- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Psychologists tell us that it is conducive to mental health to pause and celebrate the little victories that may pass our way in the midst of the torments of life. So, as I write Monday night, a few hours after George W. Bush's twin legal victories, I plan to follow that advice, even as I know that any moment some deformed thing may yet slither out of the Florida swamp, munching on Mr. Bush's hard-lawyered victory.
What a day it has been. Judge N. Sanders Sauls rendered an opinion that not only rejected Al Gore's contest of the election, but methodically pulverized every fact, theory and legal assertion proffered by Mr. Gore's nightmare legal team. It was a schadenfreudian joy to watch Lawyer Boies manfully maintain that sickly smile on his ashen face as he listened to the judge dismiss as so much dross or bilgewater every last comma of Mr. Boies' lovingly crafted legal case. From the tone of the opinion Mr. Boies and his fellow Gore lawyers were lucky the judge didn't order them into leg irons and have them duck-walked straight into the basement jail of the courthouse.
This was judgment on a biblical scale. I thought of Revelations 9:3-6: "Then from the smoke came the locusts on the earth, and they were given authority like the authority of scorpions. They were told not to damage the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them … And in those days people will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them." I suspect that the Gore lawyer team Monday evening, looking futilely in the mirror for the seal of God on their foreheads, heard only the rubbing hind legs of the dreaded locusts.
Earlier in the day, I savored the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling rendering nugatory Mr. Gore's earlier win in the Florida Supreme Court. CNN, in an absent-minded fit of journalism, initially reported this as a "Bush win." But as soon as the Gore spin of the day was on the street, CNN got back in line and characterized the decision as a mere face-saver for the U.S. Supreme Court, which was really a road map for a future Gore win.
One always knows that the news of the day has gone well for George Bush when the cable anchors, political correspondents and objective legal analysts become distraught. You can see the tension in their strained neck muscles. They start talking in a rushed, angry tone. They forget to smile. They lose their capacity to make snide, condescending remarks. These wild and wacky cable kids, who can laugh and smirk their way through genuinely dreadful events, take personally a bad turn of events for Al Gore. If they are caught on camera reporting breaking bad Gore news, they usually don't even need a spin call from Gore central. Uncannily, they can fashion on the spot a perfect silver lining to a black Gore cloud.
I confess, Monday's news would not have been nearly as enjoyable if I hadn't been able to linger over these many little on-air private agonies of the cable kids. It is at moments like this that one can plumb the gangrenous ethical depths of modern television journalism.
Lurking in the half-shadows of today's news was the serenely insane figure of Al Gore himself. Over file footage of Al and Tipper and Joe and Hadassah going out for yet one more cup of cappuccino, reporters began to speculate on Mr. Gore's state of mind. The general consensus seemed to be that Al and Joe really, really, truly, truly believe they have won the election and are quietly certain that the White House will be theirs.
These reports were followed by the nagging question: Which, if any, leading Democrat was going to deliver the bad news to the vice president that in this cruel world, even wishing upon a star does not guarantee that our dreams will come true even if it is wishing star?
One leading Democratic senator begged off the assignment with the not particularly helpful observation that, "of course, he will know when the time has come." But that time has long since come and gone. The vice president is like a death row inmate chowing down his surprisingly sumptuous dinner, confidently awaiting the call from the governor. But when Governor Bush calls it will be to deliver the executioner's song. What a splendid day this has been.
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