November 16, 2000: That Was History’s Goofiest Election Ever

With one of history’s goofiest elections behind us – I hope – let us sort through the events of the past few weeks and see what sense we can make of it all.

EVERYBODY TAKE A DEEP BREATH.  This is not the first close presidential election, folks.  In 1880, James Garfield defeated Winfield Hancock by .02 percent, or to be more specific, 48.27% to 48.25%.  Four years later, Grover Cleveland beat James Blaine by .3 %.  In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel J. Tilden but won the electoral college vote by a margin of one.  What those elections did not have were hyperventilating television reporters, exit polls and the Internet.  We survived those days; we’ll survive these.

IT’S THE DEMOCRACY, STUPID.  Don’t look now but the American people have said “A pox on your houses” to the demagogues on both sides of the presidential voting debate.  It must be frustrating to the special-interest groups to know that they are not connecting with the general public. We voted for a president, not a bunch of wiseacre lawyers.  Save the posturing for somebody who cares.

FLY HIM TO THE MOON.  Would someone buy Jesse Jackson a one-way ticket to the moon?  This shameless self-promoter finds the spotlight like a moth finds a back porch light bulb and is about as productive.  It’s bad enough we have to listen to his self-important pontifications, but must we be subjected to his god-awful rhymes, too?

LOCAL BOY DOESN’T MAKE GOOD.  One of the ironies of the presidential election is that Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee.  Had he won Tennessee, he would not have needed Florida to win the presidency.  He claims to be a native son (He was raised in Washington, DC, actually) but Tennessee chose not to claim him.  That had to be embarrassing.

SO WHERE DID THE COMEDIANS GO TO SCHOOL?  The late-night television comics have a field day with George W. Bush, whom they have already pronounced dumb as dirt.  Yet he has an undergraduate degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard.  I always thought those were pretty good schools.  Bill and Hillary went to Yale. That noted intellectual, Ted “Puff Daddy” Kennedy, and Al Gore went to Harvard.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear there was a little bias at work here.

READ MY LIPS.  The biggest joke of the whole fiasco has been observing Gore’s campaign manager, William Daley, talk about voter fraud with such sincerity and earnestness.  Remember his daddy, Richard M. Daley?  He was Democratic mayor of Chicago, where voter fraud was an art form.  Jack Kennedy owed his election in 1960 to the legerdemain of the mayor and the money of Papa Joe Kennedy.

I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR.  Like her or not, Hillary Clinton is going to be a major power in the Democratic party and will probably be the first female with a legitimate shot at the Presidency.  She’ll have her opportunity in either 2004 or 2008.  Do not underestimate her, even as she drags around a husband with the morals of a coon dog.

COLOR THIS LINING SILVER.  The best news to come out of the 2000 elections is that actor Alec Baldwin vowed to leave the country if Bush became president.  Other than depriving us of such unforgettable movie classics as “Thomas and the Magic Railroad” and “Beetlejuice,” good riddance to him.  If we are lucky, maybe he’ll take Barbra Streisand with him.

THE LAST HURRAH.  In Georgia, it looks like Tom Murphy is toast.  Having barely won reelection, he is likely in his last term in the Georgia House of Representatives, where he has served as Speaker since James Oglethorpe landed in Savannah.  Legislators and lobbyists both enter his office as if having a private audience with the Pope (except that Murphy has considerably more power).   The fawning and toadying are shameful.  Obviously, his constituents are no longer impressed.

FLAG THIS.  With the presidential elections over, the attention in Georgia now turns to the state flag, which will dominate the next session of the Legislature.  The debate is going to be racially-charged and very ugly. If a compromise is available, I don’t see it.  Somebody had better fly Jesse Jackson to the moon while there is still time.

FINALLY.  Don’t let the television commentators and political pundits stress you. They didn’t have a clue during the elections and they don’t now. You and I are still in charge but why tell them?