November 24, 2000


We may be losing our old Republic as the courts and the lawyers hand the election to Al Gore, but – in the spirit of the holidays – let's look on the bright side: Republicans are getting radicalized. The whole nation saw, yesterday, a sight that I never thought I would live to see – Republicans, many of them in suits and ties, conducting a sit-in at the site of the Dade County election canvassing board. Oh, how Abbie Hoffman must be rolling over in his grave. Is that the spirit of Chicago in '68 hovering over us, the ghost of a national crisis past whose laughter rings eerily ironic?


It all started when the Dade County canvassers decided to take the ballot-counting out of public view, bar most of the media, and retire to a small side-room of the county administration building to count only the disputed ballots, rather than – as previously voted – recounting all of Dade County's returns in full public view. The Dade County canvassers had arbitrarily barred the public and the media from most of its deliberations, and this latest ploy was the last straw for Republicans. As the Los Angeles Times put it:

"The stunning flip-flop that changed the momentum of the presidential race Wednesday came after a horde of shouting, shoving protesters – many wearing suits and ties – stormed an upper floor of a downtown skyscraper here. An elections department receptionist fled her desk in panic as angry Republicans pounded on the door. Nearby, a cordon of police guarded the county Democratic Party chairman. With mayhem breaking out all around, the besieged elections chief, David Leahy, switched off the vote counting machines."


Dade County Democrats, never all that eager to go into the vote-manufacturing business at the behest of the Gore campaign, backed off and decided to stick to their original ruling: since they couldn't meet the Sunday deadline for a complete recount, they weren't going to conduct a recount at all. The scene in Dade County brings to mind – and this is a generational thing – that old New Left slogan so popular in Chicago during the riots that marked the 1968 Democratic Party convention: as cops beat the antiwar demonstrators to a bloody pulp the protesters would chant "The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!" – their gleeful accusatory tone confident in the knowledge that the whole world was indeed watching, and what they saw wasn't very pretty.


Today, William Daley – the son of the mayor who unleashed those Chicago cops on demonstrators and more than a few reporters – runs the Gore coup operation. His blunt, thuggish features, like those of his father, perfectly embody the ruthless machine politician for whom the law is an instrument of corruption. As he deploys armies of lawyers and political hacks to steal what he could not win at the polls, Daley II reminds us of that old saw of Karl Marx's that history does indeed repeat itself – the first time as tragedy and the second as farce. This is one farce, however, that seems never-ending.


This Thanksgiving – and I write this when most of you are just about to tear into that turkey and scarf up as much gravy-laden stuffing as you dare – we have at least one thing to be grateful for: the Republicans, it seems, have finally begun to understand the enormity of what is happening, and have gone on the offensive. Since my last missive jeering the GOP leadership for their pansy-like passivity, they have appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Florida state legislature, and launched lawsuits in 13 Florida counties demanding that overseas military ballots be counted. What's more, they have done everything but run TV ads denouncing the Gore coup in no uncertain terms. While Bush has largely retained his "above the fray" presidential airs, the rest of the GOP leadership has come out swinging. It may be too late, but nevertheless the rising cries of "coup," "putsch," and even accusations of the Gore camp's treason is music to my ears.


It is no longer considered impolite or even "extremist" to come right out and say the 's'-word: congressional Republicans are not hesitating to say that Al Gore is brazenly stealing this election, and conservative leaders are even angrier. When Bill Bennett said it on CNN's Capital Gang, Mark Shields, Al Hunt, and Margaret Carlson erupted in fury, as Bob Novak smiled and looked on approvingly. David Tell's analysis of "The Gore Coup" in the Weekly Standard fumes that, even if Bush manages to triumph in the end, look "how close we will have come to having the central processes of our democracy upended by the fanatic ambition of a single demagogue." This is truly an amazing turn of events: the neoconservatives, who once derided the "theocons" and the Buchanan Brigades for their revolutionary populism and fiery rhetoric, have finally seen the light! What's next? – will Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter now organize the Upper West Side Militia?


Gore's plea that "both sides tone down the rhetoric," besides being part and parcel of his "presidential" pretensions, is a shrewd tactical move, because not naming what is going on is key to a Gore victory. Such a prohibition can work only to the Democrats' advantage, which is why Gore's fellow coup-plotters in the media are now taking up the question of conservative-Republican "anger" and its apparent dangers. A Los Angeles Times piece by Steven Braun is entitled "Conservatives Dust Off Impeachment Outrage," and subtitled: "Incendiary comments have even some on the right fearful of the effect it will have on votes." Who are these "some"? In support of the headlined thesis, Braun cites an obscure figure whom practically no one has ever heard of, one Marshall Wittmann of the Hudson Institute, who somehow manages to trivialize the attempted overthrow of the American republic: "This is impeachment, the sequel." Wittmann avers that "There is a shared sense that the rule of law is being undermined." Well, uh, yes, in the sense that perjury and an attempted beer hall putsch both violate the rule of law: but then, a pickpocket and a murderer are both considered criminals. The Times piece goes on to cite Wittmann as saying that "he understands the visceral need for conservative thinkers to give air to 'their real feelings. There are good reasons for doing so. But the rhetoric on both sides also contributes to a deepening cynicism about Washington,' Wittmann added. 'You wonder a little where the adult leadership is.'"


If it is "adult" to pretend that this is a tea party, and not a life-and-death struggle for the survival of the Republic, then conservatives and all who would resist the Gore coup should treasure and glory in the spirit of youthful rebellion that yet lives in the breast of those well-dressed Republican demonstrators in Dade County. Without them, Gore would have certainly stolen this election without a fight – although he may succeed in stealing it yet. The sort of conservative likely to be consulted by the Los Angeles Times may be horrified by the populist and frankly revolutionary air of Republican rhetoric, but the rest of us are encouraged – and perhaps moved to think and feel that all is not lost, at least not yet. The New York Times trotted out old Nixon hack Leonard Garment to denounce "both sides" for "playing with the rules" and employing populist "will of the people" rhetoric – but none of this is very convincing. You don't denounce someone who is chasing a thief down the street yelling "stop, thief!" for being "divisive." Or do you? In the world Al Gore and his minions are readying for us, no doubt this is the case. But we aren't there yet – and we can thank God, this Thanksgiving, for that.


I am sorry for not providing the links to the Los Angeles Times article referenced above, but it is that newspaper's unfortunate policy to make all of their past articles unavailable after a single day, whereupon you have to pay them money to read it. This, of course, is the typical method of media phonies who don't like to leave a record of their journalistic failings behind. And we can't post it on, as we normally would, because the evil Times has sued that website for permitting people to post LA Times pieces in their entirety. It's people like that – who don't want you to remember what they said yesterday, because it proves how wrong they are today – who really fear the Internet, and with good reason. At any rate, sorry for the lack of links: write to the Times and tell them to get off of FreeRepublic's back.

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“Behind the Headlines” appears Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with special editions as events warrant.


Past Columns

Gore Coup Radicalizes Republicans

The Dimple That Shook the World

Listen Soldier, You Can Stop the Gore Coup

Two Ways to Steal an Election

In Occupied America: Rage Against "The Regime"

Al Gore's Beer Hall Putsch

A Message to My Readers

The Real Victors: Nader & Buchanan

Buchanan's "Hail Mary" Pass May Work

Doubletalkin' Dubya: Bush Backtracks on Kosovo

The Nader Moment

The Smearing of Ralph Nader

Nader Sells Out

America's Fifth Column

Bush, the Balkans, and the Bipartisan "Division of Labor"

Hilary, the War Goddess

Vidal's Valediction: The Golden Age

Norman's Narcissim: Podhoretz in Love

The Middle East: War Without End

Classic Raimondo: Isolationism for Beginners

Notes on the Serbian Revolution and Other Matters

Revolt of the Little Guys

The Clinton-
Gore-Milosevic Connection

Szamuely's Folly: Sympathy for the Devil

Slobo's Gambit: Will It Work?

Adventures in Cyber-Politics, Revisited

Curtains for Milosevic

Dubya's Kosovo Deception

The Return of Pat Buchanan


The Vindication of Wen Ho Lee

Against the EU: Danes Resist Assimilation

UN Millennium Summit: Globalist Dream is Your Worst Nightmare

Iraq and the US – Our Fantasy Island Foreign Policy

Classic Raimondo: Allied Vultures Pick at Iraq's Bones

Colombia – The Deja Vu War

Passage to Cartagena: An Inauspicious Visit

Invasion of the Party-Snatchers

Blowback: Read This Book!

Bush on Kosovo – Turning on a Dime

The Kosovo Fraud: Will They Ever Admit It?

The Outing of Ralph Nader, and Other Atrocities

Why Kosovo? Follow the Money!

Additional Justin Raimondo Archives

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books).


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