Friday, May 18, 2001

Of all the books chronicling the post-presidential election legal imbroglio in Florida, only one rocketed to No. 5 on the New York Times bBestseller list its first week. There are many reasons for the striking success of Bill Sammon’s “At Any Cost.” I’ll share a few, and you can discover the rest when you read the book.

I know this won’t sit well with many Democrats, but George Bush legitimately won Florida’s electoral votes (and thus the presidency), and Al Gore tried to take it away from him in the courts. Gore was not the aggrieved party during those awful 36 days; George Bush was, as were the American people.

Books founded on the premise that Gore was the aggrieved candidate in Florida ring hollow because they are bereft of truth. Propaganda serves many purposes, but apparently it does not sell books.

The truth sells, especially when it satisfies the people’s hunger for justice, at least rhetorical justice. Sammon’s book is the first to accurately portray what really happened in Florida. And as far as Al Gore and the Democrats are concerned, it isn’t pretty.

The book confirms that Gore deliberately put his own interests above the nation during those 36 days. Sammon tells a story reported by the Washington Post of Gore literally illustrating his priorities by drawing four concentric circles on an easel of butcher paper, with the innermost circle representing his own interests, and the peripheral circle, the national interest.

It is fascinating, but chilling to read how Gore and his armies of lawyers manufactured claims upon which to base their endless election contests and how Gore himself orchestrated the slanderous personal attacks against Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Gore told his Deputy Campaign Manager Mark Fabiani and Press Secretary Chris Lehane to plant damaging press stories that would discredit Harris as a Bush partisan. Don’t forget that this guy was vice president of the United States at the time.

You just have to read the book to capture all of the shenanigans perpetrated by team Gore, but I want to share another line of revelations described in “At Any Cost.” These have to do with the media, particularly the network TV news organizations who collectively created the climate that made all of the Gore mischief possible in the first place.

Even those of you who are not receptive to the notion that Gore tried to steal the election should get the book anyway for the incredible story about the media’s role in nearly altering the outcome of the presidential election. Not that you’ll believe that either, but it’s nonetheless shockingly true.

While the media have been wringing their hands since December about Gore being robbed of his victory (and engaging in the frivolous process of endless imaginary recounts in Florida), their own biased reporting of the election results was one of the major contributing factors to the election madness. Had they not attempted to affect the outcome of the election, it probably wouldn’t have been close enough in Florida (and several other states) to fuel Gore’s ballot challenges.

Sammon cogently documents what many of us expected all along: that tens of thousands of would-be voters in the western Florida panhandle declined to vote after the networks, in virtual unison, prematurely and erroneously declared Gore the victor in Florida - 11 minutes before the polls had closed in the Central Time Zone. He cites one analyst as conservatively estimating a Republican net loss of 10,000 votes, and another, 11,500 votes (64 percent of those deciding not to vote because of the early Gore projection were Bush supporters.)

Gore would have had much less moral authority to prosecute an election contest had his margin of defeat been 10,000 votes rather than hundreds. Without the premature calls for Gore in Florida (and other states) Bush likely would have picked up at least two million more votes nationwide and breezed to a popular vote victory, which would have further deprived Gore of any ammunition upon which to base his attitude of feigned righteous indignation.

Until you read the book you won’t believe the double standards of the networks in precipitously calling states for Gore and unduly delaying the calls for Bush states.

This book tells the chilling story of how Al Gore nearly absconded with the 2000 presidential election and how the “unbiased” media abetted his efforts. It will be the definitive historical account of those 36 dark days. You will want to make it a part of your personal library.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide