Who Will Lead?


  • Al Gore won the popular vote.

  • Al Gore almost certainly won Florida, but a poorly designed ballot in Palm Beach County led some unobservant voters to vote for Pat Buchanan instead.

  • The ballot in question was approved by Democrats.

  • Absentee ballots aren’t likely to put Gore over the top.

  • With Florida, Gore would have won the presidency.

  • Gore is pulling every possible public-relations string, and threatening paralyzing legal action, to bring Florida into his win column — a stance that worries even the people who supported him for president, because the nation is getting closer to a constitutional crisis.

    All that is true. Now consider this:

  • George Bush, in Gore’s place, would be doing exactly the same thing that Gore is doing now.

  • Not willing to wait for the Florida recount to be finished, Bush and his surrogates keep claiming victory.

  • Now, after issuing all kinds of dark warnings against possible legal action by Gore, they’ve sued to stop Florida from hand-counting ballots.

    Gore has disappointed many people by pushing the envelope. He should say out loud that he’ll accept the results in Florida after a recount, including the absentee ballots.

    But Bush is making things even worse. His arrogance is disgusting.

    Statesmanship? True love of country? Maybe in some parallel universe.

    I still think Bush will take the oath of office in January. But when he swears to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” I’ll have trouble believing he means it.

    See also:

  • Michael Kinsley: What Gore Should Do (Maybe). Dear Gov. Bush: You and I are in a unique historical situation, and we are in it together. For at least one of us, and maybe for both, the actions of the next few days will be what we are remembered for by history.
  • Washington Post: Tragicomedy of Errors Fuels Volusia Recount. “No wonder people in the North think we’re a bunch of bumbling idiots–because we are,” says James Clayton, a DeLand lawyer–and he represents Bush. “From a practical standpoint, nobody has any faith in the system.”
  • The Economist: Is American heading for a constitutional crisis? Mr Clinton may have a crucial role to play. He may have to decide between being partisan or statesman.
  • Dave Winer: Pull Back From Partisanship. Now ask yourself whether you really want to throw all our cards in the air. Now’s the time to think.
  • The Register: Rhetoric Swells as Bush’s Lead Evaporates. Thus, with the election still up in the air and little in the way of facts and figures to distinguish the candidates, both sides are doing what comes naturally to political organizations: seeking justification in highly inflated rhetoric, disingenuous assertions and outright lies.

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