- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2000

Joy of the kill

"Punditry fails me. I have never never felt anything so intense as the emotions of the crowd in front of the [Texas] Capitol last night," Paul Burka, executive editor of Texas Monthly, wrote yesterday in the Web magazine Slate.

"When the jumbotron announced the recall of Florida from the Gore column, the instant explosion of noise that followed was a howl that was part relief and part release and part something so primitive that I can't yet explain it. It went beyond anything that I've ever heard at an athletic event the joy of the kill, perhaps," Mr. Burka said.

"I was long gone by the time that the networks reversed themselves a second time, taking the election away from Bush for the time being, but a friend who stayed on called this morning and said his first impulse was, literally, to kill the messenger to throw something at the giant screen."

Slight delay

Attention shoppers: The recount in Florida has postponed the opening of the 2004 presidential campaign by at least a day.

The world's on fire

How weird did things get on Election Night? In the wee hours, after George W. Bush's apparent victory was declared null and void, ABC's Peter Jennings broke off a conversation with political correspondent George Stephanopoulos and told a staffer to go ahead and put out a small fire on the set. The camera then showed a fire extinguisher spewing foam on the fire as Broadway's lights twinkled in the background. Mr. Jennings returned to his interview.

The day after

"OK. OK. Like many journalists I was up very late watching this keystone-cops fiasco," Jonah Goldberg writes in a dispatch filed at 9:35 a.m. yesterday on National Review's Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"Like many, many journalists I drank to my heart's content (and I am a big-hearted guy). Unlike many journalists who participated in the bacchanalia of American democracy, I actually have to write something this morning. Damn the Internet doohickey and all its vaunted 'intimacy'!" Mr. Goldberg said.
"OK, like many sober, clear-eyed journalists this morning I am scrambling for copy. I am not going to bother explaining how all this works because most of you have been watching TV and I haven't been so you should be telling me what's going on. This all does bring to mind George Bernard Shaw's observation that 'An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned in it.'
"Anyway, as I gather it, Florida needs a recount like I need a Bloody Mary, and when that happens we may know something. I would study the situation more, but that would distract me from valuable time I need to shave my tongue."

Limbaugh's ballot

Rep. Robert Wexler, Florida Democrat and one of the most partisan members of Congress, claimed yesterday that Al Gore was robbed because, supposedly, 3,000 Gore voters inadvertently punched the Buchanan spot on a confusing ballot in Palm Beach County.
It was not clear yesterday how Mr. Wexler came up with the number 3,000, although that probably would be enough to win the presidency for Mr. Gore. And it was not clear why those supposed 3,000 voters did not realize their error until some time after leaving the polls.
"These people have been disenfranchised and there is something terribly wrong when we're not reaching the correct result for president," Mr. Wexler insisted in an interview with CNN.
Radio bigfoot Rush Limbaugh, on his program yesterday, said the ballot was not all that confusing, considering that arrows pointed from the various candidates' names to the point to be punched. And Mr. Limbaugh should know as a resident of Palm Beach County, he used the same ballot.
The Rushmeister said Mr. Wexler no doubt knows his tale is not going to change the vote totals, but that the Democrat hopes to discredit a Bush presidency before it begins.

Kiss and make up

The New York Post, which spent much of the past year making life miserable for Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, had something nice to say about the victorious first lady in an editorial yesterday.
"Nobody can say that Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't earn the job she won last night," the newspaper said.
"It took guts, perseverance and a lot of hard work to do what the first lady accomplished.
"She overcame the carpetbagger rap because she spent more time upstate than your average appleknocker while maintaining sufficient presence in the city to keep her electoral base in line.
"She set the rhetorical agenda from Day One, essentially defining the terms of the debate thereafter. This is not easy in a state as philosophically and politically diverse as New York.
"The fact that she pulled it off so neatly is a mark of the professionalism that also was present from the start."

Ain't it grand?

Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton held her victory party Tuesday night in the grand ballroom of the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station. And it was quite a scene, Anthony York writes at www.Salon.com.
Drunken New Yorkers were "spilling down stairs, waiting in line for escalators, jamming themselves into elevators, all waiting to get a glimpse of their new senator," Mr. York said.
"There is an old adage in politics: Book a small room, so it always looks full. But Clinton took that conventional wisdom to the extreme. The grand ballroom felt like a Britney Spears appearance in a shopping mall except that the New Yorkers were a lot more intoxicated than teenyboppers and the bouncers were all Secret Service agents. Meanwhile, more than 100 reporters tried to weave their way through the crowd, flashing their pink and yellow credentials, many of them pecking away dutifully at laptops and barking into cell phones.
" 'She's running this party like she ran health care,' barked an irritated reporter stuck downstairs in the media filing center.
"The scene was something to behold. There was an open microphone, hundreds of adoring Democrats crammed into the room, the president of the United States was on the podium and he didn't say a word."

Model of decorum

"So Missouri has elected a dead man to the Senate. The irony is, John Ashcroft probably would have won that race if Mel Carnahan hadn't died in an airplane crash," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru wrote yesterday at www.Nationalreview.com.
"This afternoon, in conceding the election to Carnahan's widow, Ashcroft was a model of decorum in saying he would abide no legal challenge to the disappointing outcome. Yes, there may be a hair-splitting legal question about whether a corpse can truly 'inhabit' the state electing him. And there appears to have been some funny business at precincts in St. Louis. But Missouri understood its choice, and vote fraud is almost impossible to prove. In accepting his fate so gracefully, Ashcroft showed why he is so highly regarded. He also sets the standard for how Al Gore should behave in the days ahead."

The mark of Soros

Hungarian-born international financier George Soros said yesterday he would prefer to see Democrat Al Gore win the White House rather than Republican George W. Bush.
Mr. Soros told journalists in Strasbourg, France, that a Bush victory would reinforce the hegemonic approach of U.S. foreign policy.
The billionaire said Mr. Gore was probably more multilateralist and that he preferred such an approach, Agence France-Presse reports.

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