- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Cloak of authority

"It was not decisive by any means, this latest chapter in the melodrama of 2000, but not meaningless, either," the New York Times' R.W. Apple Jr. said in a front-page news analysis yesterday concerning the Florida presidential certification.
"From here on, Vice President Al Gore will be trying to reverse something that has happened rather than trying to keep it from happening, which is why his campaign fought so hard to block certification of Gov. George W. Bush of Texas as the winner in Florida. In political as well as legal terms, that is a taller order, and he is starting to run out of time," Mr. Apple said, citing the Dec. 12 deadline for choosing Florida's electors.
Mr. Apple added: "When Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state, finally certified the official result in the presidential contest in her state [Sunday night], she draped a cloak of authority over Mr. Bush's claim to victory, here and in the nation as a whole. Mr. Bush's rivals heatedly questioned the cloak's authenticity, but there the cloak was, however tattered it may have seemed to some."

Civil rights violation?

"Republican lawyers are researching federal civil rights law to determine if they can require Attorney General Janet Reno to charge Florida Democrats for conspiring to block the counting of absentee voting ballots sent in by the military. One in three enlisted persons are minorities," Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.

Public opinion

"For the first time in years, the public is backing the Republicans in a bitter, high-stakes political battle," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at www.nationalreview.com.
"In the fights over Elian Gonzalez, impeachment, and the government shutdown, conservatives made a sharp and principled claim and were, in each instance, roundly rejected by the American public. But now, with the presidency on the line and another mediathon under way, conservatives have public opinion on their side.
"A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows 60 percent of respondents believing Vice President Al Gore should concede the election to George W. Bush. A majority also regards the Florida vote as fairly counted: 56 percent to 39 percent. Even on the matter of the hand recount which the public has viewed as a fair step in this messy process seems to have turned in a GOP direction: 48 percent don't think dimpled chads are votes, versus 45 percent who do.
"The task before Gore is enormous. It's much harder to undo something after it's happened than it is to stop it from happening in the first place. The vice president has waged a high-profile war for the hearts and minds of Americans, with all his talk about honoring democracy and making sure every vote counts. Ordinary Americans want to honor democracy and have their votes count, too. And now they're saying it's time to award the election to George W. Bush."

Preppie 'mob'

Democrats are shocked shocked that Republicans organized protests over the ballot recounts in Florida.
On ABC's "Good Morning America," Gore adviser Ron Klain claimed that the Republican "mob" had cost Al Gore the election: "I was very disappointed that last night Governor Bush didn't disavow the mob violence that stopped the vote counting in Dade County. You know, if that mob hadn't broken into headquarters and stopped bipartisan volunteers from counting votes, I think last night's vote total would've shown very clearly that Al Gore had more votes."
Rep. Peter Deutsch, Florida Democrat, suggested there was something sinister about the fact that some Republican protesters came from out of state: "They crossed state lines to affect the outcome of a federal election."
Joe Gellar, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party, compared the Republican demonstrators to Mussolini's fascists. "These were brownshirt tactics shouting, screaming, threatening. This went well beyond dirty tricks," he told USA Today.
But on "Fox News Sunday," Brit Hume suggested the clean-cut Republican protesters weren't so frightening.
"They have on light green corduroy pants, and they've got on little belts with little frogs on them, and little pink shirts and everything," he said. "Those Republican preppies just scare the daylights out of me."

Inside out

"It's really quite amazing when you think about it. Of all Bill Clinton's many legacies, perhaps his most astounding is to have turned feminism inside out," Danielle Crittenden, author of "What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman," writes in the Wall Street Journal.
"Before Mr. Clinton, feminists used to believe that you could tell a lot about a man by his treatment of women. That's no longer true. They used to believe a man credibly accused of sexual harassment or rape was unfit for office. That's no longer true. They used to believe a woman should make it on her own, and not by exploiting the position of her husband. That's no longer true. And they used to be outraged when a woman was judged by her appearance rather than by the content of her character. As the feminist [sniping] towards [Florida Secretary of State Katherine] Harris proves, that's no longer true either," Mrs. Crittenden said, citing catty and sophomoric criticism of Mrs. Harris' looks by Washington Post staff writer Robin Givhan and Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan.
"What ultimately matters to feminists is the letter on your sweater. And if you're wearing the wrong letter on your sweater, sisterhood isn't just powerful. Honey, it's mean," Mrs. Crittenden said.

'I feel your pain'

"Why didn't the Democrats gain the half-dozen seats they needed to retake the House? The answer is simple: They failed to win key open seats, many of them vacated by retiring Republicans, that they could (or in some cases, should) have won," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes.
"Give the Republicans plenty of credit for understanding the top issues of the day. They recognized that voters care about education, health care (prescription drugs and a patients' bill of rights) and Social Security, and they came up with their own plans," Mr. Rothenberg said in his column in Roll Call.
"Democrats, of course, argued that those plans weren't as good as the Democratic alternatives; however, voters were more concerned about simply seeing that the parties were interested in those issues than in comparing proposals. In talking about those topics, the Republicans were telling voters, 'I feel your pain,' and that was apparently enough to satisfy many of them."

History lesson

History apparently is not Joseph I. Lieberman's strong suit.
The Democratic vice-presidential candidate, speaking on national television Sunday night after Florida certified the election of George W. Bush, said: "And we have an obligation to uphold the Constitution we are sworn to uphold. The idea of 'one person, one vote' is central to our system of government and must never be compromised."
It seems Mr. Lieberman is unaware of the constitutional compromise by our Founding Fathers that gives small states for example, Connecticut just as many senators as more populous states such as California and New York.

Holiday cheer

On NBC's "Tonight" show, Jay Leno said: "Oh, this is bad public relations today Al Gore had hundreds of letters kids wrote to Santa Claus thrown out because of an invalid postmark… . In fact, that's one of the big toys this year, the Al Gore doll. You wind it up and it refuses to count the votes of the GI Joe dolls."

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