Editorial by John Ziegler

25 Lessons of the 2000 Elections 1

12/5/2000

In no particular order, here are just some of the things that we SHOULD have already learned from the election of 2000, but probably won't.

During the past year we have learned ....

1) That the nation is deeply divided more sharply between urban and rural factions (Northeast-West vs. Midwest-South) than perhaps any time since the Civil War.

When seen county by county, George Bush easily carried the 85% of landmass that does not possess major cites, while Al Gore absolutely dominated the 15% of America that does. I believe that this split is as a result of the major shift (some would say degradation) in values over the past generation and is an indication that we may soon no longer be living in just one UNITED States of America. The potential long-term consequences of this reality appear to me to be frightening.

2) That it is now possible for a candidate to dramatically rise in the polls on the basis of nothing more than a very public deep kiss of his wife.

When Al Gore overtook George Bush following his "French" kissing of Tipper at the Democratic Convention, it was a low point in the history of female participation in the electoral process. Since it would have been FAR too painful and dangerous to fully examine this AMAZING and demoralizing phenomenon, America largely chose to ignore this reality (as it so often does in these circumstances) and pretend it never really happened.

3) That since almost the entire adult female population now votes "on there own" (as they should, unlike until the 60's when most did what ever their husbands told them to do), the landscape of American politics has been forever altered (with apparently a lot more flowers having been planted).

Candidates are now forced, for better or worse, to do things (like go on the Oprah Winfrey Show) that they NEVER would have considered in doing in the past, all in an attempt to appeal to fickle females (OBVIOUSLY I am NOT referring to ALL women here!). While I am sure that the newly found power of the female vote has had some positive influences on the process (I am having trouble thinking of one at the moment) there is little doubt that there have been consequences as well. It is hard to argue that, in this relatively new political world, honest, but harsh language and uncomfortable truths are no longer acceptable in the public discourse and feelings/emotions have overtaken logic/reason as the fuel of the decision making process. I strongly believe that the dramatic increase in female power (through both voting and in influence on the media) is largely responsible for these realities.

4) That abortion is still THE NUMBER ONE issue influencing the votes of MILLIONS of citizens; especially young females, who voted overwhelmingly for Gore.

I was continually startled over the past year with the OVERWHELMING number people I spoke to for whom abortion was the deciding factor in their voting decision. The usual circumstance was that the person (both men and women) would express doubts about both candidates, but tell me that they were probably going to vote for Al Gore. As I would inquire further into why they would vote for Gore when they didn't like either candidate, inevitably it would turn out that they just happen to be pro-choice. On many occasions the person would recite the pettiest and most ridiculous criticisms of George Bush (one female friend said she didn't like his smirk, another didn't like the way he speaks), before finally revealing that the REAL reason for their Gore vote was fear that Bush would somehow outlaw abortion. The fact that George Bush never even SAID he wanted to do that (in fact, he basically said the opposite), nor would have the power to do so if he DID want to, seemed completely irrelevant to their thinking. Part of this apparent "leap" of logic I believe was do to the news media's propaganda over the Supreme Court (when everyone knows that the media will NEVER allow a true pro-life judge to be appointed), as well as plain ignorance of the process. Quite simply, abortion (of some sort) will ALWAYS (at least until every living female has reached menopause) be legal in this country, regardless of who is President.

5) That the pro-choice forces have now so taken control of the agenda, the news media, and the rules of the abortion debate that it has now suddenly somehow become acceptable to refer to the pro-life side as "anti-choice."

While I have a rather unique view on abortion (if you want it legal fine, just call it what it is: killing), I find it to be repugnant and the ultimate in true political correctness to call people who believe that they are trying to stop a virtual holocaust as "anti-choice." (BTW, a woman ALWAYS has a "choice" at SOME stage in the reproductive process, except in the case of rape)

6) That, thanks to news media types like Tom Brokaw who have been on a virtual crusade to jam hate crime legislation (no matter HOW unconstitutional) down our throats, it has now become virtually RACIST to be against hate crime legislation.

This insidious reality has become so pervasive that George Bush could not even state and properly justify his objection to hate crime legislation during the debates and instead was forced to make the (correct) assertion that hate crime legislation would not have made the killers of James Byrd any more dead than they are already going to be.

7) That, more than ever, it is perfectly acceptable for blacks and Democrats to ACT racist and hateful, but if a conservative SAYS anything that can be PERCIEVED that way, he/she will be publicly destroyed.

The NAACP ran a TV commercial with the voice of James Byrd's daughter stating that George Bush "killed" her father a second time by not favoring hate crime legislation in Texas (even though her father's killers will be put to death). Al Gore, while in a black church, described the election choice as being between "good and evil" and implied that Republican appointed judges would reinstate slavery. Gore advisor Paul Begala has called Republican voters racist, homophobic cretins, and made some of the most personal and petty attacks on George Bush and Katherine Harris imaginable. Thanks to the remarkable double standard in the media, none of these instances garnered the nation's attention and there were no consequences for these outrages.

8) That, VERY much like hate-crime legislation, political correctness (in its real definition) has overtaken the important issue of campaign finance reform.

Somehow the debate has been framed so that you are either for the "liberal" version (the now famous McCain-Feingold bill) or you are AGAINST campaign finance reform. George Bush was accused often by Al Gore of being against campaign finance reform, when in reality he was just against THAT version (which deems that individuals are limited in what they can spend on their own to support a cause). This is frightening because, just like in the case of hate-crime legislation, the McCain-Feingold OPTION is a real threat to our 1st Amendment rights. It seems rather ironic that political correctness has dramatically constricted speech against these two measures that are CLEARLY a violation of our freedom of speech!

9) That it is now, and apparently forever, perfectly acceptable to refer to a tax cut as a "cost."

Al Gore continually did so in his relentless attacks on George Bush's tax cut proposal. He constantly said that Bush's proposal would "cost" too much. Since when is the Government deciding to let the people keep more of their own money considered a COST?! The premise of this absurd notion is that the Government gets to decide how much of our money it wants to spend and THEN collect taxes accordingly, when in actuality it is supposed to determine spending by what is a reasonable tax. The fact that the burden of proof has now shifted AGAINST taxpayers being able to keep their own money and against a tax cut (during a time of SURPLUS) seems to doom us to inevitable socialism because taxes will only ever increase. The fact that Bush felt intimidated about defending the infamous "top 1%" of wage earners who would receive the greatest benefit (in term of dollars, NOT by %) from his tax cut proposal (because they are the ones who PAY most of the taxes) is a further indication that this philosophical battle has been lost for good.

10) That it is perfectly possible, at least for a Democrat, to literally BUY a seat in the U.S. Senate.

In New Jersey, a businessman with NO record of public service, Jon Corzine, spent 65 million dollars (the VAST majority of it his own money) to defeat Republican Congressman Bob Franks, who spent about 5 million dollars. Corzine blatantly and systematically (as reported by the liberal New York Times) clearly purchased the endorsements of local unions, politicians, and organizations in order to be perceived as being credible and to dissuade anyone else from getting into the race. He then spent so much money on TV commercials on Philadelphia stations that the Senate campaign of Pennsylvania Democrat Ron Klink reported that many in their party were reluctant to support him because they thought that Corzine was running in Pennsylvania! It is also interesting to note that, while Corzine's spending did become an issue in the campaign, the local news media (which made MILLIONS of dollars from the Corzine campaign) was rather soft in its coverage of Corzine's candidacy.

This disgraceful episode reminds me of the untold scandal of the 1992 Presidential campaign. When Ross Perot initially pulled out the TV station in Ohio for which I was working actually sent out a memo saying that they would have to cut back on expenditures because Perot's departure meant a shortfall in expected political advertising revenue. When Perot was "allowed" by incredibly soft news media coverage to return to the race (which helped Clinton win), this obvious conflict of interest on the part of broadcast outlets was never mentioned.

11) That celebrity is now one of a candidate's most powerful weapons.

This has been known for quite awhile (Gofer from "Love Boat" and Sonny Bono both won congressional races) and was exemplified best by the surprise election of Jesse Ventura to the Governorship of Minnesota. However, I believe this dreadful trend went to a new level this year with the election of Hillary Clinton to the U.S. Senate from the state of New York. I believe that Hillary won (rather easily) simply because she is a huge celebrity. This is a woman who has DONE so little in her life that one of her "crowning" career achievements (as presented in her own film biography) is a 1960's college commencement address she gave that was so good it made the local papers! She won despite the fact that she has been a failure in almost everything she has ever attempted, has a record of very questionable ethics, has NO ties to New York, inappropriately used the Lincoln bedroom and the White House travel machine to support her campaign, and was the personification of everything she claims to be against by blindly defending her husband during impeachment.

Quite simply we, as a society, SO overvalue "celebrity" that a person's value is dramatically augmented simply because they are well known, regardless of the reasons why. It seemed that many of the voters of New York (where you wouldn't expect this to happen) were simply "star struck," and the formerly feared New York news media melted like a candle in a blast furnace amidst the heat of her "star power." I really believe that in the future we will see more and more celebrities running for, and winning, political office. Because the qualities that usually make someone a celebrity are so inconsistent with what we should want in our leaders, this is yet another reason why we may be doomed as a nation.

12) That sympathy and public opinion (or the fear of it) can overcome the Constitution.

One of the great injustices of the hysteria surrounding the Presidential recount is that the story of Missouri Senator John Ashcroft has been COMPELTELY lost in the shuffle. Ashcroft was leading Mel Carnahan until Carnahan and his son died in a private plane crash just a couple of weeks before the election. The immediate news media reaction was that Ashcroft would now win and the Republicans would control the Senate. Out of respect (and because he was being given the election by the media) Ashcroft stopped campaigning. Suddenly, polls showed that Carnahan, a dead man, was now leading Ashcroft (BTW, why the hell was anybody doing a poll involving a dead man?). Carnahan's wife then announced that she would except an appointment to the Senate should her dead husband win. With the help of an enormous (and irrational) sympathy vote, along with a Democratic judge keeping the polls in heavily Democratic St. Louis open for two hours longer than the law allowed, Ashcroft narrowly lost to his dead opponent. However, there should have been one major problem; the Constitution clearly states that the winner of the election must be a resident of the state on the day of the election. Regardless of where Carnahan is buried, he was most certainly not a resident of Missouri and therefore his election was not valid and his wife had no more claim on that Missouri Senate seat than Mark McGuire or Kurt Warner. Had Ashcroft and the Republicans chosen to challenge Carnahan widow's appointment to the Senate, they almost certainly would have won, but media pressure (lead by the ignorant Katie Couric who stated election night that it would be wrong to challenge her because she lost a husband AND a son) frightened them into not making a peep. The real sad part is that Ashcroft's incredibly noble gesture was barely mentioned in the chaotic days following the election and will likely be long forgotten by the time Missouri voters have a chance to rectify this injustice.

13) That the masses are even dumber and elections even more poorly run than we previously thought.

Even I was surprised at just how many hundreds of thousands of votes are routinely never recorded because they are not properly cast. While some of these votes are invalidated because of poor technology and random error on the part of the machines, the vast majority of votes are not counted because the people attempting to cast them are just too stupid or careless to follow directions. I was also surprised just how much error, through under counting, is BUILT into the system (which is why the Gore cries for selected hand recounts is SO bogus). If we have learned anything from the post-election madness, it should be that the Founding Fathers were right to be so adverse to pure democracy because the vast majority (or, at the very least, large portions) of the American people are just plain too mentally limited to be actively participating in our electoral process. Be honest, does ANYBODY really think that those who could not read that Palm Beach ballot are the people we want deciding who the leader of the free world should be? And yet I fear that the end result of the gaining of this "new" knowledge will be that we will spend millions of dollars to make it even easier for even MORE morons to vote.

14) That people who are "online" think much differently (better?) than those who are not.

While this election showed, more than ever, just how ignorant the masses really are, it also revealed a massive chasm between the thinking of those who own computers and those who do not. You wouldn't know it from the mainstream media, but online polls of ALL sorts indicated during the past year that those who have Internet access have VERY different views on both the issues and the candidates than the rest of the country. After EACH debate online polls UNIVERSALLY indicated that respondents OVERWHELMINGLY thought that George Bush was much more impressive than Al Gore. Just this past weekend, MSNBC ran an Internet poll asking whether the Secretary of State or the Florida Supreme Court should resolve the vote count controversy. Those saying Katherine Harris should decide outpolled the others by almost a 5-1 margin! Interestingly, MSNBC stopped updating the results on the air soon after that margin appeared to be steady.

Bush's dominance in online polls mirrored the Internet community's preference that Bill Clinton be both impeached and convicted. Of course, the same media outlets that created these polls rarely reported them under the guise (true, I am sure) that the results are "unscientific" and therefore meaningless. While I agree that these results were not necessarily indicative of the general public's view, I DO believe that these polls are significant. After all, who are people who respond to Internet polls? We have NO reason to believe that they are any more conservative or liberal than the "average" citizen, but it would certainly seem reasonable to presume that these are people who, on average, possess more resources, intelligence, knowledge, and interest in current events than those who are not yet online or who are online but just not frequenting news related sites. What does it mean that wealthier, smarter, better informed, and caring voters tend to be overwhelmingly conservative? That should be for the American people to decide. I just think it is interesting that this DOES seem to be the case and that the media never reports this reality. I also believe that this philosophical difference in the thinking between the "haves" and the "have-nots" from an information perspective will grow to dangerous levels as the technological age continues to advance.

15) That Jay Leno and David Letterman have more influence on the public's perception of a Presidential candidate than any of the major news anchors.

Where did the perception that George W. Bush (Yale undergrad/Harvard MBA) is an idiot get started? While today the news media "talking heads" may be quick to mock Bush's intelligence, that perception had to be pervasive before even they would have felt comfortable making this "personal" (not to mention factually unfounded) charge. This perception was largely created by the entertainment shows, led by Leno and Letterman and backed up by Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and Saturday Night Live. Never have so many people formed their opinions based upon the jokes of people who could not care less if what they are saying has ANY validity to it. Thanks in large part to the caricatures created by these comedians, the vast majority of this nation seems to view Bush as a stupid man who is a puppet for his father and Al Gore as a wooden geek with a penchant for lying. While there may in fact be SOME truth to these perceptions (and neither has been as unfairly tortured as Dan Quayle) these are hardly the people from whom voters should be gathering their views of the candidates. This reality got SO out of hand this year that at one point it appeared that George Bush was seriously going to be forced to debate Al Gore on the David Letterman Show because Letterman was taunting him into doing so. Thankfully, at least this year, we avoided this embarrassing spectacle.

16) That no reasonable person can ever again claim that the news media is not biased towards liberals/Democrats.

While for many people the ultimate example of this obvious bias was the early (and incorrect) call by the TV networks of the close "Gore" states combined with the late call of some, not so close, "Bush" states. But I believe that these outrages were much more do to the FAR stronger of media bias towards competition and commercialism. To me there are two clearer examples (of literally thousands) that could be cited here. The first was the news media's obsession with Bush's troubles in Florida despite the fact that his brother is the Governor, while they almost completely ignored the reality that Bush was winning (and would actually win) Gore's home state of Tennessee AND Clinton's home state of Arkansas. The other was the news media's CLEAR choice of Ralph Nader as their third party candidate of choice over the FAR more nationally credible Pat Buchanan. The media literally breathed life into Nader's campaign by giving him massive amounts of free publicity, while COMPLETELY ignoring Buchanan despite the fact that he was twice previously a legitimate Presidential contender and had the mantle of the Reform Party's nomination. While both of these examples clearly reveal the media's liberal bias, this may have been one of those DELICIOUSLY ironic moments when BOTH media acts may have backfired by helping Bush get elected.

17) That it is better to mess up REALLY badly so that no one will actually believe that you did it and the charges will be seen as "mean" and partisan, than it is to mess up small in a way that is easily provable.

This human truth that I believe was first proven by O.J. Simpson and Bill Clinton (how many Americans know who Juanita Broderick is?) was reinforced several times during the campaign. What were the major/memorable "stories" that were critical of each candidate? They were almost all the stuff of absolute triviality. George Bush calling a New York Times reporter (in what he thought was a private conversation) a "major league asshole," a Republican TV ad accidentally (due to the random choice of a graphics computer) using the word "rats" subliminally, George Bush not being able to name the leaders of several remote foreign nations, and Bush having plead guilty 25 years ago to driving while intoxicated. While the same triviality standard was applied to the few Gore blunders that were reported and focused on (mostly having to do with him exaggerating and concocting stories), many of the FAR more important Gore-related negative stories were almost never talked about. For instance, how many Gore voters knew that he was once pro-life, that he was once a member of the NRA, that he once "sold" his Gulf War vote to get more TV time, that he was once against affirmative action (and that his father filibustered and voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act), that his Vietnam service, of which he boasts, was as a journalist, was cut short, and was accompanied by a personal protector, that he blatantly used his sister's death for political purposes by claiming that on her death bed he told her he would fight tobacco "till his dying breath" and then years later was still taking tobacco money and bragging about his tobacco farming past, and that he clearly violated numerous campaign finance laws while claiming that campaign finance reform would be his first priority as President? I would seriously doubt if many had ever even been made aware of these realities. While, to be fair, I must admit that Bush DID seem to get a pass on his drug and alcohol history and relative lack of experience, clearly, the key (especially for Democrats) to getting away with bad behavior is to make the screw up SO dramatic that the burden of proof will be so high (why, I have no idea) that no one in the media will bother to try to clear it. It is interesting to note that the Democrats apparently underestimated the level of cynicism in the media towards them when they miscalculated that their efforts to disqualify overseas votes from military personal would be "protected" by this phenomenon. But even here I believe my "rule" holds. After all, while the media may accept, in the small picture, that Democrats tried to illegally reject military ballots, they are NOT accepting, in the big picture, that the Democrats trying to steal the election.

18) Media is not only biased, but also incompetent.

The election night Florida fiasco (along with several other miscalls on state and local races) certainly should have destroyed any lingering belief that the news media is somehow above the rules of natural human failings (known to some as the "Peter Principle"). However, it was hardly the only example of UNBELIEVEABLE incompetence on the part of the news media. Was no one else astounded that a major Presidential contender, who had been running for almost two years and who had an admitted history of youthful indiscretions, could make it till four days before the election without anyone in the media knowing that he had been arrested for and convicted of "driving while intoxicated"?! I wonder what ELSE we don't know about these guys!

I can assure you from my eleven years of experience in all aspects of the media that of the qualities that are possessed by the typical person who pursues a career in the media and that are favored by those who make hiring decisions in the media, intelligence and competence are VERY low on the list. Most media people, especially those in television, are chosen by their looks, social connections, and ability to politic. In my experience, they are usually not highly intelligent and are usually lazy and VERY poorly informed.

19) That the truth is now seen as negative, mean, nasty, and partisan.

While it has become almost pathetically clich? to quote Jack Nicholson's character in " A Few Good Men" saying "You can't handle the TRUTH!" it appears to be a correct assessment of the nation as a whole. The election process showed this to be the case by the constant condemnation of so called "negative" attacks and commercials. One Bush ad was criticized for simply citing a news story about a Gore lie and a sound bite of Gore saying he has never said anything untrue!

While it is HARDLY unusual for an "attack ad" to be UNTRUTHFUL, somehow it has become ASSUMED that any sort of strong criticism of an opponent is ON ITS FACE, inappropriate. Instead of having the focus on the truthfulness of the charge, the heat is instead on the originator of the charge itself. It confuses me why we can't decide a charge on its merits (and punish the creator of the charge if found to be false), rather than automatically viewing any sort of critical language as an indication that the source is "mean" and "partisan." While it is more comfortable to have a public discourse that is devoid of any "negativity," it virtually insures that the more corrupt candidate will have an inherent advantage. It also means, in a backhanded way, that most of the campaign conversation will be filled with lies. After all, if under the guise of "positivity," a candidate can say almost ANYTHING good about himself, whether it has any relation to the truth at all. In short, when I see a "negative ad," I immediately think that it might actually be true, when I see a "positive ad," I know that it is likely complete B.S.

20) As was feared after the Clinton Impeachment scandal, there are almost NO repercussions for lying, especially during a heavy news period.

While Al Gore was hurt some by his constant lying, the damage was mitigated by his lies being referred to as "exaggerations." However, during the post-election, recount period the Gore lies came fast and furious with most of the public having no idea that they even occurred. Gore's people lied about the Palm Beach ballot being illegal in order to create the initial stir (only to have the State Supreme court quietly later say, "not even close."). They lied about the confused Palm Beach voters being "Holocaust survivors who voted for Pat Buchanan by mistake," only to have it later turn out that most of the Buchanan votes came from Black precincts. David Boies blatantly lied to the Florida State Supreme Court about the decision in Illinois about the counting of dimpled ballots (including having a lawyer in that case file a false affidavit). Gore himself said, "10,000 votes in Miami-Dade County have never been counted, not even once," when in reality they had been counted twice as "under votes." Gore also said that he supported Military absentee ballots being counted when it was a Democratic lawyer who aided canvassing boards in discounting them, and even AFTER Gore's statement his party STILL prevented some of those votes from actually being counted. Gore also called for the spokespeople in both camps to "improve the dialogue" of the conflict, only to have his people continue to personally attack Katherine Harris and the Florida Legislature. The Democrats have also falsely claimed that the Black vote in Florida had been diminished by intimidation and confusing ballots, when in reality the black vote INCREASED by 60% in Florida as compared to 1996. Unfortunately, the Democrats seem to believe that whatever you can get away with in "war" is perfectly fine and the sympathetic media and apathetic and ignorant masses are only too happy to oblige.

21) That the definition of "courage" has been diminished because we have become a nation of intellectual cowards.

The best (or worst) example of this sad reality came in the form of the media treatment of Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Lieberman. Lieberman was universally praised when Gore chose him as a man of "courage" who would allow Gore to separate himself from Bill Clinton. The basis of this conclusion was almost solely Lieberman's "dramatic" speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate BEFORE impeachment that was highly critical of Clinton for BOTH his public and private actions during the Lewinsky matter. There is, however, one MAJOR problem here: Lieberman voted to ACQUIT Clinton on BOTH Impeachment charges! If Lieberman actually believed what he said in that highly acclaimed speech, he CLEARLY would have been morally forced to vote guilty on both counts. The fact that Lieberman's WORDS allowed him to STILL be seen as "courageous" AFTER his ACTIONS revealed him to be an utter COWARD, is certainly an indication that our definition of "courage" is fundamentally flawed.

22) That, as those who pay attention already suspected, the Democrats primary and overwhelming goal is the capturing and maintenance of power.

It seems clearer than ever that their standards of behavior when it comes to achieving that goal are based on what they think the media and the people will let them get away with and NOT on any sense of appropriate or inappropriate conduct. While the Republicans have once again proven that they are ALSO not above acting inappropriately (if they think they can get away with it), I firmly believe that they have largely resorted to this lower standard of behavior as a matter of survival (i.e. not wanting to show up at a gun fight with only a switch blade). Despite the apparent perception of the public that BOTH sides will do ANYTHING to win, I strongly believe that the evidence clearly shows that there IS indeed a difference between what the Democrats and the Republicans are, in general, willing to do to win. It REALLY burns me up when I hear both commentators (like the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page) and average citizens theorize that if George Bush was in Al Gore's position he would be fighting JUST as rigorously and unfairly (even though Gore himself has been quoted as saying he would do "anything" to win, while Bush would not). This is the EXACT same argument we heard during Impeachment. As was the case then, there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO evidence to support this claim. In fact Richard Nixon (hardly the BEST of his party) showed in BOTH a contested election and an Impeachment situation that it IS possible to decide to not fight to the "death" for one's self interest at the expense of the nation. I FIRMLY believe that if any Republican had found himself in Bill Clinton's position (a long shot) he would have immediately resigned, and I REALLY believe that had George W. Bush found himself in Al Gore's spot that he would have conceded LONG ago. I am also quite sure that Republicans would never have gone out of their way to personally destroy Ken Starr, Linda Tripp, Kathleen Willey, and Katherine Harris, or attempt to gather dirt on potential members of the Electoral College and systematically attempt to throw out legitimate military ballots. The fact that there is an assumption that NOBODY is capable of virtuous behavior virtually ASSURES that the best cheater/liar will ALWAYS win.

23) That Bill Clinton is every bit as self absorbed, delusional and narcissistic as we feared.

While it was largely lost in the final days of the campaign, Bill Clinton did two things that proved the above assertion. The first was his cover story in Esquire Magazine in which he was photographed from what was properly described as "Monica's View." Let's make this very clear, the President of the United States, Impeached for illegal actions coming out of an oral sex episode, posed for a photo that makes it look like he is about to get a blow job! If this wasn't bad enough, inside the magazine Clinton goes on to say that the U.S. Congress should apologize to him for the Impeachment! Then, just days before the election, Clinton went on the Tom Joyner radio show (they only let him on "black" media outlets) and said that while the Constitution keeps him from serving another term that we could still "get the NEXT best thing" by electing Al Gore. Bill Clinton's library should definitely have an entire wing completely devoted to his post-Presidential therapy sessions.

24) That, following the Palm Beach fiasco, we are dangerously close to making it ILLEGAL for non major party candidates to receive a certain amount of votes.

It has been very disturbing to me that one of the MANY elements of this post-election fiasco that has been ignored is that the entire premise of the manual hand recounts (at least in two of the counties) is that two different "minor" party candidates (Pat Buchanan and Harry Browne) received a few thousand votes more than was expected. Since when is someone doing better than expected defined as an "abnormality" extensive enough to bring the results of an election into question! It was not as if Buchanan WON Palm Beach county! He got a few thousand votes, less than half of what he received in a PRIMARY in 1996. I doubt that if it was the liberal Nader who did slightly better than expected that there would have been ANY questions at all. To me this is clearly a virtual baby's breath away from making it illegal for particular (politically incorrect) candidates to get a certain number of votes. It is difficult for me to contemplate a reality more contrary to the founding principles of our nation than this one.

25) That is seems to be just a matter of time before circumstances finally send this formerly great republic into some sort of peril.

I have long believed that eventually the nation's obvious apathy and ignorance along with the media's enjoyment of (and financial need for) crisis will, like a child's obsession with fire, inevitably lead to the threatening of our nation's foundation. This entire election mess (like Rodney King, O.J., and Impeachment) seems to have both accelerated this process and showed that we are already further down this path than previously feared. It seems that we have already reached the stage where the Constitution is often brushed aside and that at times the law is being upheld by little more than luck and coincidence. This present episode shows that even a controversial Presidential election cannot arouse the interest and passions of the American people, and that outrage is so dormant that even the possible "stealing" of an election has barely registered a collective raised eyebrow. What we are seeing right now may simply be a dress rehearsal for the inevitable confluence of circumstances which will eventually lead to our Republic being thrown into peril, or, it may still evolve into the real thing.

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