Would you give up the Presidency for campaign finance reform?
November 10, 2000 9:49 PM   Subscribe

I am not entirely sure that giving up the presidency (in the case that Bush wins the electoral votes in FL) is entirely a good idea for Gore. I mean, besides the fact that DUBYA is a bumbling fool -- or at least a functional illiterate, BOTH candidates have pluralities -- Gore in the popular vote, Bush (possibly) in the electoral vote in FL.
Anyway, I shudder (:::shudder:::) when I stop recounting these ballots and think of what the world that is watching this election thinks about it. yikes...
posted by nyukid at 9:59 PM on November 10, 2000

what do you think the world is seeing?

I think we've all been spoiled with things going along like a well-oiled machine every election season...or so it seemed.

despite the litigious aspect of this process, I keep thinking that I see a vigorous democratic process: a *very* close election, an disenfranchised portion of the electorate demanding their right to be heard, an engaged public discussing it all.

it's harrowing, and I think everyone will be relieved when it's all over, but I generally think that it's good for our country.

we're identifying problems none of us were aware of, we all have opinions, and none of us will ever think our vote doesn't count for anything ever again.

we've sleepwalked through this process for too many years. it's time we stopped taking all of it for granted.

embarrassed by the palm beach voters demanding that their intended votes be counted? ashamed of the scrutiny our political processes are suddenly receiving? not a bit of it. I feel like I'm watching our system newly invigorated, suddenly it matters.

I *am* a little embarrassed by the machinations of the political parties, and I expect that I will be further. but by the people? by the closeness of the vote and the recounts that demands? never.

posted by rebeccablood at 11:09 PM on November 10, 2000

The deal that I would love to see Gore cut with Bush is to concede in exchange for complete control over all the judicial nominations Bush would otherwise have made.

I suppose I could try to justify this plan with discussions of bipartisan compromise and its broadmindedness, but really, it's just that I'd sleep a lot better at night without having to worry about another major anti-federalist turn for the judiciary.
posted by grimmelm at 11:29 PM on November 10, 2000

I abhor "Me too!" posts in newsgroups and discussion forums and I try never to add superfluous noise, but hey, this is a season of historic firsts, so...

Mega-dittos, Rebecca! :-)
posted by bradlands at 11:30 PM on November 10, 2000

what do you think the world is seeing?

The major fault in the electoral college system perhaps? Identical candidates getting identical votes? Senior unfriendly voting methods? I hope this gets dragged out for months if not years, until we actually achieve something resembling a democracy in Corpmerica.

EL MUNDO – SPAIN – dead man elected to the Senate, but no President yet
“The Americans managed to elect a dead man to the Senate (the Senator for Missouri) but they didn’t manage to elect a president for the nation. For a country that is so proud of its institutions, so in love with its Constitution, the elections of 2000 stain the supposed image of a perfect democracy”.

L´HUMANITE – FRANCE “This relic from the time of the Far West”
Without this relic from the time of the Far West , Buffalo Bill and the steam engine, (the electoral system), the President of the United States would already be known : Al Gore.

THE TIMES – UNITED KINGDOM – “a parody of democracy”
“Apart from these bizarre elections having provided high emotions, they have been a parody of democracy. It may take days or even weeks before a result is known, especially if some members of the Electoral College decide that it would be improper to elevate George Bush to the Oval Office with a minority of votes….The United States may be on the verge of a political crisis more serious than any other since Watergate and in constitutional terms, it will be more worrying”.
There is an old Portuguese adage which says “Put your own house in order before you start throwing rocks at others, especially if your roof is made of glass”.

posted by skallas at 12:17 AM on November 11, 2000

posted by dominic at 1:09 AM on November 11, 2000

I'd give up the Presidency for a Playstation and a six-pack.
posted by Optamystic at 3:01 AM on November 11, 2000

Please. The media abroad are suddenly truth-tellers? Are they any more perceptive or persuasive than their American counterparts?

Those choice quotes (lifted, I believe, wholesale from a single article on another site), can be counter-matched by other media in the same countries, media who wrote articles and broadcast stories complimenting us on handling the matter properly: battling to solve it while at the same time retaining our cool. No riots, they say, no military leaders claiming control, no gunfire, with plenty of time left before the swear-in.

Rebecca, you rule.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:10 AM on November 11, 2000

The American people have spoken. We're making this much more complicated than it needs to be.

Half of the country's taxpaying, voting public wants Gore. Half wants Bush. We've been joking all year that in some ways they're very much alike, because they fashioned themselves as moderates in order to achieve the most votes. We also all know that deep down Gore is more liberal and Bush is more conservative. Both sides have decidedly different views on many issues, but there is room for compromise.

The white house is pretty big. I think they should share it. Uncomfortable? Yes. Would we get nothing done? Well we don't get a whole lot done now. Is there anything in the constitution that demands the president be one man? These two idiots have made their beds. I say we make them lay in it.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:36 AM on November 11, 2000

How is the rest of the world looking at America? Well, I can tell you how one Canadian is looking at the process.


Seeing how close the system can be is absolutely entrancing. Seeing how the results are dealt with, quite honestly, defines how election processes will be run in many, many other countries.

America is often considered the world's big brother, and not necessarily in an Orwellian sense, either. When America instituted themselves as a Republic, they were bucking tradition. They were saying, quite literally, that the people have the right to choose what they want and where they want to go.

It's the best system the world's had for years, and America's been on the forefront of encountering difficulties with the system. The rest of us are able to sit back and say "Oh, that's an excellent way to do something, I'm going to take that little bit of policy and apply it." or "Oh, that's something that's bad, we should figure out a solution to that before-hand."

I mean big brother in the older sibling sense, and use brother as opposed to sister because I grew with up a significantly older brother, who has done things right and done things wrong. Just as I used stuff he's done right and wrong to add to my experience, and do things right and avoid the same pitfalls - while still encountering plenty of pitfalls myself, trust me :-) - the rest of the world - much of which is still stretching their democratic muscles to see how all this works - is sitting back and learning.

To be perfectly honest, there are people who are watching the great America fall from grace, a smidgeon, but for the most part America as a whole is exploring this situation they've found themselves in quite well. As was mentioned above, there aren't people storming capitals with guns and molotov cocktails, there are people protesting quite peacefully and making their views and opinions known.

It's a great adventure, and I for one am eager in seeing all the ramifications play out. Something that's going to take many years.

I'm especially eager to see what the resulting turnout is for the elections in '04. I'm also eager to see how many Canadians are taking what's happening in the States to heart. They're seeing it proven that a matter of national importance can be narrowed down to Three Hundred votes, and how vital voting actually can be. It will be tremendously interesting to me what the differences in voting percentages are in this Canadian election as opposed to the last.

It's all so terribly exciting!
posted by cCranium at 6:24 AM on November 11, 2000

I really have to question whether Gore is any more serious about campaign finance reform than the Republicans were about term limits during the 1994 Contract on with America. I don't believe that Gore believes in CFR as anything more than (at best) a tool to achieve the presidency, much less a deep enough principle to be willing to give up the presidency for it.
posted by harmful at 6:48 AM on November 11, 2000

Why do these foreign countries believe their system would handle this kind of situation better? The core issue is that the difference between approximate vote counts and exact vote counts can take days to resolve. This problem is only exposed in exceedingly close elections. Getting rid of the electoral college might not even resolve the problem, since the popular vote is so close and doesn't have a final count yet either. How exactly would France handle an election where the two top candidates got nearly the same votes as each other? Is there any way to handle it more elegantly, as they seem to imply, rather than just waiting until the final count is done?

It seems clear now that the best part of the American system is how long it provides for the transfer of power. Imagine the real troubles we'd have if the new President was supposed to take power last Wednesday!
posted by smackfu at 8:44 AM on November 11, 2000

I would actually like to see a Campaign Finance Reform agreement like that take place. That being said,

And frankly, it must be something that hurts a bit, because the smugness and arrogance of your advisers during the past few days has made this gesture much more difficult for me and others.

Am I seeing things? Did Kinsley (as Gore) actually make accusations of smugness and arrogance?
posted by dandot at 9:03 AM on November 11, 2000

Dan, that article you linked to listed the quotes out of order (at least the order I've heard reported elsewhere). Could it possibly be .... conservative media bias? Noooooo.

Also, I can't see how "You're calling to retract your concession?" is snippy, so I immediately wonder if there's a part that hasn't been reported. Certainly anyone would have expected dumbfounded astonishment on the part of the Bush camp, undoubtedly pulling themselves together after a private celebration.

I suppose it's possible Gore said that Bush's reported statement was snippy, but I'd wonder what inflections Bush put on it. He certainly seemed to have personal reserves of smugness that he wasn't afraid to show.
posted by dhartung at 9:27 AM on November 11, 2000

Campaign finance reform isn't going happen. Who's going turn down free money? It doesn't matter who is in charge they'll keep taking soft money. Even John McCain did! I found a link somewhere (can't remember where) that campaigns this year cost three billion dollars! Think of all of the good that could be done with that money. If there were any two things that I could change about the U.S. political process it would be the total elimination of soft money and term limits for absolutely everyone (including the Supreme Court).
posted by Mr. skullhead at 10:07 AM on November 11, 2000

"Let me explain something,'' Gore lectured in a stony tone, "your YOUNGER brother is not the ultimate authority on this.''

The conversation, quoted to The Associated Press by a person in the room with Gore and confirmed by a Bush aide, ended abruptly.

Associated Press, conservative media bias? Oh, come on. I have a conservative bias, I've made no secret of that. But the AP? You can't be serious.
posted by dandot at 10:33 AM on November 11, 2000

Please. The media abroad are suddenly truth-tellers? Are they any more perceptive or persuasive than their American counterparts?

The media abroad is seeing a lot of what we're seeing. As far as truth goes what the heck are you talking about? The question the was asked is what is the world seeing, and considering these are editorial opinions I don't see why you're harping on "truth" when we're dealing with opinions.

posted by skallas at 12:11 PM on November 11, 2000

I'd just like to point out that if we did elect by popular vote, this election is so close that likely the entire country would be in the midst of a recount right now. from my perspective, this would be a much larger and prolonged ordeal.

I see nothing wrong with a close election, and I see nothing at all wrong with automatic recount procedures when an election is close.

as I say, I'm rather proud of us right now.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:31 PM on November 11, 2000

Great idea, lets let voter fraud/incompetence/error go unchalleged throughout the nation because we just gots to know who our new Man-In-Charge is gonna be!

Last I heard this is spreading to Wisconsin and I hope it spreads to every state until we have a voting system that is fair, accessible for seniors/handicapped, and some independant observers for every location with possibly stricter penalties for fraud.

Just because litigation is involved that doesnt mean that its all a farce, if the state government is screwing up someone must make them accountable for their actions. So what if this takes a few months of years to fix and provide some modern voting equipment and procedures, we still got Bill.

Some of us want a "constitutional crisis" as the media like to say.

posted by skallas at 1:58 PM on November 11, 2000

They're seeing it proven that a matter of national importance can be narrowed down to Three Hundred votes, and how vital voting actually can be.

Great post btw, but I hate how suddenly voting is important because "Hey it might be close." This is pretty much the worse reason to vote I can think of. The media and polls and predictions have driven a lot of people away because of their authoritative declarations of "this state is won to Gore/Bush already, stay home and watch Friends, coming right up!"

If you went through the trouble to register why not get down there and represent your views? Vote your conscious for the sake of voting. If its never this close again is voting less vital?
posted by skallas at 2:10 PM on November 11, 2000

Great post btw, but I hate how suddenly voting is important because "Hey it might be close."

Thanks! :-)

I don't it's just because it may be close though. I'm much more interested in the political landscape here in Canada because of watching the American process, and the vote this time 'round probably won't be close.

I was already interested before things heated up, don't get me wrong. Watching how things have played out has cemented in my mind that voting itself is a vitally important process of the democratic process. Even though I'm just one person and no matter how close the election, my vote won't swing the results either way, it's still important to do my part in the process.

It's proven to me that the process is important, and that for it to work, we really do all need to have our say.

posted by cCranium at 3:57 PM on November 11, 2000

Dan, I'm serious. If every time somebody in the media puts up a fluffy how-the-campaign-is-going piece is evidence of "liberal bias" then how about the times they take Gore's quotes out of order and destroy the context of statement and response? The article led with the "snippy" sentence.

I didn't say it was a false quote. I said it was out of order. Maybe it wasn't "conservative" bias but it sure is evidence that not every news article has "liberal" bias.
posted by dhartung at 4:13 PM on November 11, 2000

In any event, gawd, it was three in the freaking morning. I don't blame Bush for being incredulous or Gore for taking his incredulity as snippiness. They'd all been up for a hell of a long time.

The thing is, I don't see how Al Gore calling to tell Bush that the victory speech he was about to make might be premature. If the vote had gone a few hundred over for Gore, Bush would have looked very foolish -- much more foolish than the BUSH WINS headlines that had to be retracted. Can you imagine?
posted by dhartung at 4:27 PM on November 11, 2000

I've been really puzzled by all this call for concession: it's not a chess game. the candidates don't get to decide who won.

the voters decide, and in a close election like this, we won't know the outcome until next friday.

posted by rebeccablood at 6:22 PM on November 11, 2000

If I’m not mistaken, Micheal Kinsley was the token liberal on Crossfire opposite Pat Buchanan for awhile before editing Slate. If there is bias in this fictional letter from Al Gore to Bush, then yes, it would be a liberal bias.

There really isn’t anything worth getting huffy about in it. Both the elephants and the asses have shared more snottiness in this campaign without actually making many character attacks. If you want to be angry with snippy comments I suggest Nader. He made more derogatory statements about both the candidates combined. Nader wins again!

Kinsley’s idea is brilliant. Let Gore martyr himself for the good of the country. If he was a real public servant and not a self-serving power monger he’d have thought of this himself. If the deal worked, I’d be willing to forgive Gore’s transgressions. He’d become a hero.

rcb: Bush would argue (and me too) that this election is waiting for the absentee ballots to be counted, but Gore and the Democrats are intent on prolonging the counting and recounting until they get a favorable outcome. (Aside, of course, from the legality of the infamous butterfly ballot.)
posted by capt.crackpipe at 6:33 PM on November 11, 2000

[capt.crackpipe] Bush would argue (and me too) that this election is waiting for the absentee ballots to be counted.

Not exactly. The Bush campaign has been calling for Gore to concede since last Thursday after the initial recount, assuming that the absentees will be in their favor.
posted by daveadams at 9:10 AM on November 13, 2000

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