- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2000

Jesse and Kweisi

"Just hours after the nation's eyes turned to Florida's up-for-grabs presidential vote early Wednesday, Democratic operatives like Jesse Jackson and the NAACP's Kweisi Mfume suddenly transformed themselves into small-d democrats interested wholly, they said, in 'fairness' and the integrity of the democratic process.
"Yeah, right," New York Post columnist Michael Meyers writes, observing that Mr. Jackson was on the streets of Florida "whipping up racial discord" over the initial count and recount.
"That's what a loyal, big-D black Democrat does best during this crisis: Rev up the emotions of the whiners and the discontented, demand federal probes and call for recounts and revotes," Mr. Meyers said.
The columnist said Mr. Jackson, in addition to being "a race grievant," has become an inside player at the Clinton White House.
"If Bush gets into the White House, Jackson is evicted back to being just another guy who rants for a living.
"Worse still, some other blacks move in and into real jobs: Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, blacks who have real resumes and have actually worked for a living, not just in public service but in private industry, too."
Mr. Meyers added: "Let's get one thing perfectly clear neither Jesse Jackson nor Kweisi Mfume really cares about democracy, which is always a little imperfect. No, it's: How can Mfume spend $12 million [helping Al Gore] and lose? How can Jackson give up the White House for the outhouse?"

Dangerous question

Two Republican members of the Electoral College from Colorado have accused ABC News of trying to pressure them into voting for Democrat Al Gore, the Rocky Mountain News reported.
ABC News denied the charges.
Mary Hergert, a Colorado elector for George W. Bush, told the newspaper that she felt intimidated by the caller from ABC.
"Hergert said the caller said he was 'Ed from ABC News' and asked if she would ever consider voting for Al Gore, then said it is unconstitutional for her to be bound by state law to follow Colorado voters' preference for Bush," the newspaper reported.
"It was bothersome," said Miss Hergert, who served as Mr. Bush's Weld County campaign chairman.
A second Colorado elector, Rob Dieter, also mentioned a call from ABC News when the Rocky Mountain News asked if anyone had tried to influence his vote.
ABC News spokeswoman Su-Lin Nichols apologized for any confusion caused when a group of staffers called electors across the country with a series of identical questions in preparation of a possible story on the Electoral College vote.
"We feel they acted professionally," she said.
However, Miss Hergert was not appeased. "I think the mainstream media has enough to answer for," she said, referring to the television networks' repeated reversals of results in Florida.

Cultural issues

"After the Reagan years, conservatives won the long-standing argument over economics, but they are likely to stumble in the future negotiating the minefield of culture," writes Francis Fukuyama, a professor of public policy at George Mason University.
"Americans are genuinely divided on these issues: While women usually want candidates who can address social issues like education and health, far from all think their needs can be satisfied from Washington. Americans have strong doubts about gay marriage and homosexuality, but they also don't want to discriminate against gays," Mr. Fukuyama said in a opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
"This bodes poorly for conservatives, who feel much more comfortable thumping the tub over taxes or defense than laying out a thoughtful position on single motherhood or gay marriage. They'd better start thinking fast, since the cultural issues are the only ones still capable of stimulating voter passion."

Light 'em up

The investigation into the Milwaukee smokes-for-votes reports involved at most 25 homeless men, Milwaukee County Deputy District Attorney Bob Donahoo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Mr. Donahoo said an ongoing investigation has found that 15 to 25 homeless men may have been recruited to cast absentee ballots at Milwaukee City Hall the Saturday before the election. He said prosecutors had confirmed they had been staying at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
He said prosecutors likely would decide whether charges would be filed by the end of the week.
State law makes it a felony to induce someone to vote; providing anything worth $1 or more as an incentive is illegal.
Connie Milstein, a New York philanthropist and major Democratic donor, was taped the Saturday before the election saying she was helping homeless men vote at the behest of the Gore campaign. She has since issued a statement saying she acted on her own without guidance from Democrats.

Lots with lots at stake

Smile when you cast that ballot, pardner.
Agence France-Presse noted yesterday the extremely unlikely scenario that the next president could end up being decided by a hand of five-card stud poker in New Mexico.
Most eyes have been focused on Florida in the endgame of the razor-close presidential election.
But under the complicated math of the Electoral College, the Southwestern state and its five votes still could play a role, if recounts change results in other states.
A law on the books here for decades provides for election ties to be "decided by lot."
In recent years, the law has been used mostly to break ties in municipal elections in small towns usually cutting cards or playing a single hand of poker.
Two years ago, cards were cut to resolve a tie election in a state House of Representatives contest, state bureau of elections director Denise Lamb recalled yesterday.
Miss Lamb has been flooded with calls since the unusual tiebreaking method was mentioned on NBC's "Today" show.
"They think, 'Oh, isn't that cute, there in your little adobe huts,' " she said.
Republican George W. Bush leads by a bare four votes out of more than 600,000 cast by Nov. 7, according to official figures.
But a correction of an election night error in Las Cruces should give Democrat Al Gore 500 more votes and put him ahead.
Miss Lamb said she will not adjust the official vote tally again until all returns are certified Nov. 28.

Possible rematch

"One will become president; the other a martyr," Los Angeles Times reporter Edwin Chen writes.
"And that sets up a possible rematch between Al Gore and George W. Bush in four years, no matter who prevails in the present quagmire," the reporter said.
"A rematch becomes even more probable if one candidate bows out in a gracious manner that earns him enduring public gratitude, according to the budding consensus of many top officeholders and political analysts."

Fat chance

Common Cause is urging the campaigns of Al Gore and George W. Bush to divulge the sources of contributions used to pay for their legal and political war in Florida.
There are no laws governing contributions to the recount funds, the group said.
"We call on both candidates to agree to immediately disclose the source and amount of each and every contribution received by these funds, and to follow the limits in current law for campaign contributions $1,000 from individuals, $5,000 from political action committees," the group said in a prepared statement.

Headline of the day

Human Events, the conservative weekly, aims this front-page headline at Al Gore in its most recent issue: "Concede, Loser."

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