Send in the clowns.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court reversed the Florida Supreme
Court, which had ordered a hand count of all of Florida’s counties.
Seven justices found equal-protection problems with the manual recount,
with two dissenters arguing that Florida could overcome its
Now comes the hysteria. Take attorney Alan Dershowitz, referred to by
one Republican wag as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.
Before the decision, Dershowitz weighed in on the Republican attempt, as
some put it, to “steal” the election. After Florida’s vote
certification, Dershowitz accused George W. Bush of beginning “a legal
coup d’etat in suit and tie, defying the rule of law and saying ‘I am
anointing myself as president, I’m sending my transition team to
Oh, sure, Republican former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp
accused Florida’s liberal justices of attempting “a judicial coup
d’etat,” and stated that “the public is experiencing a lesson in the
danger of judicial tyranny as exemplified in the Florida Supreme Court.”
But the steam coming from the left puts the Republican rhetoric to
The National Organization for Women’s Patricia Ireland, with her
customary sensitivity, bellowed during a pro-Gore rally, “You know Bush
and Cheney, they need a brain and a heart.” Pardon me, didn’t Cheney
just suffer a heart attack? Just asking.
But for throw-kerosene-on-the-fire irresponsible rhetoric, we once
again turn to Rev. Jesse Jackson: “Today we stand surrounded, Jeb Bush
on one hand, Miss Harris on the other, George W. and Cheney comin’ from
behind, the Supreme Court of Florida. But we will not surrender. Our
hopes are alive. Our dreams are alive. Our faith is alive. God will see
us through. It’s dark, but the morning comes. Don’t let them break your
Chris Lehane, spokesman for Vice President Al Gore, compared Florida
Secretary of State Katherine Harris to a Soviet “commissar” and labeled
her a Bush “lackey,” and Dershowitz referred to her as a “crook,”
“corrupt” and “a functionary of the Republican Party.”
Democrats frequently criticize the Republican Party, given the
influence of “fanatics” like the Christian Coalition or the NRA. But
Dershowitz and Jackson reveal the strength of the Democratic Party’s
extremists. If the NRA possesses undue influence over the Republicans,
what about trial lawyers, from whom the Democratic Party received $2.7
million in so-called soft money last year? Small wonder that cries for
“tort reform” fall on deaf Democratic ears.
Jackson personifies another dimension of the Democratic Party — its
reliance on the monolithic black vote, a group that went 90 percent for
Gore. This puts enormous pressure on Democrats to think in lockstep
about issues like affirmative action and “racial profiling.” Up next? A
growing number of black leaders, like TransAfrica’s Randall Robinson and
Harvard lawyer Charles Ogletree, demand reparations for slavery. How can
the Democratic Party look them in the face and say, “Dude, it’s 2000.
Get over it”?
Indeed, Gore routinely played the race card during the campaign.
Before black church audiences, he criticized Justice Clarence Thomas,
and likened his battle against George W. Bush to a struggle between good
versus evil. “Deep within us,” said Gore, “we each have the capacity for
good and for evil. I am taught that good overcomes evil, if we choose
that outcome. I feel it coming.”
The 5-4 Supreme Court decision left liberals crying “foul.” After
all, this court struck down portions of gun control measures and laws
like the Violence Against Women Act on the grounds that they interfere
with states’ rights. How can a pro-states’-rights court strike down the
Florida Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision granting Gore more time for manual
As the court said in its majority decision, “The right to vote is
protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise. Equal
protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once
granted the right to vote on equal terms, the state may not, by later
arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of
another.” In other words, the Equal Protection Clause of the
Constitution cannot allow dimpled chads to be counted as a vote in one
county, and not in another.
Both sides reduced their arguments to a single mantra. The Democrats
said, “Let every vote count.” Republicans said, “Don’t change the rules
after you play the game.” Would the Republicans, as many say, have acted
the same way under reversed circumstances? We’ll never know, but
Republicans passed on opportunities to attack razor-thin Gore margins of
victory in Oregon, Iowa, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.
Yes, both sides wanted to win. But the Bush position was, and
remains, morally superior. But no matter. For, immediately after the
Supreme Court decision, California Democratic Party campaign adviser Bob
Mulholland declared the election “hijacked.”
So, send in the clowns. Don’t bother — they’re here.