Most people associate liberal Democrats with entitlement programs, but Vice President Al Gore has claimed the ultimate entitlement: the office of president of the United States.
In his televised mini-sermon Monday night, Gore appealed to the nation to allow him to have the job for which he was to the manor born. He said the public's voice had been "made mighty by the whole of its integrity."
Integrity is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of the administration of which Gore has been a part. He pledged to bring the nation together, which is like believing a corporate polluter when he promises to clean up the air and water. As with so many other things, Gore misstated the election laws and the rules of the political game. He said on Monday night and repeated Tuesday afternoon that his goal is to make sure all votes are counted. All votes have been counted several times. He wants them to keep counting until more "votes" can be created for him.
Attention should be paid to former Florida Secretary of State Jim Smith, who wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 10 (and spoke on CNN the day before) that those 19,120 presidential ballots at issue in Palm Beach County were "destroyed by deliberate double-punching ... with a second punch for Al Gore or Pat Buchanan."
This would seem to suggest that voters who either voted for Bush or voted for another candidate other than Al Gore had their ballots tampered with in order to give unfair and illegal advantage to Gore.
Furthermore, an estimated 2 percent of Florida voters decided not to vote for any presidential candidate, while voting for other offices on their ballot. There have been no challenges due to any double punching in those non-presidential races.
How many of those non-votes for president were "divined" by hand counters into saying something the voters never intended? It would seem that the real issue in Palm Beach and other counties disputed by the Gore team is not votes that supposedly were not counted, but votes that were illegally manipulated or stolen.
The error rate in Palm Beach County is 10 times greater than reported in any other county in the nation which uses paper punch ballots, according to Robert Cook, a nuclear engineer who holds a masters degree in statistical quality control and is experienced in analyzing and correcting trends and errors in heavy construction projects. His analysis may be found on Michael Reagan's Web page (go to reagan.com, then scroll down to "Today's Headlines").
What especially got Cook's attention was that in every Palm Beach precinct where Gore got more votes than there are registered Democrats, George W. Bush received less than 60 percent of the registered Republican votes. In no Palm Beach precinct did Bush receive more than 80 percent of the number of registered Republicans. Does that sound fishy in a nation supposedly so evenly divided? It should, considering that it was only in Palm Beach County that more than 20 percent of Republicans "forgot" to vote for their party's presidential candidate. On average, says Cook, in every other Florida county, Bush received more votes than there were registered Republicans. Nationwide, polls indicate more than 90 percent of registered Republicans supported the Republican candidate.
Gore's rush to claim his "entitlement" is not only premature, it is not supported by the law or the facts. President-elect Bush is right to begin transition planning and the courts should allow the laws passed before the election to stand. There should also be an investigation, not into "dimpled chads," but into broken law, which is a subject on which the Clinton-Gore Administration can be considered expert.
Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.