Gut Check Time
May 1, 2003
By Cliff Schecter
If you have ever engaged in or watched competitive athletics,
from elementary school kickball to the NFL, a phrase you have
most likely heard when your team is being out-hustled, outplayed
and out-thought, is that it is "gut check time." That is the
moment when you need to look within to see what you are truly
made of, and ponder how important it is for you to do what
is necessary to win. The Democratic Party has reached this
The Party of Jefferson has been suffering at the hands of
a GOP might makes right machine for the better part of a decade
now. These "Mayberry Machiavellians" will do anything to win,
do not worry what the Editorial Boards think about their tactics
and feel no shame over any hypocrisy that furthers their atavistic
agenda. Attack Clinton during the War in Kosovo, impugn the
patriotism of any who question Resident Bush during the War
in Iraq. Attack Clinton for Monica, look the other way with
Newt's cheating on his fist wife. And his second wife. With
a Capitol Hill Aide. You know the story.
But as Republicans now prepare for the ultimate in the Nixonian
political playbook, holding the Republican Convention in New
York, later than ever before and curiously close to the three
year anniversary of 9/11 in time and location, we are presented
with exactly the gut check opportunity we so desperately need.
Remind me if I am wrong, but surely it was that walking
wind-up doll Katherine Harris who "had to" certify the ballots
in Florida in 2000, even before all the votes were counted,
because that was the rule of law, and course Republicans always
have respect for this principle (except when Tom Delay aides
on an all expenses paid vacation to Dade Country start a riot
to stop vote counting, but that is for another column).
Well the rule of law is not looking so good for the standard
bearer of compassionate Creationism this time around. It turns
out that holding the Republican National Convention in September
poses some logistical problems. Most notably that Bush is
not slated to accept the GOP nomination until September 2,
And according to a recent Washington Post story,
"that falls after the deadline for certifying presidential
candidates not only in Alabama, but also in California, the
District of Columbia and West Virginia." Indiana and Idaho
are also on the too late for ballot representation list, but
in a surprise move those liberals in Idaho dumped that rule
of law thing when it benefited a Republican.
So here is the situation. As any Democrat will win the District
of Columbia with upwards of 75% of the vote, we have no problem
there. We never had a chance in Idaho, unless we changed our
core policy to strengthening militias and preemptively attacking
the UN. But in every other state, we should block any attempts
to change state laws to accommodate the WASP Corleone crew.
California, a state we will most likely already carry, would
become impossible for them if Bush were a write-in candidate.
We control both houses of the state legislature there, as
well as the Governor's Mansion (at least for now), so if we
play the game the way they would, no ballot change law should
stand a chance. In West Virginia, a key part of Bush's electoral
strategy, we also control everything, and with its Democratic
leanings and Bush as a write-in, well, I think we could nail
that one down too cause Mr. Rove a little heartburn.
In other states we could force them to play defense spending
money and time in usually solid Republican Presidential states.
In Alabama, where legislators are already trying to accommodate
the Bush brigade, the State Senate and State House are controlled
by our guys. We should block an initiative that has already
been proposed to change the filing date. In Indiana, a law
already sits on the Democratic Governor's desk to accede to
the Bush schedule. It must be vetoed.
Lest you still somehow think the opposition would not do
the same, let's take a trip back to Florida. Currently, Sunshine
State law only requires an individual to file for a Senate
race by April of that year, but the Republican State Legislature
and Governor what's his name are working on altering that
to complicate the Presidential run of Democratic Senator Bob
Graham. I know. It's hard to believe a Bush is playing politics
and not respecting the rule of law.
So let me say it once again. It's gut check time. After
impeachment, the Florida debacle, the Supreme Court heresy,
the attacks on the patriotism of veterans such as Tom Daschle
and Max Cleland for electoral gain, and now a convention timed
to reap the rewards of people's pain around the nation, it
is time for us to finally realize that the ends justify the
means, and do what is necessary to end the long national nightmare
we are currently living through.
Cliff Schecter is a Democratic Consultant and political
columnist for UPI.