Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thank you Al Gore - Part I

I spent a good deal of time thinking about the anger that the political left has towards President Bush. It is an anger that is causing them to miss the horrendous dangers our country is facing from militant Islam just so that they can score political points against the Bush administration by doing their best to make the Iraq war as unpopular as possible. And, the liberals' friends in the main stream media are making it easy by amplifying all criticisms of the administration and conveniently ignoring the inconsistencies (and outright lies) in the left's arguments.

Where did all this anger and hatred come from? I blame Al Gore and his conduct during the aftermath of the November 2000 election. Gore lost the election by a heart breakingly close margin....but he lost! It was a close enough loss to merit a recount and it would have been irresponsible if Gore had not asked for one. But, the way his campaign conducted itself during the recount created a sense of anger, frustration, and outrage in his followers that continues to build.

A recount does not have to be a bitter affair. In 1990, Democrat Lee Fisher faced Republican Paul Pfeifer in the race for Ohio Attorney General. The race was hotly contested and ended with on a bitter note. Over 3 million votes were cast and Fisher won with a margin of victory of approximately 1,000 votes. Pfeifer requested a recount but the tone of his request was quite different than the one Al Gore presented in November of 2000. Pfeifer recognized that he was behind and stated that it was very likely that a recound would merely confirm this, but he felt that it was his responsibility to verify the vote totals.

Teams of volunteers, consisting of partisan observers and neutral judges, were dispatched to check the vote totals. I was the Republican observer on one of the teams; I got to know my Democrat counterpart fairly well. We knew each other from past activities and were on friendly terms during the entire recount. In the end, the recount confirmed that Fisher won by a 1,234 margin. Pfeifer conceded and that was the end of the story. There was never a doubt that Fisher was the elected Attorney General of Ohio.

Compare this with the 2000 recount. Gore challenged the results and asserted that he was the real winner. Then he tried to game the system by requesting recounts in only those counties with high Dem majorities and worked to have defective ballots counted. The game plan was obvious. Get enough defective ballots counted as genuine votes and the law of averages would give him enough additional Dem votes to overwhelm the margin of victory. The blatantly partisan "Kharnak the Magnificent" vote counting style demonstrated by the Palm Beach County Board of Elections was hardly confidence inspiring and bore no resemblance to the honest, good spirited recount I participated in back in 1990.

Gore was not taking the high road...he was making a direct run for victory at any cost. He was trying the old Woody Hayes strategy for football at Ohio State University: run the ball for "three yards and a cloud of dust" each play. Keep having new recounts and keep closing the gap...then the moment one of the recounts showed him ahead, end the game. This is the strategy that was successfully used by Christine Gregoire to steal victory in Washington State Governor's race a few years later.

To be continued. . . .


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