‘Any means necessary’
“Al Gore did not want a fair recount of the Florida votes. He wanted to win by any means necessary,” David Horowitz writes in his Front Page Magazine (www.frontpagemag.com) obituary of the Gore campaign.
Mr. Horowitz adds: “In his unseemly lust for power, Al Gore has damaged the credibility of the electoral process, the legitimacy of the presidency, the authority of the courts and, with the help of Jesse Jackson … has done immense damage to race relations as well.”
No doubt weary after waiting up for Tuesday’s late-night Supreme Court ruling on the Florida election, the Wall Street Journal yesterday concluded its lead editorial: “The nation has been exhausted by this remarkable election. There is little appetite for retribution. Most voters do not depend for their life’s blood on the profession of politics. The nation votes for leadership, and the moment has arrived to provide it to them.”
If Team Bush needs any more advice on staffing the new administration, National Review editors Kate O’Beirne and Ramesh Ponnuru are glad to help.
Who, for instance, should head the Office of Management and Budget in the Bush administration? John Cogan of the Hoover Institution is the “consensus” as “the best person for the job,” the National Reviewers write.
Secretary of health and human services? “Social conservatives are pushing for Kay James, a former assistant HHS secretary, who is a reliable and articulate pro-lifer; economic conservatives are pushing for Gail Wilensky, a policy wonk who’s advised Bush,” the two NR editors write. “They would all be happy with” Rep. James M. Talent, Missouri Republican.
Surgeon general? Mrs. O’Beirne and Mr. Ponnuru suggest retiring Rep. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and practicing obstetrician, who “would be an anti-Joycelyn Elders.”
And the NR duo also have some suggestions for “bipartisanship”: “Does John Breaux, the Democratic senator from Louisiana, want to be ambassador to France? Bon voyage.”
The $7 million woman
New York Sen.-elect (and, until Jan. 20, still first lady) Hillary Rodham Clinton is also the most sought-after author in the publishing business.
Bidding for Mrs. Clinton’s memoirs has topped $7 million, one book-biz source told Marc Humbert of the Associated Press.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Mrs. Clinton wants most of the money for the book paid to her before the end of this year senators are forbidden by law from accepting book deals on anything other than “usual and customary contractual terms.”
“If today’s news reports are true, these are not usual and customary terms for a book deal,” said Gary Ruskin, director of the Congressional Accountability Project, a Washington-based nonpartisan watchdog group. “We urge Senator-elect Clinton to forsake any book advance and take only copyright royalties from any book deal.”
The “proper response” to Tuesday night’s Supreme Court ruling that finally crushed Vice President Al Gore’s presidential hopes should be “relief that the entire matter has come to its inglorious end,” Richard A. Epstein writes in National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
“No one said that the end … of the interminable election dispute between Al Gore and George Bush would be pretty,” Mr. Epstein writes. “And like everything else in this sorry affair, it turns out to have been ugly.”
“This was Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s year,” Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press writes of the 33-year-old Rhode Island Democrat.
“He admitted he took antidepressants. An airport security guard claimed he shoved her in a scuffle. A charter company accused him of causing $28,000 in damage to a yacht.”
More bad news came this week, writes Miss Zoll, “when it surfaced that the Coast Guard in July sent a rescue boat to take Kennedy’s distraught date off his chartered yacht.”
Tony Marcella, Mr. Kennedy’s chief of staff, said the woman was never in danger and the Coast Guard should not have responded. The story was first reported by the Providence Journal.
As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Mr. Kennedy raised $97 million for Democrat House races this year, but failed to end Republican control of the House.
Mr. Kennedy, traveling this week with President Clinton in Ireland, could not be reached for comment. He is the son of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.
After Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling, “barring a military intervention, Al Gore is history,” Michael Crowley writes on the New Republic’s Web site (www.tnr.com). “Which raises the grim question: what does he do next. Gore has no obvious place to go when he’s booted out of his White House office, and the swanky vice-presidential mansion, in January.”
After considering various options for Mr. Gore such as writing a new book, “Democracy in the Balance” Mr. Crowley says it is “quite plausible” the vice president will immediately start a 2004 campaign.
“The thought of poor Al, like Sisyphus, heading back to the Elks Lodges of Manchester and Nashua [N.H.] is almost too sad to contemplate,” writes Mr. Crowley. “It’s hardly clear that Gore’s own party will want him back… . More likely, Democratic leaders will remember him as the guy who squandered countless political and economic advantages, ran a kaleidoscopically muddled campaign, and struck Americans as something of a weirdo.”
Down in Dixie
Pundits are cranking out post-mortems of Al Gore’s presidential campaign. One obvious point: Mr. Gore’s debacle in the South.
Unlike his Democratic predecessor, Mr. Gore did not win a single Southern state not even his home state of Tennessee.
“Gore was perceived as a more traditional, liberal Democrat,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres told Ken Foskett of Cox News Service. “Bill Clinton carried five southern states every time he ran, and Al Gore carried zero. If you concede the largest region of the country completely to your opponent, it puts you in a tremendous hole in the Electoral College.”
“Freepers” as regulars at the conservative Free Republic Web site (www.freerepublic.com) call themselves are outraged that a columnist accused them of anti-Semitism for a protest at Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman’s New Haven, Conn., home.
During the monthlong battle over the Florida election, Free Republic’s message board was a clearinghouse for information on rallies calling on Democrat Al Gore to concede to Republican George W. Bush. More than 200 Freepers showed up Dec. 2 for a rally in front of the home of Mr. Gore’s running mate.
Yesterday, Hartford Courant political columnist Michele Jacklin (firstname.lastname@example.org) said the Lieberman protest raised “the specter of anti-Semitism” because Free Republic activist James Bancroft, of Bristol, Conn., was involved.
Miss Jacklin referred to Mr. Bancroft’s claims on Free Republic that “believing that Jesus is the Messiah is the most Jewish thing you could do,” which he defended as “a statement of fact.” She said the Web site “has been linked … to extremist and bigoted organizations.”
Calling on Connecticut Republican Chairman Chris DePino “to disavow this group,” Miss Jacklin concluded: “In the end, it’s sad that of all places, Lieberman’s home state is where the stench of anti-Semitism has surfaced.”