the talking dog

July 27, 2004, Battleground... Earth

As you recall, the famous election year 2000 Florida debacle was that rare case in which, thanks to a variety of factors (many of them crimes under federal law for which Katherine Harris and J.E.B. Bush, among others, should be in jail) was so close that overseas absentee ballots actually mattered. As such, it should come as no surprise that the efforts to secure the hearts and minds of overseas voters are proceeding at a record pace. Ex-pat voters would be the 13th largest state, if counted that way. Of course, unlike, say, voters in the American territories (Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Iraq) and self-governing Commonwealths (Puerto Rico, Israel), they at least have some say in presidential and congressional elections.

Its interesting to note that both parties are pursuing the same group for the same reason: after the wide perception that their votes were throwaways, Florida showed everyone just how decisive overseas votes could actually be (without absentee ballots from overseas, Al Gore would have won Florida by 202 votes, although the Supreme Court would still have found a way to take it away from him, of course).

Anyway, I'm being just a little over the top on the whole Florida thing here to segue into Al Gore's slightly bitter (certainly bittersweet) speech last night... something about not having the Supreme Court select the President, or having the current President select the Supreme Court... or was it "every vote counts..." Well, doesn't matter. He would make an excellent Secretary of State in the Kerry Administration, even though, having (1) passed over Kerry for veep in favor of the loathsome Joe Lieberman in 2000 and (2) endorsed Howard Dean in the presidential primaries... Kerry probably won't have too much use for Mr. Gore.

But what the hell-- let's start thinking dream team, people: Secretary of Defense Clark, Secretary of State Gore, Secretary of the Treasury Corzine, Attorney General anyone besides John Ashcroft, HHS Secretary Dean, Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sharpton...

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Slightly off topic but relevant (I think)

Speaking as an Independent -- a former member of the elephant party -- I would have had much more sympathy for the Gore recount effort if his goal were to recount ALL of Florida rather thanjust the four most heavily Democratic counties.

Posted by Steve at July 27, 2004 12:07 PM


Not off-topic at all; squarely on topic, my friend. Over 100 years after 1876, the disputed election of that year is still of interest (Gore Vidal-- distantly related to guess who, btw!-- wrote a best selling novel about it!) The 2000 election will probably carry that "one for the ages" status.

Short answer--Gore fucked up. In so many ways.

BTW-- YOUR way (hand counting all 61 counties), he would have won. HIS OWN way (just the 4 counties he thought he won) he would have lost. When you're behind in the score-- you can't be cute-- a rule Gore forgot. He failed to "trust the voters". And it cost.

Moral of story: The Good Guys have to be whiter than white... if Gore had taken that posture-- just recount the whole damned state-- let the chips fall where they fall-- he might well now be the President (in which case, presumably 9-11, which would probably have happened anyway, though its aftermath would have been different, and the moribund economy would all be HIS FAULT!)

Look-- in the end, Gore proved a class act. Could you see Bush II gracefully exiting the way Gore did? (Could you see Bush II doing ANYTHING that smacked of grace, or even sportsmanship?) He goes out a statesman. (And I think he would make a fabulous secretary of state, which is why I suggest that post for him).

Posted by the talking dog at July 27, 2004 12:55 PM

But it wasn't just a Gore decision. You know the DNC's lawyers and powerbrokers had to be in on the strategy.

I was a Bush voter who sincerely wanted a recount to give the future president (no matter who he turned out to be) a sense of legitimacy. Country before party sort of thing.

The Dems' decision to challenge 4 counties and then attempt to suppress the absentee military ballots made me lose any sympathy I may have had for them.

It was a disaterous PR move and was handled as badly as the Gore campaign itself.

I agree that Gore bowed out with dignity but his behavior since that time is suspect and disturbing. The bearded Al, the angry Al, pick the Al you like. (It's the 2000 debates all over again.) It's like watching a man suffer a midlife crisis-cum-nervous breakdown all at once.

Who IS Al Gore?! I don't think he can answer the question himself.

Posted by Steve at July 27, 2004 01:07 PM

"Gore Drugged at Democratic Convention"

Unconfirmend rumors have it that Al Gore was drugged last night during his speech. How else can you explain his lucidity, common sense talk and sincere expression of human emotion?

Posted by Fatt Nudge at July 27, 2004 02:14 PM


Yes but; Gore certainly had the Democratic machine advising him-- but the final call was always his own (including which lawyer would argue his case before the Supreme Court).

I agree-- Florida was badly handled; the four county thing smacked of the "violation of no known legal precedent". There was btw an argument on the late military ballots (they being late, they were technically illegal and all and would not have been counted in any other election)-- but the only way to make that argument ("rules are rules") would have been to have been scrupulously clean on all fronts before that, and the Dems were not even close. It was a mess. And the reason Gore didn't clean Bush's clock was that he has the persona of a ditherer-- and the recount period consisted of little more than Gore... dithering.

The irony of the whole Supreme Court thing is that George W. Bush had the tie-breaker: Congress-- which would have led to a perfectly legitimate result under the Constitution which no one would have questioned. (And the ultimate tie-breaker went to JEB Bush-- though that would have certainly undercut "legitimacy". The Supreme Court didn't change the result of who would be President, but in trying to shore up Bush's legitimacy, they cost him his... legitimacy.)

The Al Gore we are left with is bitter as only someone who has been denied everything by the thinnest of margins (and excuses) could be. He is also, however, a statesman-- he has tremendous international legitimacy (the rest of the world believes he should be our President, even if that's not how its necessarily seen here) and to be honest, we could not do better than having Al Gore be either Secretary of State or at least an envoy extraordinaire. It would really be "win, win"...

F.N.: The guy who didn't inhale sure as hell inhaled something. Gore is a developing act... the Al Gore you saw last night is pretty consistent with the Al Gore of the last year or so. Not running for President has freed him up to be a human being.

Posted by the talking dog at July 27, 2004 03:00 PM

Man, I wouldn't want to be the guy to tell Dick Holbrooke that Gore is going to Sec'y of State.

DB has been lobbying for that job for years now.

Posted by Steve at July 27, 2004 05:46 PM

Not to worry Steve. Gore hasn't shown Sen. Kerry much love of late. I'm sure that will be reciprocated, and as with Edwards at veep, Kerry will accede to the "consensus choice" which will surely not be Gore!

Posted by the talking dog at July 27, 2004 05:59 PM

Could Sharpton spare time from Zimbabwe for Press Secretary duties? Could the daily gaggle be more fun? For my money, Edwards could wear two hats and replace Cheney and Ashcroft with one hand tied behind his hard would it be for him to replace a crook and a kook? Not very...

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