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Jewish World ReviewDec. 4, 2000 / 7 Kislev, 5761

James Freeman

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Consumer Reports

Six reasons Gore should quit --
UNDER OUR SYSTEM of government, it's really hard to settle arguments if people won't acknowledge facts. For example, Al Gore's endlessly repeated statement that 10,000 ballots in Miami-Dade were never counted is absolutely false. Every ballot was counted at least twice, and each of these ballots was found to have no vote for president. Gore wants Democrats to examine each of these ballots and try to interpret an intent to vote for him, even if the voter did not actually vote for him. There are at least six reasons this foolishness should stop now and Al Gore should concede the election.

  1. The machine counts turned out to be highly accurate. Democrats started believing their own spin about antiquated, unreliable machines. So they cheered the Florida Supreme Court decision and assumed that a hand count would net thousands of new votes for Gore. It didn't. That's why Gore loyalists moved on to Plan B, looking for new votes among ballots without a presidential selection and claiming that "dimpled chads" are really Gore votes in disguise.

  2. This is America, as the vice president likes to say, and that means people do the voting and election officials do the counting. This should be obvious, but somehow the chaos surrounding this close election has convinced some people that election officials should be promoted from their usual jobs as counters to new positions as interpreters of our desires. (Memo to the various canvassing officials: If you have to stare at the ballot from various angles with a magnifying glass, it's not a vote.) Now, even if you really, really want Al Gore to be president, ask yourself whether in the next election you want your state to count your vote or an election official's interpretation of what you intended to do in the voting booth. Which brings up another issue: If voter intent — as opposed to an actual vote — is to be included in the tabulation, then why shouldn't we now accept votes from people who intended for months to go to the polls but were late picking up the kids from soccer practice on Nov. 7 and just couldn't find the time?

  3. This was the year of the undecided voter. We can say conclusively that on Election Day, more than 50 million people in the United States did not particularly care for Al Gore. With similar precision, we can say that more than 50 million people didn't think much of George W. Bush. So why is it so hard to believe that roughly 1.5% of Miami-Dade voters didn't like either of these guys and did not select a presidential candidate? Could someone have put the stylus up to a chad and pulled back after deciding that Bush was inexperienced or Gore was untruthful? Of course. In fact, I think it's highly likely after watching the campaign coverage. Every night the networks fed us a steady diet of Wolf Blitzer and Frank Luntz talking to roomfuls of people who couldn't make up their minds.

  4. The ballots will be corrupted. Whether or not Democratic canvassing officials intend to steal votes for Gore, recounts will over time degrade the quality of the ballots. There's a reason police restrict access to a crime scene: The handling of evidence changes the evidence. Does anyone believe that passing thousands of ballots — which are designed to be read by machines, not people — through several pairs of hands will not send at least a few more chads tumbling to the floor? This raises another question: If we embark on an exhaustive hand recount, how will we know that that count is more accurate than the count of Nov. 7, or the one on Nov. 14, or the certified total on Nov. 26? And since Bush has won several rounds of counting, how many does Gore have to win to become president? Are we talking about a best-of-nine series?

  5. The law is the law. Florida has rules, and under those rules, George W. Bush won the election. Moreover, the vicious personal attack on Katherine Harris has obscured the fact that the people of Florida, expressing their will, chose her to be the secretary of state. Exercising their judgment about her political views, her character, her make-up and whatever else they wanted to consider, they picked her to do a job. And she did the job.

  6. Al Gore's grandson. We need a good argument to persuade Al Gore to quit, and it might be hard to find one. In fact, Gore is a perfect example of why career politicians are bad for our country — whether or not he wishes to serve the country, he needs this job. Gore will have great difficulty putting the country above himself, because he's now a man with everything to gain from a legal battle and nothing to lose. Looking at the upside, he could sue his way to the presidency and become the most powerful man in the world. On the downside, his career is over and he's without options if Bush's victory stands. After a lackluster campaign, a post-election legal circus and with Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings for 2004, Gore knows he's done, and it's a bitter pill for a guy who's still pretty young. Politics is all he knows, and it's the only career he's ever had since a brief stint as a local newspaper reporter 25 years ago. With Bush, it's obvious he could accept resuming his life in Texas and spending lots of time at the ranch. In fact he might even prefer it. But Gore really needs this gig, so we need a killer argument to get him to change his mind.

Here goes: Mr. Gore, think of your grandson, who with luck and God's help could live in this great country for another 80, 90, maybe even 100 years or more. Do you want him to live in a land where Election Day is simply the first phase of a trial, the starting point for litigation? Do you want him to live in a country where un-elected lawyers and judges pick our presidents? Do you want him to grow up in an America that stands as a symbol of dysfunctional democracy for the entire world?

Mr. Vice President, your country needs your help. Please concede.

Comment on JWR contributor James Freeman by clicking here. And check out his weekly TechnoPolitics report at

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