November 29, 2000


The real story of Coup d'Etat 2000 was neatly summed up in a New York Times headline [November 26]: "Florida Judge Is Asked to Declare Gore the Winner." Having been defeated at the polls, Gore is determined to win by other means: he may not have a majority of the nation behind him, but he certainly has the unanimous support of the Florida Supreme Court. And so the action has moved, from the counting rooms of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade to the courtrooms of the various circuit judges, the Tallahassee digs of the Florida Supremes, and right on up to the highest court in the land. To that extent the coup has been successful, at least in one important sense: Al Gore may not be in the White House, yet – he may never get there – but the trial lawyers have won this election hands down. The losers, of course, are the American people.


It is hard to keep track of all the lawsuits going on, and the daily day-long coverage by the all-news TV stations here in the US has degenerated into what seems like one endless loop of Court TV. We shift from the courtroom of one hick judge after another, while innumerable suits cite obscure legal documents and quibble over whom is going to take whose deposition and under what circumstances. As if this wasn't boring enough, the only comic relief we got from this orgy of legalisms was Al Gore in the most staged conference call of all time, trying to reassure us that he has the support of his fellow Democrats – and only succeeding in raising more doubts. Good god, there he is on the phone with Joe Lieberman, Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, and House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, reiterating, in that robotic monotone, the same tired old line about how "every vote must count." (What have they been doing since November 7?, the average American asks, throwing his hands up in despair and disgust.) I wonder if Gore realizes how many Americans, when they see him, are instantly reminded of Darrell Hammond's Saturday Night Live parody? That oddly electronic sing-song voice, spawn of some automatic answering machine from hell, wheedling, whining, cajoling, and hectoring like somebody's 8th-grade social studies teacher – it's enough to drive anyone stark staring mad.


Gore is a powerful public speaker, albeit not persuasive in the usual sense: after only a few moments of listening to him, I tend to start yelling at the TV screen: "All right, all right already, I'll do anything you say – Just shut up, why don't you?" The man is unbearable, and is – perhaps due to the pressure – definitely showing symptoms of what, in any ordinary person, would be seen as symptoms of severe psychological problems. One such symptom is the inappropriate response: if you've ever had a prolonged conversation with a certified nut-ball, you'll note that the facial expressions and the words often do not match. They burn themselves and start to giggle, or turn on Comedy Central and have themselves a good cry. It's a case of switched circuits, and this syndrome was much in evidence Monday night when Gore was supposed to give the speech of his life. A twitchy simulation of a smile was plastered all over his face as he pleaded his case before the American people, and a constitutional crisis loomed darkly overhead. He looked drugged, his face – is he trading make-up secrets with Katherine Harris? – had the unnatural vitality of a zombie on Ritalin, and he smiled, idiotically, as he accused the Republicans of physical "intimidation" against election officials in Miami-Dade.


Profoundly disturbed individuals can neither send nor receive the right signals. You could say something, in a loud clear voice, but they might hear something altogether different. You say "Stop!", but they hear "Go, go, go!" An ABC News poll taken a few days ago showed 60% want Gore to give it up. A CNN poll taken the next day has 56% of Americans saying, loud and clear, that Gore ought to concede the election – up from 46% a week ago. This figure includes a full 36 percent of those who describe themselves as Gore supporters. Clueless Gore and his power-maddened advisors just don't get it. Before they are through, Gore will be the most hated man in America. But Gore's arrogance prevents him from seeing this. After making yet another statement on Tuesday, the Great Pretender deigned to answer a few questions from the media. In response to a query about his plummeting popularity, Gore replied:

"Well, I said during the election to many of you that I didn't think the polls mattered. And on Election Day, sure enough, contrary to the polls, Joe Lieberman and I carried the popular vote nationally by 300,000 votes. I'm quite sure that the polls don't matter in this, because it's a legal question."


So much for Gore's solemn declamations on the omnipotent "will of the people" – so who cares what they think, he just wants to be President! You'll note that, after initially making a big deal about disavowing all Democratic agitation against the Electoral College, Gore has taken up the refrain of "I won the popular vote" with renewed vigor. The day before, he brought it up in an interview with the New York Times, in which he telegraphed the same message. Asked to "reflect" on why he lost his home state of Tennessee, he declined but said:

"Well, it was a close election and the American people had laid before them two different views of how we should proceed in this new century, and by the margin of 300,000 in the popular vote, and by a margin in the currently counted electoral vote, they seem to have chosen the approach that Joe Lieberman and I represent. Whether the Electoral College, which is of course the one that counts, end up this way remains to be seen."


Oh, of course the Electoral College is "the one that counts" – but we'll just see about that! As Al would put it: Well, you don't have to get snippy about it, now do you?


No doubt about it, this guy is psycho: that kind of ambition is a sickness. But, unlike the rest of the fruitcakes who think they're Napoleon, or Julius Caesar, this one is not locked up in an asylum: instead, he ran for President – and, as he ceaselessly reminds us, came in first in the popular vote. The only obstacle standing between him and the Presidency is the Electoral College, which his surrogates are even now planning to circumvent. Unless the Florida legislature takes it out of the courts, and back into the domain of the people's elected representatives, Gore will entangle the process in so much legal rigmarole that the identity of Florida's electors will be in dispute, and that appears to be the crux of his strategy: to throw the process wide-open.


The Electoral College does not require the votes of Florida's electors before submitting the results to Congress: the Constitution says only that the victor is the one who gets "the majority of the appointed electors." If Florida appoints no electors, then the beat goes on – and Gore winds up with a majority. The Supreme Court decision – which will not get into the key issue of what constitutes a vote – is unlikely to provide a Solomonic solution to the dispute, and Congress is sure to intervene. Where it will end is anybody's guess, but one thing is for sure: a week ago, the pet pundits of the Washington Establishment were blithely dismissing the idea that we are anywhere near a constitutional crisis: Oh, we were told, just relax, there's plenty of time. This week, they aren't so sure. By next week, they'll be calling 911. The presidential electors must meet on December 12, and before that they must be certified. The clock is ticking – or is that the time-bomb Al Gore has planted beneath the very foundations of our republic?

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Past Columns

Coup d'Etat 2000 and the Madness of Al Gore

Slobo and Gore: Peas in a Pod

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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