Dan Radmacher, Other Opinion
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has put the final nail in Vice President Al Gore's coffin, some people are insisting it's time to put all the divisiveness of the past month or so behind us and rally around the new president.
Well, I say to hell with that.
Yes, I will accept that George W. Bush will be the 43rd president of the United States, but there should forever be an asterisk next to his name in the history books.
This election was stolen, and it won't be too long before the recount aborted by the Supreme Court will be completed under the auspices of the Miami Herald. Then the world will know that Gore not only won the popular vote, but won the vote in Florida that should have given him the Electoral College victory he clearly earned.
Call me a sore loserman if you will, but the evidence is overwhelming that more Floridians voted for Gore than for Bush. It took the combined pressure of Florida's Republican establishment (personified by the most partisan secretary of state in the nation, Katherine Harris) and a blatantly partisan U.S. Supreme Court to ensure Bush's tainted victory.
Let's count the irregularities that allowed Bush to claim Florida's electoral votes.
Others were knocked off the rolls because they were listed as felons, even though they were not. Some of this has been traced to the company ChoicePoint, which came up with the "scrub list" of felons, dead people and other ineligible voters. In one county, voting officials determined that 15 percent of the "felons" were actually eligible to vote.
In many counties, though, voting officials did nothing to verify the list, potentially disenfranchising thousands of voters. ChoicePoint even identified a local judge as a felon.
Coincidentally or not, the ChoicePoint board is packed with Republican partisans and fund-raisers. Before his death, ChoicePoint's founder, Rick Rozar, donated $100,000 to the Republican Party.
So why exactly am I supposed to "rally around" this alleged victor?
I'll tell you what : I'll rally around him just like conservatives rallied around President Clinton, who at least got more votes than both the Republicans he ran against.
Why don't we assign a special prosecutor to examine how Bush turned a $600,000 investment in the Texas Rangers into a $14.9 million payoff? Then, of course, we have to expand the special prosecutor's mandate to examine just about every aspect of Bush's public and personal life.
Price, as Kenneth Starr proved, is not an object.
At the moment, I cannot think of a single thing George W. Bush stands for that I agree with. Not only that, I think it's absolutely pitiful that our nation's president will win applause if he simply gets through a major speech without mangling too many words.
So, no. I won't be rallying around this tainted president.
I wouldn't have rallied around him had he won a clear-cut victory, and you can be sure that Republicans wouldn't have rallied around Gore if he had won, as he should have.
I do respect the office of the presidency. In fact, I respect it too much to allow its virtual hijacking to go unprotested.
Dan Radmacher is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette editorial page editor.