To The Bitter End

By Linda A. Prussen-Razzano

Featured Rightgrrl April 1999
November 18, 2000

Much to our political misfortune, we are living in interesting times. Voters presumably so concerned about experience in our national race chose a virtually untested and obviously unvetted candidate as Senator in New York. Voters presumably concerned about "partisanship" chose to extend one of the most contentious and viciously divisive administrations in recent American history. And yes, these self-same voters, who excoriated the slightest mispronunciation by Governor George W. Bush, are apparently not discriminating enough to insist that their candidate be amongst the living prior to Election Day.

As incredible as these events are, they pale in comparison to the outrageous dogfight taking place in Florida. The party that fought so hard during Impeachment to preserve the "process" now seems more than ready to trash the process, and anyone supporting it, to achieve their goals. Instead of allowing the process to take its course, instead of abiding by the rules already in existence, the will of Jesse Jackson's vocal Rent-A-Mob should triumph. Instead of acknowledging the constitutionality and inherent sapience of our Electoral College, we should eliminate it because it fails to conform to the "will of the people."

Those who presume that Al Gore will concede graciously are, to put it mildly, whimsically optimistic. Although this particular election may defy the odds of logic, and certainly those of reason, one thing holds true: defeated Vice Presidents have not successfully launched a bid for the White House in the last 7 elections. Ford, despite his ascent to the office of President, could not best Carter. Mondale could not shake Carter's mistakes. Quayle was so vilified in the press he could not even win a plurality of his base's support for the primaries. Once an administration is removed from power, the general unspoken consensus is not to revisit that place in history except through the printed word. Like a somber political graveyard, voters might stop to read the epitaphs but don't want to examine the corpses.

Al Gore wanted what President George Bush had in 1988; a chance to ride on the wings of swollen satisfaction right back into power. He didn't get it. After twisting his positions into pretzels, after forsaking any justifiable claim to the moral high ground, after spending all his credibility dollars to salvage Clinton's worthless hide, his efforts, apparently, were in vain. Standing at the precipice, his lifelong goal of self-justification beckoning over the ridge, he must know he sacrificed his soul to gain the world, only to lose both in the process.

No, Al Gore will not offer a gentleman's adieu and ride off, the mantle of gentle pride draped over his shoulders. He will worm his way through the courts, let loose the hounds on any who bar his path, wallow in the politics of personal destruction, and use his Clintonese to English dictionary as a filter for interpreting the Constitution. The longer he delays the inevitable, the greater his loss in the arena of public opinion. The more outrageous his demands, the more overt his threats, the more pathetic he appears.

Given the uniqueness of this situation and the commendably close margins in this race, Al Gore had his chance to play national hero. If, after the first recount, he had waited patiently and supportively for the overseas and absentee ballots to determine his ultimate fate, he could have regained some of the credibility he so frivolously squandered on Clinton. Alas, that window of opportunity has now permanently closed, and with it went his chances for returning, several years from now, as a triumphant statesman.

In many respects, the situation has devolved into a "now or never" battle, a battle in which Gore will now do anything to win. If he does not force a victory now, chances are he will never be this close again.

Win or lose the election, Al Gore will still lose in ways he cannot envision and in areas he cannot see. Either way, the end will be bitter, indeed. Hopefully, the rest of America won't need to share in it, too.

This article copyright © 2000 by Linda A. Prussen-Razzano and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.