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Jewish World Review Nov. 30, 2000 / 3 Kislev, 5761

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg
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Consumer Reports

Gore's speech more pompous posturing -- THIS ELECTION FIASCO has degenerated to the point where rhetoric is best discounted not by reason or intellect but with the mute button. Using that technique, I watched Al Gore's national appeal Monday night. I learned he has lots of flags at his disposal and that he is perfectly prepared to stand in front of. Lots of them.

Mysteriously, he invited a horde of still photographers into the room. Considering that the event was carried live on all the networks, it seemed an odd choice. It's not like a single pool photographer wouldn't have sufficed.

Clearly someone thought it was a good idea for Gore to have a dozen flashbulbs pop off every couple seconds as he talked. Perhaps this was because Gore thinks a little McCain magic would help right now, and the only way he can fake that is by blinking constantly in response to the camera-flashes like a POW during a Vietnam war photo-op.

In fact, undistracted by the volume, I could distinctly make out a word, blinked out in Morse code. Al Gore signaled to the nation, "F-R-O-G-B-U-R-P" Alas, I didn't find this too edifying, so I decided to turn up the volume.

As I suspected, that didn't prove much more rewarding. Gore said nothing new. In fact, Gore has said nothing new for two weeks. All joking aside, Gore is a prisoner of a war he created. By investing the integrity of American Democracy and wagering his own historical reputation, Gore has no place to go but forward.

He cannot concede because he is on record saying the current situation amounts to tyranny and to accept it would be tantamount to treason, according to his own terms. How can he give up the fight when he says he's fighting for the future of freedom itself?

Gore may not be committing treason but as time goes by, he risks undermining the legitimacy of the system he claims to be fighting for. In order to convince weary Americans to indulge his quest for the presidency through the courts, Gore is finding it necessary to increase the rhetorical stakes.

Few Americans want to drag this election out for the sake of unborn votes in first-trimester pregnant chads. But if Gore can convince them that it's not chads but the fate of the republic that hangs in the balance, they might be willing to wait another week.

That could explain all of the lies and fudges coming not just from his lawyers but from him. For example, on Monday night Gore repeated his now-tired assertion that "many thousands of votes that were cast on Election Day have not yet been counted at all, not once." This is simply not true. All ballots have been counted. Many have been counted by hand more than once.

Gore says "votes" haven't been counted because he believes all ballots that have no chad-hole for a presidential candidate should be counted as votes in his column. The reality is that the only ballots not counted - "not once" - are the overseas ballots that Gore's lawyers disqualified. Indeed, for a man committed to "counting every vote," his lawyers have been working awfully hard to discard votes cast by military overseas. And if Gore wants a "full and accurate count," why is he willing to accept just a hand recount of 10,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County.

Speaking of Dade, the vice president also wailed about how "organized intimidation" prevented a county from continuing its recount. This has become a mantra for Democrats, furious that Republicans actually used Democratic tactics to draw attention to an injustice.

Republican observers - many shipped in from Capitol Hill - erupted into protest when canvassing officials in Miami-Dade County tried to "count" essentially blank ballots in secret. This "mob," as many including Sen. Joseph Lieberman called it, perpetrated no real violence and nobody was arrested, even though cops witnessed the whole thing.

And yet New York Congressman Jerold Nadler warned that "the whiff of fascism is in the air." It should be pointed out that David Leahy the Democrat who decided to cancel the Miami-Dade recount said, "I was not intimidated" by these penny-loafered, not jackbooted, thugs.

And then of course there was Gore's most annoying assertion. "There are some who would have us bring this election to the fastest conclusion possible. I believe our constitution is more important than convenience."

This is a convenient argument for a man who has long argued that every generation should "find new meaning" in the Constitution. In this case, Gore seeks only a single meaning: "I must be president." How he can find this in the constitution is a mystery.

Then again, any man who can blink the word "frogburp" in front of the nation five minutes before Monday Night Football is capable of anything.

To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.


11/28/00: Rabble-rousing Dems act irresponsibly
11/27/00: Duking it out with democracy
11/16/00: Issues irrelevant to most voters
11/14/00: Gore's us-vs.-them campaign
11/10/00: Dot-com disasters missing brand-name success
11/06/00: Conventional wisdom turns with the polls
11/03/00: Clinton photo, appropriately, hits below the belt
11/01/00: Electoral college ensures democracy
10/30/00: New Yorkers, media letting Hillary off the hook
10/23/00: Gore needs to put first things first
10/20/00: Treatment of Farrakhan glosses over odd issues
10/16/00: Secrets of election can be found in 'Star Trek'
10/12/00: Arafat hardly 'provoked' into violence
10/10/00: Undecided voters may be ignorant, not discriminating
10/06/00: The importance of character isn't debatable
10/03/00: Conservatives are the true friends of science You know why?
09/29/00: Symbolic 'born alive' vote makes sense
09/25/00: Conservatives adopt abandoned liberalism
09/21/00: Ventura's media backpedaling makes fiction of his new book
09/18/00: Tough questions target Hillary Clinton's elitism
09/14/00: Hollywood morality to blame
09/11/00: Specifically, AlGore's detailed plan is meaningless
09/07/00: Time-honored tradition: Insult the press
09/05/00: Scouting out justice
08/30/00: The ADL's historical revisionism
08/28/00: Sitcoms will survive, post-"Survivor"
08/24/00: Candidates' choice of movies shows refreshing honesty
08/21/00: An AlGore victory? Only if dead birds fly
08/17/00: AlGore is doomed, but Dems ignore warning signs
08/15/00: Proud and true: He's a Jew
08/10/00: Exploiting religion would be tragic mistake
08/08/00: Cheney serves up tempting appetizer
08/03/00: Republicans now 'nice,' media still nasty
08/01/00: Presidential campaign could use some anti-metric mania
07/27/00: Government shouldn't subsidize Reform Party
07/25/00: Campaign finance 'reform' gives too much power to liberal media
07/20/00: Hillary slur speaks volumes
07/18/00: AlGore's McCarthyism
07/11/00: 'Survivor' shows hypocrisy of animal rights groups
07/05/00: McDonald's deserves a break today
07/03/00: On July Fourth, time to reflect on America's founding
06/28/00: America bashing becomes international pastime
06/23/00: If Fonda is sorry, let her say so
06/06/00: NAPSTER exposes artists' hypocrisy
04/18/00: Not much difference between TV journalists, TV actors

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