Al Gore May Become Our Shadow President
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Founder, Jews For Life
December 15, 2000
Americans pride themselves on being politically informed in the current election crisis, as evidenced by our new familiarity with counts, recounts, chads, legal interventions, and vote certifications. Whatever manipulations Al Gore's legal team present to the public, their secondary purpose is to get him elected as President. Their principal goal is to adjust the nation, by pre-conceived psychological steps, to tolerable levels of deceit, making an easy transition for Gore to his attainment of power. Fraudulent though this may be, the illegitimacy of vote tampering will have quieted by the time Bush is inaugurated as President. That is how Democrats have succeeded in recent years. If you can't win outright, take time, obfuscate, file a law suit, litigate some more, and then obtain the 'win' result quietly.
Governor Bush is the President-elect now. Listening to Senator Joseph Lieberman's defiant reaction to the Florida certification of Bush as the winner, I am reminded of myself when I was ten. The so-called 'conscience of the Senate' has been reduced to a spoiled brat, a child demanding an extra lollipop. (I got more votes than you got, nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah!) Then there was that pathetic press conference televised on Monday. Audibly upset, Al Gore's rebellious voice rang out on the phone, punctuated by intermittent nervous laughter, as he demanded the right to more votes, more re-counts, more, more more!! The visual treat was even better. Representative Dick Gephardt and Senator Tom Daschle sat there listening like two sympathetic psychologists, trying to appear serious as they analyzed the pathological disorder triggering Al Gore's actions. If anyone thinks the Democrats are genuinely behind Gore, all they have to do is watch this conference.
For all his defiance and petulant sore loser tactics, the man who won't concede has excellent reasons for not doing so. Had he graciously accepted defeat on Election night, or after the first machine recount, Gore could have maintained a vestige of respect among the electorate. As of tonight, Governor Bush has been certified the winner of Florida's electoral votes and has indicated he will try to begin organizing a transition team, while a new Washington Post poll shows that 60% of the people surveyed believe Gore should concede. With little credibility left, and as the reality of losing is hitting home, Gore's mission will be to buy time legally and work to reclaim public support. Discredit Bush's win, put a blight on the transition process, let super-lawyer David Boies 'prove' his spurious case to the people, and Bush will be burdened with Gore on his shoulder as a shadow to his own Presidency. The verdict is in: Al Gore will never really concede.
Al Gore is convinced he has won Florida, and that disturbs me. Didn't the same Al Gore demand the manual counts must continue to determine the real winner in Florida? If that is the case, then how can he perceive he had a lock on that state? Despite his incredibly skilled legal team, if people would simply listen to what Gore is saying, they'd know that this entire recount process has been a sham to save the Vice President from public scrutiny, and inevitable humiliation and alienation from prominent Democratic Party members. If polls shift away from Gore, Democrats will not continue to be his political hacks and jeopardize support from their own constituents.
So, the Election moves to the Courts. Sadly, our nation has been subjected to, and psychologically molded by, lawyers and court decisions in recent years. In 1973, it was the Supreme Court, and not the voters, who chose abortion, and much of public opinion on that issue shifted over time. It is interesting that Gore supporters are pointing to that same Court now, complaining that Bush has the advantage in his appeal since seven of the Justices were appointed by Republican Presidents. I don't recall any pro-Roe Democrats complaining that a majority of Justices used creative interpretations of the 14th Amendment, providing a Constitutional 'basis' for abortion. The fact remains that our Supreme Court Justices, selected to adjudicate the law, have become increasingly involved in legislation over the years. Gradually, Americans have been immunized against their own independent powers of reason. That's why, despite this blatant usurpation of its own judicial power, many Americans have come to believe an interpretation (i.e., violation) of the Constitution is just fine.
On this point, a real danger is that by contesting Bush's win and issuing court challenges, Gore may, as the loser, still win with impunity; his hollow victory crafted and nursed by legal channels in the various stages toward American acceptance. There is the matter of the two Houses of Congress. In light of the Presidential race, very little has been written about the staggering Senate losses in this election, all of whom were conservative Republicans: Senator John Ashcroft (Missouri); Senator Spencer Abraham (Michigan); Senator William Roth (Delaware); Senator Slade Gorton (Washington). Add to that the pick-up of Hillary's landslide win here in New York, John Corzine's win in New Jersey, and Senator Connie Mack's retirement (his vacated seat was won by Democrat Bill Nelson). Factor in the marginal Republican lead in the House, and the deck is stacked against social conservatives eager to see progress on hot button issues such as Supreme Court appointments and school vouchers. Indeed, President George W. Bush's claim to fame as a uniter may be put to a test very soon, to the dismay of traditionalists who were hoping for a change from the past eight years.
That is why, by the time Inauguration Day arrives and the the knock-out blow is delivered, the American people will perceive it like a feather. Bush will be President, diluted policies may follow or be phased out soon after, and our friends and neighbors will merely blink.
Copyright 2000 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.