming, home of the party's vice-presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney, with 41 percent of eligible party members casting ballots.

Overall, national voter turnout was up: some 51 percent of eligible voters, or 105 million Americans, participating in the second-closest presidential race in more than a century. And, finds the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, voter turnout compared with the previous presidential election increased in 36 states, but declined in 13 states.

Minnesota led all states with 69 percent of the eligible vote, followed by Maine, Wisconsin, Vermont, New Hampshire, Montana, North Dakota and Iowa, the only states to top the 60 percent mark.

Lowest turnout was recorded in Arizona, with 37 percent, followed by Hawaii, New Mexico, Texas, Georgia and Nevada.

"This has been a good-news and bad-news election, with perhaps more bad news than good," says Curtis Gans, CSAE's director.

"The good news is essentially twofold voter turnout went up … [but] on the other hand, we had an election which was the second-closest since 1888, in which … more money was spent than at any time in history and in which control not only of the presidency and both houses of Congress was at stake, and yet nearly half of the eligible nation stayed home.

And more Americans might be staying home in 2004 if Floridians don't quickly decide which presidential candidate won their state's election.

"I can think of nothing that would be more destructive of what remaining faith Americans have in their political system than to drag the selection of the president … through a protracted … tit-for-tat battle in the courts," says Mr. Gans.

"But the burden," he adds, "now lies with the vice president."

If Mr. Gore's lieutenants "proceed on their present course and open up the Pandora's box of protracted and likely reciprocal court battles, possibly extending beyond all the time-frames and remedies afforded in either the Constitution or our laws, it will be quickly perceived that what they are really about is partisanship and power."

Eight-year campaign

One reason Vice President Al Gore might be dragging out the 2000 presidential campaign is because nobody told him that after eight long years, it's finally over.
The so-called "permanent campaign" nonstop and year-round, in which governing and campaigning take place in a continuous loop is the subject of a new book by 11 prominent political scientists, published by the American Enterprise Institute.
One of the authors, Charles O. Jones, argues the 2000 presidential campaign began not with the first formal contest for party delegates in Iowa last January, but with the carefully showcased keynote speech the vice president gave when renominating President Clinton in 1996.
Or, maybe even earlier, with Mr. Gore's selection in 1992.
Still, Mr. Clinton, not the vice president, is the "epitome" of a politician governing by means of a continuous campaign "a process not changed at all by his inability to run for a third term," Mr. Jones observes.
And, as "The Permanent Campaign and Its Future" so accurately observes, the permanent campaign takes place on the campaign trail, on the airwaves, on the floors of the House and Senate, in the Oval Office, and increasingly in the law offices and the courts.

Warm milk and Bo

For nearly two weeks, the political world has revolved around Palm Beach County, Fla., its residents, many of them senior citizens, perhaps ultimately deciding whether Vice President Al Gore or Texas Gov. George W. Bush will become our 43rd president.
And don't think the Republicans didn't know the importance of Palm Beach prior to the election two weeks ago.
James L. Martin, president of the 60 Plus Association, tells Inside the Beltway he traveled to West Palm Beach on the Sunday before the election to help rally seniors around Mr. Bush.
Taking the stage was the Texas governor; his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Florida Rep. Mark Foley; New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; singer Wayne Newton; and last but certainly not least, actress Bo "10" Derek.
"I followed Bo in the program," Mr. Martin says, "and found that after she warmed the crowd, I had a tough act to follow."

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