With the hurricane season barely over, here comes Hurricane Gore to rain chaos on Florida's election process and the dignity of the national plebiscite.
But in doing so, Gore has given Americans a glimpse of one crucial character difference between the two men who seek to be the leaders of the greatest nation in history.
On one side is Vice President Al Gore, whose hired sycophants will bend any rule, and sue over any outcome to overturn Gov. George W. Bush's apparent win.
Examples of Gore's take-no-prisoners approach are found from the ridiculous to, well, the even more ridiculous:
On Monday, Gore lawyers filed a lawsuit to change Palm Beach County's ballot-counting rules so that even un-punched ballots can be counted. According to Gore's new rules, ballots that have a slight indentation, or dimple, should be counted, based on counters' determining voter intent by analyzing the "totality of the evidence on the four corners of the punched ballots."
Essentially, if the ballot is punched for Democrats, a dimple in President Gore's box would count too.
The Gore campaign began its efforts to demand a recount before the second ballot counting was completed and sent operatives from Gore's Tennessee headquarters to targeted Democrat-heavy counties to stir up discontent.
Broward County's Democratic election officials stopped their recount after finding a high degree of accuracy in the initial two counts. The Gore campaign, however, is suing its own party's local officials to force another recount of all Broward ballots.
The Gore campaign was not satisfied to adhere to Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline, when, by law, all counties must have their final counts into the Florida Secretary of State's office. Gore sued to have the deadline extended, perhaps until he gets the votes he wants.
As former Secretary of State James Baker asked, "Where will it end?"
On behalf of the Bush campaign, Baker offered a compromise to the Gore campaign: Both sides would stick to all legal deadlines and abide by the outcome without suing. The Bush campaign would not sue over the manual recounts if Gore dropped his suits.
However, it soon became clear Gore was not going to be boxed into a "no-lawsuit" promise. There's a reason Democrats kowtow to the lawyer lobby. They expect slick attorneys to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.
Hence, Bush's people have been outmaneuvered legally, and this shows not so much the lack of savvy on Bush's part as it does the lack of decency on Gore's. The Bush campaign is trying to stick to the high ground in defending what appears to be a Bush victory presidency from an onslaught of outrageous litigation being rained on it in Florida.
It also shows that Gore, if made president, would fight dirty. In his rulebook, the ends always justify the means.
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