Alexander's Column

Al Gore's questionable concession

Mark Alexander · Dec. 15, 2000

Albert Gore conceded the presidency to George W. Bush Wednesday night in a gracious speech exuding the confidence of a man who knows 3 Bush electors will change their votes Monday when they convene in each state to cast, in most cases, secret ballots. Based on the performance of Gore and his minions thus far, The Federalist is waiting until the electoral votes have been counted – and recounted – before accepting the finality of Gore’s concession!

Do we think that the Algoristas could turn three electors pledged to Mr. Bush? Not likely, but they have an army of black-bag specialists working deep background on Bush electors, looking for “little things” that might give them pause. The voice on the other end of the phone Sunday at midnight might say something like this: “Vote for Gore tomorrow or pictures of you and Bobbie Sue will be on the Internet in time for the evening news.” (Disclaimer: This example is fiction. Any similarity between this example and a real dalliance is purely coincidental!)

The last elector to break ranks was in 1988, when a Dukakis elector from West Virginia cast a vote for Lloyd Bentsen. Prior to that, both Nixon and Ford had electors break their pledged support. In 1960, six of John Kennedy’s electors broke ranks. If Bush loses two electors to any other candidate, the election is thrown to Congress. (Somebody please sequester these folks until it’s really over!)

Mr. Gore’s Coup De Tort to overturn Mr. Bush’s victory, after the first (and only statutory) recount in Florida, hit an impermeable wall Tuesday night, when the Supreme Court voted 7-2 (that’s 78% of the vote) that Florida’s various standards for manual recounts violated the U.S. Constitution’s “equal-protection” clause – that old 14th Amendment The Federalist has been alluding to for weeks. The justices also let the clock run out on any measure to create a uniform recount standard.

“Seven Justices of the Court agree that there are constitutional problems with the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court that demand a remedy,” said the U.S. High Court. “The only disagreement is as to the remedy. … None are more conscious of the vital limits on judicial authority than are the members of this Court, and none stand more in admiration of the Constitution’s design to leave the selection of the President to the people, through their legislatures, and to the political sphere. When contending parties invoke the process of the courts, however, it becomes our unsought responsibility to resolve the federal and constitutional issues the judicial system has been forced to confront. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.”

In his dissenting opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens noted, “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

Score: U.S. Supreme Court, 3; Gore’s Florida Supreme Court, ZIP. (Will somebody please tell all the TV talkingheads they can now take a nap!)

Some Gorons have suggested, hindsight being what it is, that Gore should have originally asked for recounts in all Florida counties rather than just a few Democrat strongholds. However, even if the state had developed one universal standard that did not involve the subjective divining of dimpled chads, it is our considered opinion that the same 14th Amendment appeal would have successfully overturned the count due to the variation between Florida’s standard and standards in other states.

As for Mr. Gore’s polite concession and all the talk of “healing,” we predict the left will soon reemerge in a storm of bitter rhetoric. Conventional wisdom aside, at the eye of this hurricane will sit Albert Gore, readying for 2004. (We have not seen the last of Gore’s populist FDR makeover.) The intensity of the rhetoric will correlate inversely with the effectiveness of Mr. Bush’s leadership, suggesting that heated rhetoric from the left will reflect ineffective conservative leadership.

Tempting those winds, House Minority Sociocrat Richard Gephardt speculates: “You know, it would be terrible a month from now, after this is all over, if Gore is not the winner, not declared the winner. Somebody is going to go back and recount these ballots and look under the Freedom of Information Act and look and see who actually won. Would we want to wake up a month from now and have the national popular winner and the actual winner Florida not be president of the United States?”

Memo to Dick: “On January 20…the person standing up before the Capitol taking the oath of office…will be sworn in as my president too. I will spare no efforts in saying to people who supported me, ‘let’s not have any talk about stealing the election, let’s not question the legitimacy of the election’.” –Albert Gore

Central to Hurricane Gore will be the process of rallying the “disenfranchised.” Leading that charge will be Jesse Jackson, the protagonist of the most loyal of Goron constituencies. (Of course, the only franchise Jesse Jackson is interested in is the one he has held with the Clinton-Gore administration for the last eight years.)

“We have difficulty certifying Bush on moral grounds…,” complains Jackson. “I’ve seen a day like this. Selma, Alabama, was a day like this when we [blacks] were fighting for the right to vote. … The same forces that were against the Voting Rights Act of 1965…seek to disenfranchise us in 2000.”

Memo to Jesse: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 received overwhelming support from Republicans – 82% Republican support in the House and 94% support in the Senate. More than a third of Senate Democrats voted against the act!

“Jackson is very close to inciting a race riot over this election,” says the Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, an interdenominational group comprising more than 43,000 church members.

Conservative black Americans were quick to condemn Jackson’s actions.

Starr Parker, President of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education, says Jackson is protesting because “he’s getting ready to lose everything. He knows that the policies of George W. Bush are going to work very effectively for the underclass and the poor.” Kevin Martin of Project 21 adds, “Do you think for one second Jesse Jackson is concerned about black voters? No. He’s concerned about Jesse Jackson. They’re not out here about voters or votes being counted. They’re out here about the power that is represented behind them. They know that with the Republicans in control, they have no one to give them a soap box to stand on or a microphone and parade their victims around.”

More to the point (though we never thought we could agree with him on anything), former Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry did once say: “Jesse don’t wanna run nothing but his mouth.”

And a Footnote on the final counts: Despite biased media suggestions to the contrary, it is not a forgone conclusion that Gore would have won a full manual recount in Florida – particularly if subjective hand recounts were disallowed. The St. Petersburg Times reports that in the Tampa Bay area, where a fourth of the statewide undervotes occurred – more than Miami-Dade – a manual recount would likely have benefited Bush more than Gore because in the region’s two largest counties, Hillsborough and Pinellas, 57% of the undervote comes from precincts that Bush won. Undervotes usually favor a region’s victor which is precisely why Gore only asked for manual recounts in areas he won.

Additionally, two more independent studies (John McLaughlin & Associates and Lott/Bronars) conclude that Mr. Bush lost more than 5,000 votes in Florida’s conservative western counties because the TV networks declared Gore the winner more than an hour before polls had closed. Another study on the national effect of the media’s early and errant declaration of Florida will be release today, and it may conclude the false call cost Mr. Bush as many as 500,000 votes in the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones.

Moving forward…

For those who think close elections like Bush v. Gore undermine the effectiveness of presidencies, think about what happened the last time the nation faced such a hurdle. It occurred in 1960 when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, father of Al Gore’s campaign chairman Bill “Bring-Out-Your-Dead” Daley, summoned enough fraudulent ballot box mischief from labor unions and the Mafia to get Jack Kennedy elected. Few would disagree that, following Richard Nixon’s graceful concession, Kennedy’s time in office was anything less than formidable. Of course, Kennedy had a strong sense of purpose. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish and he communicated that vision well.

If Mr. Bush is going to make good on his pledge to be “a uniter, not a divider,” and he has the capacity to do so, he will have to look to a higher authority than the current calls for “bipartisanship” being propagated by liberals and their media opinion shapers. He will have to avoid proving M. Stanton Evans’s observation, “Once ‘our people’ get themselves into a position to make policy, they cease being ‘our people’.”

After Gore’s reckless testing of constitutional limits, a good starting point for Mr. Bush’s leadership would be the United States Constitution. A rally ‘round that venerable document is long overdue. Mr. Bush did not equivocate in the presidential debates when saying he would appoint judges who are “strict constructionists” of our constitution. Based on the legal shenanigans of the last month, perhaps now more than ever, Mr. Bush will adhere to that conviction.

Perhaps he will adhere to that conviction and apply the same test when considering any and all legislation!

Memo to Mr. Bush: First order of business – eliminate taxes on death and marriage, and – the Spanish-American War having been concluded a few years back – get rid of that 1896 tax on telephones. Second, rescind Clinton’s slate of extra-constitutional executive orders and restore Ronald Reagan’s EO on “Federalism” and the “Family Impact Statement.” Third, any discussion of so-called “campaign finance reform” must start with the elimination of soft money from organized crime … er … uh … labor.

Finally, if Mr. Bush feels compelled to do something “bipartisan,” we think, in light of Mr. Gore’s “gracious concession,” that Mr. Bush should offer him a post in his administration – perhaps Ambassador to Chad…. As for Senator Lieberman – his dalliance with Gore’s ticket will undermined his credibility indefinitely!

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