- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 2, 2000

Al Gore and Joe Lieberman say their motive in refusing to acknowledge their thrice-confirmed defeat is to defend the “larger

principle” that every vote must count. I wonder if even 1 in 4 people believe them. If they keep this up, it won’t be one in ten.

Rather, they are defending the “smaller principles” that every Gore vote must count at least once and that they must win at all costs.

What we are witnessing is an unparalleled demonstration of arrogance and self-indulgence. Do they really believe their leadership is so important to the nation that all principles can be sacrificed?

I suppose Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman think most of us in Middle America (flyover country) rode in on pumpkin trucks. But surely even imbeciles wouldn’t have been fooled by that hokey televised conference call they staged with Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle. To call it sophomoric would be abundantly generous.

Isn’t anyone in the Democratic Party getting embarrassed at their behavior yet? Isn’t there some point beyond which rank-and-file Democrats will withdraw their support?

Try to imagine Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman as our children which isn’t much of a stretch, actually and how, as parents, we would deal with them. When they initially lost the automatic recount, wouldn’t we in order to instill in them a firm moral foundation have told them to accept defeat graciously?

After promising they would accept the result of the manual recount, they reneged when it didn’t produce a victory for them. Just like class bullies they keep changing the goal posts.

It is bad enough when the class troublemaker throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way, but we are talking about the vice president of the United States and his running mate. Mr. Gore learned well from the master. This isn’t that different from President Clinton’s reaction when he was “caught with his pants down” with Monica Lewinsky.

Do you remember that little poll Dick Morris conducted at his own expense to trial-balloon an apology speech he had written for Mr. Clinton to deliver to the American people? In it he had Mr. Clinton admitting that he had an affair with Monica and putting his fate in the hands of the people. To Mr. Morris’ utter surprise, the people favored Mr. Clinton’s resignation, 47 percent to 43 percent. What do you suppose Mr. Clinton thought of the vaunted “will of the people” then?

You guessed it. He told Mr. Morris to scrap the speech. Mr. Clinton said, “Well, we just have to win then.” That little sentence became the rallying cry for the next year, during which Mr. Clinton would subordinate every principle, all people and the national interest itself to his singular obsession to stay in power. And stay in power he did.

Fast forward to late October 2000. Bill Clinton’s would-be-successor, aware of the polls, believed he was on the verge of losing the election and that his lifelong dream would soon be shattered. So what did he do? He assembled the Clinton-Gore war room veterans and told them, “Well, we just have to win then.”

Don’t fool yourself. Mr. Gore’s objections to the election were not formulated after he observed fraud or anomalies in the Florida election. They were part of a pre-formulated strategy conceived in the war room to create the illusion of substantial irregularities to justify a postelection judicial coup.

What Mr. Gore didn’t anticipate was that popular opinion would turn against him he is said to be stunned by Mr. Bush’s postelection public-relations success. But this isn’t about PR; not everything is spinnable. I have a renewed confidence in America as I watch the Clinton-Gore propaganda machine finally being checkmated by the scrutiny of an acutely engaged electorate.

Several months ago, I ridiculed the idea advanced by some conservatives that Bill Clinton intended to remain in office beyond January 2001. How ridiculous.

Well, how much different is that from what is going on? Like a spoiled brat who thinks America exists solely for his and Al Gore’s pleasure and designs, Mr. Clinton has instructed the General Services Administration not to turn over the keys and transition money to President-elect Bush. Listen to me Bill and Al: Those are not your keys, and it is not your money.

In the immortal words of Glenda, the good witch of the North, “Be gone, you have no power here.”

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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