N.Y. Times: The limits of patience...

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The Limits of Patience

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 12, 2000


That's a subscriber only site, Eve. The title of the piece is tantalizing. Maybe a cut-n-paste would be in order?

Pretty please? :)

-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), November 12, 2000.

Sorry Bingo, there is a character-check required.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 12, 2000.

November 12, 2000

News Analysis: Experts Contend a Quick Resolution Benefits Nation and Candidates

By R. W. APPLE Jr.

ASHINGTON, Nov. 11 B Another week and no more.

By next weekend, a group of scholars and senior politicians interviewed this weekend agreed, the presidential race of 2000 must be resolved, without recourse to the courts. With remarkable unanimity, they said that would be in the nation's best interests and, in the last analysis, those of the candidates, Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush of Texas.

It was the Democrats who had talked during the last four days of seeking redress in the courts, expressing their support for lawsuits already filed by some of their backers, and the Republicans who had resisted that idea. But this morning, it was the Republicans who pursued legal remedies first, in an abrupt reversal of positions that they must have found politically painful.

Once begun, it was widely said, even before the Republicans had acted, litigation could only spawn more litigation and drag on and on, to the detriment of the political system. But there was no consensus on what to do to help head off the looming court battle.

"When the officials in Florida announce their final count, including the overseas absentee ballots, next Saturday or Sunday, the candidates should step forward and accept them," said Lee Hamilton, the former congressman from Indiana who now heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars here.

Mr. Hamilton, a Democrat, added: "I think they may well do so, because I think this week of waiting that lies ahead of us will create in the country an upwelling of public pressure on the candidates to move on. There appear to have been irregularities, but there are no perfect elections. People are going to lose their patience very rapidly with these arguments over who won."

Former Senator Howard H. Baker Jr. of Tennessee agreed, asserting that "the country would be absolutely outraged by weeks and months of litigation, which is exactly what you will get, tit for tat, if someone starts it."

Mr. Baker, a Republican, argued that neither the man who ultimately became president nor the one who ultimately lost would benefit from a protracted struggle.

The one who claimed the prize, he said, would "take over a less than useless presidency" because of accumulated bitterness, and the one who lost would probably see his career ended.

"Eventually, somebody is going to be a hero," he continued, "and somebody's going to be president. Not necessarily the same person."

David McCulloch, the author of an esteemed biography of Harry S. Truman, quoted Truman to the effect that "the only new thing in the world is the history that you don't know," and commented, "We have been through this kind of thing before, and thank God we had people then who put the country first."

Thomas Jefferson, Mr. McCulloch noted, was involved in an agonizingly close election. In February 1801, Jefferson was elected over Aaron Burr after 36 ballots in the House of Representatives when Alexander Hamilton, describing Jefferson as "the lesser evil," used his influence to break a deadlock that lasted all night.

"Nobody ever described Jefferson as a weak leader because he barely won," said Mr. McCulloch, "and that need not be the case this time, either. If a man acts like a leader he can lead. But these candidates need to pull back, just for a moment, and stop thinking about their own narrow interests."

Several of those interviewed said the coming week offered opportunities and pitfalls. While waiting for the overseas ballot deadline in Florida next Friday, they said, the two sides could either escalate their dueling press conferences or use the time to work out an agreement on how to go forward.

With the Florida outcome still very much in doubt, some of the political scholars at the Brookings Institution in Washington commented, it would be much easier for the candidates to agree to abide by the final vote certified by state election officials than it would be after that certification had taken place.

"The country's interest desperately needs a voice," said Charles O. Jones, a retired professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin. "The voters prepared a script of consultation, cooperation and bipartisanship and asked the politicians, in effect, to get on with it. What's going on is the absolute antithesis of that. These two people should be settling down, setting that tone right away and assuring all of us that they got the message."

Anthony T. Kronman, the dean of Yale Law School, who has written widely about the state of the American legal profession, said he hoped that "two complementary acts of statesmanship could help us find a political way out of a political problem incommensurable with what any court should decide."

Mr. Kronman said it was crucial that lawsuits challenging the count initiated by one side, say in Palm Beach County in Florida, would inevitably be matched by suits filed elsewhere by the other, "resulting in damage to the authority of the judicial system and leading the country down a long road of frustration and bitterness."

At moments like the present one, he said, when people are "a little frightened" by unusual situations, there is a tendency to put too much pressure on constitutional remedies.

"There is a deeply entrenched habit of thought," Mr. Kronman said, "which inclines to the view of the Constitution as a piece of very well constructed machinery that can and will answer any intractable problem that we may have B impeachment, whatever. This is wrong. This is not a magic machine."

Some expressed the view that an agreement between Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush could be worked out by the two former secretaries of state, Warren Christopher and James A. Baker III, whom the candidates have dispatched to Florida to look after their interests there. Mr. Baker and Mr. Christopher announced on Thursday their intention to meet, but what came of that is not known.

One or two scholars said it was barely possible President Clinton could mediate, but most argued that his long working relationship with Mr. Gore and the deep suspicions that he still engenders in parts of the electorate made any such role highly problematical. In his weekly radio speech today, Mr. Clinton cast the events in Florida as evidence "of the vitality of our debate" and not "a sign of the division of our nation."

Fred I. Greenstein, a history professor at Princeton University who specializes in the presidency, said it was "not useful for the Republicans to get on their high horse and pretend to be in charge or for Bill Daley and the Democrats to talk about going to court before the votes are counted."

If Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush are unable to agree on what they would consider decisive, Professor Greenstein said, it might be wise to name some mediator or mediating body. He was one of those who ruled out Mr. Clinton, asserting that while the president "clearly has the talent," he was ill placed.

Professor Greenstein proposed instead that a pair of highly respected political figures, one from each party, might be named B perhaps Colin L. Powell, mentioned as a probable secretary of state in a Bush administration, for the Republicans, and former Senator George Mitchell of Maine, who served as a mediator in Northern Ireland, for the Democrats. Or perhaps, he said, a university president or senior clergyman or one or more Supreme Court justices or a panel of respected statesmen.

That has been tried before. In the disputed election of 1876, many of the same issues raised this year plagued the contest between Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, the Republican, and Samuel J. Tilden of New York, the Democrat. That year, four states were in dispute, including Florida. There were fierce fights over the invalidation of ballots, although that year, unlike this, widespread fraud, violence and intimidation was involved. After recounts and legislative battles, rival slates of electors presented themselves in Washington.

A 15-member commission was appointed to adjudicate the disputes, including several Supreme Court justices. Seven were Republicans, seven Democrats and the fifteenth, Judge David Davis, was supposedly an independent. When he was elected a Democratic senator from Illinois, however, his place was taken by Justice Joseph P. Bradley of New Jersey, a Republican, and every commission vote broke 8 to 7 in favor of the Republicans. In the end, Congress decided on Hayes after days of adjournments and filibusters, amid such bad feeling that Hayes was sworn in in private on a Saturday.

But great issues divided the parties in those days of carpetbaggers and reformers. The issue was sealed when northern Republicans agreed to pull federal troops out of the South, abandoning blacks to the dominance of the southern white supremacists.

This time, said Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, a Democrat who is retiring in January, "there is no great ideological chasm dividing the candidates B each one has his prescription drugs plan, each one has his tax-cut program B and the country obviously thinks one would do about as well as the other."

In that situation, said Senator Moynihan, "resolving it ought to be much easier, with whoever wins getting four years in the White House and whoever loses getting four years to gear up for another run the next time."

-- (copying@for.bingo), November 12, 2000.

Personally, I've had enough of these opinions from so-called "experts" that are becoming so common in the media mind control machine. It's like they are telling us what we should think.

Polls of the people (hopefully those who are capable of using their own minds) indicate that the majority do not want the conclusion of the election to be rushed, it is more important to uncover the truth, as fairly and as accurately as possible.

-- (screw@the."experts"), November 12, 2000.

Bingo, you do have to register there, but it's free.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), November 12, 2000.

Thank you for the cut-n-paste.

Indeed, Lars. An examiner is coming to the house this coming Friday. Might you have any advice? I'm considering changing my name and moving to Costa Rica. I just couldn't bear not making the grade.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), November 12, 2000.

I realize that, Patricia. I religiously avoided registering at sites until a couple months ago. I decided to change that practice to make it easier to surf. Where I used to receive one or two pieces of SPAM per month, I am now receiving well over a dozen each day.

This isn't the end of my world. My delete button works just fine. I have this little eccentricity wherein I despise unsolicited sales calls. If I want to purchase a product I'll find it myself and give a call, thank you very much. So, no more registering for moi.

Now back to the continuing soap opera: I'm the President. No, I'm the President!


-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), November 12, 2000.

Bingo, I'm sorry you couldn't get through. I went offline shortly after I did the link, otherwise I would have posted the article for y'all as soon as I'd have realized you were having trouble.

I am a subscriber, but before I was, I could access some of the articles for free. And I didn't have to type in my password for this particular article, so I assumed it would be free for all.

Gotta split again...see ya hopefully tamarrah...

"copying for bingo": Thanks for your help.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 12, 2000.


Good luck with your examination. I am friends of the Ochs family and this is what I recommend:

1)-dress consevatively but for power. The NYT prefers an Ivy league look. Make sure your shoes are polished (yes, you must wear shoes).

2)-look the examiner in the eye in a friendly, open way but do not stare him down. They do not like to be dissed.

3)-speak with clarity and confidence; do not babble and do not rant. The NYT wants readers with a cosmopolitan world view but but not rabble-rousers. Speak well of Nader but lament that he may have cost Gore the election. Ignore Bush as he is persona non grata for having rejected his preppy roots.

4)-above all, do not let them smell your fear.

If you flunk the exam, just tip him a C. That worked for me.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 12, 2000.

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