Democracy: messy, but peaceful
The mainstream media would have us believe the rest of the world is laughing at us because our election process isnít perfect. Donít believe it. The banana republics and other Third World countries decide contested elections with AK-47s and tanks. Muddled though our election process is at times, our non-violent system is still the envy of the world.
But democracy requires statesmanship. For example, many scholars on both sides of the political fence now concede that Richard Nixon, not John F. Kennedy, was elected President of the United States in 1960. The election was stolen by voter fraud carried out in Cook County, Illinois, and Texas. If honest recounts had been conducted in Illinois and Texas, Richard Nixon would have taken the oath of office in 1961 and John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby might be alive today. Howís that for irony?
For the good of the nation, Richard Nixon decided against demanding recounts in Illinois and Texas. When historians write the definitive biography of Richard Nixon, they may say his concession in 1960 was his finest hour. Yet, Nixonís silent, seething anger over the 1960 election may have driven him, in later years, to the behaviors that led to his resignation.
Turning to Palm Beach County, Florida, where 422,650 people cast ballots, it should be noted that 99.02 percent of the votes were cast for someone other than Pat Buchanan. This means the eight-tenths-of-one-percent who voted for Pat Buchanan either meant to vote for Pat or werenít smart enough to figure out the ballot. Duh.
Pundits predict the final outcome of this presidential election at their peril. But the Bush camp has reason to be confident of the eventual outcome. Absentee ballots often split 2-1 to the conservative side; especially, when so many of them come from the overseas military who canít wait to have their revenge for what Bill Clinton has done to military readiness.
Moreover, George W. Bush needs only 269 electoral votes to win. Thatís because a tie of 269 to 269 goes to the U.S. House where the GOP controls 27 state delegations, four are tied and the Democrats control only 19. Twenty-six delegation votes are needed to win.
When the final results in Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Washington are in, Bush may win the popular vote as well. If need be, Bush could demand recounts in Iowa and Wisconsin where the Gore victories were razor thin.
But one should not expect gentleman Bush to go to extremes to win an election. If there is good reason to believe he did not win, look for Governor Bush to do as Richard Nixon and act for the good of the nation. Hopefully, Al Gore would do the same. Being rejected by his home state of Tennessee and Clintonís Arkansas must be disheartening to Gore and might be factors in a Gore concession. How these two men handle the days ahead will speak volumes about their character.
As usual, the mainstream media have chosen sides by giving short shrift to their premature announcement of a Gore victory in Florida while the poles were still open in the Florida panhandle. Who knows how many Bush voters either stayed home or decided to vote for the apparent winner? Thinking Gore had won when the media said Florida went for Gore, we went to bed and missed all the excitement in the wee hours.
Also, the late night comedians such as Jay Leno keep suggesting George W. isnít bright. The idea is to make a Dan Quayle out of Governor Bush. But which candidate dropped out of law school? Who flunked out of divinity school? Who earned a B.A. at Yale and earned a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School? Who flew the super complicated F-102A interceptor? Leno is either clueless or desperate for laughs.
The calorie-challenged lady has yet to sing. But, when she does, letís all exhibit some statesmanship, applaud the winner and show the world even more class.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.