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Received: November 30, 2000, 1:56 am

Note: Comments follow letter.

Dear Sir,

I just wanted to drop you a line concerning the article "Facts, Posturing, and Lies - Election 2000 Style". As a matter of record, Gore's 'concession', was not a speech before anyone. The fact is, as most conceding candidates do, Gore phoned Bush privately, believing he was going to lose, and conceded personally. What anyone would expect to happen would be that he would then concede before his party, opening the door for Bush to accept the presidency. What actually happened was that, after some internal conversation with members of the campaign, Gore rescinded his concession, again in a private phone call to George W. Bush. As I recall it, he made no appearance on Election night to his supporters.

On the other hand, George W. Bush has not made any acceptance speeches yet. His statements following the election were simply to make clear his opinion that he was the prevailing candidate. After the certification of the Florida vote on Sunday, he stated that since the voting was over, and he had won more votes, he was going to proceed with his transition plans. He did note the challenges by Al Gore to the election, and made a plea for him to cease and desist. What he didn't say, and still has not said is that he is the winner, and he has not claimed the title of president elect. As a matter of fact, when asked by reporters how he should be addressed, his only answer was "I guess you should call me governor."

I point this out because in the article, acceptance and concession speeches were mentioned, but no such speeches have occurred. The network media have been reporting about Gore's 'concession', and Bush's 'acceptance', but as with many things one sees on the nightly news, they are erroneous statements based on the candidates behaviors, rather than simple, complete facts. In a way, these are semantic issues, but I believe that for a reasonable level of discourse, we must make clear when a statement is fact, rather than opinion or assumption.

That being said, thank you for an interesting site, with a unique point of view. Our nation suffers a shortage of people who care about it.

Best Wishes,

S****** R*******

One of the joys of having a page like mine on the web is that occasionally, just occasionally, you get a letter like the one above.

From it, I make the following inferences regarding what happened on election night:

  1. Once the votes are counted, it is customary for the loser to concede privately to the winner.

  2. Following that private concession, the loser then concedes publically.

  3. Following the public concession, the winner publically accepts the office.

Both candidates had ample notification that this was going to be a close race.

Before election night they knew it.

On election night, both had been declared the winner in Florida, and thus the nation, and both had been declared the loser in Florida.

After receiving the above letter, I seem to recall that the second conversation between Gore and Bush was a brief one.

Depending on their affiliation, members of the major parties may tend to blame one candidate or the other for the way that second conversation went.

As a voter who pulled a 3rd party lever, I gaze with saddened eyes at both candidates.

The Constitution has been called a bundle of compromises.

Couldn't these two guys, one of whom, presumably, will become the next President, find a suitable way to resolve this situation?

Is a down and dirty fight the best way to resolve this?

Maybe it is.

But I like to think, at least think, there is a better way.

And I like to think that the individual who becomes the next President could come up with a better way than what these two guys did.

Maybe I have watched just one too many Star Trek reruns.

It didn't matter what suddenly popped up out of the wild blue yonder, Captain James T. Kirk could think of a way through it that didn't involve putting everybody on the ship through hell.

If Captain James T. Kirk could do that, shouldn't the next President of the United States be able to do it, too? Shouldn't We the People be able to expect that of the First Citizen?

If compromise is the primary ingredient of the Constitution, shouldn't the next President be able to propose a viable compromise? With several month's notice and a potent reminder just a few hours before their phone conversations, couldn't these two guys have found a better way?

Both sides now try to claim the high ground.

To that end, both sides now try to make the other side look bad.

So many allegations and counter-allegations have been made - who can sort it out?

Everybody on this ship of state has been through hell over this.

And this trial grows out of the decisions made (or not made) by two guys, one of whom will become the next President of the United States.

To me, this does not bode well for the Republic.

On election night, Governor George W. Bush might have gained the high ground by accepting or offering a compromise. But, if he did so, he risked weakening his strongest claim to the office he sought - the fact that he was officially ahead.

On election night, Vice President Al Gore might have gained the high ground by accepting or offering a compromise. But, if he did so, he risked weakening the basis of his strongest claim to the office he sought - the fact that he might in fact have a few more votes than his opponent.

Was a compromise proposed by either of them? If so, I have not heard of it.

That being said, how is anybody supposed to prefer one over the other?

I suppose one of the greater arguments toward Vice President Al Gore conceding and moving on is the old story about President Richard M. Nixon who lost by a narrow margin in 1960 and then went on to become President in 1968. According to the stories I have heard, Nixon never challenged that close vote. However, the idea that Nixon didn't fight it is challenged by some.

Had Vice President Gore proposed or accepted a compromise on election night, the myths concerning Richard Nixon might have become true for him. And Al Gore could thus demonstrate his true worthiness to be President.

If such a compromise had been reached on election night, what is now a no win situation, might instead be a no lose situation.

Conventional wisdom says such compromise is politically impossible.

But there are matters between the heart and the State that are far more relevant than politics.

And anyone who deserves to be President should know that.

The fact that, on election night, both of these people put their own careers and party agenda before those considerations says it all.

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