- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 7, 2001

Noble: James Baker, and the rest of the legal team organized by then-Gov. George W. Bush, who were right all along about the Florida vote.
You could almost hear James Baker laughing when the media announced that after all the hanging chads had finally dropped, after all the pregnant chads had finally burst forth with the intent of the voters and after the votes had been counted, and recounted, and recounted, and (whew, deep breath) recounted again, George W. Bush still won the election.
According to a study of the 61,000 "undervote," ballots commissioned by USA Today, the Miami Herald and Knight-Ridder newspapers, which took 27 accountants three months and cost more than $500,000, Mr. Bush would have won the election by virtually any standard that could have been applied.
The lenient standard advocated by Al Gore, in which any mark on a ballot whether pimple, dimple, or smiley face would be counted as a vote, would have resulted in Mr. Bush winning the State of Florida by 1,665 votes. The Palm Beach standard by which dimples, pinpricks, hand marks and dangling chads would count as votes, would have given Mr. Bush a victory of 884 votes. The two-corner standard, which counted only dangling chads as votes, would have resulted in a Republican White House by 363 votes.
Knave: Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who continues to delegitimize the election regardless of how many recounts are concluded in favor of Mr. Bush.
In a statement issued just after the USA Today/Miami Herald/Knight-Ridder study was released, Mr. McAuliffe issued a statement saying, "If all the ballots were counted on election night, Al Gore would have won. And if all the people who intended to vote for Gore actually got to vote, without being confused or intimidated, the results would have been overwhelmingly in favor of Gore."
And if all the logic of all the sages through all the ages were applied, Mr. McAuliffe would concede neither the point nor the election.
While "Don McAuliffe" may have a responsibility to tilt at enemy windmills in ways that best wind up his political base, it is also fair to say that he is doing little to help our republican system that is supposed to go beyond pride, beyond person, and even beyond party.
Mr. McAuliffe can, and perhaps even should, continue to hurl the record-breaking amounts of soft-money that he has gathered against his political opponents. But he should not use that money to diminish, or even to destabilize, the political system that has allowed him to acquire such a dubious stature.
For acing political calculus but failing basic republican math, Mr. McAuliffe is the knave of the week.

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