The U.S. Supreme Court’s issuance of a stay on further Florida recounts yesterday leaves Vice President Al Gore with only one card to play – at least as far as I can see.

Al Gore has lost again. Time has run out on his legal wrangling. Unless he does what has become, for him, the unthinkable – bow out gracefully, accept the will of the people, concede defeat in the presidential election and congratulate his opponent on his victory – there is only one more tactical barricade separating George W. Bush from the White House.

Gore is going to turn loose on all of the members of the Electoral College Democratic Party activist-pitbull Bob Beckel.

If you go back a few years, you might remember Beckel as manager of Walter Mondale’s losing presidential campaign. Evidently, Beckel doesn’t want to lose any more presidential races, because he told the Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto that he is actively engaged in a campaign to convince Electoral College representatives pledged to vote for Bush to change their vote to Gore.

Beckel said that his operatives had already talked to “over a hundred” friends in the various Bush-majority states. That was several weeks ago. Beckel stated his simple goal was to persuade just three electors — enough to swing a 271-vote majority for Gore — to switch their votes.

What is Beckel’s motivation? Ironically, he accuses Bush of attempting to “steal” the election, and pledged to continue his campaign to sway electors to vote for Gore right up until Dec. 18.

Don’t you love that? Bush is trying to “steal” the election by accepting the will of the voters. Beckel is trying to prevent him from stealing the election by persuading electors sworn to Bush to change their votes.

I don’t doubt for a moment that such switches are possible – especially if Beckel has at his disposal the carrots of the Gore campaign and the sticks of the Clinton administration.

What do I mean?

Well, we lived through an impeachment trial last year in which the skeleton-filled closets of certain members of the House of Representatives were revealed to the nation. The U.S. Senate got the message and voted not to convict Bill Clinton.

The Clinton administration has showed over and over again it will use dirt collected on people to coerce them to submit to their will. Is there any doubt in your mind that Beckel is looking through dossiers right now and making threatening phone calls to electors?

Those are the sticks, but what about the carrots? Well, do you think there might be two electors pledged to Bush that might consider switching their votes for, say, $100,000 dollars? Or how about a high-paying political appointment in Washington?

Or, do you think the Clinton-Gore team is above bribery?

If Gore wins, after all, who is going to prosecute the crime? Gore will stack the Justice Department with political warriors like Janet Reno. Under Gore, like Clinton, the justice in America will be for “just us Democrats.”

Folks, I have news for you. This is where the final battle will be waged. I have a feeling the Bush camp will be blindsided by it. They won’t know what hit them until it’s all over. There won’t be any appeal of this bad decision. The clock will have run out.

Al Gore has already demonstrated he will capture the presidency at any cost. The ends justify the means to him. He will win by any means necessary.

Unless I’m missing something, this is Gore’s last stand. It’s the last resort of a scoundrel – and Al Gore, believe me, is every bit the scoundrel.

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