N.Y. Times: Gore's dissolving support

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November 22, 2000

Gore Voters in Chicago Say It's Time for Him to Concede

By DIRK JOHNSON

CHICAGO, Nov. 21 Nelson Ramos, a 42-year-old bricklayer, wishes he did not have to work in the bitter cold. He wishes the Cubs would play championship baseball. And he wishes a Democrat would win the White House.

"But you don't always get what you want in life," he said. "So you accept reality and move on."

Mr. Ramos said it was time for Vice President Al Gore to stand up, and then bow out.

"Gore should get up and say, `We made a good run, but it's over,' " Mr. Ramos said. "And we would all think a lot more of him."

Hours before the Florida Supreme Court decided that hand recounts could proceed in three heavily Democratic South Florida counties, some of Mr. Gore's supporters, interviewed on their way to work here, seemed to be losing faith in his quest for the White House.

Among more than two-dozen Gore supporters, a majority said the vice president was tarnishing his image by continuing to wage a fight for the presidency more than two weeks after Election Day. To be sure, some Democratic voters say the presidency is surely worth a fight.

But for many of the dispirited Gore supporters, the turning point came when the vice president turned to the courts to challenge the Florida vote count, a move some scorned as the ultimate litigious gambit in a lawyer-weary nation.

For others, the wrangling has simply dragged on too long, stalling an election process that, however imperfect, must deliver a quick resolution.

And for some Democrats, it is largely a matter of practical politics. A victory by Mr. Gore, they fear, would by Pyrrhic.

As Lillian Atkins, a 33-year-old accountant and a Democrat, put it, "Gore looks like a loser even if he wins."

Ms. Atkins said that even if court rulings yielded a hand recount, and a hand recount yielded a Gore victory, the American people would view the process as hopelessly tainted.

"I don't see how Gore comes out of this as a winner," she said. "If he gets in the White House this way, the people aren't going to look at him like he's really the president."

Tom McDonald, a 38-year-old worker at Loyola University, said he enthusiastically voted for Mr. Gore, ticking off a long list of issues that drew him to the Democrat, like abortion rights, equal treatment for gays and education policy.

Now Mr. McDonald would welcome a Bush presidency, if it meant ending this marathon.

"This whole thing is an embarrassment for the country," he said. "I've even stopped listening to it on the news."

Mr. McDonald cannot pinpoint the moment he started to lose patience. But impatience turned to indignation as the lawyers entered the picture.

"I had no idea that lawyers and judges were going to have so much influence on this thing," he said. "That's not how our political process is supposed to work."

Mark Copley, a 41-year-old cook, also bristled at the notion of lawyers and judges deciding the outcome of the election.

"Everything in this country now becomes a lawsuit," Mr. Copley said. "People don't trust politicians, and they trust lawyers even less."

Kipton Roderick, a 25-year-old worker for an insurance brokerage, said Mr. Gore could have emerged as a true statesman by conceding to Gov. George W. Bush of Texas.

"If he had done the right thing," Mr. Roderick said, "Gore would have had a powerful voice with the public, and then he could get ready for the next election. Now he just risks alienating everybody, and that's disappointing. Let's be honest. He's lost the election. It should be all over."

(continued on next post...)



-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000

Answers

(NY Times story continued from prior post)

Like many other voters here, Mr. Roderick said he had lost interest in the presidential outcome.

"Somebody just call me when we've got a president," he said, throwing his hands in the air to signal his exasperation. "I've gotten to the point where I'm so fed up. I'm disappointed and I'm disgusted. This thing has gone on way too long."

But in the view of Curtis Smith, such talk amounts to whining.

"Just hold on a minute," said Mr. Smith, a 62-year-old doorman who remains fervent in his desire for a Democrat to take the White House. "Why can't anybody be patient? It's not like we've got a war going on or anything. Let's just get the vote right."

Anne Harding, too, said she supported a hand count of votes.

"I get a kick out of the Republicans, who are always saying, `We trust the people,' " said Ms. Harding a 31-year-old student. "Well, I guess this time, they really don't trust the people."

But most said their patience had been exhausted, with Mr. Ramos, the bricklayer, saying people should not be expected to wait forever.

"People can't even watch their programs without interruptions about the latest voting news," he said. "Are we supposed to be watching the election forever?"

Some Republicans, too, say they are frustrated by the stalemate.

Rosemary Blaeser, a 60-year-old Republican, the anxiety over the election delay had finally given her some common ground with her Democratic neighbors.

"We had an election, and it's over," Ms. Blaeser said. "Bush won."

Scott Trunda, a 25-year-old who works for a radio station and voted for Mr. Gore, said he feared that frustrated voters would punish Democrats in future elections.

"The Democratic Party needs to take a step back," Mr. Trunda said, "or end up looking like sore losers in all of this."

He noted that Mr. Gore had not made substantial gains in the hand recounts tallied so far.

"He looks like he's desperately clinging to something that's not even there," Mr. Trunda said. "To most people, it looks like Bush is going to win in the end, anyway."

Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old worker in a benefits department, said she had voted for Mr. Gore because he seemed to act like a leader. Now she is not so sure.

"You've got to be able to be graceful in losing," she said. "He's not looking that way."

Ms. Jackson said she had stopped paying much attention to the election.

"How much of this can you stomach?" she asked. "It's just time for this to be over."

The Rev. Ronald Ferguson, a 67- year-old Roman Catholic priest who pronounced the election battle "one big mess," said he did not believe the next president, whoever it is, would be able to accomplish much in office.

"The next president is going to be very weak," Mr. Ferguson said. "Wouldn't it be smarter to hold off, then just wait for next time?"

To Mr. McDonald of Loyola, there had been so much excitement in the days after the election. But the sense of being part of history, he said, has faded to boredom.

"People in the office don't even want to talk politics anymore," he said. "At first, there was this sense of intrigue. Now it's gotten to be kind of a joke."

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


Yeah. Let's hurry up. The democratic process and the rule of law are only good if they do not inconvenience me. What chumps.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), November 22, 2000.

"I get a kick out of the Republicans, who are always saying, `We trust the people,' " said Ms. Harding a 31-year-old student. "Well, I guess this time, they really don't trust the people."

Let's put the proper modifiers in that statement. We trust the American people to take advantage of opportunities and work for themselves. We don't trust partisan people to define "the intent" of a voter when there are no clear guidelines in doing so. Machines are non-partisan, people aren't. If we didn't trust machines, then why have we had elections for over 100 years with machines counting up the votes? We've trusted machines all this time and now with a sore loser involved, we find machines can't be trusted.

If there had been any indication of fraud, then of course, there would be grounds for all this. But without fraud or machine breakdowns, this has become just a quest to steal the election.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 22, 2000.


this has become just a quest to steal the election.

Very well stated Maria!

-- Ain't Gonna Happen (Not Here Not@ever.com), November 22, 2000.


Good find Eve.

Yes, I voted Bush, but more and more I feel that Gore would be a divisive President. At his worst, Bush is amusing whereas, at his worst, Gore is irritating. Dems, find a better candidate (not Hillary), wait for four years and try again.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), November 22, 2000.



This isn't the first time that one side has been accused of stealing an election, and I doubt it will be the last time.

We have a history of this

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 22, 2000.


Thanks, Lars. And good points, Maria.

You know, after the election, I actually became pro-Gore for a couple of days, even though I didn't vote for him. Only because he'd apparently won the popular vote, and I'm against the Electoral College.

But now, I'm very embittered towards him, because of his tactics. So much so, that I actually hope he wins.

Yep -- because I think this way, in the long run, both Gore and the Democratic party in general will alienate the rank and file (not to mention the opposing party and their legislators), they being witness to his having recounted and recounted until forced to stop by the courts, and in effect manipulating and suing his way into office -- legality notwithstanding.

So if Gore wins, I think it'll be the ideal launching pad for the eventual decimation of the Democratic party. Which, IMO, is good, as I've always seen them as more anti-freedom than the Republicans.

Gore for President!

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


Anita, thanks for the history lesson but one I already knew. BTW that was fraud and this is not, big difference. Ironic that Daley involved in both cases.

And another thing on the machines. Besides being non-partisan they are extremely accurate, much more than any human. I could calculate the amount of fuel needed for station-keeping satellites, by hand. I could do it with about three decimals points of accuracy in about a half hour. If I did it three times, I could almost guarantee that each time I would come up with a different answer. A machine on the other hand can calculate the fuel needed with any amount of decimals you wished. If requested, the machine will do it a dozen times and come up with the same answer each time. It would be completed in a matter of seconds. So if you want fair and accurate, trust the machine!

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 22, 2000.


Eve, we posted at the same time. I agree. I think that Gore will win because he can easily find the votes he needs by defining what a vote constitutes. Bush (I hope) will let go and concede. The back lash from all this will be very detrimental to the demo party. But the repub may need to tread lightly here. They would need to hold back on the shouting and at the same time make their position known. I think the death of the demo party would come if the repub could win the sentiment of the black voters. Don't know if this would happen.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 22, 2000.

Maria:

Have you forgotten that machines are at the whim of their program? That there is a human element to every component? I cannot tell you how many times machines came up with the wrong answer on billing questions with creditors, on medical claims, etc..

It is a sad state of affairs if we are to trust machines with the most important calculations of our lives. I am currently in a dispute with a vendor whose machines tell them they credited my checking account with a full refund of a product over a thousand dollars. Problem is, the account they "sent" the refund to was closed severla weeks prior to the supposed transaction. I have all the bank records to prove what has happened on this account, and yet they have not solved the problem. It may end up in court, where HUMANS make decisions.

Do you think an intelligent machine should listen to court cases and replace a jury? I do not think so. Machines are fallible, and any reliance on them, any absolute reliance on them. should be abhorred.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), November 22, 2000.



FS,

Personally, I'd be much more comfortable having a machine do the count, because its errors aren't prone to bias. Humans are capable of shenanigans.

Anita, thanks for the article.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


LOL, Eve. I'm cheering Bush on for the same reason. IMO, neither of these guys will end up the winner of anything. The winner will actually lose more than the loser. [Are you following this?]

I don't think this election will affect either party, but politically, both these guys are toast, IMO. I already said it elsewhere, but I don't think we'll see ANY of the candidates from 2000 in 2004. Ralph will go back to his activism, Browne will hang around, but not run again. Robertson will go back to his religious activism, whoever wins the White House will receive very little support from anyone in the country, and whoever loses the White House will do something else. Concession by either of them would be too little too late to save them, IMO.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 22, 2000.


So given the above assesment, is it *safe* to NOW say that ....

They both suck? :-0

shh, dont let mar hear us. :-)

-- (shhhhhh@aol.com), November 22, 2000.


Maria,

Regarding the black voters -- I would respect any decision they made - - as long as they examined the situation and didn't default on thinking by, say, automatically deferring to Jesse Jackson's opinions.

FS,

I don't follow your analogy to jury trials. There's a strong presumption of objectivity there, which is why they go through an extensive jury selection process. And twelve have to make each decision, your peers are to be the jurors, and as far as I know, machines aren't up to the task, in any case.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


Have you forgotten that machines are at the whim of their program? no.

FS, these voting machines are not new. Unlike your banking system that probably has been recently programmed (within the last ten years or less!), these machines are simple and have been doing their task for over 100 years. This is not something in the beta version, but tried and tested.

People make mistakes, many more mistakes than machines. People get tired, machines don't. People can unintentionally place Bush votes in the Gore pile. Machines wouldn't do that. People can lose count, one thousand fifty two, one thousand fifty three, one thousand huh did you say something? Machines don't get distracted. People cannot divine the intent of the voter when there are no rules. Machines have rules on what constitutes a vote and what doesn't. Those were the rules going in and we shouldn't change the rules now.

Do you think an intelligent machine should listen to court cases and replace a jury? No and this election shouldn't be in the hands of lawyers and court cases either!

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 22, 2000.



Anita,

I hear ya. Personally, I think some might be back.

Anyway, I'm not pro-Bush -- I think he'd be incompetent. Under a Republican administration, though, I'm hopeful that more of our freedoms would be preserved.

In any case, if both candidates suddenly realized the long-term implications (I don't know -- by revelation?), maybe they'd both be making a mad rush to the microphone to be the first one to concede!

Hmmm...now I'm wondering...what are the Constitutional implications if they both conceded simultaneously, then waved goodbye and just took off to their estates, refusing to have any more to do with the mess? :)

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


Eve:

With 'our' luck, clinton would come to the microphone and gleefully explain "Ya'll needed a change, I gave you that, since we have been breaking/making rules here lately as we go along, why not let ME stay here at the White house for another 4? I mean after all, Hillary dont need me and I really AINT (get it? hee hee) got nowhere else to hang anyway."

"You the american people, decide cuz I wont disappoint ya no more, soon I'll be divorced and hey, nobody will have anything to yack about if I bring someone around here, ya know?"

-- sumer (shh@aool.com), November 22, 2000.


'Sumer,

Actually, last I heard was that the Dems had talked Clinton into goin' down to Florida to hit on Katherine Harris.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


I believe if both candidates were to "bail", the presidency would go to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. He's a Republican, BTW, from [I believe] the 14th district in Illinois.

'sumer: I don't know anyone personally who thought Gore was the cat's meow, nor do I know anyone personally who thought Bush was anything more than ... I'd better stop there. I still think Bill and Hillary will stay together. I think they enjoy "feeding" off each other, and they're both committed to Chelsea. I've seen worse marriages, believe it or not.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 22, 2000.


'Nita,

Ah yes...Speaker of the House; guess I'd forgotten. But it was just fun to picture, wasn't it?

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.


Anita,

No way would Hastert give up his post to be President for a few weeks though, if the issue wasn't resolved by Jan 20. I'd bet he'd decline passing the mantle on to Strom (next in line). Now THAT would be a cool way to get the ball rolling!

Frank

-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), November 22, 2000.


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